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Need to Know: Five items on Jay Gruden's to-do list

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Need to Know: Five items on Jay Gruden's to-do list

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 12, 58 days from the start of NFL free agency.

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Here are five things on Jay Gruden’s to-do list:

1. Hire assistant coaches—All signs still point to Jim Haslett remaining at defensive coordinator and Sean McVay moving up to offensive coordinator. But there are key vacancies at position jobs such as linebackers and quarterbacks and Gruden needs to decide if he is going to retain holdover coaches for the offensive line (Chris Foerster), defensive line (Jacob Burney) and at other positions.

2. Find a special team coordinator—I broke this one out separately from the other assistant coaches because it is so important. Gruden needs to find a coach who has a plan and, most importantly, can sell it to the players. Picking the right one will be critical in determining the success or failure of his first season here.

3. Evaluate current personnel—Free agency starts in less than two months. A key part of that process is to evaluate the players you have on the roster and figure out who you want to keep and, in the case of free agents, how much you want to pay them.

4. Set the offseason schedule—Some of the schedule is set by the NFL. The NFL Combine starts February 19, the draft will be held from May 8-10. Gruden needs to schedule other events like OTAs and minicamps.

5. Senior Bowl—Gruden said that he was leaning towards not going to the first big draft-related event of the year. It could depend on how far along he is in getting his staff assembled. If he doesn’t go, the Redskins contingent will keep him updated on what they find there.

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Timeline

—It’s been 14 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 238 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL free agency 58; Offseason workouts start 85; 2014 NFL Draft 116

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Sunday 01.05

Monday 01.06

Tuesday 01.07

Wednesday 01.08

Thursday 01.09

Friday 01.10

Saturday 01.11

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Need to Know: The Redskins month that was—Salary cap, schedule, the draft

Need to Know: The Redskins month that was—Salary cap, schedule, the draft

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 30, 24 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 12
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 24
—Training camp starts (7/27) 88
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 133

A look at the Redskins month that was

Here is a look back at some of the most popular and talked about posts of April on CSNmidatlantic.com and on RealRedskins.com. 

2011 bill comes due, Redskins' salary cap space shrinks—The sudden disappearance of $4.5 million in salary cap money got a lot of fans riled up. But it goes back to 2011 when the cap unexpectedly shrunk with the new CBA and teams were allowed to “borrow” cap money from future years and pay it back by 2017. The Redskins’ bill came due and, as they had planned, they had to pay it back.

Redskins full 2017 schedule released—I think most agreed that it was a pretty fair schedule. The only complaint I had was that they have to play on the road before hosting their Thanksgiving Day game. But it’s just a trip to New Orleans for a 1:00 game, only one time zone over. It’s not ideal but it is a much better deal than having to play a Sunday night game and then go on the road for Thanksgiving like they had to last year. It’s a moderately tough slate but that was determined already by the rotation of playing the different AFC and NFC divisions.

Redskins agree to deal with big free agent—When it was reported that Pro Bowl linebacker Zach Brown was coming to Redskins Park for a visit, nobody thought that much would come of it. Brown had been trying to reach a deal with the Raiders and it looked like his visit was just a negotiating ploy. But he signed a one-year deal and the inside linebacker corps got an injection of speed, athleticism, and playmaking ability

Impossible to probable? Draft day slide could land Redskins a steal —Nobody thought that Jonathan Allen, a consensus top-five talent, would fall to the Redskins at pick No 17. Well, nobody but colleague J.P. Finlay and Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Media, anyway.

Redskins have kept focus on defense at the Draft—This was written after the first three rounds. For the first time in 20 years, the Redskins had drafted defensive players in the first three rounds. And after they added another defensive player, safety Montae Nicholson, with the second pick of the fourth round they had taken a defensive player in each of the firrst four rounds of the draft for the first time in the common draft era (since 1967). Add to that Brown and three other defensive free agents signed prior to the draft and you have the organization making an effort to upgrade the defense, just like they said they would.

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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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrence Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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