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Need to Know: Redskins shift towards home-grown offensive line

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Need to Know: Redskins shift towards home-grown offensive line

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 3, two days before the Redskins host the Eagles.

A six pack of thoughts on the Redskins

I have not yet emptied my brain of miscellaneous thoughts about the Redskins (blame the long layoff between games). Let’s roll with another six pack of them.

1.I look at Brandon Scherff and I see a pretty good guard at this point. Maybe he can become dominant in a few years to justify the No. 5 pick. But I can’t help but look at the troubles the Redskins are having getting pressure on the passer rushing four and think that Vic Beasley of the Falcons might have been a better pick. But we’ll see how it plays out.

2. Speaking of which, Preston Smith also could help generate more pass rush. He played 28 snaps against the Giants, almost as many as he played in the first two games combined. But it still was fewer than half of the defensive snaps. Smith probably should have beaten out Trent Murphy to start the season. He’s not a magic solution to what ails the pass rush but he would be an upgrade.

3. Perry Riley is going to miss another game with a strained calf. There’s nothing he can do about it but you have to think that he is anxious to get back. Will Compton is playing well in his place. Next year, Riley’s cap number will be over $5 million in the last year of his contract. Compton will get the third-year minimum. The Redskins could save about $3 million by going with Compton over Riley (considering about $1 million in dead cap for letting Riley go). It will be something they will ponder when the season is over.

4. I posted on the Redskins’ issues generating sacks and takeaways yesterday and I didn’t have the space to get into one of the major factors that have make big plays difficult. The Redskins haven’t played with a comfortable lead much. Being ahead allows the defense to tee off on the quarterback and gamble for interceptions. This was an issue last year as well. It’s a bad cycle, where they can’t get ahead, so they don’t get takeaways, setting up field position that is continually challenging. The need to break through it.

5. The Redskins will start just three players who are 30 or older on Sunday; S Dashon Goldson (31), C Kory Lichtensteiger (30), and the oldest player on the team at age 33, Jason Hatcher. Nine starters will be 26 or younger. In addition, the kicker, punter, kickoff returner and punt returner are all 25 or younger.

6. In Week 4 a year ago, the Redskins started just one offensive lineman who was drafted by the team, Trent Williams. The other four, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, and Tyler Polumbus, arrived as free agents. On Sunday, the line will have just one free agent, Lichtensteiger, and four draft picks; Williams, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, and Morgan Moses.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park, no media availability

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 1; Redskins @ Falcons 8; Redskins @ Jets 15

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.