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Need to Know: Redskins 2018 season preparation gets underway today

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Need to Know: Redskins 2018 season preparation gets underway today

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 16, 10 days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Redskins start 2018 preparations

It won’t look much like football, but the Redskins will formally gather at Redskins Park for the first time today as they start voluntary offseason workouts. 

The CBA outlines what can and can’t be done during each part of the program. During Phase One, which starts today, most of the activity is conditioning. Only strength and conditioning coaches can supervise the players on the field or even observe the activities. Per the CBA “no footballs are allowed to be used” and the players can’t wear helmets, just so you don’t think that this phase is getting back to football in any meaningful way. The one exception is that quarterbacks can throw to receivers, but the receivers can’t be covered. 

The coaches can meet with the players for a limited period of time each day during each phase, so they can start to roll out the playbook to Alex Smith and company. 

The first phase lasts two weeks. Then they move on to Phase Two, which starts to look more like football. Coaches can be on the field, supervising drills and individual instruction. They break out the footballs and the offense and defense can line up, but not against each other. They also can’t do any individual drills like one-on-one pass protection or coverage. 

The helmets are left in the lockers for Phase Two. They are broken out in Phase Three, better known as OTAs. There are 10 sessions held between May 22 and June 7. Offense vs. defense drills are permitted, although no “live contact” is permitted. Some teams will push the limits of that loose definition of permissible contract; my observation has been that the Redskins play it safe with minimal contact. 

The first three phases of offseason workouts are voluntary. The CBA goes to great lengths to emphasize that players cannot be penalized in any way for choosing not to attend. Teams can use a carrot to encourage their players to participate via incentive bonuses for attendance at a specified percentage of the sessions. The Redskins have moved away from using those recently and this year none of their players has a workout attendance bonus clause. 

We know that a few Redskins will not be participating in OTAs or any other part of the offseason programs due to injuries. Trent Williams (knee), Morgan Moses (ankles), and Jordan Reed (toe) are out for the offseason program. It would be surprising to see Chris Thompson on the field; expect the team to be cautious with him even though the fractured fibula he suffered in Week 11 likely will be in good enough shape for him to work with the team. 

The one part of the offseason that is mandatory is minicamp. The Redskins will hold that from June 12-14, although it should be noted that Jay Gruden has canceled the final day of minicamp ever since he has been the head coach in Washington. On the field, the rules for minicamp are the same as they are for OTAs. 

After that, the team goes on break until training camp starts. The players will be expected to stay in shape over the six-week vacation. Many will continue to use the facilities at Redskins Park to remain in camp condition, but many others will do it from their home bases and/or vacation spots. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 36
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 101
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 146

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

More Redskins

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