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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—New starters on D, middle round picks critical

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—New starters on D, middle round picks critical

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 8, 19 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 9
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 34
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 46
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 155

The Redskins week that was

Tandler’s take on five of the most popular CSNmidatlantic.com and RealRedskins.com posts of the last week.

2011 bill comes due, Redskins' salary cap space shrinks—The Redskins lost $4.5 million in cap space and some fans freaked out. But the team knew it was coming as some cap space they “borrowed” back in 2011 and 2012 had to be repaid.

The Redskins' draft could hinge on their middle round picks—It’s fairly easy to get two starters and a key role player out of the first three rounds of the draft. And it takes some excellent scouting and a lot of luck to get much more than reserves and practice squad players late on Saturday. The middle rounds, the Redskins’ two picks in round four and one in round five, are likely to determine if their draft is a success.

Redskins agree to deal with free agent Zach Brown—Some thought that his visit on Monday was just a favor to his agent, to try to spur the Raiders into pulling the trigger on a multi-year contract. But Brown didn’t leave without a contract. He adds an element of speed that’s missing from the Redskins’ defense.

New players will dominate Redskins defense—Different isn’t always better but the Redskins’ defense really has no place to go but up after its 2016 performance. After obtaining Zach Brown it is now likely that they will have at least five new starters—D.J. Swearinger and Su’a Cravens at safety, Brown at inside linebacker, and Stay McGee and Terrell McClain on the defensive line. That number will increase if they draft another inside linebacker and/or a nose tackle. Having that much turnover is not always ideal but the probably represent an upgrade.

Why the Redskins are unlikely to trade for Richard Sherman—It’s because of money. Even if the Redskins and Seahawks could come to an agreement on compensation there are short- and long-term problems. The short-term problem is that with about $9 million in remaining cap space they couldn’t fit Sherman’s $11.4 million salary under their cap without restructuring. In the long term, they can’t afford to add another high-priced cornerback with Josh Norman already on a deal that averages $15 million/year.

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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NFL Schedule Release 2018: Rumors, news, dates, home, away opponents

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USAT

NFL Schedule Release 2018: Rumors, news, dates, home, away opponents

The 2018 NFL schedule will be released at 8:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 19.

The 2018 NFL Season begins on Thursday, Sept. 6 with the Thursday Night Football season-opener. Week 1 commences on Sunday, Sept. 9 with a full slate of games.

But what we still have yet to find out is when each team plays each other. Home and away opponents, plus intra- and inter-conference matchups have already been announced, but the 2018 NFL schedule release will tell us when the teams will play.

The 2018 NFL schedule rumor mill has already started, with reports that the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles will host the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday in Week 1 for the season-opener in a rematch of the NFC championship game.

Here is everything we know about the 2018 NFL Schedule:

2018 NFL Schedule Rumors, News

Per out-of-town reports, we have the dates of some of the Redskins games. 

  • On Monday night, October 8, the Redskins will play at New Orleans. This would be a rematch of one of the 2017 games of the year (although Redskins fans would like to forget about how it ended
  • On Sunday, November 11 the Redskins will travel to Tampa Bay to play the Bucs. This should mark the Redskins' first game against their former star wide receiver, DeSean Jackson. 

Week 1: Vikings at Eagles. Howard Eskin of Sports Radio WIP reports that a rematch of the NFC Championship Game will serve as the 2018 NFL season-opener with the Vikings heading to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles.

Redskins 2018 Home Opponents:

Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
Carolina Panthers (NFC South)
Green Bay Packers (NFC North)
Atlanta Falcons (NFC South)
Indianapolis Colts (AFC South)
Houston Texans (AFC South)

Redskins 2018 Away Opponents:

Philadelphia Eagles 
Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
New Orleans Saints (NFC South)
Arizona Cardinals (NFC West)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC South)
Tennessee Titans (AFC South)
Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South)

RELATED: PROJECTING THE REDSKINS' 2018 SCHEDULE

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Redskins draft countdown: Georgia RB Sony Michel

Redskins draft countdown: Georgia RB Sony Michel

Redskins draft countdown

Sony Michel

Running back
Georgia

Sony Michel is a solid north-south runner who also can bounce outside and pick up yardage. He shared playing time with Nick Chubb last year and still ran for 1,277 yards, averaging 7.9 yards per carry, and scored 16 touchdowns against SEC competition. Michel also showed his bona fides in the passing game, catching 64 career passes and showing that he can handle pass protection. 

Height: 5-11
Weight: 220
40-yard dash:4.54

Projected draft round:2

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins have made no secret of their desire to draft an upgrade at running back. They would prefer one who can catch passes out of the backfield and gain yardage between the tackles. Sony Michel can do both as well as pop for yardage on the outside. There is a good chance that he will be on the board when the Redskins draft in the second round. Since they don’t have a third-round pick, this may be the last chance to get an upgrade in this draft. 

Film review: vs. Notre Dame, vs. Alabama

—The first thing to say here is that the Bulldogs had a quality run-blocking offensive line. Michel frequently had big holes to run through. For his part, Michel maximized his gains when he had a big opening, hitting it quickly and working north-south. 

—He also can pick up yards through just a small crease, again by hitting it with urgency and gaining momentum to drive for the final few yards. 

—Michel didn’t do a whole lot of pass protection in the plays I watched, but he was solid when he did. On one play against Notre Dame, he put a blitzing defensive back on the ground. Against Alabama, he got in the way of likely first-round pick Da’Ron Payne long enough to allow the quarterback to get off a deep pass. To be sure, he didn’t blow Payne away but his block was effective.

—Besides the O-line, Michel also got quality blocking from his receivers. Again, he took advantage, reading the blocks and maximizing the gain. 

—He also can get it done without much help. On third and 20 against the vaunted Alabama defense, he headed up the middle and quickly went outside when he saw no running room. He headed to the sideline with four Alabama defenders and no blockers in sight. Michel found another gear and accelerated down the sideline to convert the third and long.  

—He later converted a third and 10 on a draw play, quickly getting up to speed and zipping through traffic to move the sticks. 

Potential issues: Although he has decent speed, he’s not the home run threat you might want in a back taken in the second round. And Michel isn’t really a power back either, although he can fight for extra yards. 

Despite his limitations, there is chatter that Michel might be drafted early in the second round or perhaps even late in the first. It’s hard to separate the smoke and speculation from reality as we sit a week before the draft starts. But he’s a talented back and if Derrius Guice goes off the board earlier than most expect, a run on runners could include Michel. 

Bottom line: Saquon Barkley is the obvious top running back and he surely will be gone when the Redskins pick in the first round. After that, the Redskins have plenty of options. They like Guice but 13 may be too high for him and he is likely to be gone when their pick in the second is on the clock. Michel is one of a few possibilities there, a group that also would include Michel’s former teammate Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones of USC and others. Without a peek at the draft board in Ashburn, we will just have to wait and see. 

Redskins draft countdown

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.