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Need to Know: A lot is riding on “developing” right side of Redskins O-line

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Need to Know: A lot is riding on “developing” right side of Redskins O-line

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 3, 10 days before Washington Redskins open their preseason against the Browns.

If you need to catch up on what's happening in Richmond, scroll to the bottom for a list of our posts from the last 24 hours. 

A lot is riding on “developing” right side of offensive line

RICHMOND—The Redskins have made no secret of the fact that they intend to run the ball far more often than they did in 2014. But in order to do that they will need for the revamped right side of the offensive line to be effective, if not stellar. And, according to Jay Gruden, that’s not necessarily a given.

"That’s just where they are—they’re developing,” the Redskins head coach said when asked about the progress of second-year right guard Spencer Long and rookie right tackle Brandon Scherff. “Spencer’s got a little bit of a leg-up because he had all of last year. I mentioned it before, Spencer missed a lot of his senior year, so he didn’t get as many reps and he was still developing.”

Long missed a good chunk of his senior year at Nebraska with a knee injury and he played just 16 offensive snaps. He has the benefit of having a full season of being on an NFL roster. That helps, but watching film, attending meetings, and working the scout team at practice doesn’t fully prepare a player to step in and be a starter.

At least he has more experience than Scherff.

“And Brandon, he’s a rookie, you know?” said Gruden. “He’s got a lot to pick up in a short amount of time. Week 1 we have [Dolphins defensive end] Cameron Wake coming right at him, so he’s got to pick it up quickly. He’s played right tackle and right guard in training camp and he’s doing a wonderful job so far. A long way to go, a lot to learn, he’s going to learn from the best, one of the best. Ryan Kerrigan is showing him the ropes a little bit and we’re going to use that knowledge and that experience to his advantage, that’s for sure."

Wake had 11.5 sacks last year and has averaged over 10 sacks per season during his six-year NFL career.

In practice, the two have been doing just fine, although they just donned their pads on Saturday. We will be a better indication of where they are next week when the Houston Texans come to town and the line will be facing the likes of JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney (if he is off of the PUP list by then) and Vince Wilfork.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins walkthrough, 10:35 a.m.; Jay Gruden news conference approx. 2:45; Redskins practice, 3 p.m.

—It’s been 218 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 41 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 10; final cuts 33; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 52

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Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

When the Redskins won the NFC East in 2015 with a 9-7 record, most critics dismissed the division as weak. That theory was largely proved right when the Redskins got stomped at home in the first round of the playoffs by the Wild Card Green Bay Packers.

In 2016, however, the NFC East largely looked like the best division in football, or at least among the best divisions. Dallas won 13 games and took the NFC East title, the Giants won 11 and took the NFC's top Wild Card spot. The Redskins had a chance to make the playoffs in Week 17, but unceremoniously lost and fell short.

Still, Washington won eight games and Philadelphia won seven. In fact, the NFC East was the only division in the NFL without a team that lost 10 or more games. The AFC West - a division that some would argue was tougher than the NFC East - still had the Chargers and their 5-11 record.

What does it mean for 2017? If anything the only team expected to regress would be the Cowboys, and their regression could easily still have them looking to win around 10 games. 

The Eagles have improved with young, star QB Carson Wentz. New York will be interesting, as they have some age at various spots on their roster but still feature a two-time Super Bowl winning QB in Eli Manning and one of the best defenses in the NFL.

As for Washington? The defense should be much improved. It almost has to be as the 2016 version struggled significantly. If the defense can just be average (and I'd argue it could push for Top 15) the offense should continue to move the ball well. Producing in the red zone needs to look different than last season too.

The NFC East looks like a beast yet again. It would be no surprise if both NFC Wild Cards come from the division.

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 28, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start their mandatory minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/27) 60
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 74
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 105

Note: I am on vacation this week in the Outer Banks. Need to Know will be a mix of new content and some of the most popular posts of 2017.

Redskins faced one of NFL’s toughest slates in 2016

(originally posted January 28)

As the Redskins came off their 2015 playoff season and looked towards 2016, one thing jumped out. Even before any games were played it looked like their path to a repeat playoff appearance would be difficult, more so than it was when they went 9-7 and took the NFC East title.

The 2015 schedule looked fairly easy when applying the eyeball test. They played just two games against teams that made the playoffs and those teams, the Patriots and Panthers, plus the Jets were the only teams they faced that finished the season with winning records.

The eyeball test was borne out by the numbers. According to the stat gurus at Football Outsiders the Redskins faced the 28th toughest schedule in terms of the DVOA of opposing defenses and the opposing offenses added up to the 24th most difficult.

The going was considerably tougher in 2016. The Redskins played seven games against teams that were in the playoff field. The defenses they faced stacked up as the toughest group of any NFL team. They played nine games against teams that finished in the top 11 in defensive DVOA. The offenses they faced were a little better than average, ranking 13th as a group.

While the Redskins’ season was widely regarded as a disappointment, it would be reasonable to say that given vastly improved quality of the competition that they did well in only having their record drop by half a game.

Of course, the goal is to be good enough to prosper and make the playoffs no matter what mix of teams the luck of the draw happens to put on the schedule. They will need to get there in a hurry. Awaiting the Redskins on their 2017 schedule are seven 2016 playoff teams plus one more that finished the year with a winning record.

The fortunes of NFL teams can’t always be predicted in advance, especially more than seven months before the season kicks off. But it’s safe to say that the 2017 slate will be challenging. If they are going to improve their record they are going to have to improve their level of play dramatically.

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.