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Redskins offseason questions: How will Su'a Cravens handle the change to safety?

Redskins offseason questions: How will Su'a Cravens handle the change to safety?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS

How will Su'a Cravens handle the switch to safety?

Finlay: Drafted in the second round in 2016, Su'a Cravens quickly showed his playmaking ability as a rookie. His Week 3 interception was the Redskins most important play of the season, spurring a four-game win streak, and showed he can read quarterbacks and make plays on the ball.

A gifted athlete and more importantly a smart football player, Cravens should be quite capable of switching from linebacker to safety in 2017. The team needs him to deliver, and Cravens will be motivated and determined to prove that he can play the position at the highest level.

Asked if Cravens is capable to be a safety in the NFL, multiple Redskins players said they had no doubt. "He's a safety," one player said. That about says it all.

Tandler: I’ve heard the same things from other players but if he’s a safety why didn’t he play safety last year on a team that desperately needed help there? He was listed as a safety on the official roster all year long. Cravens played scout team safety during practice most of the season. Why was he a linebacker? Perhaps that is more of a comment on the coaching staff than it is on Cravens’ abilities.

There are legitimate questions about his speed. He ran a 4.69 forty-yard dash at his pro day. There’s no question that he will be asked to defend receivers and some tight ends who are a full step or two faster than he is. Cravens can compensate as many strong safeties do but it’s something that opposing offenses will try to exploit.

Despite some questions, moving Cravens is worth a shot. It’s been a full decade since the Redskins have been settled at safety. If Cravens can solve half of the problem it would be a big step in the right direction. 

More offseason questions: 

What are resonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Pressure on Gruden, Galette confident

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Pressure on Gruden, Galette confident

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 24, 33 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 174 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles in FedEx Field in 78 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 23
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 47
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 70

The Redskins week that was

Pressure Points: Focus is on Jay Gruden like never before—So you lost two coordinators and your top two wide receivers? Well, the Redskins gave him a two-year contract extension because they think he can deal with problems like those. Gruden will be cut zero slack.

Post-minicamp 53-man roster projection, offense—Sure, there will be plenty of lip service about everyone having a chance of making the 53-man roster. But this cake is very nearly baked. But the real competition in training camp will be for the 10 practice squad spots. I picked 25 offensive players to make it and I’m confident that 23, maybe 22 of the picks will be right. There seems to be more questions on defense (roster projection here) but even on that side of the ball, few jobs are truly up for grabs.

Redskins in a no-lose situation with confident Galette—We haven’t seen Junior Galette practicing in the spring before. Two years ago, he wasn’t with the team yet and last year he was held out so he could rehab his torn Achilles. That means we don’t have much comparison to make but he did look good. Next step is to do it with the pads on.

Snyder 'THRILLED' with ruling that should protect Redskins name—The legal part of the fight to get the Redskins to change their name is over after the recent Supreme Court ruling. They will not lose their trademark protection, which would effectively force them to change the team. However, it seems likely that the political and social battle will go on.

Is a Redskins-Cousins deal not only possible but probable?—One analyst thinks that the Redskins have too much to lose to not get a deal done by July 17. I think he’s right but I’m not sure if I’ll go along with his odds. 

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.

Tandler on Twitter

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One surprising stat that puts Vernon Davis at top of NFL tight ends

One surprising stat that puts Vernon Davis at top of NFL tight ends

Vernon Davis played well in 2016, quite well in fact. Signed to a one-year deal after a poor 2015 season, expectations were low for Davis and he over-delivered.

He ended the season with 44 catches and 583 yards to go with two touchdowns, but a stat from Pro Football Focus truly stands out. 

There were 15 tight ends with more yards than Davis, including one on his own team in Jordan Reed. Still, at age 32, Davis had the moves to make defenders miss. 

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

Even early in 2016, as early as training camp, a number of Redskins players mentioned that Davis still had speed and quickness. That didn't change throughout the 16 game season. Pro Football Focus just quantified it. 

<<<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!