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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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Redskins' Jay Gruden is looking for Kirk Cousins to become a coach on the field this year

Redskins' Jay Gruden is looking for Kirk Cousins to become a coach on the field this year

Gruden is looking for Cousins to become a Redskins coach on the field

While it’s still possible for the Redskins to trade quarterback Kirk Cousins, team president Bruce Allen has said that no talks have taken place and coach Jay Gruden is looking forward to having Cousins at the helm for the third straight year.

“He’s getting ready, he’s excited about the season, been in contact about what he wants to work on,” said Gruden on Tuesday at the NFL meetings in Phoenix. “We’ve addressed that so when OTAs hit we can hit hard. It’s great to have a guy who’s been in the system for two years now can just jump right in to hard core situational work, just really fine tune the other things like cadence, just the little things you want to fine tune without starting from scratch. He can be a big part in the teaching process also with the young players.”

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

Actually, Cousins has been “in the system” for all three years that Gruden has been the head coach in Washington. He started five game in 2014 before turnover problems sent him to the bench. The following seasons Gruden named Cousins the starter at the end of August and he has played every meaningful snap since then.

Cousins has played well, passing for over 9,000 yards and leading the team to its first back-to-back winning seasons since 1997-1997. Gruden will be looking for more out of his quarterback, who will be making $24 million this year if he plays on the franchise tag.

“In a perfect world, you want your quarterback to be an extension of the coaching staff,” said Gruden. “I think that’s why you look at the great quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, they’re extensions of the coaching staff. The coach doesn’t have to go out and tell everybody what to do all the time. Sometimes the quarterback can just go right out and whisper it to them. It helps that we’re saying the same thing and speaking the same language and that takes time.

“It’s not perfect yet but being in the third year of the system I think he’ll be a lot more comfortable in that role. I hope he does because we can’t see everything out there on the field all the time and it’s good to have the corrections come within the team and not just from the coaches all the time.”

MORE REDSKINS: Doctson's short tweet delivers good news for Redskins

Although Cousins’ future with the team is very uncertain—even if he is around this year there is a good chance he will be able to leave as a free agent in 2018—the quarterback and Gruden will do the only thing that they can do. The will get ready for the coming season and let the chips fall where they may after that.

Gruden pointed out that Cousins is not the only player on the roster with just one year left on his deal. Indeed, WR Terrelle Pryor, OT Morgan Moses, CB Bashaud Breeland, and C Spencer Long are all set to be free agents a year from now.

“We’re going to have a number of guys on one-year contracts and I fully anticipate them coming in and working their tails off and being prepared and doing everything they can to win a championship,” said Gruden. That’s what it’s all about. And at the end of the year we’ll come back to the negotiating table to try to get something done. But ideally, you’d like to have everybody under long-term contracts and that’s obviously not possible.”

Gruden confirmed that Cousins was in Tampa yesterday along with some of his receivers including Pryor, Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder getting in some work with Gruden’s brother Jon. It looks like it will be business as usual unless and until something happens change things.

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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Need to Know: Redskins' rule change rejected but others will make game safer, move faster

Need to Know: Redskins' rule change rejected but others will make game safer, move faster

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 29, 29 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 19
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 44
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 56
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 108
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 156

Rule changes with commentary

—Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

Tandler: While it’s a fun play when it’s executed properly I can see the player safety angle of it. I’m not sure why teams didn’t just run some placement kicks with delayed snaps to get a free five yards because once a player has committed to the leap he can’t stop.

—Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. 

Tandler: One of the few times that this came into play was in Week 3 when Giants center Weston Richburg got the boot for multiple penalties against the Redskins. I suppose most Redskins fans will be fine with it until a Washington player gets kicked out of a key game. Last year the rule was experimental and this makes it permanent

—Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only. 

Tandler: I think this is kind of a dumb rule but it's designed to reduce kickoff returns and they did go down from 1,138 in 2015 to 1,012 last season. That’s an 11 percent drop and they want to give the experimental rule another year to see if that was just a statistical anomaly. It should be noted here that the Redskins’ proposal to place a kickoff that goes through the uprights at the 20-yard line did muster 11 votes but that’s far short of the 24 needed to pass it. The No Fun League indeed.

—Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection. Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped. 

Tandler: These are two different rules but I’m combining them into once comment—good for player safety, not sure why it took them so long to pass these rules.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 6.0

—Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews. 

Tandler: This is good for so many reasons. We should get better, more consistent decisions (although there’s no guarantee that my evergreen “Siri, what is a catch” tweet will be retired permanently). And the time that replay uses up should be greatly reduced.

—Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock. 

Tandler: This keeps teams from grabbing multiple receivers to prevent a Hail Mary attempt at the end of half or a game and prevents them from holding multiple players on a punt attempt to run out the clock at the end of a game. It’s a loophole that was closed, forcing a team to play defense or execute a punt instead of committing intentional penalties. The key is that the clock is reset to where it was when the ball was snapped.

—Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

Tandler: This just takes the penalties that result in 10-second runoffs in the last minute of a half, mostly false starts when the clock is running, and makes them illegal any time after the two-minute warning.

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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Responding to a tweet saying that the rule to put replay in the hands of official at the NFL offices:

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