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Need to Know: For the 2015 Redskins, too small of a sample size to judge

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Need to Know: For the 2015 Redskins, too small of a sample size to judge

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, August 22, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Baltimore Ravens

Small sample size

Please do not interpret this post to be an attempt to blow sunshine, well, you know where. It is simply an attempt to bring some perspective to the game on Thursday. I am well aware that there are plenty of issues with the team.

But those issues were not necessarily identified during the game against the Lions on Thursday. Kory Lichtensteiger said it best. He was asked if this game was a measuring stick for the offensive line.

“I think it’s hard to have a measuring stick after a quarter,” he said.

Griffin and the first team offense were on the field for 16 snaps. Every Sunday during the regular season teams struggle during the first quarter. But they adjust, they make counter moves and eventually they find their footing.

In fact, offenses almost never play as poorly as Griffin and the Redskins did over the course of an entire game. If you project Griffin’s stats out over 64 snaps he would be eight of 20 (40 percent completions) for 32 yards with 12 sacks. No quarterback since 1974 has attempted at least 20 passes in a game for 32 or fewer yards with a completion percentage of 40 percent or lower. If that’s too much to plough through, suffice it to say that history says that Griffin and the offense would not have played that poorly for an entire game.

That doesn’t mean that they would have played great, or even competently. There would have been improvement over the course of the game but we don’t know if it would have been enough to be competitive.

The whole point is, we don’t know. It’s hard to have a measuring stick after a quarter. And even if you add in the 18 snaps Griffin and the starting offense played in Cleveland you have 34 snaps, a total of about 30 minutes of play. The Redskins offense has a quarter of OK work (Browns) and one of bad work (Lions) in the book That is really not enough to make even a, well, snap judgement.

I will inject one more thing to think about here. Scot McCloughan is building the Redskins to be a tough, physical team featuring power run blocking and an attacking defense. That style of football is designed to wear teams down over four quarters. In the preseason, with players shuffling in and out from beginning to end, the physical nature is less of an advantage.

To be sure, there is concern among fans that what we saw on Thursday was a continuation of what we have seen for the past two seasons, when the team combined to win seven games. There is some validity to that; however that ignores the addition of McCloughan, Bill Callahan, Matt Cavanaugh, and about 15 draft picks and free agents that should upgrade the team.

We won’t see the Redskins’ best football until the regular season starts. Again, their “best” may still not be good enough to be a competitive NFL team in 2015. But it is not going to be revealed over the course of just 16 snaps.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Closed practice at Redskins Park

—It’s been 237 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 22 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Redskins @ Ravens 7; final cuts 14; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 33

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Scot McCloughan jokes about not being much help to wife's fantasy league draft

Scot McCloughan jokes about not being much help to wife's fantasy league draft

Scot McCloughan helped the Redskins with their draft picks as the General Manager of the team for almost two years. He's considered to be one of the best in the league at evaluating talent.

Prior to the Redskins, he was the GM of the San Francisco 49ers and a senior personnel executive for the Seattle Seahawks. He's helped draft the likes of Russell Wilson, Frank Gore, Golden Tate, Richard Sherman and Jamison Crowder.

RELATED: REDSKINS OUSTED GM TAKES TO TWITTER

But one draft McCloughan doesn't expect to be good at is his wife's fantasy league draft.

"My wife is [in a league] this year and I'm going to try to help her with the draft but I'll probably screw it up, I'm sure. But I'm going to try," McCloughan told ESPN's Adam Schefter during his 'Know Them From Adam' podcast. 

Schefter warned McCloughan that being apart of a fantasy league changes the way you watch the game, how you follow the game and how you root for a team.

Anyone who's been apart of one can understand the stress it brings on game days.

"I can believe it because some teams you've played against for a long time and never really liked them because they're better than you or whatever. Now you're pulling for one guy so you're pulling for them to win. I can only imagine. It will be very interesting."

