Quick Links

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Still searching for a nose tackle, early depth charts

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Still searching for a nose tackle, early depth charts

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 18, 40 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 30
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 55
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 67
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 119
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 176

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts of the week on CSNmidatlantic.com with some commentary.

Redskins' cap space dwindling but they have some options—It looked like the Redskins had a huge pile of cap space but Kirk Cousins’ franchise tag put a big dent in it and now their supply of available cash is dwindling. Since this was published the Redskins did add $3 million to their cap space so one option to create more is off the table. There will be some free agent options lower down the depth chart that they can add but they should focus their remaining resources on locking up Morgan Moses and Spencer Long, who are eligible for extensions.

Report: Cousins concerned about potential trade to Browns—The post right after this one on the most popular list was on a report that the Browns aren’t interested in Cousins but that other teams have inquired about a trade. The takeaway from the last few weeks of conflicting Cousins reports is that what teams and agents and players say is not necessarily in the interest of spreading the truth. Words are about trying to create leverage and send messages to the other side in negotiations. Letting the fans know what is really going on is low on the list of priorities when messages are chosen.  

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0

Bad grades for some Redskins FA additions—Evaluations from Pro Football Focus get paned as worthless in some circles. I’ve always thought that, like any one metric, PFF’s ratings and stats are useful if you don’t take them as the final word on a given player. Anyway, they liked the Terrelle Pryor and D.J. Swearinger acquisitions and they panned the two players signed on the D-line. What they miss is that Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee don’t have to be long-term solutions in Washington. If the Redskins can draft a couple of solid defensive linemen they could easily move on from McClain and McGee as post-June 1 cuts in 2018. Of course, given the team’s long-standing reluctance to draft defensive linemen early, that scenario is problematic.

Examining the Redskins updated depth chart—Defense—It’s too early to do a depth chart but that never stops me (I also drew up an offensive depth chart). Although much of it is in dry erase marker and not Sharpie, it is still useful to see how things are evolving. The one alarming thing that jumps out is that if the season started today the starting nose tackle would be Phil Taylor. The good news is that he’s a former first-round draft pick. The bad news is that he hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2014. And, yes, the topic will keep coming up until the Redskins draft some linemen and get a long-term solution at nose tackle. 

Despite need for D-linemen, Redskins cut Ricky Jean-Francois—Francois wasn’t a nose tackle but he was a reasonably effective end when he rotated into games. The team decided to cut him loose. The move saved the team $3 million in cap space and it also got rid of a player who was vocally critical of the organization in the wake of the firing of Scot McCloughan. While the move could be justified on the basis of productivity compare to his cap hit, his outspoken nature, especially recently, made the decision a whole lot easier for the Redskins.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players who could make big impact

Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players who could make big impact

Much of the Redskins offseason has been focused on players like Josh Norman and Kirk Cousins, or the addition of guys like Terrelle Pryor and Zach Brown. Further down the roster, however, is where games are won. Here's a look at three players that will have the opportunity to make a big impact in 2017.

  1. Kendall Fuller - Let's be honest: the second-year Hokie had a tough rookie year. He started the season injured, and probably wasn't all the way up to speed when he began playing Week 4. Early on he produced at a good level for a rookie, but quickly, the league saw how to beat him. In a November game against the Vikings, Fuller repeatedly got beat on the inside by Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs. After that, the Redskins coaching staff looked elsewhere for a slot corner. 2017 is a new season, and Fuller will be a full year removed from his knee injury. He still has good vision and hips, an NFL pedigree, and should have the first crack at the slot corner role. If he can produce like many expected from him in 2015 - when he was an assumed first-round pick - Fuller could make a big difference for the Washington defense. Third round draft pick Fabian Moreau might also push for snaps at corner, once he gets healthy. 
  2. Stacy McGee - A new addition to the defense, McGee might be the answer Redskins fans want at nose tackle. Last season was by the far the best of McGee's career, and he emerged as a strong run stopper in Oakland. With his frame, and Jim Tomsula's coaching, McGee might play a big role this fall. His biggest hurdle? Staying healthy. In four seasons in the NFL, McGee has only played 16 games one season. Last year, he was limited to just nine games.
  3. Spencer Long - A free agent at the end of the season, Long comes in to 2017 looking to prove he can be a top tier center in the NFL. He excelled in pass blocking and calling the assignments on the Redskins line, but his run blocking could improve this fall. The literal centerpiece of a strong, young 'Skins line, 2017 will be a big opportunity for Long. Don't forget Washington moved up to draft Chase Roullier from Wyoming in the 6th round, and he played center and guard in college. Life in the NFL always has pressure, and Long will be facing some.

Always something on social: Enjoy the weekend folks.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

Quick Links

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75

The Redskins week that was

Here are some of the most popular post from the last week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com

How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.

Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.

Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.

For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.

Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.