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Need to Know: Will RG3 benefit from an improved Redskins O-line?

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Need to Know: Will RG3 benefit from an improved Redskins O-line?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 30, 30 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

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’ll also take your Need to Know questions via email. Hit me up rich.tandler+csn@gmail.com with “NTK” in the subject line. Just keep them relatively brief, please. 

https://twitter.com/Smoke1300/status/614105719839817728

Let’s look at this from a couple of angles here. First, will the line be better? Certainly, it will be different with Spencer Long moving in at right guard in place of the departed Chris Chester, top draft pick Brandon Scherff moving in at right guard with Tom Compton being pushed aside and Bill Callahan taking over the coaching duties.

But will different necessarily be better? Chester was cut for a number of reasons, his age (32) and salary cap number ($4.8 million) chief among them. He wasn’t cut because he’s a horrible player. Pro Football Focus rated him 15th among front-line starting right guards last year. That’s not great but it is not awful either; it's the definition of replacement level or average. Long was given every opportunity to push Chester aside last year and he couldn’t do it. The hope is that Long will be better over time and he’ll certainly be cheaper. But there is no guarantee that Long will be better in 2015 than Chester was in 2014.

Scherff is likely to be an upgrade over Compton, who was in the lower part of PFF’s ranking, right off the bat. But Jay Gruden certainly doesn’t expect him to be perfect when it comes to pass blocking. The No. 5 overall draft pick is “going to get beat a couple times by some top-level pass rushers,” Gruden said during minicamp. It seems as though Griffin can expect some pressure from the right side.

Callahan has an excellent reputation as an offensive line coach. But so did the man he replaced, Chris Foerster. It may be that Callahan can get more out of the unit but it’s not like he’s replacing some sort of a hack.

And there are potential issues with the holdovers. Trent Williams played on one leg for a good chunk of last season and missed a game and a half, Kory Lichtensteiger has to adjust to executing power blocks at 296 lb. and Shawn Lauvao was second on the team with 20 QB hurries given up.

I’m intentionally focusing on the negative here to make the point that it’s not a given that the Redskins will field a better O-line this year. But if things fall into place, they could be a pretty good line, especially as the season goes on and Scherff and Long get more snaps under their belts. If they do develop into the unit many fans hope they can be, can Griffin take advantage of it?

That remains to be seen. It won’t help much if he holds on to the ball too long like he did at times last year. Last year he dropped back to pass 247 times and was sacked 33 times (13.4 percent). Playing behind the same line Kirk Cousins had 212 dropbacks and was sacked eight times (3.8 percent). All of Griffin’s issues were not traceable to a shaky offensive line.

If the line is indeed better then that should help Griffin. But even if it does materialize, improved protection will not be a cure for all that ails his game.

Timeline

—It’s been 184 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 75 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 30; Preseason opener @ Browns 44; final cuts 67

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: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 27, 2 days before the March 1 NFL franchise tag deadline.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/2) 3
—Start of NFL free agency (3/9) 10
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 49
—NFL Draft (4/27) 59
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 195

Monday morning Redskins musings as free agency approaches

1. It appears that the Raiders are going to let Latavius Murray, who rushed for over 1,800 yards combined in the last two seasons, test free agency.

I’d be surprised if the Redskins showed any interest. I’m not sure that they will be jumping into the RB free agent pool, at least not into the deep (expensive) end of it. They might draft a back to compete with Rob Kelley, Matt Jones, and Mack Brown. Chris Thompson will remain the third-down back.

2. Do you wonder why the Redskins have been reluctant to draft a safety?

Eventually, someone will need to figure out the safety position in the NFL. With all the spread offenses that safeties face in college the safeties have become more like additional corner. Also, the better defensive backs in college want to be cornerbacks because it pays better in the pros. The pool coming out is generally small to begin with and then it shrinks even further for each team due to the scheme factors that Farrar discusses. Su'a Cravens could be the solution to one safety spot for the Redskins but they continue to be in search of someone to pair with him. 

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

3. The Jets allowed C Nick Mangold to announce his own release. He was one of the best centers of the past decade; Mangold went to seven Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro twice. But I don’t see him being of interest to the Redskins. They are happy with Spencer Long and even if they weren’t, Mangold is 33 and he missed half of last season with an ankle injury. Those factors likely will make the Redskins steer clear.

4. Maybe some fans don’t care if they are getting information from the team through the media at the combine. Or at the Senior Bowl. Or anywhere. And it is the team’s option to have someone available or not during most of the offseason (a press conference prior to the draft is mandatory). But they are missing out on a chance to give their side of the story.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

5. We have another D-lineman signed as the Panthers retained DE Mario Addison.

Addison, who was with the Redskins for five games in 2012, also had six and 6.5 sacks the previous two year, not bad for a guy who has started just one game in the last three seasons. That average of just over $7 million per year sets another data point for the Redskins to use to try to retain Chris Baker. Addison is a 4-3 end while Baker is a 3-4 end so it’s not an apples to apples comparison but it will help figuring out what a reasonable contract is. Without seeing the details, it looks like Addison gave the Panthers something of a hometown discount as that’s a good price for a guy who was half a sack away from double digits.

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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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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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