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Notes on the News

Notes on the News

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

After a lull following the burst of free agent signings a couple of weeks ago, there have been a few Redskins-related news stories. There wasn’t enough there on any of them to warrant a story, but now that we have a small collection of things built up, here goes:

  • The Redskins sign backup offensive line help—The Redskins came to terms with offensive linemen Tyson Walter and Mike Pucillo, adding depth to that unit. With Ray Brown’s retirement and the cutting of Cory Raymer, there was no experienced depth. Walter and Pucillo have similar resumes; both are entering their fifth NFL season and each has spent some time as a starter. Walter was Dallas’ starting center for eight games in 2002 and Pucillo was Buffalo’s starter at guard for 12 games in 2003. They are both 6-4 and over 300 pounds. Neither is expected to challenge for a starting job. Their former teams did not make much of an effort to retain their services. Joe Gibbs thinks that Joe Bugel can take the two big bodies and make serviceable backups out of them.
  • Washington will open the season on Monday night hosting Minnesota—The NFL released some of its opening weekend schedule and the Redskins will be kicking off ESPN’s coverage of Monday night football with a game at FedEx Field against Minnesota. A couple of guys who know that stadium well, Brad Johnson and Fred Smoot, will be returning wearing purple. The Redskins will be hoping that Andre Carter will head an unfriendly welcome-home committee for Johnson and that Smoot will have his head turned around a few times by trying to figure out who among Santana Moss, Brandon Lloyd, and Antwaan Randle El he should cover. The early opening Bold Prediction: Lloyd and Randle El both score touchdowns and the Redskins roll 31-10.
  • Washington will get a seventh-round compensatory pick in the upcoming draft—The Redskins were awarded the 250th overall pick in the upcoming draft as compensation for losing Smoot and Antonio Pierce as unrestricted free agents. These picks are awarded based on a formula that is kept super double secret by the NFL. It’s based on the net value of the contracts the free agents you lose sign minus the contracts that you use to acquire UFA’s. They can’t trade the pick, which has to be a disappointment to Gibbs and company, who have a propensity for doing so.
  • Derrick Dockery signs his contract tender—The Redskins starting left guard took himself off of the restricted free agent market by signing the Redskins tender offer. That means that Dockery will be back for the 2006 season. After that, though, he will become an unrestricted free agent unless the Redskins can sign him to a long-term deal. The good news is that he is the only starter that is not under a contract that runs thorough at least 2007.
  • Sean Taylor shows up at offseason workouts—The Redskins safety apparently changed his mind after his attorney said on Sunday that he would not be there for the OTA’s. Redskins.com treated the change of heart as a reporting error, leading its story on Taylor’s presence at Redskins Park by saying, “Contrary to a report published in Monday's Washington Post, safety Sean Taylor was in attendance for the start of voluntary off-season workouts at Redskins Park on Monday.” Come on, guys. The Post was accurately reporting a statement from Taylor’s own lawyer, who today said that they decided that his legal case could be prepared with Taylor just being there on weekends. That would be kind of like if the Post reported that the Redskins were trailing at halftime and then the team calling the paper’s report inaccurate because the team came back to win the game.
  • Jason Campbell and Shawn Springs were at the Verizon Center on Sunday—OK, that’s a cheap way of working in the story of the year in sports and a story that has transcended sports, the presence on my alma mater, George Mason University, in the NCAA Final Four. I’ll admit right off the bat that I couldn’t have named a single player on the team prior to the start of the NCAA tourney, so I’m not going to get into any of this “we” stuff. I’ll also have to admit that I thought the Patriots were cooked after that reverse layup that hung on the rim until after the final buzzer fell in the basket, sending the game into overtime. Virtually everyone but Jim Larranaga and the dozen or so guys on the team thought so, too. But the Patriots continued to play loose and composed basketball, just like they had for every one of the 160 minutes leading up to that final five minutes. And they hit five of six shots in overtime and survived the second buzzer-beater attempt for the win. There will be no bold predictions here as to how George Mason will fare in Indianapolis. I will, however, ask the simple question: Why not the Patriots?

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book chronicles every game the Redskins played from the day they came to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. You can get details and information on how to order at http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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Projecting the Redskins 2017 roster—Offense

Projecting the Redskins 2017 roster—Offense

The Redskins are looking at potential free agents and continuing with the draft process as they try to move team from residing in the middle of the pack in the NFL to becoming annual playoff contenders.

The process is all about trying to build a solid 53-man depth chart.

Let’s get out the crystal ball and see what that depth chart might look like.

Today we’ll look at the offense and project the defense in the next couple of days.

