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Need to Know: How many new starters on the Redskins' offensive line?

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Need to Know: How many new starters on the Redskins' offensive line?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 10, 81 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

Question of the day

A few days a week 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.

It's Sunday so I'm going to empty out the mailbag and answer some that don't require long answers. Let's get started with the Quick Hits:

 

Although I wouldn’t expect the Redskins to discuss their Plan B at quarterback should they not renew Griffin’s contract I have to think that it has been discussed internally. And if they decide to withdraw Griffin’s option and not negotiate another deal with him, it’s back on the QB carousel. I’d have to think that after taking a quick breather after the 2015 draft the personnel department will start work on 2016 draft–eligible quarterbacks like Cardale Jones of Ohio State and Connor Cook of Michigan State. They will look at potential free agents but that list usually resembles the proverbial waiver wire from hell. In short, if they need a quarterback they will have to keep on trying until they find one.

There’s no question about Culliver; his contract and his ability have him locked into a starting job, possibly following the opposition’s No. 1 receiver from side to side. Breeland was good enough last year to warrant having the first crack at the other starting job. DeAngelo Hall is not going to get cut but you can’t rule out him starting the season on the PUP list (yes, we’ve seen him do a backflip but backpedaling and cutting are a different deal). I have heard that Amerson realizes that he needs to take preparation more seriously so he could be the nickel corner. I’m not sure where Tracy Porter and Tevin Mitchel fit in, we’ll have to see how it plays out in the preseason.

I got a similar question from @deseanparker20, his centering on Phillip Thomas so we’ll combine them there with a quick look at the safety spot. As of right now Jeron Johnson and Dashon Goldson are the starting strong and free safeties, respectively. If Thomas is going to challenge for a spot it will be at strong. He got a few starts last year after Brandon Meriweather’s season ended early with an injury. Thomas was spotty at best and they brought in Johnson as a free agent. Certainly Thomas should have a shot at the job. Johnson signed a relatively modest deal, appropriate for a player with one career start in four years in the league. It is unclear who will back up Goldson and there doesn’t appear to be a succession plan in place for the 31-year-old whose salary balloons to $7 million next year. We will see if Goldson’s eventual replacement surfaces this year or if it will wait until 2016.

I suppose anything is possible, James, but an 80 percent turnover of the starters on the offensive line doesn’t seem very likely. Trent Williams and Shawn Lauvao are locked in on the left side. Yes, Lauvao wasn’t very good for a good chunk of last year but he did get better as the year went on and power blocking is more suited to his strengths. It’s likely that Kory Lichtensteiger is safe even though he’s not an ideal fit in the revamped scheme. On the right side, one change is certain, as Brandon Scherff will start at right tackle. Although I’m not ruling out the possibility that Chris Chester holds on to his right guard job, I think the chances are pretty good that Spencer Long can push past him on the depth chart. So, the chances are that there will be two new starters not four. As they say, James, half a loaf is better than none.

Timeline

—It’s been 133 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 126 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 38; Redskins training camp starts 81; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 137

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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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!