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Need to Know: Where do the Redskins still have needs?

Need to Know: Where do the Redskins still have needs?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 15, 76 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

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 think that going into the offseason just about everybody knew that the Redskins would not be able to fix everything that was wrong with them in the wake winning just seven games over the last two seasons. And while Scot McCloughan did address a lot of positions, signing half a dozen veteran free agents and drafting 10 players, there is still work to be done, some holes that will need to be filled.

While there isn’t a position on the field that couldn’t use more good players, some remain weaker than others. On the defensive side of the ball the weak spot is safety. It’s hard to look at free safety Dashon Goldson and see anything than a 2015 version of Ryan Clark in terms of being a one-year patch at the position. He’ll turn 32 early in the season and his play the last two years has been spotty at best. Goldson’s contract is essentially a one-year deal since his salary skyrockets to $7 million next year, an amount the Redskins aren’t going to pay.

Behind him is Akeem Davis, who has way too much to learn to be counted on this year and he may never be a full-time solution. Perhaps a cornerback will move over to serve as free safety depth but David Amerson or DeAngelo Hall would be little more than additional short-term fixes.

Jeron Johnson is at the top of the depth chart at strong safety. With just one NFL start under his belt he has to be considered a question mark. Behind him are Phillip Thomas, Duke Ihenacho, and rookie Kyshoen Jarrett. While it’s possible that any or all of them could blossom into solid players you can't really check the box and say that strong safety is a solid and settled position.

On the other side of the ball, the position with major question marks is quarterback. There is optimism that Robert Griffin III can take hold of the position but it is far from a sure thing. Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy have had their moments but it’s a major stretch to think that either one of them can morph into a franchise quarterback.

In discussing current areas of weakness here we're assuming that the players the team drafted and signed all work out to reasonable expectations. That rarely happens so the to-do list for 2016 could well grow larger.

Let’s be clear here; I’m not saying that McCloughan bypassed any plausible solutions at these positions. The draft was very thin at safety and quarterbacks are always hard to find. We’ll just have to see what happens this year and continue to try to locate solutions.

Timeline

—It’s been 138 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 121 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 32; Redskins training camp starts 76; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 132

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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Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

New Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor has been working out with Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown this offseason. 

The pair documented their receiving drills, ladder drills and even yoga on social media. But what you didn't see, according to ESPN's John Keim, is Pryor practicing with special glasses that Brown recommended. 

Based on Brown’s advice, Pryor has also worn special sunglasses during offseason workouts, designed to prevent him from seeing an object – in this case the ball – until it is almost upon him. Sometimes he takes his gloves off, just to get a feel for the ball with his hands.

The glasses Keim describes sound more like blinders, or even tunnel vision, but the idea is to help Pryor get an instinctive feel for running routes. 

Despite putting up 1,007 receiving yards with the Browns last year, Pryor has only played the position since 2015. His first four seasons in the NFL were spent trying to make a roster playing quarterback. 

Now penciled into a starting receiver role for the Redskins, he knows he has a lot of catching up to do. 

"The good ones, they ask questions and never think they’ve got it. They always want to learn," Pryor said, "I’m not calling myself a great one, but I think I can get there."

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins Playbook: Some good news for Kirk Cousins

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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