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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: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

When the Redskins won the NFC East in 2015 with a 9-7 record, most critics dismissed the division as weak. That theory was largely proved right when the Redskins got stomped at home in the first round of the playoffs by the Wild Card Green Bay Packers.

In 2016, however, the NFC East largely looked like the best division in football, or at least among the best divisions. Dallas won 13 games and took the NFC East title, the Giants won 11 and took the NFC's top Wild Card spot. The Redskins had a chance to make the playoffs in Week 17, but unceremoniously lost and fell short.

Still, Washington won eight games and Philadelphia won seven. In fact, the NFC East was the only division in the NFL without a team that lost 10 or more games. The AFC West - a division that some would argue was tougher than the NFC East - still had the Chargers and their 5-11 record.

What does it mean for 2017? If anything the only team expected to regress would be the Cowboys, and their regression could easily still have them looking to win around 10 games. 

The Eagles have improved with young, star QB Carson Wentz. New York will be interesting, as they have some age at various spots on their roster but still feature a two-time Super Bowl winning QB in Eli Manning and one of the best defenses in the NFL.

As for Washington? The defense should be much improved. It almost has to be as the 2016 version struggled significantly. If the defense can just be average (and I'd argue it could push for Top 15) the offense should continue to move the ball well. Producing in the red zone needs to look different than last season too.

The NFC East looks like a beast yet again. It would be no surprise if both NFC Wild Cards come from the division.

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 28, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start their mandatory minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/27) 60
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 74
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 105

Note: I am on vacation this week in the Outer Banks. Need to Know will be a mix of new content and some of the most popular posts of 2017.

Redskins faced one of NFL’s toughest slates in 2016

(originally posted January 28)

As the Redskins came off their 2015 playoff season and looked towards 2016, one thing jumped out. Even before any games were played it looked like their path to a repeat playoff appearance would be difficult, more so than it was when they went 9-7 and took the NFC East title.

The 2015 schedule looked fairly easy when applying the eyeball test. They played just two games against teams that made the playoffs and those teams, the Patriots and Panthers, plus the Jets were the only teams they faced that finished the season with winning records.

The eyeball test was borne out by the numbers. According to the stat gurus at Football Outsiders the Redskins faced the 28th toughest schedule in terms of the DVOA of opposing defenses and the opposing offenses added up to the 24th most difficult.

The going was considerably tougher in 2016. The Redskins played seven games against teams that were in the playoff field. The defenses they faced stacked up as the toughest group of any NFL team. They played nine games against teams that finished in the top 11 in defensive DVOA. The offenses they faced were a little better than average, ranking 13th as a group.

While the Redskins’ season was widely regarded as a disappointment, it would be reasonable to say that given vastly improved quality of the competition that they did well in only having their record drop by half a game.

Of course, the goal is to be good enough to prosper and make the playoffs no matter what mix of teams the luck of the draw happens to put on the schedule. They will need to get there in a hurry. Awaiting the Redskins on their 2017 schedule are seven 2016 playoff teams plus one more that finished the year with a winning record.

The fortunes of NFL teams can’t always be predicted in advance, especially more than seven months before the season kicks off. But it’s safe to say that the 2017 slate will be challenging. If they are going to improve their record they are going to have to improve their level of play dramatically.

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.