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What to watch for in the draft tonight

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What to watch for in the draft tonight

What should you look for in the draft leading up to the Redskins third-round pick, the 69th overall selection?First, look for the live chat well be having right here tonight from 7:00 to 8:00. We can talk about whats coming up and what the Redskins should do and, yes, we can talk about RG3 a bit should he turn out to be a popular subject.OK, end of shameless plug. I think that most agree, Mike Shanahans possible smokescreen notwithstanding, that the Redskins biggest need going in is at right tackle. Certainly Shanahan and company can see that, too. But that does not necessarily mean that they will take one in the third.If they are going to take a player there, they want to have someone who has a reasonable chance of becoming a starter or at least becoming a rock solid backup. If no tackle fits that description they need to look at a position of lesser need.Ah, but only two offensive tackles, Matt Kalil and Riley Reiff, were taken in the first round when many mock drafts had four or even five going on the first night. Shouldnt that mean that there should be plenty of quality tackles for the Redskins to choose from with the 69th pick?Maybe. What you have to look for is a run on offensive tackles at some point during the second round. It is expected that players like Jonathan Martin and Cordy Glenn will go fairly early in the second round.But if names like Bobby Massie, Jeff Allen, and Zebrie Sanders start to come off of the board, the chances of the Redskins being able to get an eventual Jammal Brown replacement in the third round will start to look dim. And if teams are reach for the likes of Donald Stephenson and Tom Crompton late in the third round, start to check your personal draft board for other positions because the Redskins arent going to take a fifth-round tackle in the third round.In fact, a run on tackles could precipitate a trade up by the Redskins if they want a player badly enough to use one or both of their fourth-round picks to move up. If Massie and Sanders go off of the board in the earlier part of the second round, look for the possibility of the Redskins bundling some picks to move up and get their man.If the tackles go early and the Redskins dont move up, look for a cornerback to be the pick. That and wide receiver are the two deepest positions in the draft and since CB is a greater need that would seem to be the best bet.Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.

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FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

FINLAY: Redskins' statement was a mistake, but won't impact on field results

The Redskins made a mistake issuing a statement about their failed long-term contract negotiations with Kirk Cousins. The team offered too much specific information.

On the field, however, starting next week in training camp, the statement will make zero impact.

Centered around the roller coaster that occurred between Bruce Allen’s statement on Monday afternoon and Kirk Cousins’ Tuesday interview with Grant and Danny on 106.7 the Fan, some Redskins fans think that hopes for the Burgundy and Gold are buried this fall. 

Was Allen’s statement a wise move? No. There was no reason to publicly put out the team’s offer, or more importantly, tell the world that Cousins never countered. It seemed like an attempt to control the conversation, and a lame attempt at that.

But here’s the thing: A deal was never happening

Cousins knew that. The Redskins knew that.

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

And the zaniness of Monday and Tuesday should not have any impact on the 2017 season.

If Cousins can do anything, it’s compartmentalize. 

Last season, he dealt with almost the exact same public mess of a contract squabble. The team never offered him remotely close to market value, and the QB still came out and threw for nearly 5,000 yards. 

Cousins will again block out the noise, and deliver his best possible performance for the Redskins. The team should be better too. An improved defense should help immediately (even if that jump goes from bad to average), and a rebuilt receiving group should give Cousins the weapons to again run Jay Gruden’s potent offense. 

There are fan theories that the team might implode, and eventually, go to Colt McCoy or Nate Sudfeld at quarterback. I don’t see that happening. 

Cousins is under contract for 2017. The coaching staff, and the players, know what he can do. Personally, I don’t think the season unravels. Cousins is a good player. He's established a baseline for his performance over the past two years. 

The time since the franchise tag deadline doesn’t change that. The time since the franchise tag doesn’t change Jordan Reed’s ability to get open. It doesn’t change Jamison Crowder’s quickness on the inside or Trent Williams power on the outside.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

I don’t expect the Redskins to run off 13 wins. I’ve already written that I don’t even think the team will make the playoffs. To be clear, however, I don’t think Bruce Allen’s statement will make a difference once the players take the field in real games. 

On Wednesday, Chad Dukes of the Fan asked me if it’s possible that the Redskins season unravels, and things go sideways with Cousins. I don't expect that, and Dukes wondered if I was being overly optimistic. 

Could things fall apart? Sure. Anything is possible in the NFL, and especially with the Redskins. 

For me, however, Cousins' talent in the Redskins offensive system will mitigate the local penchant for crazy. Cousins has thrown for 9,000 yards and completed more than 68 percent of his passes in the last two seasons. He also bet on himself, again, to produce at a high level in 2017.

I think Cousins is smart. I think Gruden's offense will work. I think the Redskins defense will be improved. 

I don’t think this team makes the playoffs, but they should be close. I also don’t think this team implodes. 

Looking at the big picture, I definitely don’t consider myself an optimist. A realist, perhaps, but only time will tell. 

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!

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Need to Know: Redskins fan questions—Backup plan at center, ILB depth chart

Need to Know: Redskins fan questions—Backup plan at center, ILB depth chart

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 20, seven days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 200 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 52 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 21
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 30
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 44

Answering Redskins fan questions

I also got virtually an identical question from Alan on Facebook so it leads here. Spencer Long is the starter, period, end of story. During the offseason, I asked both Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan about the backup center position. Both expressed hope that sixth-round pick Chase Roullier will be up to speed by the time the season starts. But if he’s not ready, I think they will have to find a veteran. Right now, the best available is Nick Mangold but I doubt he wants to sign up to be a backup. They will be keeping a close eye on the waiver wire for this year’s version of John Sullivan.

I assume you mean training camp. And I suppose you could say the same thing but insert Nate Sudfeld instead of McCoy. In either case, the answer is no. First of all, the team wants to win. They need to get Cousins, to whom they are paying $24 million, ready to play with the first offense. He’s not going to prepare by throwing to Ryan Grant and passing behind a line with Vinston Painter on his blind side. Second, it would be a great way to drive away the rest of the team. They want to win, too. There are about 15 key players who are free agents in 2018. If the Redskins want to retain the quality players in that group they need to try to win in 2017 and let 2018 sort itself out when it gets here. Now, if it’s December and they are 3-11 it’s a different story.

They rotated them around during the offseason program and, as expected, no coach would address who starters might be in May or June. I think the way that it will play out is that Zach Brown will start at Will linebacker and Will Compton will be the Mike. Mason Foster will come in for nickel situations, something he did well last year after Su’a Cravens was injured. Some fans want to see Foster start with Brown but the coaches like to Compton’s football IQ and he is the only one of the three who has experience called defenses. All three will see plenty of action. Really no idea of how they rank but if the D-line is better the group at ILB will be better.

I’ll play along here since John is a longtime Twitter friend. Let’s establish that neither is very likely to happen. Last I looked the Redskins were a 66-1 shot to win the Super Bowl. They might have a better shot than that but no better than about 50-1. The Rams, per Westgate Sporting Book, are 25-1 to win the NFC West. Seattle is the odds-on favorite in that division at 1-4 so they would have to have a down year for the Rams to win it. But I see that happening more easily than the Redskins making the playoffs (that’s very possible) and winning three or four more games on top of that. The Rams have a solid defense and if Jared Goff can generate enough of a threat to open up room for Todd Gurley they could win some games, maybe enough to steal a division title if Seattle has a down year. I just don’t think that the Redskins are there yet.

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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