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Need to Know: Playing the odds predicting the Redskins' 2015 O-line

Need to Know: Playing the odds predicting the Redskins' 2015 O-line

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 5, five days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL start free agency.

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Question of the day

We’re going back to the NTK format we’ve been using since last month. 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.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

As free agency is approaching, the Redskins may be on the verge of reshaping the offensive line. Or, they may be on the verge of largely standing pat.

The only move they have made so far is re-signing Tom Compton, the starter at right tackle for the last half of the 2014 season. The signing was pretty much a foregone conclusion as Compton was an exclusive rights free agent. Even if he will have to compete for the starting job and even for a roster spot there was no reason not to bring him back.

So who will start on the line in Week 1 in 2015? Let’s do something a little different here. Let’s say I had $100 in casino chips to bet on who starts at each position. How would I divide up the chips? Here is how my crystal ball shows it right now.

LT Trent Williams $100—I trust that this one doesn’t need any explanation.

LG Shaun Lauvao $90, the field $10—The switch of the Redskins to more of a power running scheme will help Lauvao, who struggled mightily at the start of last year but improved as the year went on. At his cap number you aren’t going to see him on the bench. But if Scot McCloughan sees a guard he likes in the second round he could pounce and that rookie could push Lauvao to the bench.

C Kory Lichtensteiger $100—He’s not the long-term answer as someone who weighs north of 300 pounds will be playing in the middle of the line by 2017. Right now the situation is clear—he played well in 2014 and there are simply too many actual problem areas for the team to worry about to devote cap money or a draft pick to replacing a solid performer. For the time being the ideal will be sacrificed at the altar of the pretty good.

RG Chris Chester $35, Spencer Long $45, the field $20—Yes, I know that many of you are disappointed to see Chester still in the running. But he’s on the team as of now and he’s played virtually every snap since he signed with the team in 2011. And he has continually drawn praise from Jay Gruden. Long is younger and cheaper and it’s not at all a stretch to think that if he gets in a full offseason of work he will be ready to start in September. If McCloughan isn’t as high on Chester as Gruden is and doesn’t see what Bruce Allen saw in Long to make him a third-round pick, a free agent or draft pick could come in and take the job.

RT Tom Compton $40, Morgan Moses $30, the field $30—If Moses had not suffered a Lisfranc injury late last season I would have at least $50 on him, probably more. But we’re not sure of his condition right now and if he is not going to be able to participate in OTAs and part of training camp his chances of winning the job go down. Compton was up and down last year and he could smooth out the rough spots if he works with the first unit during the offseason. That could make him tough for Moses to push out. As with the guard situation, McCloughan might not like what he sees and bring in a starter via the draft or free agency.

Timeline

—It’s been 67 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 192 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 5; Redskins offseason workouts start 46; 2015 NFL Draft 56

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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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

MORE NFL: Trent Williams is back but shed little light on suspension