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Need to Know: Five possible Redskins draft targets at safety

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Need to Know: Five possible Redskins draft targets at safety

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 31, 97 days before the NFL Draft.

Nickel coverage

As you read here yesterday, the Redskins have a huge hole in the middle of their defense now that it’s been determined that Brandon Meriweather is going to be a free agent. They will need immediate help and last week we looked at some free agents they could sign. Here are some who they could look at in the NFL draft.

1. Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois—Tarik did a profile of him during the Senior Bowl. He picked off seven passes for the Huskies and defended another 14. Ward has solid coverage skills but like most safeties coming out of college he’ll have to prove that his tackling is good enough for the NFL. (Projected round 2-3)

2. Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama—You always have to wonder about damaged goods and Sunseri qualifies as such after he suffered a torn ACL in October. Most thought he would come back to the Crimson Tide to boost his draft stock. If the Redskins are in a gambling frame of mind they could go for the 6-0, 210 prospect. He could well be available when the Redskins pick in the fourth or maybe even fifth round. (Projected round 5)

3. Ed Reynolds, Stanford—According to Rob Rang’s scouting report he “understand his role as the last line of defense”, “takes excellent angles” and is a “reliable open-field tackler”. In other words, he could be better than any safety the Redskins employed in 2013 right off the bat. (Projected round 2)

4. Terrence Brooks, Florida State—He’s a touch short at 5-11 but he has 30-inch arms to compensate. A former cornerback who is tough and aggressive and is another one who needs to sharpen his tackling technique. Brooks was often overshadowed on FSU’s undefeated team but he can make plays both near the line of scrimmage and back deep in coverage. (Projected round 4)

5. Deone Bucannon, Washington—Here’s your big, “Legion of Boom” guy at safety. Bucannon carries 215 pounds very well on his 6-1 frame. Rang said that he delivers “bone-rattling hits” and has a knack for big plays and turnovers. (Projected round 2-3)

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Timeline

—It’s been 33 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 219 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Combine 19; NFL Free agency starts 39; Offseason workouts start 66; NFL Draft 97

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3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:

  1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
  2. Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
  3. Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden. 

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the Manusky hire?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the Manusky hire?

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