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A fast start will be important for the Redskins in 2016

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A fast start will be important for the Redskins in 2016

The Redskins released the 2016 schedule tonight. Here is a breakdown and some analysis of the games.

—For the third straight year, the Redskins open against an AFC opponent. This year it’s at home against the Steelers on Monday night. In 2009, the last time Pittsburgh was in Washington, the visiting fans were very prominent at FedEx Field, waving their trademark Terrible Towels and disrupting the home team’s snap counts. The Redskins hope to avoid such a scene this time around, although there is no doubt that the Steelers fans will be there in force.

—Three of the first four games are at home. They get a pair of division games in Weeks 2 and 3, with the Cowboys coming to town followed by a trip up I-95 to the Meadowlands to play the Giants.

—The first fourth of the season comes to a conclusion with the Redskins hosting the Browns. This game will mark the return of Robert Griffin III to FedEx Field. The question is, will he be starting for Cleveland or will he be a backup to a quarterback the Browns draft with the second overall pick? We will see how it plays out between now and then.

—After that it’s a quick trip up to Baltimore to play the Ravens before hosting the Eagles. They then travel to Detroit. These first seven games will need to be where the Redskins make some hay. Only one team in that opening stretch, the Steelers, had a winning record last year.

—The Redskins will have to come off of the road and fly across the Atlantic Ocean for their Oct. 30 game against the Bengals. As has been the pattern since the London series has become a part of the NFL routine, the bye week will follow the trip to London.

—The bye comes at exactly the halfway point of the season, with eight games played and eight to go. Any timing of the bye has its plusses and minuses but having it fall at that point is as close to perfect as you can get.

—Due to the road game, the London trip, and the bye, the Redskins will go nearly a month between home games.  They return to FedEx Field to Nov. 13 to play the Vikings and then it’s at home against the Packers on a Sunday night prime time game on NBC.

—The night game will come before a short week. Four days later the Redskins head to Dallas to play the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. They will play in that traditional contest for the second time in the last four years.

—The Thanksgiving game is the first of three straight and four out of five on the road. They do get the “mini bye week” after playing the Cowboys as they get 10 days off before going to Arizona to play a 4:25 game. That is the last of a stretch of four in five games against 2015 playoff teams. That tough patch is why they will need to pile up some wins in September and October. A game in Philadelphia finishes out the long road trip.

—Two of the last three are at home. In Week 15 they play the defending NFC champion Panthers on a Monday night in FedEx Field. They then have another short week, turning around on Saturday to travel to Chicago to play the Bears on Christmas Eve. Most of the NFL games will be played on that day since Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. The regular season finale comes on New Years Day against the Giants. Going back to the game at Philly, three out of the last four games are against teams that had losing records in 2015

—The major complaints the Redskins might have are playing on the road about 500 miles away before having to leave for London and the Sunday night game preceding the quick turnaround for the Thanksgiving road trip to Dallas.

—As noted, the way it looks right now the Redskins are going to need to get off to a fast start. If they get on the plane to go to London with a record of 4-3 or better they should be in pretty good shape. If they are 3-4 or worse they could be fighting to stay relevant in the playoff picture by the time that Thanksgiving game rolls around.

The full 2016 schedule:

  • Sept. 12 (Monday, 7:10) vs. Steelers
  • Sept. 18 (1:00) vs. Cowboys
  • Sept. 25 (1:00) @ Giants
  • Oct. 2 (1:00) vs. Browns
  • Oct. 9 (1:00) @ Ravens
  • Oct. 16 (1:00) vs. Eagles
  • Oct. 23 (1:00) @ Lions
  • Oct. 30 (9:30 a.m.) vs. Bengals in London
  • Nov. 6 Bye
  • Nov. 13 (1:00) Vikings
  • Nov. 20 (8:30) Packers
  • Nov. 24 (Thursday, 4:24) at Dallas
  • Dec. 4 (4:25) @ Cardinals
  • Dec. 11 (1:00) @ Eagles
  • Dec. 19 (Monday, 8:30) vs. Panthers
  • Dec. 24 (Saturday, 1:00) @ Bears
  • Jan. 1 (1:00) vs. Giants

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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. 

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Usa Today Sports Images

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