McCloughan said he didn't even have a successful track record with helping his son pick college games. 

"When I was an area scout I'd help my son out with picking college games each week, not for betting but just like little club, and I was awful on it. I'd do a school call that week and I'd know exactly the team. They're playing well or not playing well or who's playing or not playing, and I was awful at it. You stick yourself, I'm done." 

Luckily for McCloughan, who is running his own scouting service after being fired by the Redskins in March, is really good at drafting when it matters.

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Redskins 2017 position outlook: Offensive line

Redskins 2017 position outlook: Offensive line

With the season opener fast approaching, it’s time to put the Redskins’ depth chart under the microscope. Over the coming days, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Offensive line

Starters: Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses
Other roster locks: Ty Nsekhe, Chase Roullier
On the bubble: Vinston Painter, Arie Kouandjio, Kyle Kalis,

How the offensive line compares:

To the 2016 Redskins: Over the course of 16 games they should be better because Williams is unlikely to get his with another four-game suspension. He may miss a game or two with an injury as he did in 2014 and 2015 but they can manage that. With all five starters returning, they may be only marginally better on a game-to-game basis. Lauvao was hampered by injuries last year and he looks healthier. Long will be going into his second season at center so he could learn more and improve. Still, the improvements will be marginal. They were a top 5-10 unit last year and they should be this year. Marginally better

To the rest of the NFL: As noted, it’s a top 10 unit easily and you could make the case that it’s in the top five. Yes, even though the Redskins were 21st in the league in rushing last year. The thing is, they were eighth in the league with 4.5 yards per rushing attempt. When they ran the ball, they ran it well. And their sack percentage was fourth in the league. They should set aside the "Hogs 2.0" nickname until the accomplish more as a team but they are very good right now.  Top five

RELATED: 2017 REDSKINS--5 REASONS FOR CONCERN

2017 outlook

Biggest upside: Scherff was the fifth pick of the 2015 draft. He nominally was taken as a tackle although many analysts, including some at Redskins Park, figured he would end up as a guard. He is off to a good start in his career, playing nearly every snap over his two seasons and making the Pro Bowl last year. But he can get better and he has the mindset to do it.

Most to prove: Long is injured right now and that has been a minor issue with him since he became a starter. Last year he played well after taking over at center when Kory Lichtensteiger was injured but he still has a lot to learn. His contract is up after this year and if he is going to earn a solid contract from the Redskins or from any other team he must take a couple of steps up and show that he is worth a significant financial investment.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS-PACKERS MUST-SEE PHOTOS

Rookie watch: With Long sidelined until the season opener, the focus turns to Roullier. Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan have shown extraordinary confidence in the sixth-round pick, not shopping for a veteran backup center after seeing Roullier in the offseason program and in training camp. They have a better idea of what they have in him after he starts against the Bengals’ first-team defense on Sunday.

Bottom line: The offensive line is one of the strengths of the team. Williams and Scherff could go back to the Pro Bowl. Moses won’t but that’s primarily because right tackles don’t get Pro Bowl invitations. They will keep Kirk Cousins upright and on what is likely to continue to be a pass-first team, that is critical. Run blocking could be better but that top-10 average of 4.5 yards per carry last year points to issues in the run game beyond the O-line.

Quote-unquote

Jay Gruden on Trent Williams:

I think he’s going to get better. He’s lost a little bit of weight and I think he might even be a vegan, whatever that means. The things that he can do with his body and athleticism is incredible. He’s by far I think the best tackle in the league and we’re glad we have him. But it’s also good to see a guy with that type of talent and skill set work as hard as he does. That rubs off on the younger guys, the guys that are up and coming young players. They see a guy like that with much talent, that much production over the years – and Pro Bowls – work that hard, you know, it makes the other guys say, ‘Hey, I better work harder because I’m not as talented as him.’

2017 Redskins position outlook series: Wide receiver | Defensive line |

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.