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Mailbag: Will Morgan Moses start for the Redskins in 2014?

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Mailbag: Will Morgan Moses start for the Redskins in 2014?

I got so many good questions on Twitter and on the Real Redskins Facebook page that I decided to do a two-parter. Here's Part One from yesterday, let's get rolling to the rest of them.
@Rich_TandlerCSN what is the most exciting position battle for the #Redskins before the season starts? #RedskinsTalk

— ThePorchReport (@ThePorchReport) June 24, 2014
I think that the one that will play out in plain sight in Richmond and in the preseason games is the place kicker battle between Kai Forbath and Zach Hocker. Although Forbath has been solid on field goals in his year and a half in the NFL his kickoffs have left a lot to be desired. If Hocker can consistently boom long field goals at the Bon Secours training center and kicks off deep into the end zone he will give Forbath a run for his money. Among the "real" football players, I think there will be a lot of competition along the defensive line. I don't see any surprise cuts there at this point but they will battle it out for game day active status and playing time.

I don't see that happening to any great extent. They will let Morris do what he does best, run the football. Roy Helu and, eventually, Lache Seastrunk will catch passes. I will say that Morris probably will catch more than the nine he caught last year, perhaps enough to make the defense have to pay some attention to him. But don't look for it to become anything more than a very minor part of the offense.
@ConnorMelamed: @Rich_TandlerCSN Is there any chance Morgan Moses takes RT by week 1? #RedskinsTalk

— Connor Melamed (@ConnorMelamed) June 24, 2014
@Rich_TandlerCSN Every time Moses' comes up, Gruden goes out of his way to say how much work he needs. Is he really that bad? #RedskinsTalk

— Michael Church (@fft5305) June 24, 2014
Let's take both of the Moses questions at once here. I think that there's a slim chance that Moses starts against the Texans but I'm looking at him being the 2015 opening day starter. As far as what Gruden says about him, well, a third-round rookie offensive lineman needs a lot of work. It's simply a fact. On top of that, I get the impression that Moses is the type of player who needs to be pushed. Many rookies, high draft picks and undrafted free agents and everyone in between, come into the NFL without a clue as to the work ethic needed to be successful in the NFL. That doesn't mean they're "lazy", it means they need to take it to another level. I don't think Gruden wanted Moses to get comfortable during OTAs and minicamp, moving him from side to side and keeping the pressure on him with, among other things, his comments to the media.

I don't see any Week 1 surprises. Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather are the odds-on favorite to start the season at free and strong safety, respectively. I'll give Phillip Thomas a 20 percent chance of pushing Meriweather to the bench; Clark is safe. As far as Week 17, man, that's a long way off. Will they be resting their starters for the playoffs? Seriously, I'd say there is an 80 percent chance that Thomas has beaten out Meriweather for the starting job by then.
@Rich_TandlerCSN Haven't heard anything about Minnifield in OTAs or Minicamp. How is he doing? #RedskinsTalk

— Derek Childress (@Poker_Donkey) June 24, 2014
He hasn't really stood out in a good or bad way. Minnifield should be fully healthy; he had to deal with both microfracture surgery and a torn ACL as a rookie in 2012. The depth chart at CB has numbers but not a lot of high quality. There will be an opportunity for him to win a job in training camp, especially if he embraces the idea of playing special teams, something he didn't have much enthusiasm for after he made the 53-man roster last year. That got him a permanent spot on the game day inactive list.

Thanks for reading, Scott! Tell your friends. And I think you're close on the O-line. I just don't see Long starting over Chester at this point in time. He might before the season is out but I think Week 1 Chester survives.

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Need to Know: Alex Smith will need to be a fast learner for the Redskins to be successful

Need to Know: Alex Smith will need to be a fast learner for the Redskins to be successful

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, April 24, two days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Smith will need support for the Redskins to be successful early

There are high expectations for new Redskins quarterback Alex Smith. He needs to replace Kirk Cousins, who was one of the league’s most productive passers over the past three years. Smith, of course, has been a solid performer himself. Since 2015, the first year that both were starters, Cousins has passed for more yards but primarily because he attempted 225 more passes. Their adjusted yards per attempt and passer ratings over that time are nearly identical. 

Smith will be expected to be at peak production right out of the box. With 151 starts in 12 NFL seasons, he knows what is expected of him as the leader of the offense. 

However, he may have another issue, one we’ve seen from him before. He was traded from the 49ers to the Chiefs following the 2012 season. Smith got off to a rocky start in Andy Reid’s offense. In the first seven games, Smith threw seven touchdowns and four interceptions, posting 6.1 adjusted yards per attempt and a passer rating of 79.2. 

After that, he got rolling. In the final nine games, he threw 16 TD’s and three interceptions and improved his adjusted yard per attempt to 7.5 and his passer rating to 98.7.

Will it take him that long to pick up the Redskins offense? 

It needs to be noted that the Chiefs went 7-0 during the Smith’s bad start. They were able to support him with a running game that went over 100 yards every week (121 per game average) and a defense that didn’t allow over 17 points in any game and let up single-digit point totals in three of them. 

Looking at the history of the last three years, the Redskins would have more trouble winning if their quarterback was struggling as much as Smith was in his early Chiefs days. In fact, during Cousins’ three years as the starter, the Redskins went 2-17 in games where he posted a passer rating of 90 or lower. 

