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Need to Know: What will the Redskins QB depth chart look like Week 1?

Need to Know: What will the Redskins QB depth chart look like Week 1?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 7, 40 days before the Washington Redskins hold their mandatory minicamp.

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.

I got a few questions about the quarterback situation so I figured I’d answer them all in this one.

Right now it looks like there will be a four-man quarterback room with holdovers Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy being joined by rookie Connor Halliday. It appears that the Redskins have signed the Washington State product as an undrafted free agent. Although the team has not yet announced any UDFA signings, we’re going to presume that Halliday will be in the mix.

Halliday was leading the nation in passing yards and touchdown passes last year before he suffered a broken leg. He has some ability but he is clearly a long-term project.

Right now, the way Jay Gruden has explained it Griffin is at the top of the depth chart. McCoy and Cousins will split the reps with the second and third teams. So the depth chart looks like this:

1. Griffin
2. McCoy
2. Cousins
4. Halliday

If Griffin doesn’t fall flat on his face—and I don’t think he will—the depth chart should remain that way into the start of the preseason schedule. And there is really no reason at that point to declare a “winner” between Cousins and McCoy unless one is clearly, clearly outshining the other. I also don’t anticipate that happening. They can split time in the preseason, taking turns relieving Griffin.

It’s hard to figure how much time Halliday will get behind center in the preseason. The Redskins did not have a fourth quarterback last year so we don’t have a precedent for how Gruden will handle this. At most he will get some late snaps during the first three games and maybe a more substantial chunk in the fourth game when the starters and key reserves get the night off.

But regardless of how much Halliday plays, Gruden and Scot McCloughan will need to determine if he is a quarterback worth developing. If he is, they will have to figure out if they want to try to get him through waivers and onto the practice squad or if they want to keep him on the 53-man roster.

There is an issue with keeping him on the practice squad. First, as noted, he would have to get through waivers without being claimed. And if the Redskins keep the other three quarterbacks they would have four, and that’s one too many. There is plenty of work for an extra QB to do when there is a 90-man roster. When it shrinks to 63 (53 active plus 10 on the practice squad), not so much.

In other words, the standard number of QB’s for an NFL team to keep is three, whether it’s three on the 53 or two active and one on the practice squad. If Halliday stays, another quarterback likely would need to go.

Griffin is going nowhere if only because of his guaranteed $3.4 million salary. McCoy has not drawn much interest as a free agent the last two offseasons so he likely has no trade value. Cousins could be worth a draft pick if a team gets into training camp and loses a quarterback to injury.

Taking out my crystal ball I see them going into the game against the Dolphins with a QB depth chart that looks like this:

1. Griffin
2. McCoy
3. Halliday

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Timeline

—It’s been 130 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 129 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 40; Redskins training camp starts 84; Redskins @ Giants 140

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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Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

MORE REDSKINS: Kevin O'Connell to be hired as QB coach

What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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

 

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The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

The Final Countdown: Josh Norman INT makes for Redskins 7th best play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and at the 10 worst.

No. 7 best play of 2016

Redskins vs. Browns Week 4

6:37 left in Q4, Browns ball at their own 30, 2nd and 2, Redskins leading 24-20

Cody Kessler pass short middle intended for Terrelle Pryor INTERCEPTED by Josh Norman at CLV 25. Josh Norman to CLV 24 for 1 yard (Andre Hawkins).
PENALTY on WAS-J.Norman, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, enforced at CLV 24.

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: Sometimes you have a great win, sometimes you dodge disaster. This one went in the latter category. The Redskins couldn’t quite shake the feisty Browns and Kessler for three and a half quarters. Then Norman stayed in Pryor’s hip pocket as the receiver ran a slat. Norman lunged in front of Pryor as the ball arrived and made the interception. He did draw a penalty for doing a bow and arrow celebration but the Redskins overcame that and drove in for the clinching touchdown in their 31-20 win.

More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?

Finlay: Josh Norman was the story of the Redskins offseason, and this game came one week after playing, and beating, Odell Beckham in New York. The spotlight was burning bright on Norman, and he made a crucial play when the Skins really needed it. Washington got out to a big lead early in this game only to let the Browns climb back in, mainly on the strength of Isaiah Crowell and th Cleveland run game. Losing at home to an awful Browns team would have completely derailed the modicum of momentum Kirk Cousins and the 'Skins established with the Week 3 win over the Giants, and Norman's INT made sure that didn't happen. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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