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What effect will McCloughan missing the combine have on the Redskins?

What effect will McCloughan missing the combine have on the Redskins?

While there have been a few different reports and denials in the Scot McCloughan story one thing is clear. The man who supposedly has the final say in the draft and in free agency will not be at the NFL combine this week. How will this affect the team?

The combine operates on a few different levels. One is the activities that take place on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium with players running the 40-yard dash, doing vertical and long jumps, etc. McCloughan has never put much stock in that aspect of the combine.

“I think game tape is the DNA. That’s it,” he said during his introductory press conference in January of 2015. “You don’t play in T-shirts and shorts. All these kids nowadays get these speed trainers and nutritionists prior to the combine and I don’t blame them, if it gets them more money it gets them more money. I always go back to the tape.”

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The players’ times in the 40 and the three-cone drill and how far they went in the broad jump are all recorded so McCloughan can catch up on those if he chooses to. And it’s all taped so if he wants to look at the quarterbacks throwing he can do that as well.

Another important aspect of the combine is the medical exams. General managers seldom are involved here and the decision makers have access to the results.

The interviews with the prospects, however, are critical. McCloughan has always considered getting to know the potential draftees to get their stories to gauge their love for the game, something that McCloughan uses to determine if the prospect is his kind of “football player.” He can review videos of the interviews conducted by Jay Gruden, Scott Campbell, Doug Williams and others but that’s not the same as being there.

Outside of the interview rooms and stadium, there is plenty of business going on in Indianapolis. Although it’s not technically legal under NFL rules, there are plenty of discussions between GMs and agents about players who are going to hit the open market when free agency starts a week from today. This is mostly contract talk, which McCloughan is not heavily involved in. But presumably he has thoroughly evaluated the potential free agents and it would be useful for Bruce Allen and Eric Schaffer to have him there for consultation as they talk contract numbers.

More Redskins: What happens next with Cousins?

Back to his original presser almost two years ago, McCloughan believes that “game tape is the DNA” so perhaps he can learn 90 percent of what he needs to learn about the prospects in his office. But if he hasn’t been at the office since February 20, as was reported by 106.7 The Fan and denied by McCloughan and his agent, that is a lot of critical missed time.

Whether McCloughan has missed a couple of weeks or will only miss the combine it is hard to believe that he will be fully prepared to make decisions in free agency and in the draft. It has been reported that his authority at Redskins Park has been diminished as of late. Whether that’s the case or not, it’s hard to see him having full authority after having been out for such a critical stretch of time.

How the power dynamic will affect the quality of the players the Redskin select—which is ultimately what matters—remains to be seen.

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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Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, offense

Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, offense

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

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 204 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 48 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 17
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 26
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 41

Redskins roster projection—offense

The Redskins strap it up and start the battle for the 53 roster spots in earnest in just three days. Some are locks, others are hoping to hang on. Here is my prediction of the roster will shake out along with players who are on the bubble. The offense is up today, the defense tomorrow.

Players I have making the roster who are new to the organization in 2017 are in italics

Quarterback (3)

Starter: Kirk Cousins
Backups: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

Cousins and the team didn’t agree on the contract but that changes nothing for 2017. The elimination of two-a-day practices makes a fourth “camp arm” QB unnecessary so these three will handle all the snaps from now until when the season ends.   

Running backs (3)

Starter: Rob Kelley
Backups: Samaje Perine, Chris Thompson

Bubble: Mack Brown, Keith Marshall

Kelley skipped the drive-through window meals during the offseason, switching to a healthier diet to get himself in better shape. He will need to be strong to hold off Perine, who will make a push for playing time. Brown could be on or off depending on numbers elsewhere on the roster. If Marshall can stay healthy, he could force his way into the picture but the health is a big “if”.

Wide receivers (6)

Starters: Josh Doctson, Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder (slot)
Backups: Maurice Harris, Ryan Grant, Robert Davis

Bubble: Brian Quick

I’m not sure if Grant, who caught nine passes while playing in all 16 games last year, should be a lock but it appears that he is. Davis is a projection; he has a lot to learn but if he is showing significant progress he could push out the veteran Quick, who was not impressive during the offseason practices.    

Tight ends (4)

Starter: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Niles Paul, Jeremy Sprinkle

Bubble: Derek Carrier

Paul and Sprinkle could be considered on the bubble as well. The normal allowance is for three tight ends on the 53-man roster. Reed and Davis are locks, they need Paul for special teams, and Sprinkle is slated to be the blocking tight end. But Sprinkle needs to add a lot of polish to his game and Paul has the injury bug to fight. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Offensive line (9)

Starters (left to right): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses
Backups: Ty Nsekhe, Arie Kouandjio, Vinston Painter, Chase Roullier

Bubble: John Kling

The starters are locked in unless Kouandjio can come up with a huge camp and push Lauvao out of the starting job. Roullier could be the backup center but if he’s not ready the Redskins could look for a veteran off the waiver wire for that spot.

Offensive breakdown: 25 players, four rookies, a total of five new to the Redskins.

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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Redskins' Jay Gruden ranked highest of all NFC East coaches by For The Win

Redskins' Jay Gruden ranked highest of all NFC East coaches by For The Win

Jay Gruden doesn't always get a lot of attention from national media, which should be considered something of a victory for the Redskins after all of the focus on his predecessor Mike Shanahan. 

But looking at Gruden's work over three years, he does deserve some recognition for taking the team from 4-12 his first season to consecutive winning records, including an NFC East title in 2015. 

Steven Ruiz, writing for USA TODAY's For The Win, gave the Redskins coach some love in a ranking of all 32 NFL head coaches. 

He slotted Gruden at No. 12, above all other NFC East coaches. 

Ruiz cites Gruden's unflappability amid personnell and front office changes, as well as his development of Kirk Cousins into a franchise quarterback in a very productive Redskins offense. 

MORE REDSKINS: Pair of Redskins rookies could start season on NFI list

Ruiz ranks Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett at No. 16, reasoning that it's not hard to succeed when you pair one of the best offensive lines in the league with superstar rookies Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott. 

New York's Ben McAddo and Philadelphia's Doug Pederson rank No. 21 and 26, respectively. 

Interestingly, two Redskins offensive coordinators who've since taken head coaching jobs – Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay – fall way behind at No. 29 and 30. Both coaches have been rumored draws for Cousins once he hits free agency in 2018. 

Going back to Gruden, he deserves credit beyond giving Cousins the starting QB job. He's become well-liked and respected by Washington's players despite dealing with big-personality additions like DeSean Jackson and Josh Norman.

After the Redskins finished his first season with a 4-12 record, the team rebounded to win the NFC East in 2015 and then narrowly missed the playoffs with an 8-7 record in 2016. 

If Cousins plays up to his one-year, $24 million franchise tag, Gruden has a chance to continue building his coaching reputation.