*Pending unrestricted free agent

— Quarterback: Kirk Cousins*
Backups: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

It’s not a sure thing that Kirk Cousins will be back under center but it’s very much more likely than not, either with a new long-term contract or via the franchise tag. McCoy is under contract and will continue to be the backup. I think they are happy with Sudfeld as their developmental guy although I wouldn’t be shocked if Scot McCloughan decided that a quarterback is the best available player sometime in the fifth round in April.

RELATED: REDSKINS RESUME - MATT CAVANAUGH

— Running backs: Rob Kelley
Backups: Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, draft pick

Gruden gave Kelley a vote of confidence in his final press conference but that could be fluid. If Jones can get things straight between his ears he has the physical tools to be a very good running back but they can’t count on that. There is some talk that the Redskins will look to take a back in the middle rounds if they can find one with some impact.

— Wide receivers: Pierre Garçon*, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder (slot receiver),
Backups: Ryan Grant, Maurice Harris

Right now, it looks like it’s slightly better than 50-50 that Garçon will be back. If he’s not they will have to sign a starter in free agency; as we found out last year, you can’t count on a rookie receiver to produce, even if you take one high in the draft. If McCloughan does take a receiver in the later stages of the draft he likely will replace Grant, not Harris.

More Redskins: THE REDSKINS' WEEK THAT WAS

— Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis*, Niles Paul

It seems likely that Davis will re-sign, although since it could be his last NFL contract I don’t think he will give the Redskins much of a hometown discount. The organization will pay, however, as it is apparent that the need a quality backup for Reed. I’m on the fence about Paul. On the one hand, I could see the organization looking for an alternative since he has finished each of the last two seasons on injured reserve. But he’s the kind of guy that McCloughan likes to have on the team.

— Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Shawn Lauvao, C Spencer Long, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: G Arie Kouandjio, T Ty Nsekhe, C John Sullivan*, 1-2 free agents/draft picks

Could it be that the Redskins are nearly set on the O-line with the exception of some parts further down the depth chart? Nsekhe is a restricted free agent and he will be back either on the tag or with a new contract. Maybe Kouandjio can challenge Lauvao for the starting job but both are likely to be on the 53. If they move on from Kory Lichtensteiger to save $3.5 million in cap room and if Sullivan opts to try to find a starting job elsewhere they could find a veteran center to back up Long.

RELATED: REDSKINS MOST IMPORTANT FREE AGENTS

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Redskins' cap room could be a dilemma for McCloughan

Need to Know: Redskins' cap room could be a dilemma for McCloughan

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 16, 52 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 44
NFL draft 101
First Sunday of 2017 season 237

A six pack of thoughts to start out the week

1. I think that by the end of the week the Redskins will have two new coordinators. It looks like Matt Cavanaugh will be the offensive coordinator. Haven’t heard why Bill Callahan isn’t getting the nod; it’s possible that he likes what he’s doing now and he’s getting paid as well as many coordinators.

2.  For a quick game with the $100 in imaginary casino chips on the defensive coordinator candidates, I’ll make Greg Manusky the favorite at $40 with Mike Pettine right behind him at $35. I’ll put $10 of the rest on Gus Bradley—we’ve heard of an interview with the Chargers but not anything like a hiring—and $15 on the field. The situation is fluid but that's the way it looks right now. 

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

3. On November 21, after the results of Week 11, the Redskins were 2.5 games ahead of the Packers. They were also a half-game better than of the Falcons. Those two teams are now playing for the NFC title. It’s not how you start, or even how you do in the middle of the season. It’s how you finish.

4. I’m not much of a hockey guy but I think I’ve got to get down to the Verizon Center to see the Caps. They are blazing hot and you can tell it’s a great atmosphere at the VC.

5. I have a feeling that an announcement about a new stadium for the Redskins is going to happen sometime in the next few months. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe can’t run again; he is out of office about a year from today. He’s going to want a legacy item and a state of the art stadium in the commonwealth would fill the bill. The process of approval, financing, and construction will take up most or all of the 10 years that remains on the FedEx Field lease.

More Redskins: The Redskins week that was

6. Normally having a lot of cap space to work with is a good thing but it may not be for Scot McCloughan this year. If the Redskins trim some veterans from the payroll they could go into free agency with around $70 million to spend. McCloughan would prefer to build through the draft. But the current situation almost forces the Redskins to spend. McCloughan took some heat for going into the 2016 season with $15 million in cap space and some unfilled needs on the defensive line and at safety. If they have issues again in 2017 and there is, say, $30 million just sitting there the noise will get louder. And it won’t just be coming from fans and the media; plenty of it will come from the offices of Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.