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25 Redskins questions: What will the 2015 record be?

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25 Redskins questions: What will the 2015 record be?

Since General Manager Scot McCloughan was hired in early January, he’s been busy retooling the Redskins’ roster via free agency and preparing for the 2015 draft. So far, he’s received mostly positive reviews. But his work is far from done. In the coming weeks, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will examine 25 issues that must be addressed as the offseason kicks into high gear.

What will the Redskins’ record be in 2015?

In the first 24 questions of this series we have mostly looked at the details of the 2015 Redskins—how the coaches will do, who will play, who will improve, who should be replaced. To wrap it up, we’re going to look at the big picture. What will their 2015 record be and how will they get there?

Tandler: The schedule makers did the Redskins something of a favor in the early going, giving them a pre-bye schedule consisting of seven games with no opponents that made the 2014 playoffs. Only two of the opponents have top-shelf quarterbacks (Giants’ Eli Manning and Falcons’ Matt Ryan) and only the Jets and Dolphins finished in the top half of league in total defense. That gives Washington an opportunity to get off to a good start. You can’t really call it “easy” because nothing is easy for a team with seven wins in the last two years. But they can take advantage of that if they can get competent quarterback play from Robert Griffin III and if the defense can improve from awful to average. A 5-2 start is probably unrealistic but going into the bye at 4-3 is not. The going gets tougher immediately after the bye with a trip to Foxboro to play the Patriots. That’s a sign that will not be quite as much fun in November and December with two games against the Cowboys, with home games with the dangerous Saints and improving Bills and a mid-December trip to Chicago. The Redskins will scrap, their improving defense will keep them in a lot of games, but they will fall short. Put them down for 2-7 in their last nine games, adding up to a 6-10 record. Offensive MVP: DeSean Jackson Defensive MVP: Keenan Robinson Quarterback: Griffin starts 13 games and plays well enough to warrant talk of a contract extension Surprise development: Someone who is not Alfred Morris, perhaps Silas Redd, perhaps a draft pick, leads the team in rushing

El-Bashir: If new GM Scot McCloughan is allowed to do his job, I suspect he’ll get the franchise pointed in the right direction. But it’s going to take time to lay the foundation. Ownership must exercise patience. Ditto for the fans. I’ve been saying for weeks that six to eight wins (I’m leaning toward the lower end) would constitute decent progress in McCloughan’s first year. I also agree with Tandler’s assessment regarding the front end of the schedule. It’s not easy by any stretch, but it wouldn’t be impossible to pick up three or four wins before the bye, either. The Rams, Falcons, Jets and Bucs shouldn’t scare anyone. The backside of the schedule, well, that’s a whole different story. Brady and the Pats in Foxboro right off the bat. That’s followed up by Drew Brees and the Saints and Cam Newton and the Panthers. And that’s not even where I really see things potentially going sideways. The schedule makers did the Redskins no favors down the home stretch—at the Bears (on Dec. 13), home against the Bills and then at the Eagles and at the Cowboys, a pair of division rivals that figure to be slugging it out for a playoff berth. Again, getting to six wins will show progress. Seven or eight wins would be a bonus. Anything less than six wins, however, and everyone will need to watch out. Because McCloughan won’t need to do any explaining if he blows the whole thing up. Offensive MVP: Left tackle Trent Williams earns a fourth straight Pro Bowl appearance, justifying a huge contract extension. Defensive MVP: Cornerback Chris Culliver records a career-high five interceptions. Quarterback: Robert Griffin III starts 15 games and shows meaningful improvement. Surprise development: Jordan Reed stays healthy, catches a career-best 70 passes and flirts with 800 yards receiving.

What are your predictions for the 2015 Redskins? Let us know in the comments. 

25 questions series

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

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:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198