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Need to Know: What is the biggest challenge for Redskins' Gruden in 2015?

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Need to Know: What is the biggest challenge for Redskins' Gruden in 2015?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 8, 22 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

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.

Today's question comes from Twitter:

One thing before I answer your question. I’m not so sure you can confidently say that the Redskins have a core of young players just yet. Yes, most of those added in free agency are on the youthful side and some holdover young players will play key roles. But lot of the 26-and-under crowd on the team is unproven and I’m not sure you can say it constitutes a “corps” just yet. Maybe after a successful draft or two the “corps of young players” will be a more apt description of the team.

Gruden’s biggest obstacle outside of the quarterback position is the fact that what should have been a one-year changeover ended up stretching out over two years. They now have an organization that seems to be on the same page from the GM through the head coach down through the assistant coaching staff. But what they should have done is cleaned house in January of 2014.

After Mike Shanahan, who was in charge of all football matters, was fired the right move to make would have been to get rid of everyone, all of the coaches and start from scratch. Instead of Bruce Allen taking over football personnel decisions for a year they should have found the best personnel man available. Instead of keeping around Jim Haslett and Chris Foerster and Raheem Morris, they should have let everyone go and found a solid group of replacements right away.

Those coaches are now gone and their replacements are in place. But rather than having a new staff going into its second year, it’s a mixed bag with Gruden and Sean McVay settled in but Joe Barry, Bill Callahan, and Perry Fewell needing players to wear “Hello, my name is ___________” tags around Redskins Park while they learn everybody’s name. And instead of building on his 2014 draft, the general manager (Scot McCloughan may or may not have been available in January of 2014 but other very competent personnel men were) is just starting to build the team the way he thinks it should be built.

Add in the that the final 53-man roster is likely to have about 20 players who were not with the organization in 2014 and you have another year of transition. All NFL coaches have to deal with change from year to year but Gruden’s biggest challenge will be dealing with major upheaval for a second year in a row.

Timeline

—It’s been 101 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 158 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 12; 2015 NFL Draft 22; Redskins training camp starts 113

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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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - Trent Murphy talks about going home to Arizona

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USA Today Sports

New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - Trent Murphy talks about going home to Arizona

Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy is in the middle of a breakout season with 7 sacks, and this weekend, he gets to go home to Arizona and perform in front of family and friends. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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At least Redskins fans were rewarded for rooting for the Cowboys

At least Redskins fans were rewarded for rooting for the Cowboys

During Thursday night football Redskins fans were put in the uncomfortable position of rooting for a win by the hated Dallas Cowboys. While it was a painful experience for many, there was a payoff at the end.

The Cowboys beat the Vikings 17-15 after stopping a two-point conversion try in the last minute. As has been the case too often around the NFL this year, the game was marred by an apparent officiating error. Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford was clearly hit in the helmet on the two-point try. Minnesota should have had another shot at the two points to tie but the flag stayed in Tony Corrente’s pocket.

Regardless, the loss dropped the Vikings to 6-6. They were a half game behind the Redskins; Minnesota now the must pick up two full games on Washington to pass them for the second and final NFC wild card spot. The loss didn't eliminate the Vikings as a threat to the Redskins' hold on a playoff spot but it does give Washington some breathing room. 

Going into Sunday’s games, the Buccaneers are the only NFC team at 6-5, a half game behind Washington. They play at San Diego in a game that starts at the same time as the Redskins-Cardinals game. If the Bucs lose, the Redskins could fall to the Cardinals and remain in position as the second wild card. A Redskins win plus a Bucs loss would give the Redskins a game and a half lead and the ability to wrap up the wild card with three wins in their last four games.

Here are the NFC non-division leaders with six wins and their remaining schedules:

Redskins (6-4-1), @Cardinals, @Eagles, Panthers, @Bears, Giants
Bucs (6-5), @Chargers, Saints, @Cowboys, @Saints, Panthers
Vikings (6-6), @Jaguars, Colts, @Packers, Bears

While the Bucs and Vikings are the teams closest to the Redskins, there are several teams hanging around on the fringes. Look for your complete “root for” guide tomorrow in Enemy Intel.