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The Offseason Begins

The Offseason Begins

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

This week’s Tuesday Take was essentially going to write itself. All I would have to do is refer back to last week’s edition, the part where I wrote about the Redskins’ training camp workload vs. that of the Falcons. After the Redskins’ first two drives, both crisply executed touchdown marches, it was obvious that Atlanta was a dead football team walking. Jim Mora’s brutal camp in August had left them with nothing in the tank in December. And while the Redskins’ relatively easy training camp regime had probably cost them the season since they weren’t ready to play when the season started they were ready to get on a patented Joe Gibbs December roll. In addition to being able to bang out this piece with my eyes closed an article breaking down the Redskins’ playoff possibilities was in the offing.

But then they had to play the last 45 minutes of the game.

While the Redskins didn’t seem to weaken--especially Ladell Betts, who kept on ripping off 12 yard runs--the Falcons got their legs under them and established control. They started holding on to Michael Vick’s passes, Vick started scrambling and they climbed back into the game. Jason Campbell did a couple of things that made him look like a quarterback playing in his third NFL game. Once the Redskins got behind they never got a sense of urgency to try to rally. Their offense in the last five minutes of the game seemed to be confused. On several occasions they wasted time decided whether or not they needed to huddle up before huddling, wasting precious seconds.

When Jason Campbell’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete with 26 seconds left, ending any chance at a miracle finish, the Redskins’ offseason officially began. While it’s true that an 8-8 NFC team probably will make the playoffs, perhaps even two of them, the Redskins aren’t going to finish at 8-8. They haven’t demonstrated the ability to string together more than five quarters of solid football all year long; it’s sheer fantasy to think that they could suddenly get hot for 16 quarters, run the table, and get to .500.

There will be plenty of time to break down what the Redskins should do this offseason in the coming weeks. At first glance, however, I think that they need to resist the urge to make massive changes. Their salary cap situation will prevent them from doing much in the free agent market, which is a good thing. The team needs some stability. They made relatively few changes after the 2004 season and they went 10-6 the next year.

Jason Campbell spending seven games plus a full offseason as the team’s #1 quarterback will do a world of good for the offense. So will spending a second offseason absorbing and adjusting to Al Saunders’ offense. The players and the organization seriously underestimated the difficulty of that task this year. Let’s not forget having a healthy Clinton Portis back in the lineup in addition to all of that.

One thing that they can do right now is play Rocky McIntosh at weakside linebacker. It seems that Warrick Holdman is to Gregg Williams what Mark Brunell is to Joe Gibbs. Williams can defend Holdman’s play all he wants but the fact is that the Redskins invested a pair of second-round picks in McIntosh and they have to see what they have in him.

But there is no need to make changes for the sake of making changes. Instability has been the hallmark of the Redskins organization since 1999. What we’re seeing now is largely the result of that continuous upheaval. Some adjustments and refinements are necessary, but the core of the team, both in terms of players and coaches, needs to remain intact.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when they moved to Washington for the 1937 season through 2001. It makes the perfect stocking stuffer for the Redskins fans on your shopping list. For details and ordering information go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—First round of draft could fall into place

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—First round of draft could fall into place

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 21, 96 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 39
NFL free agency starts 47
First Sunday of 2017 season 232

The Redskins week that was

A look back at the week with some of the top posts on RealRedskins.com and on CSNmidatlantic.com.  

An early look at 1st-round draft possibilities for the Redskins—This post marked 100 days until the draft and now were a few days closer. It’s very early but the preliminary big boards make it look like the Redskins are likely to have a defensive lineman such as Solomon Thomas of Stanford or Mailk McDowell of Michigan State wind up as the best available player so that both the fans a Scot McCloughan can be happy.

Cap room a dilemma for Redskins McCloughan?—There is plenty of talk about how expensive Kirk Cousins’ contract or franchise tag will be and how the expense could affect the ability to spend in other positions. But the team has $62 million in cap space. If they don’t spend a good chunk of it on Cousins what will they do with it? They could bring back Pierre Garçon, Chris Baker and make new deals for eligible 2014 draft picks like Bashaud Breeland and Morgan Moses and still have a lot left over. If they don’t spend it a quarterback, what will they do with it? I do know that if they have, say, $20 million in cap space left and they are around .500 again, the fans and media will not be happy.

Projecting the Redskins 2017 roster—Offense—The changes on this side of the ball will feel more like reloading than rebuilding. I’m assuming Cousins will be back one way (long-term deal) or another (tag). At least four out of the five O-linemen are set and the tight ends will get set if McCloughan can lure Vernon Davis back. We’ll see if the running back corps gets shaken up in the draft or in free agency. The one area that could be wide open is receiver and even that could remain relatively stable if Garçon returns.

3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend—I think fans generally have become much more apathetic about Pro Bowl selections compared to, say, seven or eight years ago. Playing in the exhibition game is an “honor” that so many choose not to accept or, as was the case with Brandon Scherff, Ryan Kerrigan, and Jordan Reed, they are too injured after a 16-game season to take part. Meanwhile, alternates Cousins, Josh Norman, and Jamison Crowder (as a kick returner) have not yet heard their phones ring. Why does the NFL even bother with the Pro Bowl? People still watch it. Ratings for the last edition (4.5) were about a point lower than the MLB All-Star game (5.4) and a tick above the NBA All-Star game (4.3). Those are not huge ratings but big enough to turn a profit.  

The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins—I think that the first offer that both sides make here is going to be critical. If the Redskins lowball Cousins again it will set a bad tone. If Cousins’ offer is too high the Redskins could think that Cousins is determined to leave. And both sides need to be willing to negotiate. If any of that took place last year there was very little. With no give and take the talks will go nowhere. 

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In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Report: One more potential defensive coordinator is off the market for the Redskins

Report: One more potential defensive coordinator is off the market for the Redskins

Well it looks like the name many considered to be the Redskins top choice at defensive coordinator is off the market. Adam Schefter broke the news of Gus Bradley to the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Redskins interviewed Bradley early in their process of selecting a new defensive coordinator. His latest gig ended poorly after he was fired as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Bradley's best success came as defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks.

When he served in that role with Seattle, Bradley worked with Scot McCloughan. And prior to his coaching stint in Seattle, Bradley coached in Tampa, where he worked with both Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden.

Those connections, and his success in Seattle, had many fans hoping Bradley would take over for Joe Barry, who Washington dismissed more than two weeks ago.

The connection between Bradley and the Chargers comes as no surprise, and it leaves Washington still in need of a defensive boss.

Mike Pettine probably jumps to the top of the ranks of other coaches the Redskins have interviewed, but it still seems internal candidate Greg Manusky could be in position to move up to coordinator. Manusky spent the 2016 season as outside linebackers coach and has prior coordinator experience.

The Skins have also interviewed Dennis Thurman, last of Buffalo, Jason Tarver, last of San Francisco, Rob Ryan, also last in Buffalo, and John Pagano, last with the Chargers.

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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