I'm in the beginning stages of preparing for my first NFL season as a beat reporter. So where did I start? Same place as any sportswriter: with the Las Vegas odds, obviously.I was not stunned to learn that the Redskins check in as long shots -- 60 to 1, to be exact -- to win Super Bowl XLVII, according to the most recent odds.Not great. But, hey, at least they're not the Jags, whose odds of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy are 125 to 1. Or the Browns and Colts, each of whom are currently 80 to 1.And it's better than it was when the lines opened not too long after the Super Bowl. The Redskins were 75 to 1 to win it all then. Although we don't know for sure, I have to think that the acquisition of that new quarterback, that kid who goes by RG3, has something to do with that. I have to doubt that the signing of Brandon Meriweather could move the needle like that.Within the NFC East, the 'Skins rank last, which isnot all that surprising given last year's 5-11 record and the fact that they're starting a rookie quarterback. The Giants and Eagles, meantime, are both 12 to 1, while the Cowboys are 20 to 1.Is this the wrong place to remind folks that Vegas bookmakers are, generally speaking, pretty good at their jobs?
Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.
It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.
—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75
The Redskins week that was
How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.
Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.
Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.
For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.
Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.
Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is always open to some coaching no matter who it comes from. On Friday that coaching came from Veronica, an 85-year old woman who works at Congressional Country Club and is a die-hard Redskins fan.
Cousins posted a picture of the pair together on his Instagram account Friday afternoon.
Why I love playing for Washington... Just met Veronica, an 85 year old employee at Congressional Country Club, has worked there for 53 years and is a diehard Redskins fan. She had 3 thoughts to share: 1. She coaches me from her couch 2. Wants to be sure I get the ball out when I drop back 3. Wants the new receivers to get involved in the offense I'll see what I can do!
Veronica made some solid suggestions, especially the one about him getting the ball out of his hands quicker.
Despite the rocky contract situation with the team, there's no question that Cousins loves the passionate Redskins fan base.