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Need to Know: Redskins' O-line may need some time to gel

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Need to Know: Redskins' O-line may need some time to gel

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, August 24, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Baltimore Ravens.

Question of the day

Today's question is from the Real Redskins Facebook page:

Although I cautioned people about overreacting to 16 bad snaps by the offense I do think that the rough performance by the offensive line does deserve some scrutiny. When a quarterback gets hit six times in eight dropbacks, there is cause for concern. So let's take a look at the line and how good (or bad) it might be in 2015.

Willie Smith won’t be the left tackle when the season starts on September 13. He may not even be on the 53-man roster. But the chances are that Trent Williams will miss a game or two. The Redskins need to have a good backup plan in place. My guess is that they would move Morgan Moses over from the right side to the left and insert Tom Compton in Moses’ spot. It’s not an ideal solution but very few NFL teams would be able to get along without their starting left tackles without missing a beat. A lot of fans are saying they need to improve their depth at LT but that is easier said than done.

The right side had issues, too, particularly right guard Brandon Scherff. There are high hopes for Scherff and they probably will come to fruition but he’s not there yet. He could well struggle for a few weeks or a couple of months before finding his stride. The problem with him, as with many dominant college linemen, is that his instincts are still set to be able to physically dominate the player in front of him. In the Big 10, he could do that. In the NFL, he can’t. He needs to master techniques, leverage, and the like. Bill Callahan will work overtime with him to make sure that he does. It will take time, however, and there may be some more struggles in the meantime.

Moses may be further along that Scherff in some ways but he needs some seasoning as well. Don’t forget that he missed the entire offseason program while rehabbing a foot injury so he had a lot of catching up to do.

Bottom line, Randy, I’m not sure what you mean by “as advertised” but the “Hogs” hype is not based in reality. They could be pretty good, perhaps very good. But it won’t happen immediately. The until will take some time to gel.

To give a quick answer to your second question, it’s wait and see. Morris is a favorite of Jay Gruden's, who loves his work ethic, durability and production. But that doesn't make it a lock that he'll stay. We have to see how he performs this year, and if Jones and Thompson can stay on the field all year. If I have to guess right now I'd say Morris will be back but I'd just put the odds at 55 percent stays, 45 percent goes. There are just too many variables and too much that can happen between now and the end of the year to get a firm handle on it.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:45 a.m.; player availability and Jay Gruden news conference after practice (approx. 1:45)

—It’s been 241 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 18 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason Redskins @ Ravens 3; final cuts 10; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 29

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Redskins Playbook: 3 quotes that stood out during OTAs

Redskins Playbook: 3 quotes that stood out during OTAs

With Memorial Day weekend between now and the Redskins next batch of OTAs, let's look at the three best quotes from the first organized team session. For Redskins fans, the biggest looming issue remains the contract negotiations between Kirk Cousins and the organization, but there are plenty of other spots worth watching. 

1) Bad recruiting - A long-term deal might not get done, but that doesn't mean the talks aren't moving along. Cousins sounded almost optimistic but also knows that football is never a sure thing. To explain, he told a story from his high school days:

I’ve just kind of learned from previous experiences and if you know my story going back to high school, I played my senior year of high school with no scholarship offers, in fact there was a coach here from Northwestern today who was my recruiting coach at Northwestern, he’s still the running backs coach 10 years later at Northwestern and I was getting recruited by Northwestern, wanted a scholarship, they didn’t offer me, and it was just a reminder that you never know what’s going to happen. 

2) Sky's the limit - Despite the high-cost addition of Josh Norman, the Redskins secondary in 2016 was hardly a strength. Much of that came from poor safety play, where the team had few experienced options and spent little. This offseason, Washington invested in the position, bringing in D.J. Swearinger from the Arizona Cardinals. The new safety thinks the secondary can become a strength, quickly.

We have a lot of talent. If we work day in and day out I think this group can be one of the best. We just got to keep working, keep gelling to get everybody on the same page, the sky’s the limit.

3) Does it even matter - The NFL gives out a lot of awards, but at least publicly, there is no hardware for the funniest head coach. If there was a trophy, Jay Gruden should win it. Earlier this week the league announced a number of rule changes, most noticeably a change to stodgy TD celebration penalties. Another rule change: Overtime will shrink from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. Gruden wasn't impressed when asked about it. 

Who cares?

Bonus - Who you calling fat? Gruden is too funny to only make the list once. Asked about second-year running back Robert Kelley, the coach made sure people know the difference between a nickname and reality.

That was just a nickname, he wasn’t actually fat. I think when you’re a 22-year-old kid, 21-year-old guy out of Tulane and you understand the wear and tear that the NFL is going to give you, you better get yourself into shape if you want to maintain a career in the NFL as a running back.

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Need to Know: Are the Redskins one of the 10 most talented NFL teams?

Need to Know: Are the Redskins one of the 10 most talented NFL teams?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 26, 18 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

It’s been 145 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 107 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 18
—Training camp starts (7/27) 62
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 76

A top 10 team? Or No. 22?

Former Cowboys VP and current SiriusXM commentator and NFL.com writer Gill Brandt did a list of his top 10 NFL teams in terms of talent. At the top of the list was the consensus pick for the best team in the league, the New England Patriots. Also on the list were some of the regulars on lists like this one—the Steelers, Falcons, Cowboys, etc.

But the team at No. 10 on the list was something of a surprise. Since it’s being mentioned here you’ve probably figured out that it’s the Washington Redskins.

Brandt points out that they have a significant number of quality players in what should be the prime seasons of their careers, which he says, “portends good things”.

Judging talent is always subjective, especially when you don’t know how new players who arrived as free agents or draft picks will fit in. But good players are good players. Do the Redskins really have enough of them to stack up as a top-10 team?

One way to gauge this is to try to figure out how many of a team’s players could start for at least half of the other teams in the NFL. That is subjective but that’s what we do here so here we go.

On the offensive line, Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff, and Morgan Moses could start for most teams. Of the skill players, Kirk Cousins, Jordan Reed, Terrelle Pryor, and Jamison Crowder are on the list.

Defense is a little trickier since not all the players in the front seven would be scheme fits everywhere. But I think it’s safe to say that most teams could find some way to utilize Jonathan Allen, Ryan Kerrigan, and Zach Brown as starters. Josh Norman is probably the only member of the secondary who would qualify here although with as weak as the safety position is around the league you could make a case for D.J. Swearinger.

Not counting the safety, that makes a total of 10 who start for at least 16 teams, just less than half of the starters. There are some who could make it there is they take some steps towards reaching their potential. Brandy mentions Josh Doctson and Preston Smith. I would add Spencer Long and, if healthy, Junior Galette.

On the other side of the coin, where are the Redskins clearly below average? Left guard is the weak spot on the O-line. While the running backs aren’t awful I’m not sure many teams would trade their group for Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson. Despite the addition of Allen, the D-line remains suspect.

It is interesting to note that the Redskins are one of three NFC East teams on Brandy’s list; the Cowboys are fifth and the Giants are sixth.

You can look at the strong and weak points of the Redskins and write almost any 2017 storyline you want to. Peter King of The MMQB has his doubts about Pryor and Doctson being able to adequately compensate for the free agency losses of Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson and his power ranking have Washington at 22nd.

Two respected analysts, two very different views of how the Redskins stack up in 2017. We have a little more than 100 days before we start to find out who’s right.

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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