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Redskins fan mailbag: Evaluating the O-line

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Redskins fan mailbag: Evaluating the O-line

Welcome to this week's fan mailbag with your questions about the Washington Redskins. Remember you can hit me with a question at any time on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN or on the Real Redskins Facebook page. Let's jump right into your questions:
@Rich_TandlerCSN do you think well see changes on the oline this year?

— adam (@adam19b) November 12, 2013
This was one of several questions about the offensive line and I have to say that I don't get it. The Redskins are third in the NFL in rushing and second in average yards per carry. Robert Griffin III has been sacked 18 times. Only five other NFL teams have allowed fewer sacks. I'm not sure what else you want out of a line short of preventing sacks and helping the running backs gain yardage. Have they had some bad games? Sure they have, including the one in Dallas and the most recent one in Minnesota (which I suspect is prompting all of the questions today). Should they look seriously this offseason at going younger and cheaper and having Adam Gettis, Josh LeRibeus (assuming he shows up in shape), and Tom Compton legitimately have a chance to compete for a job? Certainly they should. But the O-line is not a dumpster fire in need of immediate attention as many of you seem to believe that it is.
@Rich_TandlerCSN 29th ‰ Skins d, and Haslett ranked 21st or worse every year since 01. http://t.co/CEWDAvAhLH any accountability next year?

— Prem Iyer (@premiyerx) November 12, 2013
It looks like my friend Prem, like many others, is asking if Jim Haslett will be back next year. And I hate to disappoint you all by saying that is still to be determined. We have almost half of the season to go and if the defense turns things around like it did last year, it's very likely that, despite the historic record that Prem points out, he will be back. That's not set in stone; regardless of the finish, if Mike Shanahan believes that he has to jettison Haslett in order to save his job he likely will do so.

The wide receiver corps will need bodies, no question about it. Santana Moss is unlikely to return and Josh Morgan would have to give a massive hometown discount if he is going to stay and compete for a job. They might look in the draft for some talent but free agency also is a possibility. However, I wouldn't look for them to go after the specific players you mention. Nicks hasn't been healthy for two year now. Now that Britt is managing to stay out of jail he can't catch a cold. And Bowe signed a long-term deal with the Chiefs earlier this year. I'd look for some lesser names to be pursued by the Redskins.
@Rich_TandlerCSN If Orakpo continues to be underwelming at his position, is he a member of the Skins next year?

— Lombardi_trophy 2 DC (@readytowinitall) November 12, 2013
First thing to say here is that while I don't think that the ratings on Pro Football Focus are the last word by any means, but they do have some merit and PFF has Orakpo ranked as the Redskins' best defender and it's not really close. Disappointing sack numbers notwithstanding, there is no reason the Redskins would not welcome him back. And there's no reason why Orakpo wouldn't want to come back. The multi-million dollar question will be if they can agree on what fair compensation for him will be. If I had to guess right now I think that they'll be able to come up with a deal that neither side is completely happy with but that both will be able to live with. But that's far from a sure thing.

I'll roll the half dozen or so Nick Williams questions into this one. Yes, I think there is a very good chance that Williams will be active on Sunday against the Eagles and that he will be deep when the Eagles punt. How will be do? Sorry, can't tell you that. His only preseason return was a 29-yard effort so that has to be considered a good sign. But they don't run live punt returns during training camp and we can't see the walkthroughs they do in practice at Redskins Park. We will all have to find out together. If he catches the ball cleanly and doesn't go backwards, he will at least not be a downgrade compared to what they have been putting out there.

One more question rolling up many. I picked this one because of the last part is something that nobody else asked. I have heard that Bruce Allen is not going anywhere regardless of what happens to Mike Shanahan. The fates of the two are not intertwined. As to Shanahan, I think a lot depends on how this season finishes out. If the Redskins can get to, say, 8-8 or thereabouts I think Shanahan gets a one- or two-year extension. If the Redskins win a few more games but still end up with double-digit losses I think that an extension becomes very problematic. If the team collapses are there are signs that Shanahan is losing the locker room, all bets on the coach's future are off.

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Redskins roster by the numbers: Defense

Redskins roster by the numbers: Defense

The Redskins currently have 75 players on their roster. They are about to add some more in the draft and as undrafted free agents. They can have up to 90 players on their offseason roster. Year after year the distribution of those players to positions are consistent. We can look at what they have and see what they need to sign to get through OTAs, minicamp, and training camp.

