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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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Hypothetical first-round trade could be a good one for the Redskins

Hypothetical first-round trade could be a good one for the Redskins

On Monday, Redskins college scouting director Scott Campbell publically sent out the message that the Redskins are open for business when it comes to making a trade in the upcoming draft. Peter King of the MMQB.com put one into his mock draft that just might catch the Redskins’ interest if it is proposed when the draft starts on Thursday.

The deal has the Redskins swapping first-round picks with the Texans. Houston needs a quarterback and they won’t get one they want with pick No. 25. So they send that pick plus their second-round pick, No. 57 overall, to the Redskins for pick No. 17. With that pick the Texans take Deshaun Watson of Clemson. At No. 25, Washington selects ILB Jarrad Davis of Florida.

There is a lot to consider when trading back in the first round, the most important of which is the players on the board when you trade back. If you bypass the chance to get a game-changing talent who fits your system to add a pick later in the draft you could end up regretting it.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

In King’s mock draft, these players who have been connected to the Redskins during the draft process are off the board—RB Christian McCaffrey, LB Haason Reddick, OLB Dered Barnett, LB Reuben Foster, DL Jonathan Allen, and OLB Takkarist McKinley. The next four players off the board after the Texans take Watson are two offensive tackles, a tight end, and a wide receiver. None of those would fill a major need for the Redskins. A trade back seems to be a reasonably safe move.

The other factor to evaluate is the value of the deal and that works out well for the Redskins if you look at the traditional trade chart. The 17th pick is worth 950 points. The point values for picks 25 and 57 add up to 1,050. The 100-point difference is about a pick in the middle of the fourth round. The Texans may ask for a later pick back in return and the Redskins could gauge how desperate Bill O’Brien is to get his quarterback of the future in the building.

Davis, who ends up with the Redskins in this scenario, is an interesting prospect. His athleticism and high motor fit those of a high first-round pick. But he missed time in his last three seasons with the Gators due to injuries, including problems with both ankles last year. There is some buzz that the Redskins are considering Davis with the 17th pick so to could get him at No. 25 and pick up a second-round pick in the process would be quite a coup.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often 

In an interesting side note, King reported that the Redskins are “divided” on Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. He unquestionably has talent but he has three arrests in his past and a high fumble rate. No. 25 might be a better spot to take a chance on Cook than No. 17. King also mentions Missouri edge player Charles Harris as a possibility at No. 25 as well.

Among the players the Redskins may be able to add with that additional second-round pick are Michigan DL Chris Wormley, G Dan Freeney of Indiana, CB Cordrea Tankersley, and CB/S Desmond King of Iowa.

This is all a hypothetical scenario. King is not reporting that such a deal is in the works. But it does make sense for both the Redskins and the Texans and it would not be surprising to see something like this deal unfold on Thursday night.

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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Need to Know: With 10 draft picks, the Redskins are ready to deal

Need to Know: With 10 draft picks, the Redskins are ready to deal

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, April 24, two days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 17
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 29
—Training camp starts (7/27) 93
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 138

Let’s make a deal

Even though the Redskins have 10 picks going into the draft, Scott Campbell, the team’s college scouting director, said that they will still be open to making deals to add more.

Washington has one pick in each of the seven rounds plus additional selections in the fourth, sixth, and seventh rounds. Campbell said that the team will be happy to add picks if the right deal is on the table. He is not concerned about having too large a draft class competing for a limited number of competitive roster spots.

“Yeah, I don’t know if you can have ‘too many guys,’” said Campbell. “I think the main thing to get better is you want to add competition to the team and anywhere you can add competition, even positions where you think you may be set depth-wise, you know, add more competition. Get the best players in here and I think it pushes each other and makes everybody better.”

It’s a matter of improving the odds of finding players who can help them.

“It’s not an exact science, Campbell said of the draft. “You’re not going to hit on all the guys. You’d like to think you can, but I mean that’s not reality, no one’s ever done that. Just increasing the odds of adding the more players, the more guys that can help us, that’s great.”

Campbell specifically mentioned the team’s two fourth-round picks, which are the 115th and 123rd overall selections, as possible capital to move up or as bait to trade back and get more picks.

What could they do with those picks? If they make a deal that goes by the draft value trade chart, they could trade their second-round pick (17th in the round, 49th overall) and the higher of the two fourth-rounders for the 11th pick in the second (42 overall). If they see a player they like in the third, that same fourth round pick would move them up to from the 81st overall pick (17th in the round) to the 68th overall pick (4th pick of the round).

The return for moving back in the fourth round is not very high. You’re looking at a fifth-round pick in return for moving all the way back from 115th overall to the end of the fourth round. That’s OK if you’re in a range where there just aren’t any players you like but you are very unlikely to get a game-changer in the fifth.  

With 10 picks it would be surprising if the Redskins just used all 10 of them without making any moves. It’s just a matter of if there will be a blockbuster deal involving their first pick or if there are more minor deals on Saturday afternoon.

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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