There is a long held belief that if an NFL team has a strong player at eachof the following positions secured, success should follow: quarterback,offensive tackle, pass rusher, corner. While the specific weight put on eachhas varied over the years - more than ever passers are paramount to goodfortune in this overt aerial age and some will argue the value of a left tacklehas dipped - the overall concept is one I've followed since my younger days(Ken Beatrice had something to do with this).CBS Sports NFL writer Pete Prisco used this angle to come up with his "four-prongedrankings", focusing on the 2012 season - with seemingly little to zeroemphasis on the future, on upside.Let's emphasize that last point because I feel confident it will take readersof this post, from the rabid face painters to the doom and gloomers, a fewmoments to even comprehend where Prisco's calculations put the Redskins. Let's put it this way. If you used Beatrice's catch phrase "YOURNEXT" every time a new team was revealed, you would utter it 31 times,uncovering every other NFL franchise before the Redskins popped up. After theColts and Vikings, after the Seahawks and Cardinals come the burgundy and gold.Here's how Prisco's math on the locals came to be:- the top player on each team at each position is ranked 1-32 within hiscategory (in other words, Brian Orakpo is listed but not Ryan Kerrigan). Thetop player receives 32 points and so on. However, factoring in the pass-happytimes we live in, points are doubled for the quarterbacks. - The Redskins core four of Robert Griffin III (26 among quarterbacks),Trent Williams (19), Orakpo (14) and DeAngelo Hall (31) combined for 49 points.That's two less than the Cardinals, who managed to somehow top the Redskinseven though the position of their best player (Larry Fitzgerald) is not evenpart of the equation. - The 49 points is also 86 less than the team in first. Nope, not thePackers with Aaron Rodgers (the No. 1 quarterback) or the Texans with premiertackle Duane Brown or the Jets and top pass defender Darrelle Revis. In the truestdefinition of adding insult to injury...the Cowboys finished first (rankingDeMarcus Ware tops among pass rushers helped)- Like the draft, RG3 came in one spot behind of Andrew Luck - but alsotrailed Mark Sanchez, Alex Smith, Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Cassel. Like I said,upside apparently meant squat. -As for Williams and Orakpo, theirrankings seem reasonable(Orakpo is ahead of the 49ers' top blitzer Aldon Smith). Truth is, so doesHall's. No doubt having to scroll down and down this list to find the Redskins was surprisingand instinctively put me into a dukes up position, at first anyway. Obviouslyif the rookie quarterback does a reasonable Cam Newton (11) or Andy Dalton (19)impression, Griffin's ranking will have been too low. Looking at the passers inany way beyond a 2012 prism changes the list, for the good, for the locals thatis.For now, RG3s low number combined with Hall receiving no help from the Russianjudge put the Redskins building blocks into the unenviable position of looking upat all others, on this list anyway.
Following a slew of reports that cast doubt on the Redskins reaching a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins, ESPN's Dianna Russini tweeted Tuesday that the impass is not about money.
There’s a lot of water under the bridge between Kirk Cousins & Washington. Told a long term deal "doesn’t look promising" by 7/17 #Redskins— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) June 27, 2017
I have spoken to many in regards to Redskins and Cousins...told there isn't a real price that will make Kirk Cousins happy...this is deeper— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) June 27, 2017
20 days until this long term contract deadline. We are at a point...the Redskins and Cousins need each other... but don't want each other.— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) June 27, 2017
If the report is true, then Washington has run out of good options for retaining Cousins in the long term.
It's possible the team could use a third-straight franchise tag to keep him next season, but the price tag around $34 million would be astronomical for one season.
The transition tag would be worth in the neighborhood of $28 million.
Russini doesn't elaborate on the reasons behind her report that Cousins wouldn't be happy in Washington regardless of price. But it's important to note that both teams and players have incentive to create leverage in contract negotiations through the media.
The Redskins have until July 17 to reach a long-term deal with Cousins.
MORE REDSKINS: Backup center again a question mark for the Redskins
Over the next few weeks, Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ 2017 depth chart as the team enjoys some R&R ahead of training camp. Some positions are easy to handicap. Others have moving parts and, thus, are more complex. So, who’s in? And who’s in trouble?
Position: Interior offensive line
On the roster: Guards Shawn Lauvao, Brandon Scherff, Arie Kouandjio, Tyler Catalina, Kyle Kalis, Isaiah Williams; Centers Spencer Long, Chase Roullier, Ronald Patrick
Locks: Lauvao, Scherff, Kouandjio, Long
As noted here this morning, there seemed to be a pretty good chance that Lauvao would be on his way out. But free agency and the draft went by and no serious challenger for him was acquired. It looks like they will let him play out the last year of his free agent contract and then see what they want to do with him next year when he will be a 30-year-old free agent.
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The Redskins might like Kouandjio, going into his third season, to emerge as a viable option as Lauvao’s successor. He was not up to the task in a couple of spot starts last year. But, just like Lauvao, he can take some comfort in the fact that the organization did not expend any major resources on bringing in another guard for competition.
Scherff went to the Pro Bowl in his second year in the league. He will be a fixture at right guard for the next decade or so, provided the Redskins can figure out a way to get a third high-priced offensive lineman under the salary cap (in addition to tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses).
Long did a solid job in his first year as the starting center. He will anchor the line again this year. He is eligible for a contract extension and it will be interesting to see if talks heat up between now and training camp.
On the bubble: Roullier
In an ideal Redskins world, the rookie sixth-round pick would be able to learn center and both guard spots well enough to be a workable fill-in on game days. In the real world, that may not work. During minicamp, offensive line coach Bill Callahan told me that while he had been impressed with how well Roullier had picked things up so far, the real test will come with the pads on in Richmond.
MORE REDSKINS: Redskins 53-man roster projection, defense
Long shots: Catalina, Kalais, Williams, Patrick
You never know what will happen during the preseason but it seems that the practice squad is the best hope for any of these guys to be around Ashburn in the fall. If injury or issues with Roullier’s development create a hole in the depth chart in the 53-man roster the organization is likely to go outside to find help off the waiver wire. Two or three on this list are likely to be back for another shot in 2018.