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Need to Know: Which Redskins will surprise in 2015?

Need to Know: Which Redskins will surprise in 2015?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, May 11, 80 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 love starting off the week with a little crystal ball type stuff. I’ll give you two players who could surprise in a positive sense and (even though you didn’t ask) two who will surprise in the sense that they will be unexpectedly disappointing.

Two up

SS Jeron Johnson—With only one NFL start in four seasons, Johnson comes in as something of an unknown. At 5-10, 212 he isn’t the big, physical type of player that is Scot McCloughan’s prototype at strong safety. But I think he’ll be a smart player who will always be in the right place at the right time. He’ll force some turnovers, and he’ll be a sure tackler. Johnson won’t be a Pro Bowl candidate but for a first time in years there could be a feeling that the strong safety position is settled for a while.

DE Jason Hatcher—Yeah, I know that he’ll be 33 before the season starts and logic says that he is likely to decline from his 5.5-sack performance last year. But this year he is surrounded by considerably better talent and that will help him more than the addition trip around the sun will hurt him. Double-digit sacks might be a stretch but I can see eight or nine.

Two down

CB Bashaud Breeland—He had his moments last year like the Monday night game in Dallas where he won a night-long battle with Dez Bryant. But he struggled at times, like against Odell Beckham Jr. in December. I see another up and down year for him with the down time landing him on the bench for a while.

WR Pierre Garçon—I don’t think that Garçon’s performance in and of itself will suffer significant dropoff. I just think that he will be targeted far fewer than the 105 times he was last year. The Redskins attempted 547 passes this year and rushed 401 times. Those numbers won’t flip-flop but if things go as they plan there will be more rushing attempts than passes. That could lead to Garçon playing very well and only catching 40-50 passes.

Timeline

—It’s been 134 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 125 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 37; Redskins training camp starts 80; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 136

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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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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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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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