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Need to Know: How many wins for the 2016 Redskins?

Need to Know: How many wins for the 2016 Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 10, three days before the Washington Redskins hold their rookie minicamp.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 121 days ago. It will be 125 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Rookie minicamp 3; OTAs start 14; Redskins training camp starts 80

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The Redskins have most of their personnel in place. The schedule is set. All that stands between the team and the start of the regular season are some more sessions in shorts and helmets, a month of vacation, and training camp. It’s time to break out the imaginary $100 in casino chips and bet them on how many regular season games the Redskins will win in 2016.

0-6 wins, $10—I think they are out of this territory for now, with a strong enough base of talent to keep out of double-digit losses. Only a run of very bad luck would have them crash back into the top 10 in the draft.

7-8 wins, $35—Yes, this would represent a decrease from last year. But improvement in the NFL is rarely linear. There are ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys, not just from game to game but also from season to season. They could hit a plateau in their development and slide back a bit because of bad luck and a tougher schedule. It wouldn’t be a disaster or mean they have to start again from the bottom, although many fans and some branches of the local media would treat it as such.

9-10 wins, $40—Perhaps this would be treading water but it depends on what it looks like. If they win a few games in blowouts and beat some winning teams, both at home and on the road, it would be seen as an improvement. If they struggle to beat bad teams and many of the issues on display in 2015 persist they would still have a long way to go before being considered true contenders.

11-12 wins, $10—This would almost assuredly result in a playoff spot, and probably a division title. This could happen if Kirk Cousins takes another big leap forward, the running game becomes at least competent, and the defense picks things up a few notches, especially against the run.

13+ wins, $5—I’ll throw five bucks on the chance that everything that would be needed to win in double digits happens along with the pass rush trio of Galette, Kerrigan, and Smith truly terrorizing opposing quarterbacks and a solid dose of good luck, like excellent health, facing some teams when they are suffering from key injuries, and a few fortuitous bounces of the ball.

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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. Terrance 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 Haha Clinton-Dox 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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Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Coming into the offseason, there was plenty of talk coming from the Redskins organization that the team needed to upgrade the defense. Those who have been following the team for a while have heard this for many years now. However, usually the talk is just that, with more draft capital and free agency money going to the offense year in and year out.

But this year things are different.

The lion’s share of free agent spending went to the defense. They added linemen Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, linebacker Zach Brown, and safety D.J. Swearinger. Now they have started off their draft with a laser focus in the defensive side of the ball.

RELATED: Redskins add cornerback with first round talent, but injuries pushed him to the third round

In the first round, they were delighted to take Jonathan Allen, the top-rated defensive lineman on their board. In the second round they went with outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, a teammate of Allen’s at Alabama. Then in the third round the pick was cornerback Fabian Moreau out of UCLA.

It’s been 20 years since the Redskins have gone so heavy with defensive picks at the top of the draft. Not since 1997 have they taken defensive players in the first three rounds of the draft. That year they took DE Kenard Lang, LB Greg Jones, and LB Derek Smith in rounds one, two, and three, respectively.

We will see how much impact the three draft picks have on the defense and, as Redskins fans have learned over the years, an influx of free agents on defense doesn’t guarantee improvement on that side of the ball.

But at least the Redskins organization is putting its money, and its draft picks, where its mouth is and that has be considered a positive development.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins make it two Alabama defenders in the 2017 draft class so far

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.