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Need to Know: The draft will be the key to improvement for the 2017 Redskins

Need to Know: The draft will be the key to improvement for the 2017 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 20, 38 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 28
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 53
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 65
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 117
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 174

Monday morning three and out

1. The Redskins’ offseason workouts start four weeks from today. At that point it’s really more conditioning and pumping iron than it is about actual football. The date also happens to be 10 days prior to the NFL draft. The coaches will get one last look at what they have before they draft replacements for some of them.

2. A fan complains about the lack of progress in free agecy.

I warned anyone who would listen that the Redskins were not going to get much better in free agency. I said it when Scot McCloughan was the GM and I said it again recently. The free agent pool was very shallow and there were a lot of teams with a lot of cap space. Once the top handful of players at each position were gone the players left were not a significant upgrade.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0

3. If the Redskins are going to get better this year they will need to get significant contributions from their top two draft picks and have a sleeper pick or two come through from one of the seven players they will be able to pick in rounds 4-7. It’s a deep draft so upgrading there is doable. Not easy, not a given, especially after the team gave McCloughan, one of the best draft talent evaluators in the business, the boot but possible. 

Out—it appears, is Duke Ihenacho.

Ihenacho’s career with the Redskins never really got any traction. He landed on injured reserve early in both the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The ’15 injury was particularly bad for him because he had won a starting job in training camp, beating out free agent acquisition Jeron Johnson. Last year he was inactive early but he wound up starting 10 games due to injuries. The coaches thought the freelanced too much and he missed team-high 15 tackles even though nine players played more snaps. Between the game tape and the addition of D.J. Swearinger, the move of Su’a Cravens to safety, and the likely return of DeAngelo Hall, there apparently wasn’t any support for keeping him around.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Someone commented that it may be difficult to tell a Redskins best player available pick from a need pick.

In case you missed it

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How the Redskins survived Thanksgiving with the Giants

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How the Redskins survived Thanksgiving with the Giants

The Redskins' survived a Thanksgiving night scare from the New York Giants in Week 12 at FedEx Field.

Here are my observations during the Redskins’ “a win is a win” 20-10 victory.

— Jamison Crowder made a diving, reaching catch that gained all of two yards. But it got the Redskins their initial first down of the game after two three and outs so it is noteworthy.

— But the series ended when Josh Doctson went out of bounds just before converting a third and 15. It looks like he could have and the other yard. Then Doctson dropped the fourth and one pass and the Giants took over at their own 41. The mistakes continue to mount and the Redskins continue to allow the Giants to stick around.

Brian Mitchell does not like the flow of the Redskins’ offense.

RELATED: FedEx Field turf gets ripped by Internet

— The Giants used a third and 15 conversion and a fourth and one conversion to drive to the first points of the game. There really is no excuse for the third and long as the Giants are severely depleted at receiver and on the offensive line.

— Crowder got lost behind the Giants secondary on third and eight and hauled in a Kirk Cousins pass for 39 yards to the New York 38. It was the first Redskins’ offensive jolt of the day.

— Redskins get first offensive jolt of the day with Cousins to Crowder for 39 yards to the Giants 38, converting a third and eight. But then he dropped a potential third-down conversion and the Redskins had to punt. Again, someone needs to make a play or the season will be over before we eat the first leftover turkey sandwich.

— The Redskins do dent the scoreboard but it’s only a field goal, set up by a pass interference penalty. A sack led to a red zone failure and they settled for three. At least they got to the red zone.

— After catching a 33-yard pass from Cousins, Crowder scored for the first time this year. Kudos to Cousins on the play for scrambling on third down and keeping it alive long enough for Crowder to get open. Redskins 10, Giants 3

— The Redskins are playing some good defense but the Giants offense is making plenty of mistakes. Manning has missed several open receivers. Evan dropped a third-down pass that was on the money. They are showing why they are 2-8.

—  It looked like Cousins’ toe got caught in the turf as he tossed a pass in the direction of Byron Maxwell. The field is not looking too good and that good be responsible for Cousins’ footwork problems. In any case, the ball bounced off of Byron Marshall’s hands and Janoris Jenkins turned it into a game-tying pick six.

— The Redskins got a drive going and moved from their own 10 into Giants territory. But the Giants’ fifth sack of the game ended it and Tress Way came in and punted.

— The Redskins lined up to punt on fourth and one at the New York 40 with about 10 left in the fourth quarter. But apparently Jay Gruden reconsidered and they called timeout and sent the offense back out. But the play clock expired while they were lining up and they had to punt. This is known as not having your act together.

— The Redskins finally untied the game. A holding call bailed them out of a third-down sack and then Cousins converted the next third down on a pass to Crowder. The touchdown was a thing of beauty, a well-timed left-shoulder pass from Cousins to Doctson.

— A fourth-down sack by Junior Galette, his first of the year, gave the Redskins the ball deep in Giants territory. Nick Rose came in and nailed the field goal from 33 yards out.

Fan analysis

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Kirk Cousins threw an interception and people are blaming the field conditions

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Kirk Cousins threw an interception and people are blaming the field conditions

You may have noticed that the grass on Fedex Field looks ... different ... tonight. 

The area between the hash marks looks more yellow-brown compared to the outside green, and it's causing some issues. 

Specifically, this one:

It wasn't the wisest throw of the night from Cousins, but his foot clearly gets caught up under him. 

Noted Sports Fan and cook book author Chrissy Teigen summed it up best: