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Need to Know: Big Year 3 for Hankerson, Robinson

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Need to Know: Big Year 3 for Hankerson, Robinson

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 29, 10 days before the Redskins open their preseason against the Titans.

Make or break for Hank, Robinson?

The Redskins drafted three wide receivers in 2011. One of them, fifth-round pick Niles Paul, has been converted to tight end. This could be the year we find out what the Redskins get out of the other two.

Mike Shanahan didn’t come out and say that this is a make or break year for Leonard Hankerson (3rd round) and Aldrick Robinson (7th) but he did say that the career trajectory of the two needed to move upward in 2013 if they hope to ever be starting caliber receivers.

“Everybody knows what type of speed he has,” Shanahan said of Robinson. “For him to really step up his game, he’s got to be consistent with the underneath routes as much as the deep routes.”

Robinson hauled in touchdown passes of 49 yards against the Eagles and 68 yards in Dallas but he disappeared from the offense after defenses found out he wasn’t much of a threat if you kept him from going deep.

Hankerson has been catching nearly everything throw to him in OTAs, minicamp and, until yesterday, training camp. But in one drill he smoked Richard Crawford and got open deep. Robert Griffin put the ball right in his hands but Hankerson dropped it.

“[Hankerson’s] got to be more consistent, not only blocking, but catching the short route, the deep route,” said Shanahan. “Like he had today, the one ball he had in his hands and dropped it at the last second. He has to have that concentration level. He has to be mentally tough to make those plays in practice, which will carry over to games.”

The optimal outcome here, of course, would be for Hankerson and Robinson to become consistent, well rounded receivers. The position is expensive to fill in free agency, as the Redskins found out when they signed Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan to contracts worth a combined $53 million last year. And, as Robinson and Hankerson show, many receivers take time to develop and you are never really sure if they ever will.

Consistency is the key. If the Redskins can count on getting the best of Robinson and Hankerson on a regular basis, Shanahan will be happy.

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Today’s schedule (all practices open to the public)

10:00—Walkthrough practice, players available to media coming off the field

After walkthrough (approx. 11:30)—News conference with player TBA

3:20—Full practice, players available to media coming off the field

5:30 (approx.)—Mike Shanahan news conference

DL depth being put to the test

In case you missed it

Days until: Redskins @ Titans preseason opener 10; Final cuts 33; Eagles @ Redskins 42

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Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 18, 99 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 43
NFL free agency starts 51
First Sunday of 2017 season 236

The coordinator search and more

Did the Redskins underachieve this year? I know that a metric like Football Outsiders' DVOA is not the final word in the quality of a team but looking at it year after year it usually does work out that the teams with the better numbers in DVOA usually win more games than those with worse numbers. The Redskins finished 2016 eighth in DVOA. Considering that 12 teams make the playoffs, that could be considered a playoff quality team. Yet 15 teams finished with a better record than they did. I’m sure there are some holes in the formula for the stat but just looking at that it sure appears that the Redskins did leave some wins out on the field.

John Keim is reporting that the Redskins are prepared to switch to a 4-3 defense if that is what their new defensive coordinator prefers. They have been in the 3-4 since Mike Shanahan arrived in 2010. Whether it is because of the scheme or lack of draft and free agent resources spent on the line and at safety, the defense hasn’t been very good. As Keim notes, they will need to make some personnel changes if they do change but with a full load of draft picks and $62 million in cap space this may be the time to do it.

I expected the angst that was all over Twitter when word of the Rob Ryan interview got out. But it’s pretty dumb to get all worked up over an interview (with all due respect to readers here who may have been upset). It’s not a hiring. Look, somehow or another Ryan managed to stay employed as an NFL defensive coordinator for 12 straight seasons. I don’t know how to research it without going through some very time consuming and tedious steps but I’d be willing to bet that only about a few dozen men in the history of the league have been able to remain a defensive coordinator for that many season in a row. The organization can learn something from sitting down and talking to him for a few hours.

I understand that we want things to talk about in a relatively slow time. But I just don’t see why there is fear out there over the possibility that Kyle Shanahan will get hired as the coach of the 49ers and somehow steal Kirk Cousins away to be his quarterback. The Redskins can maintain his rights via the franchise tag. They could tag Cousins and trade him to the 49ers but there would be a heavy price in terms of draft picks. But while it’s possible, it’s unlikely. The chances are very, very good that Cousins will be in a Redskins uniform this year via either the tag or a long-term deal. 

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In case you missed it

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

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

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