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Need to Know: What would a good 2015 for Redskins' RG3 look like?

Need to Know: What would a good 2015 for Redskins' RG3 look like?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 19, 42 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 is from Twitter:

Normally it’s one question to a tweet here but we can answer the first one pretty quickly. For 2015 to be successful they have to show real progress. That may not mean a lot more wins than they had in 2014 but they will need to show fight and have their free agents and at least a few of their draft picks playing well. If they can win 6 games or so and end the season with the arrow pointing up that will be a success.

If they are going to appear to have some momentum after the 2015 season it sure would help to have a quarterback who is playing well and improving. Robert Griffin III will be given first crack at being that QB.

He’s had an up-and-down ride since the last few weeks of the 2012 season and it hasn’t stopped this offseason. Things were looking up in late February when Gruden said that he will be the starter going into the season. Then here were reports that the Redskins would seriously consider drafting Marcus Mariota with the fifth pick in the draft. When that talk died down the team re-signed Colt McCoy, who started three games ahead of a healthy Griffin in 2014.

But adversity is part of the job and Griffin will have to deal with it. But back to the question of what Griffin will have to do to remove any doubt that he is the No. 1 quarterback.

Let’s look at this in terms of the middle ground. To some Griffin doubters nothing short of a combination of and RG3 2012 and a vintage Tom Brady type of performance would remove their misgivings. All he has to do is line up properly behind center and complete a pass every once in a while and he’ll be fine in the eyes of the more loyal Griffin fans.

But to most reasonable people, a group that includes Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan, Griffin has to show substantial progress as a pocket passer. That doesn’t mean he can’t run and roll out and do the occasional read option. But he does need to be able to drop back and throw a pass before the receiver is out of his break and trust that he will be there to catch the pass. At no point can Griffin run out of bounds six yards behind the line of scrimmage before throwing the ball away. If he is looking at his first read that receiver is open he needs to pull the trigger on the pass or, if not, be successful in finding an alternative.

And Griffin doesn’t have time to waste in getting better. This can’t wait until November. He has to hit receivers coming out of their breaks in OTAs. If we’re at training camp and we see him hold onto the ball and pump and hesitate and scramble around, he’s in trouble. If we’re seeing that, Griffin might not make it to the regular season as the starter.

Don’t get me wrong; he doesn’t have to master pocket passing right away. But he does have to show some solid signs of progress

In short, Griffin needs to be competent. Last year he was not, at least not often enough to remove doubts.

It’s up to him. If he doesn’t get it done he has nobody to blame but himself.

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Timeline

—It’s been 81 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 178 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 32; 2015 NFL Draft 42; Redskins training camp starts 133

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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Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Need to Know: The best Redskins late-round picks of the last 10 years

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 29, 25 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

At Redskins Park—Fourth through seventh rounds of the NFL draft; conference calls with players selected; Gruden will speak to media shortly after Redskins’ final pick.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 13
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 25
—Training camp starts (7/27) 89
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 134

The Redskins’ best late-round picks since of the last 10 years

While no aspect of drafting in the NFL is easy, it is much harder to find key contributors on the last day of the draft than it is in the first three rounds. The Redskins will have seven picks in this afternoon's draft to try to find one or two of them. 

Since the 2007 draft the Redskins have taken 56 players from the fourth round on. Of those, 45 played in at least one NFL game but only 12 of them were the Redskins’ primary starter at their positions for at least one season. Here are the five best of those players.

QB Kirk Cousins (round 4, 2012)—He was probably the most controversial pick on this list since the Redskins had just drafted Robert Griffin III a couple of days earlier. History proved Mike Shanahan right.

RB Alfred Morris (6, 2012)—This pick came a few hours after and with much less noise than the Cousins pick did. Many believed that the Redskins were set a running back with Roy Helu and Evan Royster. Morris not only surprised many by making the team but he lined up as the Week 1 starter. He went on to break the team’s single-season rushing record by piling up 1,613 yards rushing.

LB Perry Riley (4, 2010)—He didn’t get into the lineup until midway through his second season. Riley was always solid for four-plus seasons as the starter but never spectacular. The team let him go last year in training camp and he played well for the Raiders after they picked him up.

CB Bashaud Breeland (4, 2014)—Breeland started 15 games as a rookie. At first he was in the slot but after DeAngelo Hall was injured in Week 3, Breeland moved to the outside and he has stayed there ever since. He has seven career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

WR Jamison Crowder (4, 2015)—At 5-9, many teams thought Crowder was undersized and he didn’t run a great 40 at the combine. But he was big enough and fast enough to break the Redskins rookie record for receptions in a season and then to lead the team in touchdowns with eight last year.

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.

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Haha Clinton-Dox or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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