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Fan questions: Will the 2014 Redskins be pass happy?

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Fan questions: Will the 2014 Redskins be pass happy?

I got a ton of good questions on both Twitter and on the Real Redskins Facebook page so we're going to do a two-part post here. If you don't see your question answered here, check back tomorrow. Let's get rolling.
@Rich_TandlerCSN @Snide_Remarks think the Skins will be a pass 1st offense this year? Avg 35+ attempts per game?

— Jeffrey Gordon (@jeffhokies) June 24, 2014
Actually, 35 pass attempts per game would not really make them "pass first". The NFL average last year was 35.4 attempts per game so in those terms a 35 pass per game pace would make them relatively balanced. Last year the Redskins averaged 38.2 passes per game, while Jay Gruden's Bengals averaged 36.6. Mike and Kyle Shanahan did not want to pass that much but game situations forced them to do so. But the Shanahans didn't have DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts. If the Redskins play to their strengths, they should pass more often than the average team. I'll put the over/under at 37.5 pass attempts per game.

For a long time it looked like Moss might be gone. It was a surprise to many when he re-signed with the team at the start of free agency. But it appears that Gruden wants him around. During OTAs, Gruden had some high praise for Moss, who turned 35 earlier this month. "I like having guys like that, veteran guys who are great examples for rookies and also can help you win in big games," said Gruden. "You know the game’s not too big for them because they’ve been there and done that. He’s another one that’s going to help this team out.” To be sure, good words in June do not guarantee a roster spot to a player in September. But it sure sounds to me that Moss will be around and will compete with Leonard Hankerson (if healthy) and Aldrick Robinson (if he's polished his game) for that first receiver off the bench spot.
@Rich_TandlerCSN Rich, how do you think Jay Gruden and the offense will perform this yr? And weakest position as of now? #redskinstalk

— #⃣〽️R.〽️⭕️RGAN⚡️ (@_CountUpMOB) June 24, 2014
We'll have to see about the offense. The potential is there but I need to see it come together out on the field before I'm ready to proclaim that they have a top-10 offense. As far as the weakest position, it's (still) safety. They have two starters that nobody else seemed to want in Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather, two untested players in Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas, and one player who has not played in two years in Tanard Jackson. They will need a heck of a pass rush to survive that group.

I'd say probably but not certainly. He seems to be confident that he will be sufficiently recovered from last year's microfracture surgery to get on the field by the start of training camp. But players are often more confident than their actual physical condition should warrant. If he really is out there on July 24 in Richmond he should be able to contribute enough to earn a roster spot. If Bowen starts camp on the PUP list, all bets are off.
Hey Rich, how does practice squad eligibility work? Which players might we see on it?@Rich_TandlerCSN #RedskinsTalk

— Steven Wilson (@stevenedwilson) June 24, 2014
To be eligible for the practice squad a player must have no prior Accrued Seasons in the NFL (An accrued season is six or more games on the active roster) or have one prior Accrued Season in which the player was on the 46-man active roster for fewer than 9 games. A player can be on the practice squad for up to three seasons and it should be noted that a player must pass through waivers before signing on the PS. Of course, all of the rookies are eligible so you might see TE Ted Bolser there. It might be a good spot for safety Akeem Davis, who has some potential but faces a full depth chart at his position. Chase Minnifield and Brandon Jenkins are among other players who have PS eligibility.
@Rich_TandlerCSN if Andre Roberts fields kicks and punts, what position group gets an additional body? WRs, DL, OL? #RedskinsTalk

— Crystal AC (@itscryspybetch) June 24, 2014
I think you're assuming that if Roberts is not the returner that they will take up a roster spot with a return specialist. I don't see that being the case. Roy Helu could return kickoffs and he's going to be on the roster as a running back anyway. If Richard Crawford is healthy enough to be the punt returner he will be one of five cornerbacks on the 53. We will see, but I don't think that Roberts being the returner--and I think that's likely to be the case--frees up any other roster spots.

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Need to Know: Final Redskins seven-round mock draft

Need to Know: Final Redskins seven-round mock draft

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 25, one day before the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.  

Final seven-round Redskins mock draft

Here we go. No trades. If you like big guys you’ll like the first four picks. 

Round 1, DL Da’Ron Payne, Alabama—I think that Vita Vea will be off the board; it’s looking more and more like he will go the Raiders at 10 or Miami at 11. Payne might be the better player anyway, assuming that Jim Tomsula can coach some pass rush out of him. If Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James is on the board the Redskins may have to adjust their thinking. 

Round 2, OL Billy Price, Ohio State—I had a running back in mind here but the run at the position came earlier than expected. Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones, Sony Michel, and Nick Chubb were all off the board. The decision was to get a guy to insert at left guard and complete a home-grown O-line that can hopefully create running room for whatever back takes the handoff. 