Let’s break down the numbers by position and see where they will need to add players to get to where they want to be going into training camp. Last week we looked at the offense; today we’ll look at the numbers on defense.

End

Have: 6
Need: 8

Just like in a game, you want plenty of players to rotate through the line in the heat of training camp. They could carry one or two additional players here since they are legitimately in search of players who can have an impact beyond starters Terrelle McClain and Stacy McGee and pass rushing project Anthony Lanier.  

Nose Tackle

Have: 2
Need: 4

Like with the ends, you want to have a few big guys to rotate in when it gets hot in Richmond. It would be surprising if the Redskins didn’t add a nose tackle to the mix in the draft, probably on Saturday.

Inside linebacker

Have: 9
Need: 8

If the Redskins take an inside linebacker in the draft, as many expect that will, this position would get very crowded. They could keep as many as six on the final 53-man roster if there are a couple of key special teams players in the group.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

Outside linebacker

Have: 7
Need: 7

They could keep an extra one or two if they find some in the draft. You can’t have too many pass rushers, although they have kept just four on the final roster recently.  

Cornerback

Have: 7
Need: 8

It has always seemed to be a little odd to me that they’ll bring in a dozen wide receivers and only seven or eight corners.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often

Safety

Have: 7
Need: 7

The depth chart here is unusual in that all seven players have significant NFL playing time; there is no “training camp fodder” here. If the draft one, an experienced player might be let go.  

Total defensive players under contract: 38
Total needed for camp: 41

There are 34 offensive players and three specialists on the roster, making the total 75. If they don’t make deals and use all 10 of their draft picks that will leave just five spots to sign undrafted free agents. They likely will want to sign more than that meaning that some of the players currently on the roster will end up getting cut, particularly those on the defensive side.

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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Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

One of the longest eras in NASCAR will come to an end concluding the 2017 season.

Early on Tuesday morning, Hendrick Motorsports announced that 18-year veteran, longtime Redskins fan and popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. would retire at the conclusion of the current season.

Earnhardt, son of the late legendary seven-time champion, Dale Earnhardt Sr., told his No. 88 team members before the organization released the news.

Last season, the 42-year-old missed the final 18 races of the NASCAR season due to a concussion. The injury resulted in a 32nd place finish in the NASCAR standings and it was the first time he missed the association's 'playoffs' since 2010. 

Throughout his long career, Earnhardt captured 26 race wins, two being the elusive Daytona 500 in 2004 and 2014. Due to the legendary status of his father, he never quite lived up to the level many placed on the Earnhardt family name. His win total is roughly a third of his father's and has not won a championship. Best career points finish for Earnahrdt was third in 2003, and finished fifth three times (2004, 2006, 2013). Starting in 603 total races, he has finished in the top 10 in nearly half of those races, 253 times.

Despite the lack of a championship, he was named NASCAR's most popular driver 14 times, trailing only Bill Elliott who won that honor 16 seasons. 

RELATED: EARNHARDT FORCED TO RACE IN EAGLES-THEMED CAR

At the end of 2017, Earnhardt's contract with Hendrick Motorsports was set to expire after 10 seasons with NASCAR's most successful team. Prior to his tenure with Hendrick, he was a part of Dale Earnhardt Inc. for eight years where he won 17 of his total 26 race wins. 

Currently, Earnhardt is 24th in the NASCAR standings, 50 points behind the cut-off for the final playoff spot. There are still 18 races remaining in the season for him to make up the ground with some of his best tracks still on the docket. In addition, a win would boost Earnhardt up into a playoff spot due to NASCAR's playoff system. 

With Earnhardt Jr. retiring, there will be one Earnhardt remaining in the Monster Energy Cup Series to carry the family name. Grandson of Dale Earnhardt Sr., and nephew of Jr., Jeffery Earnhardt is a regular in the series. 

Hendrick Motorsports announced in their release that they will not name a replacement for Earnhardt Jr. just yet. During his 18-race absence in 2016, he was replaced by a young prospect, Alex Bowman and four-time series champion Jeff Gordon.

It is anticipated either Bowman or 19-year-old William Byron, who Rick Hendrick signed to an Xfinity Series contract last season, will take his place. 

As a lifetime fan of the Washington football team, Earnhardt has been known to put his opinion of the team out there.

He was not happy with how the team handled Scot McCloughan situation, and publicly voiced his support of Kirk Cousins