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Need to Know: The most overrated and underrated Redskins

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Need to Know: The most overrated and underrated Redskins

Happy Independence Day!

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 4, 26 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Who's overrated? Underrated?

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports went through each of the 32 NFL teams and picked a player he viewed as overrated and then did another list of the 32 underrated players. I thought his picks for the Redskins were pretty insightful although I don’t completely agree with him.

Washington’s overrated player was safety Dashon Goldson. Here is Prisco’s justification.
“If they think he will fix their safety issues, they can forget about it. He's a box safety in a league where coverage is a premium. He failed in his two years in Tampa Bay as a high-priced free agent, so why think he can turn it around?”
It’s hard to disagree with most of what he says here. But I don’t think that Scot McCloughan traded for him with the idea of him “fixing” the safety position. He’s more of a patch. Even if there were thoughts of bringing back Ryan Clark for one more year, he nixed them by announcing his retirement. There was nobody on the roster who was capable of handling the job on a full time basis. It would have been outright foolish to hope to find help in the draft, which was weak at safety. Goldson was the best available option. That doesn’t mean he’s a fix, just better than whatever else they could reasonably come up with.

The only issue I have with calling Goldson overrated is that I don’t think he’s rated very highly. Sure, there are some Redskins fans who believe that he will revert to the form that made him a first-team All-Pro with the 49ers in 2012. But most neutral observers see him as just a guy at this point in his career.

Prisco’s underrated Redskin is Keenan Robinson:
“After missing all of 2013 with an injury, he emerged as a force on their defense in 2014. He is a thumper in the run game who should be better in coverage with a year of starting under his belt.”
Can’t argue with this assessment at all. Robinson did an admirable job of stepping in for the retired London Fletcher. He played well and also assumed some of the leadership duties that come with calling the plays on defense. I’ll add that he also could improve his pass rush up the middle; he had just 1.5 sacks last year.

The main concern with Robinson is health. He missed the last five games of his rookie 2012 season with a torn pec, all of 2013 with the same injury (sustained a second time), and three games near the end of last season with a knee injury.

Who are your most overrated/underrated Redskins? Let me know in the comments below.

Timeline

—It’s been 188 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 71 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 26; Preseason opener @ Browns 40; final cuts 63

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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.