Round 4, RB Kalen Ballage, Arizona State—I’m going with the best available running back here. The analytics types really like his combination of size (6-1, 228) and speed (4.46 in the 40 at the combine). Also, he shared carries with the Sun Devils so is a relatively low-mileage back (450 carries in four years). Ballage scored eight touchdowns in a game as a junior so he could be what the team needs in the red zone. 

Round 5, DL R.J. McIntosh, Miami—The Redskins have spent so little draft capital on the defensive line over the past two decades that it’s easy to justify doubling up there in one draft. McIntosh is a project, but he has high-level athleticism and quickness and those are traits you can’t teach. It might take him all of this year and next offseason in the weight room to build up his core strength and to add some weight onto his 286-lb. frame. 

Round 5, CB Nick Nelson, Wisconsin—While working out for the Lions last week, Nelson suffered a torn meniscus. That dropped his draft stock from perhaps being a Day 2 pick to one who should still be on the board on Saturday afternoon. The rehab for the 2017 All-Big Ten selection has been estimated at three to four months, meaning that he could be ready for the start of training camp. One more note: he was the Badgers’ punt returner last year and he averaged 8.6 yards per return with one touchdown. 

Round 6, TE David Wells, San Diego St.—While Jay Gruden and Doug Williams both seem to be confident that Jordan Reed will be healthy and ready to go by the time the regular season starts the truth will emerge in the draft. If they take a tight end early, they are very concerned about Reed. If they wait until this point in the draft and take a project like Wells, they are only moderately worried. 

Round 7, WR Auden Tate, Florida State—He’s coming off of a separated shoulder and that might push the 6-4 Tate down the board. Tate would be a project; he only caught 65 passes in 22 game at Florida State. He doesn’t have blazing speed (4.68 in the 40) but he competes for the ball and he could be a good red zone asset. 

Round 7, CB Greg Stroman, Virginia Tech—You can’t have too many corners or edge rushers and since there aren’t enough of the latter to go around in this draft I took a corner here. Stroman doesn’t have ideal size at 5-11, 182 but he paid attention during his four years with the Hokies and he plays with good technique. 

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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In response to a suggestion that former kick returner Devin Hester should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer:

Timeline 

Days until:

—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 16
—OTAs start (5/22) 27
—Training camp starts (7/26) 92

The Redskins last played a game 115 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 137 days. 

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In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

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USA TODAY Sports

In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

The Redskins spent modestly in 2018 free agency, and plenty of fans thought the team should have shelled out much bigger bucks. Talking with sources around the Ashburn facility, a prevaling notion became clear that the Washington brass believed they had a strong team in 2017, but they lost their chance to compete because of injuries. 

Well, the secret is out. Doug Williams said as much on Tuesday. 

"Coming out of Richmond last year, I liked this football team. I think we’ve got a tough football team, a smart football team. Some things you can’t control," Williams said Tuesday in a pre-draft media session. "We were very competitive up to a certain point, and when you have the injuries that we have, at a certain point, that competitive edge, you lose it because your best players are not playing."

Williams' words were true, and telling. 

First the true part:

  • In Washington's first five games of 2017, the team went 3-2. The Redskins only lost to eventual the Super Bowl champs Philadelphia and AFC West champs Kansas City. Washington only gave up more than 100 yards rushing once in those first five games, before rookie Jonathan Allen got hurt and the defense began to look much different. After Week 5, the Redskins only held one team under 100 yards rushing and finished the year dead last in rush defense.

Now the telling part:

  • The Redskins signed free agent WR Paul Richardson, and kept free agent LB Zach Brown. Beyond that, the team added inexpensive veterans in OLB Pernell McPhee and CB Orlando Scandrick. No splash moves, and recurring speculation that Washington was not offering top dollar to free agents. Bruce Allen acknowledged as much during NFL League Meetings when he explained that his team identified exactly how much they would offer free agents, their own and otherwise, and wouldn't go beyond that dollar figure. 

That means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is about this weekend's NFL Draft.

That also means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is not about Johnathan Hankins or any other free agent. 

"We’re going to deal with the draft now, and the second wave of free agents, if it’s somebody out there we feel like can help the Redskins,that’s what we’re going to do," Williams said. 

Throughout the offseason, Redskins fans wanted more action from their front office. It didn't happen, and Williams' basically explained why on Tuesday. The brass likes their team, and by default, expects better health and luck in 2018. 

When Williams talks about drafting the best player available, it's not just the typical NFL front office tripe. Right or wrong, the Redskins believe they have a team ready to compete in 2018, and any rookies that come in will only supplement that position.

"At the end of the day, I like this football team we’ve got. Like, last year when I walked out of camp, I thought we had a pretty good football team and I still feel the same way today," Williams said.

"At the end of the day, you get the best football player, and if that best football player is the guy that you want to plug and play, that’s all right. But if that’s the best football player that’s going to help your team overall, I think that’s the route you have to go."

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