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Need to Know: Wrapping up Jay Gruden's year-end press conference

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Associated Press

Need to Know: Wrapping up Jay Gruden's year-end press conference

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 3, 70 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL free agency starts (3/14/18) 70
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 113
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9/18) 229

Jay Gruden presser recap

JP wrote a story about what Jay Gruden had to say about Kirk Cousins in his year-end press conference and I did a post on what he said about injury prevention. He hit on a number of topics that I’ll recap briefly here. Some of them will be subjects of expanded articles in the coming days.

No coaching staff changes, at least for now: “We’re in evaluation mode. The staff’s all here. We’re going to evaluate our players first, you know, make sure we have a clear understanding of where we need to improve, how we need to improve, and then we’ll evaluate the staff also.” Later he said quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell is not going to move to UCLA to become Chip Kelly’s offensive coordinator at UCLA. O’Connell will be the team’s pass game coordinator in addition to his duties QB coach.

How much Chris Thompson’s injury affected the offense: “Well, Chris is an impact player. He had almost 600 yards receiving in 10 games. You know, that’s hard to replace. Not to mention his rushing yards and his ability to pick up blitzes. He’s a matchup nightmare.” Comment: You can talk about “next man up”, blah, blah, blah, all day long. The simple fact is you don’t replace a player like Thompson and not lose a lot.

The 2018 season is important to the organization and to Gruden’s job security: “Oh, yeah, without a doubt. Every year is its own entity and every year is important. And we have to be competitive. We have to do better in our division – we have to do better against the Cowboys, the Eagles, without a doubt, the Giants, moving forward.” Comment: More on this later but if the 2018 Redskins don’t get off to a good start Gruden’s seat will be so hot he had better be wearing asbestos pants.

He sort of answers a question on if he would be comfortable with Colt McCoy as the starting QB in 2018: “How comfortable? Colt McCoy has done an excellent job here. I’ve always been comfortable with Colt.” Comment: That’s the quote in its entirety. Notice that he refers to comfort in the past, nothing about the coming season. Lots more to come about this.

Continuity is good; so is change: “You always want continuity, but I think change is also necessary in the National Football League with the players, staff, all that stuff. There’s going to be change in the National Football League on every team, every organization, and we have to embrace it. We have to make sure that we make the necessary changes to make us better and not worse.” Comment: It kind of sounds like he’s getting ready for a change at the most important position on the field.

Gruden remains, as you might expect, a big fan of Ryan Grant: “Well, I think Ryan Grant’s a free agent and we’re going to try and do everything we can to get him back, in my opinion. I think he, given the opportunities he got, he took advantage of them and played extremely well.” Comment: Grant would be re-signed as a fourth WR, not a starter.  

Does the extension signed by Quinton Dunbar affect the status of pending free agent Bashaud Breeland? “Yeah, it has no effect on Bree whatsoever . . . You can never have too many corners in your building, so whatever happens with Breeland happens, but I know that having another quality corner that can run and cover is a value.” Comment: Sure, you can’t have too many good corners but you can spend too much of your cap space at the position. That's what is likely to have Breeland in a new uniform in 2018.

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.

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Need to Know: Five potential Redskins first-round draft picks

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Five potential Redskins first-round draft picks

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 17, 56 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 48
—NFL Draft (4/26) 99
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 235

Five possible Redskins first-round draft picks

As you can see from the “Days until” counter above, the NFL draft is 99 days away. A lot will happen between now and then but let’s look at some prospects who will fit the Redskins and who should be available at pick No. 13.

ILB Roquan Smith, Georgia—If you watched Georgia at all during the national semifinals or finals, you had to be impressed with his instincts, speed, hard hitting, and solid tackling. Even if free agent Zach Brown stays, the Redskins could pair him up with Smith and have a dynamic pair of inside linebackers for the first time since they started running the 3-4 in 2010. The problem for the Redskins is that his high-profile performances in those big game may have pushed Smith into the top 10.

QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma—A quarterback should be the choice early in the draft unless Kirk Cousins is signed to a long-term deal. Mayfield is an unconventional type of QB at about 6-1. There’s a lot to like about him, though—mobility, playmaking ability, and deep ball accuracy. He seems to have learned from his off-field mistakes, including an arrest about a year ago (apparently for yelling). In any case, if he is on the Redskins’ radar they will thoroughly vet him between now and draft day. Other QB possibilities are Josh Allen of Wyoming and Lamar Miller of Louisville.

WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama—Hey, why not another wide receiver, which would be the second one in the first round in three years, and another member of the Crimson Tide after taking Alabama players 1-2 in 2017. I know that people would cringe at another round 1 WR but after Terrelle Pryor flamed out last year it certainly is a need. Ridley would represent a solid value at No. 13.

DL Vita Vea, Washington—This pick would solve a couple of problems. At 6-4, 332 Vea has the size and strength needed to play nose tackle, solving another problem that has been around since 2010. What might make him worth a first-round pick is that he doesn’t have to go to the bench in nickel. Vea is versatile enough to rush the passer and play three downs. Start a line with Vea, Jonathan Allen, and Matt Ioannidis, mix in a few quality rotational players, and get Jim Tomsula to coach them up and you will have a top-notch D-line. As of right now, Vea is considered to be more of a late first-round player but a lot can change in the next 99 days.

RB Derrius Guice, LSU—Dreams of getting Saquon Barkley at No. 13 are just that and trading up far enough to get him would cost way too much draft capital. But Guice is a good mix of speed, power, agility, and receiving ability. With the exception of Alfred Morris’ first couple of seasons, the Redskins have been ordinary at best since the prime of Clinton Portis a decade ago. Many were impressed with Sony Michel of Georgia, who could be available in the second round.

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.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one: