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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Dolphins

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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Dolphins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 13, the day the Washington Redskins open their season against the Miami Dolphins.

Five final thoughts about Redskins vs. Dolphins

—Jay Gruden knows about the schemes of Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle from Gruden’s days with the Bengals. They crossed paths as Coyle was the Cincinnati defensive backs coach during Gruden's first year as offensive coordinator there. Then after Coyle left to become run the defense in Miami, the Bengals played the Dolphins once in each of the next two years. But the addition of a dominant free agent takes away some of that familiarity edge. “But then you add a piece like [Ndamukong] Suh and it could change things drastically for your defense, the calls and what you are doing in short yardage and goal line,” said Gruden. “That’s something we’re trying to prepare for, a lot of different looks and assuming what they’re going to do.” Gruden said that adjustments will have to be made on the fly and the young right side of the offensive line will be challenged.

—Injuries will not be a factor, at least not coming in. The only player listed as doubtful is Dolphins backup tackle Jason Fox (concussion). Washington has two backup players, OT Tom Compton (calf) and OLB Jackson Jeffcoat (thigh), listed as questionable. All of the others on the report are probable, including Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert.

—Rookie Jamison Crowder will return punts for the Redskins. His only punt return in NFL competition consists of him fielding a punt during the Ravens preseason game and promptly slipping to the ground. What I’ll be watching for with him is if he makes good decisions on fielding the ball. Does he know when he should field a punt and when to back off? Can he determine when he should fair catch and when he should run it back? Popping a 40-yard return is nice but the wrong decisions on other punts during the course of the game can give back all of that field position and then some.

—Two underrated Dolphins offensive weapons are running back Lamar Miller and wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Miller rushed for 1,099 yards last year on only 216 carries, an impressive 5.1 yards per play. Included in his body of work was a 97-yard touchdown run against the Jets. Landry is not a deep threat; he averaged just 9.0 yards per catch and his longest reception covered just 25 yards. But he is the player Ryan Tannehill goes to to move the chains and 48 of his 84 receptions resulted in first downs. Slot corner Justin Rogers will be primarily responsible for covering him.

—Looking back at the first point, the Redskins have a similar advantage on defense in that they have a new coordinator in Joe Barry and five new starters from last year. Among those new starters is Terrance Knighton, who gives the Redskins a true nose tackle for the first time since they started running the 3-4 defense in 2010. He may not have the impact of Suh but he is a very important addition. Miami offensive coordinator Bill Lazor (who was the Redskins’ QB coach during the Gibbs II era) really doesn’t know what to expect. The Redskins’ preseason schemes were of the traditional August vanilla variety and the Dolphins will have to figure out on the fly how aggressive the defensive front will be shooting the gaps and how Barry will utilize the pass rushers he has at his disposal.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Dolphins, 1 p.m., FedEx Field

—It’s been 259 days since the Redskins played a game. They play the Dolphins at FedEx Field today.

Days until: Rams @ Redskins 7; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 11; Eagles @ Redskins 21

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 27, 2 days before the March 1 NFL franchise tag deadline.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/2) 3
—Start of NFL free agency (3/9) 10
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 49
—NFL Draft (4/27) 59
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 195

Monday morning Redskins musings as free agency approaches

1. It appears that the Raiders are going to let Latavius Murray, who rushed for over 1,800 yards combined in the last two seasons, test free agency.

I’d be surprised if the Redskins showed any interest. I’m not sure that they will be jumping into the RB free agent pool, at least not into the deep (expensive) end of it. They might draft a back to compete with Rob Kelley, Matt Jones, and Mack Brown. Chris Thompson will remain the third-down back.

2. Do you wonder why the Redskins have been reluctant to draft a safety?

Eventually, someone will need to figure out the safety position in the NFL. With all the spread offenses that safeties face in college the safeties have become more like additional corner. Also, the better defensive backs in college want to be cornerbacks because it pays better in the pros. The pool coming out is generally small to begin with and then it shrinks even further for each team due to the scheme factors that Farrar discusses. Su'a Cravens could be the solution to one safety spot for the Redskins but they continue to be in search of someone to pair with him. 

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

3. The Jets allowed C Nick Mangold to announce his own release. He was one of the best centers of the past decade; Mangold went to seven Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro twice. But I don’t see him being of interest to the Redskins. They are happy with Spencer Long and even if they weren’t, Mangold is 33 and he missed half of last season with an ankle injury. Those factors likely will make the Redskins steer clear.

4. Maybe some fans don’t care if they are getting information from the team through the media at the combine. Or at the Senior Bowl. Or anywhere. And it is the team’s option to have someone available or not during most of the offseason (a press conference prior to the draft is mandatory). But they are missing out on a chance to give their side of the story.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

5. We have another D-lineman signed as the Panthers retained DE Mario Addison.

Addison, who was with the Redskins for five games in 2012, also had six and 6.5 sacks the previous two year, not bad for a guy who has started just one game in the last three seasons. That average of just over $7 million per year sets another data point for the Redskins to use to try to retain Chris Baker. Addison is a 4-3 end while Baker is a 3-4 end so it’s not an apples to apples comparison but it will help figuring out what a reasonable contract is. Without seeing the details, it looks like Addison gave the Panthers something of a hometown discount as that’s a good price for a guy who was half a sack away from double digits.

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 Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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