In his five seasons with the Chiefs, the team went 17-17 when Smith posted a passer rating of lower than 90. While that may say something about the relative abilities of the two quarterbacks to scuffle to a win when things aren’t going as well as planned, it says much more about the teams surrounding Smith and Cousins. 

Unless the Redskins’ defense and running game improve significantly—and that’s certainly possible—they won’t be able to prosper in wins column if Smith needs an extended adjustment period to get comfortable in Jay Gruden’s offense. 

He has a chance of doing so, based on the 2017 performances of the pass defenses he and the Redskins face in the first half of the season. In terms of pass defense DVOA, the Redskins face only one that ranked in the top 10, the No. 5 Saints. Also above average were the Panthers (10th) and the Cardinals (11th). Five of the opponents were in the lower half including the Cowboys (18th), Falcons (19th), Giants (20th), Packers (26th), and Colts (32nd). 

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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Sent out as the Caps were holding on to a fourth-quarter lead over Columbus.

Timeline  

Today’s schedule: Pre-draft press conference with Doug Williams at Redskins Park, noon.

Days until:

—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 17
—OTAs start (5/22) 28
—Training camp starts (7/26) 93

The Redskins last played a game 114 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 138 days. 

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O-line, D-line is the move for the Redskins at No. 13, according to Charles Davis

O-line, D-line is the move for the Redskins at No. 13, according to Charles Davis

We are nearing the start of the NFL Draft, less than three days to be exact, and right now there are a ton of names circling around whom the Washington Redskins should take at No. 13.

You’ve probably read countless mock drafts at this point (if you haven’t or need another here is ours), and there’s one thing that is consistent: nothing.

So let's concern ourselves less of ‘who’ and exactly what each player will bring to the Redskins.

There are very few evaluators of talent better than the NFL Network’s Charles Davis, so he got to talk with J.P. Finlay and Mitch Tischler on the latest edition of the Redskins Talk podcast.

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST WITH CHARLES DAVIS HERE

He broke down EVERYONE that Washington could be taking at No. 13 overall. If you don’t have time to listen (which we highly recommend that you do), here are some of the highlights:

“This could be a wild first night,” said Davis. “All of these different trade scenarios are out there right? My experience has been that most of that calms down as we get closer. There’s a lot of discussion and chatter about it, but we don’t usually have it.”

REDSKINS NEEDS:

“At 13, when you’re really down to it, Mitch I think you had said to me even before we began ‘O-line, D-line man, let’s talk O-line, D-line,’ and I think that is the perfect place for this Washington team.”

VITA VEA, DT, WASHINGTON

“If Vita Vea from Washington somehow is sitting there at 13, and the idea that you could go up there and put him a line and get Jonathan Allen back from last year, I think that’d be a great place to go. This is a top-10, top-5 talent in this draft that possibly could still be around at 13.”

“When we’re talking about the people that are in our business, the talking heads that people kind of go to and kind of get held accountable for their mock drafts… you don’t really see Vea in any consistency in the top ten.”

“Eleven is kind of the breakpoint for him.”

MAURICE HURST, DT, MICHIGAN

“I like him. I don’t know that I like him quite that high.”

DA’RON PAYNE, DT, ALABAMA

“I like Payne, better than Hurst, but again I don’t know about quite that high.”

“The medical, you can’t help it when you’re talking about a heart. You can’t help but be a little bit concerned. Now he has gotten clearance, that has come through, but we all know that each team is going to do it’s own research and got to decide how comfortable they are with that.”

QUENTON NELSON, OL, NOTRE DAME

“I doubt he is falling to 13, because if somehow he falls to eight to the Bears and if the Bears don’t run up to the podium and plug him in, I’d be stunned.”

ORLANDO BROWN JR., OT, OKLAHOMA

“Normally when you have a combine and you have some things that you have some questions marks on, normally you have some balancers. Orlando Brown had zero balancers. Everything was historically bad.”

WILL HERNANDEZ, G, UTEP

“Now Will Hernandez has had about as good a postseason as an offensive lineman can have.”

“This kid Hernandez has become a massive road grater, quicker than you would think, better pass protector and he did all of this on an 0-12 team last year. So he is another guy to keep an eye on, especially if as you said they are able to move back.”

DERRIUS GUICE, RB, LSU

“I’d be surprised at 13.”

“Get back to 19 and then I think Guice is in play at 19. If that indeed is the runner that they like. I think the running back renaissance is real.”

JOHN KELLY, RB, TENNESSEE

“I think this John Kelly kid from Tennessee is a really good runner. He had a little trouble off-field last year, missed a game because of all that, but this kid runs hard, plays hard, he’s not Alvin Kamara… but this kid is more of a pure running back than Kamara is, he’s just not a bulky guy.”

TRADING BACK

“They’re in a tough spot because of the number. We’ve got all of this stuff now.”

“That’s a tough one, because if I’m Dallas and I want to come up and get my guy [Calvin Ridley], I don’t need to come up as high as 13 anyway, if you really think about it.”

BILLY PRICE, OL, Ohio State

“He’s a really good player. The kid played guard, he played center. Price is a really good technician. 44 a possibility? Possibility. Before the injury he was going late-first, early second.”

This is only scratching the surface of what the expert talked about. Get the full experience and listen to the full podcast.

MORE DRAFT COVERAGE:

- SEVEN ROUND REDSKINS MOCK DRAFT

- ODDS ON FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICKS