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Need to Know: Safety in numbers for the 2016 Redskins?

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Need to Know: Safety in numbers for the 2016 Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 17, 42 days before the NFL Draft.

Safety in numbers for the Redskins?

—The Redskins’ strategy at safety appears to be to throw numbers at it. They added David Bruton to DeAngelo Hall, Duke Ihenacho, and Kyshoen Jarrett. The door is still open to a return of Dashon Goldson at the right price. Another veteran could come on board. McCloughan certainly wouldn’t bypass the right one on the board in the draft. Joe Barry and Perry Fewell will have the flexibility to mix and match according to situations, there will be depth in case of injuries, and most will contribute on special teams. This might not be the ideal way to do it but with a lack of standout safeties available it’s what they have to do to get by.

—I have to laugh whenever fans get all riled up over things like Josh LeRibeus re-signing with the Redskins. The deal is for around minimum salary and the Redskins could afford to cut him at any time. He has been around for four years, they spent a draft pick on him, and they think he is worth keeping around. Scot McCloughan is not going to bypass a promising interior lineman in the draft because he has LeRibeus on the roster. If they don’t sign a veteran center like Stefen Wisniewski it won’t be because they have LeRibeus.

—After bringing back Junior Galette, will the Redskins move Trent Murphy to defensive end? That has been floated as a possibility and perhaps a final decision was pending Galette’s return. Murphy played as a 4-3 end in college and he has lined up with his hand in the dirt in pass rushing situations with the Redskins. But he would need to put on at least 20 pounds, line up more to the inside, and adjust to playing an entirely different kind of game. We will see what happens and we may not find out anything definitive until OTAs in late May.

—Is Galette the missing link on defense? He can help a lot if he’s healthy and motivated. With a one-year deal that would allow him to hit the free agent market at age 29 the latter seems to be a given. We won’t really know about how healthy he is until we see something we haven’t ever seen—Galette in full pads in a Redskins uniform rushing the passer in a game. Until then, there will be legitimate questions about his explosiveness. There are reasons to be confident that he will be 100 percent in training camp but seeing is believing.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 67 days ago. It will be about 178 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 32; 2016 NFL draft 42; Redskins training camp starts 133

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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.