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Need to Know: Predicting the rest of the Redskins season

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Need to Know: Predicting the rest of the Redskins season

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 3, five days before the Redskins visit the New England Patriots.

Predicting the rest of the Redskins season

Here is what I think is going to happen in the Redskins’ remaining nine games. As usual, your opinion, agreeing or dissenting, is welcome in the comments.

Sunday @ Patriots—Sure, on any given Sunday and all. But there doesn’t seem to be a way for the Redskins to win unless Tom Brady gives it away and he doesn’t give away games.

Winner: Patriots, Redskins record 3-5

Nov. 15 vs. Saints—The Drew Brees we saw on Sunday in the Superdome isn’t the guy we usually see outdoors on grass. The Saints are 0-2 outside this year and their defense is one of the worst in the NFL.

Winner: Redskins, record 4-5

Nov. 22 @ Panthers—I’m not sure that Carolina is as good as its record but they have a solid defense and a quarterback who has to potential to frustrate the Redskins’ defense.

Winner: Panthers, Redskins record 4-6

Nov. 29 vs. Giants—It’s impossible for the Redskins to beat the Giants in New Jersey. It’s merely difficult at FedEx Field. They are just a bad matchup as it seems like Eli Manning can dial up a touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr. or a number of other receivers anytime he wants to when they play Washington.

Winner: Giants, Redskins record 4-7

Dec. 2 vs. Cowboys—Unlike the Giants, the Cowboys seem to be a good matchup for the Redskins. So even though Tony Romo is likely to have returned and should have a couple of games under his belt and ignoring the fact that it’s a prime time game, a time when the Redskins usually struggle, I’ll take the home team.

Winner: Redskins,record 5-7

Dec. 13 @ Bears—The Bears are giving some teams a good battle and Jay Cutler can still put the ball on the money at times. Will Matt Forte be in there for the Bears? Will December winds from Lake Michigan knock a key Dustin Hopkins field goal try off target? While I think the Redskins should win, I have a bad feeling about this one.

Winner: Bears, Redskins record 5-8

Dec. 20 vs. Bills—This is a rather odd game to close out the home season. The Bills were going to be an AFC East contender but now it looks like they will be scuffling for a wild card at best. Their defense was going to be tough under Rex Ryan but it’s been just OK at best.

Winner: Redskins,record 6-8

Dec. 26 @ Eagles—Here is where things get kind of tough to figure out. Will the game mean anything to the Eagles? For that matter, will it mean anything to the Redskins? Is Sam Bradford going to be playing still? This is an odd Saturday night prime-time game.

Winner: Eagles, Redskins record 6-9

Jan. 3 @ Cowboys—More murkiness in the crystal ball here. Will either team have anything to play for or will both be playing out the string? Regardless, I think the Redskins are due to sweep the Cowboys.

Winner: Redskins record  7-9

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Off day, no media availability

Days until: Redskins @ Patriots 5; Saints @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Panthers 19

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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.

NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.

Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.

This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.

This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.

Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on it.

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.