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Offseason review: Safeties allowed to walk

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Offseason review: Safeties allowed to walk

While the offseason has another month to go, its safe to say that offseason personnel and coaching moves are pretty much over. There might be a minor trade or a waiver wire pickup here or there but the cake is mostly baked.So before training camp starts, lets take a look back at the five biggest moves of the offseason. Well count them down in order of how important they were. Earlier, we looked at the hiring of Raheem Morris. Here we look at some personnel decisions they made with some existing players.LaRon Landry was a top ten draft pick in 2007 and midway through the 2010 season it looked like signing him when his contract was up after the 2011 season would be a high priority. Injuries and disagreement between the player and the club on how to treat those injuries changed all of that. Landrys contract expired at the start of free agency on March 13 without the two sides having any serious talks about a new deal.The Redskins signed O. J. Atogwe to team up with Landry to give them what they thought would be one of the better safety tandems in the league for the next few seasons. Injuries derailed his season and the Redskins decided not to bet the 4 million they were slated to pay him in 2012 that he would stay healthy this year.It is possible that the Redskins were on the fence about keeping Atogwe when they were blindsided by the NFLs 36 million cap penalty and then decided to cut bait. It was thought that the penalty, 18 million of which had to be take this year, might force the Redskins to jettison some high-priced veterans in order to stay under the cap.Among those who were thought to be in jeopardy were Chris Cooley and Santana Moss, who carry 2012 salaries of 3.8 million and 2.6 million respectively. Cooley was already a backup with the emergence of Fred Davis and Moss got pushed further down the down the depth chart when the Redskins signed Pierre Garon and Josh Morgan. But with training camp starting next month, both have remained on the roster.With their available salary cap dollars reduced, the Redskins found themselves with only two safeties with NFL experience on their roster. While DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty both started some games, neither is the caliber player you want to rely on for 16 games.However, with the cap constraints and a weak free agent market at the position, the Redskins had to make do with who they could sign. Brandon Meriweather joined his third team in seven months when the Redskins signed him on March 15. In mid-April the Bucs released Tanard Jackson, whose career had been disrupted by injuries and substance abuse related suspensions. The Redskins signed him a few days later. The 30-year-old Madieu Williams signed on April 10.While Jim Hasletts defense will have to make do with a bargain basement group of safeties, Kyle Shanahan, at least to this point, has some high-priced depth to rely on to help Robert Griffin III adjust to life in the NFL.Over the last couple of years, Hasletts has benefitted from having a lot of draft picks and free agent dollars sent in the direction of his unit so its hard for him to cry foul. But we will see if gambling on a low-cost safety unit pays off.

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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

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Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

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Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay wrap up the Redskins offseason and prepare for what will be the most intriguing and the most overplayed storylines at training camp in Richmond.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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