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Need to Know: Will there be any Redskins roster additions before camp?

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Need to Know: Will there be any Redskins roster additions before camp?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 15, 15 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. 

Today’s question comes from the Real Redskins Facebook page:

I think Scot McCloughan and Jay Gruden are generally happy with the 90 players who are on their roster. They are not under any delusions that it’s a Super Bowl team, mind you, but they believed that they upgraded as best they could give the cap space and draft picks they had and pool of available talent.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t consider signing someone if they think he is an upgrade. I think that there are two areas on particular they might like to upgrade, tight end and free safety. But the free agency pools are not very deep and the quality of the players available is highly suspect.

At tight end, the name that jumps out at you there is Jermaine Gresham. The Bengals drafted him in the first round in 2010 and he made consecutive Pro Bowls when Jay Gruden came to Cincinnati as the offensive coordinator the following year.

Gresham to Washington would seem to be a good fit but there are some issues. He underwent surgery for a herniated disc in his back in March and there hasn’t been much interest in him by any team. At this point I think he will wait and sign with a team after training camp starts. There has been no word that Gruden was even interested in kicking the tires on Gresham but that doesn’t mean they won’t, especially if Jordan Reed ends up sidelined with another injury during training camp.

Outside of Gresham it’s pretty slim pickings when it comes to free agents at tight end. Zach Miller was cut by Seattle in a cap move but he is coming off of an ankle injury that landed him on IR last year and approaching 30 years old. We know that McCloughan has an aversion to signing free agents with a “3” at the start of their age.

The choices at free safety are similarly unattractive. The Giants, who are starving at safety, chose not to attempt to re-sign Quintin Demps, who started nine games for them last year. As of now, there don’t appear to be any free safeties on the market who would be upgrades.

In fact, the market was very slim to begin with. Otherwise, McCloughan would not have settled for trading for Dashon Goldson, who will turn 31 during Week 2 of the season. He almost had no choice but to agree to pay Goldson $4 million this year, coming off of two bad years in Tampa Bay.

They will have their eyes open, looking at the waiver wire to see if anyone who can help them lands there. But the lack of quality players at positions of need who are on the street at this time will have them them standing pat until they report to training camp two weeks from today.

Timeline

—It’s been 199 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 60 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 15; Preseason opener @ Browns 29; final cuts 52

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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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