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Need to Know: With new OC, will the Redskins run the ball more?

Need to Know: With new OC, will the Redskins run the ball more?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 26, 34 days before the NFL franchise tag deadline.

Timeline

Days until:

NFL free agency starts 42
—NFL Draft 91
First Sunday of 2017 season 227

Thoughts on a busy offseason unfolding for the Redskins

My eyebrows were raised a bit after I saw that Jay Gruden said that one of the things that Greg Manusky would bring to the table is that he would get the players “to play a little harder.” The implication, of course, is that they didn’t play at 100% for Joe Barry last year and if that is the case why didn’t Gruden step in and do something about it? I think it also could also cold have meant the players couldn’t play hard because they were unsure due to communications problems, another area Manusky is charged with fixing. Still, it was an odd comment.

Related: NFL mock draft ver. 2.0

With ex-quarterbacks as both the play caller and the offensive coordinator, is there any hope of the Redskins making the running game more of a part of the offense? The Redskins were good at running the ball last year when they did it. They were ninth in the NFL with 4.5 yards per attempt and their rushing DVOA via Football Outsiders was 5.0%, fourth best in the league. But they ran the ball only 379 times, 27th in the league so they ended up ranked 21st in rushing yards (1,696).

I’m starting to plan some posts about free agency. Since Scot McCloughan’s arrival I’ve focused on the bargain bin of available players, younger guys who are likely to come with a modest contract. But after the April signing of Josh Norman to a big-money deal, I have to think that just about any player could be in the Redskins’ sights. They can’t do many more deals that average $15 million a year like Norman’s does but it also seems clear that McCloughan is not going to follow directly in the footsteps of Ted Thompson, his mentor who famously (or, to some Packers fans, notoriously) eschews free agency almost entirely. The bottom line is that the universe of potential Redskins is larger than it used to be. 

More Redskins: 5 salary cap bargains in 2017

The Redskins will spend some of their $62 million in cap space retain some of their own players. One of their free agents is wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Most have him headed out of town and I tend to agree. However, one widely respected salary cap guru, Jason Fitzgerald of www.OverTheCap.com, suggested over the weekend that Jackson will end up signing for three years for around $8 million per year. I have been thinking that it would take an additional year and $1-$2 million more per year to get him to stay. At that price, the Redskins would have to seriously consider keeping him around, with or without fellow free agent Pierre Garçon.

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In case you missed it

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

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

More Redskins

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.