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Need to Know: McCloughan can't be handcuffed by Redskins' past mistakes

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Need to Know: McCloughan can't be handcuffed by Redskins' past mistakes

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 21, four days before the Washington Redskins visit the New York Giants.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins press conferences, player availability after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until: Browns @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Ravens 18; Eagles @ Redskins 25

Fan question of the day

Well, a guy named Art Monk worked out pretty well. But since that 1980 draft, Desmond Howard, Michael Westbrook, and Rod Gardner, all taken in the top half of the draft, clearly did not justify their draft positions.

But if Scot McCloughan allows himself to be paralyzed by the past then the future is doomed. He can’t be influenced by the failure of Marty Schottnheimer and Charley Casserly to pick the right receiver in the first round.

If he did that, why not look at first-round O-lineman Andre Johnson and say they shouldn’t draft on the O-line in the first? Kenard Lang and Bobby Wilson were both busts. Should the past dictate that McCloughan stay away from D-linemen?

You can find plenty of receivers drafted in the 20-32 range in recent drafts who are excellent contributors—Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins Kelvin Benjamin, and Brandon Cooks are examples from 2010-2015. If you’re McCloughan you look at this group and say, hey, I can find a stud in this part of the draft. You don’t look back at 2001 and worry about Rod Gardner.

As for the needs on the line it should be pointed out that they drafted an OL fifth overall in 2015 and a total of four offensive linemen from the 2014-2015 drafts are currently on the roster. It’s difficult to make the case that the area has not been addressed in the draft.

Yes, they do need defensive linemen. But Scot McCloughan doesn’t draft for need. He’s said it dozens of times. Many of those quotes are available here in this fine post by my friend Ben Standig. Here’s one of them:
“At a time when your roster is really strong and you’re a really good team, then you can start worrying about things on the back end. Right now, we’re going forward. We’re taking the best player and throwing them in there."
If you make a habit of taking lower-graded players, guys who don’t fit your scheme or don’t fit the culture of your team, you are going to end up still having needs because the guys you pick don’t work out and soon they are gone.

Does that mean that you might go through a few years when an area like the defensive line isn’t as strong as you’d like to be? Certainly, especially when a free agent signing you are counting on, a player like Stephen Paea, is a bust and is gone before the season starts.

The hope is that the stronger areas of the team can carry you through so you can win some games and remain competitive while the building of the team is in process. Clearly the Redskins knew that they would still have work to do on the defense going into the season but believed that the offense, particularly the passing game, would carry them. So far, it hasn’t worked out. But would it necessarily have worked out better if they had taken DT Kenny Clark, the first D-lineman drafted after Dotson was picked, instead of the receiver? Possibly, but we’ll never know.

After all of the years that Redskins fans have been wishing their team had a real GM who wants to build the team the right way, well, here it is. It’s not all sunshine and fans can expect to scratch their heads on occasion wondering why McCloughan chose Player A, who plays a position that looks fine on the depth chart, instead of Player B, who plays a position of “need”.

There is no guarantee that McCloughan will build a Super Bowl winner in Washington. But he’s going to go about trying to do it his way and if you have a faint heart you might want to look the other way.

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A possible trade destination for Redskins RB Matt Jones?

A possible trade destination for Redskins RB Matt Jones?

RICHMOND—The Redskins reportedly have been looking to trade running back Matt Jones since just before the draft. They may be able to find a partner just up I-95.

The Baltimore Ravens are in need of a running back after Kenneth Dixon suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this week. Terrance West, who gained 774 yards on the ground last year, is healthy and returning but the Ravens want more depth at the position.

That is where Jones could come into play. The 2015 third-round pick of the Redskins was the unquestioned starter going into last season. But fumbling and other issues prompted Jay Gruden to make him inactive the last nine games of the season. Jones further fell out of favor by skipping OTAs this year, a move he made on the advice of his now-former agent.

RELATED: Is Cousins overrated?

Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh said last year that he liked Jones “a lot” in the 2015 draft and he could well still be intrigued by his size and speed. ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley said that Jones could be a good fit for the Ravens in their current situation.

It should be noted that Hensley seems to be engaging in informed speculation and not relaying anything he heard from the team’s decision makers. He also speaks of the possibility of Baltimore picking up Jones after the Redskins release him.

But there could be some incentive for the Ravens to talk trade with the Redskins rather than waiting for Jones to hit the waiver wire. For one thing, getting their new back in sooner rather than later would benefit the Ravens, allowing the player to get acclimated to his new quarterback and offensive line. While the Redskins are inevitably going to cut Jones, they have no incentive to do so before the final cuts just before the start of the season. Perhaps the Ravens will want to give up some minor compensation, something like a swap of sixth- and seventh-round picks, to get Jones in for the start of training camp.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Hensley also mentions the possibility that the Ravens will look at former Redskin Alfred Morris for depth at running back. He currently is buried on the Cowboys’ depth chart behind All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden. However, there is the possibility of a domestic-violence suspension on the horizon for Elliott. While the suspension is likely to be brief the Cowboys probably don’t want to depart with any running back depth until the matter has been settled.

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.

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Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster, the final update: 1-10

Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster, the final update: 1-10

At CSNmidatlantic.com we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offense, defense) right after minicamp. Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2017 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings over the next few weeks.

Today we’re updating the list with the players we ranked from 1-10. Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—A 2016 free agent who needs to make more big plays.

—A rookie expected to bolster one of the weakest units on the team.   

—Each of the five highest-paid players on the team.

—What you won’t find: Any players who will be over the age of 29 in Week 1.     

Go here to see our ranking of the 2017 Redskins, players 1-53.

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.