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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Free agent busts, 2017 predictions

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Free agent busts, 2017 predictions

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 8, 19 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.


The Redskins last played a game 188 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 64 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 9
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 33
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 56

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular and significant posts of the week.

Moses ranks as one of NFL's top RTs—Morgan Moses’ future sure looks a lot brighter than it did two years ago when the Redskins drafted Brandon Scherff and inserted him at right tackle. But Moses kept working and when the organization decided that Scherff was better suited to playing right guard, he was ready. His new deal puts him under contract through 2022.

Free agent mistakes cost Redskins significant dead cap dollars—The Redskins’ dead cap this year is far from crippling. It amounts to just under six percent of the cap, certainly a manageable amount. But it still is money wasted due to the organization’s inability to properly build the defense through the draft. That sent them out into the free agent market with a degree of desperation and that rarely turns out well.

Despite losses at WR, pass game still projects among NFL's best—The keys here are the development of Josh Doctson and how the back end of the depth chart (Maurice Harris, Robert Davis) perform if needed. Also, can Cousins quickly learn how to take advantage of the height of his revamped receiving corps.

Vegas doesn't expect the Redskins to make the playoffs—Yes, all three of the other teams in the NFC East have more favorable playoff odds than the Redskins. Some of you get upset at “disrespect” from the media and from Vegas. Don’t. Let’s just see what happens.

A July 4th look at how many wins for the 2017 Redskins—Sorry that my casino chips skewed towards more of the same but I don’t see significant improvement or a major drop off. Next year could be their year (assuming they can hang on to their quarterback).

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

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In case you missed it

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Da'Ron Payne's first reaction after being drafted No. 13 by the Redskins

Da'Ron Payne's first reaction after being drafted No. 13 by the Redskins

Many top draft choices chose to head to the NFL Draft, hear their name called and get the pomp and circumstance that comes with all that is the NFL Draft. 

The Washington Reskins' No. 13 pick Da'Ron Payne was not one of those prospects. 

Instead, Payne watched the draft surronded by close friends and family.

The reaction was memorable: 

Some draft picks choose not to come for fear of slidding down draft boards, or worse: not being picked in the first round at all. 

So he doesn't get to meet Roger Goodell. He doesn't get a Redskins' jersey on draft night.

But this video wouldn't exist if the defensive tackle from Alabama chose to go to Dallas, Texas on draft night. 


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Redskins hope Da'Ron Payne will be able to solidify a porous run defense

Redskins hope Da'Ron Payne will be able to solidify a porous run defense

Doug Williams said that the Redskins would draft the best available player when they were on the clock. 

“It’s always going to be the best player available,” said the team’s senior vice president of player personnel during the team’s pre-draft press conference earlier this week

After their selection, it appears that they took a pick that was more for need. They picked defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne with safety Derwin James and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds still on the board, Jay Gruden said that there was some discussion. 

“There were quite a few guys were worthy of that pick, quite frankly,” said Gruden. “But for what we were looking for, with the fit, I think Da’Ron was perfect for us.”

The words “for what we were looking for” seem to indicate that they took Payne because they thought they needed someone at that position. 

While Payne is unlikely to be a pick that the Redskins will regret, they may look at what James and Edmunds, both players that most analysts had ranked considerably higher than Payne, accomplish during their careers and wonder what could have been. 

Then again, Payne is a pick that is about eight years overdue. The Redskins have been running the 3-4 defense since 2010 and they have never drafted a good nose tackle. Others they have tried, like Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton, have been short-term solutions. For the past two years, the position has been manned by veteran Ziggy Hood, who is more suited to playing the end position. 

The result of the nose tackle situation in particular and neglect of the defensive line in general has been a rushing defense that has consistently in the lower half of the league, bottoming out at No. 32 in rushing yards allowed in 2017. The need to stop the run took a step up in importance earlier in the draft when the Giants selected running back Saquan Barkley with the second pick in the draft, a factor that Gruden cited when talking to the media after the pick. They already had twice-yearly dates with the Cowboys with Ezekiel Elliott at running back and the Eagles, who have a stable of effective running backs. 

Although at 311 pounds Payne may be considered a bit on the light side for a traditional nose tackle, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula has said in the past that a lighter player can be effective in that role in the team’s defense. 

The main concern about Payne is if he can rush the passer. In his three seasons at Alabama, he compiled just three sacks. Gruden said that that number doesn’t tell the whole story. 

“He can, he can get back there,” said Gruden. “A lot of times, the sacks that don’t show up on the stat board, he enabled other guys to get them, because push from the pocket forces the quarterback outside. I think that [Redskins edge rushers] Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson will be very happy to have Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne in the middle pushing that pocket.”

Gruden also expressed confidence Tomsula will be able to coach Payne into being an effective NFL pass rusher. 

We will see what Tomsula and the rest of the coaches can do with Payne. If they can get some pressures and sacks out of him and the ability to stop the run translates to the NFL, the Redskins will have received good value for the 13thpick, even if James and Edmonds go on to be stars.