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Need to Know: Are the Redskins O-line starters settled?

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Need to Know: Are the Redskins O-line starters settled?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, June 5, 11 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

I’ll also take your questions via email. Hit me up rich.tandler+csn@gmail.com with “NTK” in the subject line. Just keep them relatively brief, please. 

Here is the first Question of the Day to come via email. It’s from Josh:

Thanks for the question (but please call me Rich). To answer this one we’re going to open up the imaginary casino and take $100 worth of chips to bet on who will be the starter at each position.

Left tackle—Trent Williams $95, Morgan Moses $5; Just throwing the fiver down on Moses in case Williams isn’t healthy. Health could be a concern for Williams during the season. In 2014 he was on the injury report for 10 games and he missed one start and half of another game with knee and ankle injuries. Williams likely will plough through most or all of the season but they had better be confident in Moses to back him up.

Left guard—Shawn Lauvao $90, Josh LeRibeus $10; Last year Lauvao missed the Thursday night game against the Giants with a knee injury so there are health concerns here. But despite some fan chatter, a healthy Lauvao is a lock to start Week 1.

Center—Kory Lichtensteiger $95, Austin Reiter $5; Even though Lichtensteiger isn’t the ideal size for a Gruden-Callahan offensive lineman he knows how to use angles and leverage to compensate. It looks like he’s in this year with Reiter the early favorite to slide into the middle in 2016.

Right guard—Spencer Long $85, Arie Kouandjio $15; I’m only giving Kouandjio a slightly better chance than I give the others backups due to Long’s inexperience. Williams, Lauvao, and Lichtensteiger have combined to play several thousand NFL snaps while Long has played 18. I expect him to grab the job and run with it but there is a chance that Kouandjio develops quickly and is be better player by the time Week 1 comes around. Kouandjio is a rookie, too, but the point here is that the inexperience heightens the possibility of the unexpected happening.

Right tackle—Brandon Scherff $95, Tom Compton $5; Yes, Scherff has even fewer NFL snaps than Long. But the bet here is based on the politics of the situation as much as it is the football factors. Scherff was the fifth pick in the draft and Gruden was one of his biggest advocates. There is no way that Scherff will start the season on the bench. Don't get me wrong, I think that when all is said and done Scherff will have earned the right to start. But even if he doesn't earn it he'll start anyway.

Timeline

—It’s been 159 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 100 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 11; Redskins training camp starts 55; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 111

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

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Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

It's never easy to say goodbye to a well-liked coworker, especially when that employee has been fired. In the NFL, that's no different. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden opened up about the departure of former GM Scot McCloughan while speaking with reporters at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix.

"I was disappointed. I liked Scot. I liked working with Scot. He’s a good person, and a great talent evaluator," Gruden said.

The highly publicized demise of McCloughan as Redskins general manager made plenty of headlines, but as far the organization goes, Gruden believes the team is still in good shape.

"Any time you lose somebody that you become close with, whether it’s a coach or a GM or a player it's disappointing but at the end of the day in pro football, anybody that’s been around it long enough understands, change is going to happen and you have to react and adjust to it and move forward with a positive outlook," Gruden said.

Part of that positive outlook stems from moves the team has made this offseason.

Offensively the franchise brought in a big new weapon in receiver Terrelle Pryor. Paired with 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson, assuming he's healthy, the Redskins could have two dynamic pass catchers to offset the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. On the defensive line, Gruden thinks new players Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee can emerge as solid players with high upside. Further, Gruden made clear he thinks new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will make the players on the 'Skins roster into better defensive linemen.

For many fans it's hard to remain optimistic after the controversy that surrounded McCloughan's ouster, but on the field, there's little reason to expect the 'Skins to slide.

In 2016, the team finished one game out of a playoff berth, losing a disappointing final game to the Giants to seal that fate. In 2017, Gruden expects to be right back in the playoff hunt.

"I think everybody in this organization has a positive outlook," Gruden said. "We are going to miss Scot, obviously, but we’re also positive that we can get things we need to get done to be successful."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

After he signed the franchise tag a couple of weeks ago, the speculation, rumors and, for some fans, panic around Kirk Cousins has largely quieted down.

The Redskins can ink their quarterback to a long-term deal any time between now and July 15, but talks may not pick up until summer rolls around. A trade can also occur, but no recent reports have indicated that one is in the works.

Therefore, it currently looks like Cousins and the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 will be together for at least one more season. And according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that's a wise choice by the Burgundy and Gold.

"I think they did the absolute right thing in making sure Kirk Cousins is gonna be their quarterback this year," King told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay at the NFL owner's meetings in Phoenix. "I absolutely, unequivocally would not trade him. That's a white flag." 

As for why King wouldn't move on from No. 8, his explanation was very simple.

"You don't get rid of a guy who's got the second-most passing yards in football over the last two years," he said.

MORE REDSKINS: WILL JAY GRUDEN'S ROLE IN DECISION-MAKING EXPAND THIS YEAR?

Finlay also gathered input on the Redskins' and Cousins' relationship from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who's another major voice in the league's media. Rapoport first stated that he would be "beyond stunned" if the 28-year-old was not in D.C. for the 2017 campaign and then laid out how he envisions the year unfolding.

"I do not believe he will sign the extension before the season," he said. "So, he's going to go out there, play on another one-year deal, bet on himself like he did last year. You hope it's the same thing. And then we'll see, because I know there's some talk about him not signing an extension — I'm not so sure about that. Everyone has a price, right?"

"If they offer him $25 [million] a year, Andrew Luck's deal, I would imagine plans would change pretty quickly, right?" Rapoport continued. "So you get to the end of the season, assess where you are, assess the value and see if you can make a business deal. It's terrible to have to pay so much money to your quarterback. The only worse thing is not being able to pay so much money to your quarterback." 

King and Rapoport are clearly both in agreement that losing their rising signal caller would be a huge blow to the Redskins. But while King says Washington should keep Cousins because of his production, Rapoport took a different route when concluding how the negotiations will end up.

"Really good quarterbacks never leave their team. It just never happens," he said. "So I would think there's a way to work this out."

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