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Need to Know: Rapid fire—Who will the top three Redskins cornerbacks be in 2015?

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Need to Know: Rapid fire—Who will the top three Redskins cornerbacks be in 2015?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 15, one day before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.

Question of the day

A few days a week 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.

I’ll also take your Need to Know questions via email. Hit me up rich.tandler+csn@gmail.com with “NTK” in the subject line. Just keep the questions relatively brief, please. 

I didn’t get to the rapid fire this weekend so let’s do it today. During the week I get a lot of good submissions for question of the day that don’t warrant an answer long enough to fill an entire post. So I skim off the best of those and answer them in one post. Here we go:

https://twitter.com/SkinsfanDanny/status/609688567196053504

If Kai Forbath stays healthy, not very good. Of course, Forbath staying healthy has been an issue. He missed three games in 2013 and Way had to handle kickoffs for him for a few games when he was having issues with his leg last year. But when Forbath was healthy, Way went back to just punting. And they want him to continue to focus on punting. Although he has a booming leg and led the league in gross punting average, Way still has a lot of refining to his punting game. I believe that the coaches want him to work on pooch kicking, directional kicking, and other aspects of punting and then look at having him double as the kickoff guy. Barring an emergency (again, certainly a possibility) I’m not looking for him to kickoff until 2016.

The one thing that’s clear is that Chris Culliver will start and may follow the opponent’s best receiver from side to side. So that leaves three players competing for the other two starting spots. David Amerson, DeAngelo Hall, and Bashaud Breeland all have NFL starting experience. During OTAs we’ve seen Breeland paired with Culliver in the regular defense and Amerson coming in for nickel situations and playing on the outside while Breeland moved into the slot. I think Breeland still plays the slot when the season starts and if Hall is physically ready after rehabbing his twice-torn Achilles tendon, he will get the nod on the outside.

I got a lot of questions about Grant so I’ll let this one represent all of them. Grant has been getting additional snaps in the OTA sessions that have been open to the media due to the absence of DeSean Jackson and he has been taking advantage of the situation. His route running is sharp and last week he made a nice catch in the end zone, just getting both feet in along the sideline. I’m not going to predict a breakout season for him but I think he can get some more snaps and improve on his production from last year. Remember that he was a fifth-round pick and he’s not particularly big or fast. It will take him time to master his craft to the point where we can see if he can be a starting caliber receiver. We should start to find out more about his potential in 2016.

Yes, $20 million is a lot at one position but it is manageable. I could see them both staying if the Redskins aren’t paying Robert Griffin III that $16 million option (either via his departure or a new deal with a lower cap number). If the two players account for 2,000 yards of offense combined and keep the defense honest to open up the running game then it’s a worthwhile investment. But if they do see the need to let go of one or the other it will be a tough call. Jackson is more of a threat but Garçon is the better teammate. Right now I’d guess that Jackson would be the one to go because Scot McCloughan prefers bigger receivers but a lot depends on how 2015 plays out.

Timeline

—It’s been 169 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 90 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 1; Redskins training camp starts 45; Preseason opener @ Browns 59

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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In case you missed it

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Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

When the Redskins won the NFC East in 2015 with a 9-7 record, most critics dismissed the division as weak. That theory was largely proved right when the Redskins got stomped at home in the first round of the playoffs by the Wild Card Green Bay Packers.

In 2016, however, the NFC East largely looked like the best division in football, or at least among the best divisions. Dallas won 13 games and took the NFC East title, the Giants won 11 and took the NFC's top Wild Card spot. The Redskins had a chance to make the playoffs in Week 17, but unceremoniously lost and fell short.

Still, Washington won eight games and Philadelphia won seven. In fact, the NFC East was the only division in the NFL without a team that lost 10 or more games. The AFC West - a division that some would argue was tougher than the NFC East - still had the Chargers and their 5-11 record.

What does it mean for 2017? If anything the only team expected to regress would be the Cowboys, and their regression could easily still have them looking to win around 10 games. 

The Eagles have improved with young, star QB Carson Wentz. New York will be interesting, as they have some age at various spots on their roster but still feature a two-time Super Bowl winning QB in Eli Manning and one of the best defenses in the NFL.

As for Washington? The defense should be much improved. It almost has to be as the 2016 version struggled significantly. If the defense can just be average (and I'd argue it could push for Top 15) the offense should continue to move the ball well. Producing in the red zone needs to look different than last season too.

The NFC East looks like a beast yet again. It would be no surprise if both NFC Wild Cards come from the division.

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 28, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start their mandatory minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/27) 60
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 74
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 105

Note: I am on vacation this week in the Outer Banks. Need to Know will be a mix of new content and some of the most popular posts of 2017.

Redskins faced one of NFL’s toughest slates in 2016

(originally posted January 28)

As the Redskins came off their 2015 playoff season and looked towards 2016, one thing jumped out. Even before any games were played it looked like their path to a repeat playoff appearance would be difficult, more so than it was when they went 9-7 and took the NFC East title.

The 2015 schedule looked fairly easy when applying the eyeball test. They played just two games against teams that made the playoffs and those teams, the Patriots and Panthers, plus the Jets were the only teams they faced that finished the season with winning records.

The eyeball test was borne out by the numbers. According to the stat gurus at Football Outsiders the Redskins faced the 28th toughest schedule in terms of the DVOA of opposing defenses and the opposing offenses added up to the 24th most difficult.

The going was considerably tougher in 2016. The Redskins played seven games against teams that were in the playoff field. The defenses they faced stacked up as the toughest group of any NFL team. They played nine games against teams that finished in the top 11 in defensive DVOA. The offenses they faced were a little better than average, ranking 13th as a group.

While the Redskins’ season was widely regarded as a disappointment, it would be reasonable to say that given vastly improved quality of the competition that they did well in only having their record drop by half a game.

Of course, the goal is to be good enough to prosper and make the playoffs no matter what mix of teams the luck of the draw happens to put on the schedule. They will need to get there in a hurry. Awaiting the Redskins on their 2017 schedule are seven 2016 playoff teams plus one more that finished the year with a winning record.

The fortunes of NFL teams can’t always be predicted in advance, especially more than seven months before the season kicks off. But it’s safe to say that the 2017 slate will be challenging. If they are going to improve their record they are going to have to improve their level of play dramatically.

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.