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Need to Know: Free agency may offer more problems than solutions for the Redskins

Need to Know: Free agency may offer more problems than solutions for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 9, nine days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL assemble in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Well, let’s see. The Redskins have had one draft pick, Trent Williams, starting the vast majority of their games on the offensive line since the start of the 2013 season. One draft pick, Jarvis Jenkins, has been among the primary starters on the defensive line. They have gone 7-25 in those two seasons. Both lines are aging and expensive.

I think the question of where the Redskins should go to build the lines answers itself. I think we’re at the point where that whole definition of insanity and expecting different results deal has kicked in. That is why the Redskins brought in Scot McCloughan, who is considered to be one of the best draft talent evaluators in the business.

Just to show you what is out there in free agency, let’s look at the top three interior linemen and top three offensive tackles according to our friends at Rotoworld.

Defensive line:

  1. Ndamukong Suh, DET—Would require a Haynesworth-sized contract. He’s not Albert but he is a kick or stomp away from a long suspension.
  2. Nick Fairley, DET—This is the second best available and we’re talking about a guy who has played in only 46 of 64 possible games due to weight problems, off-field issues, and injuries.
  3. Terrance Knighton, DEN—Pretty good run stuffer but provides minimal pass rush and will be 29 before training camp starts.

Offensive tackle:

  1. Bryan Bulaga, GB--The best available tackle missed half of 2012 with a hip injury and all of 2013 with a knee injury. He will want left tackle money and someone, probably the Packers, will give it to him.
  2. Michael Roos, TN—He missed the last 11 games of 2014 with a knee injury and he will turn 33 around Week 3.
  3. Doug Free, DAL—He just turned 31, missed two early 2014 games with a foot injury and the last four of the season, including the Cowboys’ two playoff games, with an ankle injury.

You can look at the Rotoworld list for yourself but trust me when I say that the further down the list it’s more of the same.

Despite the inherent problems with free agency, they may have to find some stopgap free agents to sign. Tarik El-Bashir and I will be closely examining the free agent market in some series we’ll be running on CSNwashington.com. Check there as the start of free agency, which is four weeks from tomorrow.

And here on RealRedskins.com I’ve been running the Countdown to the Combine series, taking a close look at potential Redskins draft picks. And I’m leaving for the combine in Indianapolis a week from tomorrow with the mission of providing you with four days of severe information overload about prospects who could become Redskins.

Timeline

—It’s been 43 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 218 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 29; Redskins offseason workouts start 70; 2015 NFL Draft 81

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

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Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

New Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor has been working out with Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown this offseason. 

The pair documented their receiving drills, ladder drills and even yoga on social media. But what you didn't see, according to ESPN's John Keim, is Pryor practicing with special glasses that Brown recommended. 

Based on Brown’s advice, Pryor has also worn special sunglasses during offseason workouts, designed to prevent him from seeing an object – in this case the ball – until it is almost upon him. Sometimes he takes his gloves off, just to get a feel for the ball with his hands.

The glasses Keim describes sound more like blinders, or even tunnel vision, but the idea is to help Pryor get an instinctive feel for running routes. 

Despite putting up 1,007 receiving yards with the Browns last year, Pryor has only played the position since 2015. His first four seasons in the NFL were spent trying to make a roster playing quarterback. 

Now penciled into a starting receiver role for the Redskins, he knows he has a lot of catching up to do. 

"The good ones, they ask questions and never think they’ve got it. They always want to learn," Pryor said, "I’m not calling myself a great one, but I think I can get there."

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins Playbook: Some good news for Kirk Cousins

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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