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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Still searching for a nose tackle, early depth charts

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Still searching for a nose tackle, early depth charts

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 18, 40 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 30
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 55
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 67
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 119
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 176

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts of the week on CSNmidatlantic.com with some commentary.

Redskins' cap space dwindling but they have some options—It looked like the Redskins had a huge pile of cap space but Kirk Cousins’ franchise tag put a big dent in it and now their supply of available cash is dwindling. Since this was published the Redskins did add $3 million to their cap space so one option to create more is off the table. There will be some free agent options lower down the depth chart that they can add but they should focus their remaining resources on locking up Morgan Moses and Spencer Long, who are eligible for extensions.

Report: Cousins concerned about potential trade to Browns—The post right after this one on the most popular list was on a report that the Browns aren’t interested in Cousins but that other teams have inquired about a trade. The takeaway from the last few weeks of conflicting Cousins reports is that what teams and agents and players say is not necessarily in the interest of spreading the truth. Words are about trying to create leverage and send messages to the other side in negotiations. Letting the fans know what is really going on is low on the list of priorities when messages are chosen.  

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0

Bad grades for some Redskins FA additions—Evaluations from Pro Football Focus get paned as worthless in some circles. I’ve always thought that, like any one metric, PFF’s ratings and stats are useful if you don’t take them as the final word on a given player. Anyway, they liked the Terrelle Pryor and D.J. Swearinger acquisitions and they panned the two players signed on the D-line. What they miss is that Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee don’t have to be long-term solutions in Washington. If the Redskins can draft a couple of solid defensive linemen they could easily move on from McClain and McGee as post-June 1 cuts in 2018. Of course, given the team’s long-standing reluctance to draft defensive linemen early, that scenario is problematic.

Examining the Redskins updated depth chart—Defense—It’s too early to do a depth chart but that never stops me (I also drew up an offensive depth chart). Although much of it is in dry erase marker and not Sharpie, it is still useful to see how things are evolving. The one alarming thing that jumps out is that if the season started today the starting nose tackle would be Phil Taylor. The good news is that he’s a former first-round draft pick. The bad news is that he hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2014. And, yes, the topic will keep coming up until the Redskins draft some linemen and get a long-term solution at nose tackle. 

Despite need for D-linemen, Redskins cut Ricky Jean-Francois—Francois wasn’t a nose tackle but he was a reasonably effective end when he rotated into games. The team decided to cut him loose. The move saved the team $3 million in cap space and it also got rid of a player who was vocally critical of the organization in the wake of the firing of Scot McCloughan. While the move could be justified on the basis of productivity compare to his cap hit, his outspoken nature, especially recently, made the decision a whole lot easier for the Redskins.

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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In case you missed it

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After awful collapse, NFL apology on bad call little more than hollow gesture for Kirk Cousins, Redskins

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After awful collapse, NFL apology on bad call little more than hollow gesture for Kirk Cousins, Redskins

NEW ORLEANS — Collectively, the Redskins squandered a great road win on Sunday.

The team coughed up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, and allowed Drew Brees and the Saints to pull off an incredible, unbelievable comeback win. 

The Redskins deserve the blame. The players and coaches. But they're not alone. 

The referees made a terrible intentional grounding call late in the fourth quarter that cost the Redskins precious time and real estate.

Kirk Cousins very obviously threw the ball away to stop the clock, and the quarterback was very obviously not under duress from the Saints pass rush.

In no fashion was the throw grounds for a flag.

None. 

RELATED: WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LOSS TO SAINTS

Yet, the refs penalized Cousins and the Redskins. As much as replay bogs down the sport, Jay Gruden had no recourse, the flag could not be challenged, and the 'Skins were thrust out of field goal position.

Late Sunday night, a report showed that NFL officials contacted Redskins team president Bruce Allen to say the call was wrong. Whoop de do. That means nothing, and Cousins knows it. 

"Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.," Cousins said Monday speaking on 106.7 the Fan

And he's right.

RELATED: DEAR FANS, STOP WITH THE 'FIRE GRUDEN' TALK

"This is our careers, this is our livelihood," Cousins said. "It is frustrating when a letter is really all you get when it has such a major impact on the direction of our lives."

Cousins' future, Gruden's future, countless other players and coaches, they don't get to hang a sign that says, "The NFL blew a call."

For the third straight offseason, Cousins will be without a contract, and a long-term deal remains anything but certain. This loss, and that call, could impact those contract talks. 

This loss, and that call, could impact coaching changes or draft strategy too. By dropping to 4-6, the Redskins seem unlikely to push for a playoff spot now. Might the organization think differently of their franchise QB if the team fails to make the playoffs for consecutive seasons? Sure, that could definitely happen. Should it happen? Probably not. Could it happen? It could. 

Don't misunderstand: The Redskins blew a 15-point lead in three minutes. That's abysmal. That's absurd. One penalty flag didn't change that. 

But it was a huge penalty, and it was a terrible call. 

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Cousins played nearly flawless in New Orleans, connecting for three touchdowns and more than 300 yards. His most important pass, however, was one that was harmlessly into the ground, with no intended receiver. 

"I'm thinking, well [Jamison] Crowder and [Josh] Doctson are over there. If I literally throw it over their heads, they're in the area, they're eligible receivers. Not to mention, if I'm not under pressure, it's not intentional grounding," Cousins said. 

It's not intentional grounding. Cousins knows it. The NFL knows it. But it doesn't matter now. 

"The difference between a team that’s patting everybody on the back at the end of the season and a team that everybody gets fired, the difference can be a few plays, it can be a call by a referee," Cousins said. "It's a very fragile thing."

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League admits to getting Kirk Cousins' intentional grounding call wrong, per report

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USA TODAY Sports

League admits to getting Kirk Cousins' intentional grounding call wrong, per report

NEW ORLEANS—The Redskins apparently were on the wrong end of a bad call late in their game against the Saints on Sunday and, according to a report, the league admitted it.

Per Mike Jones of USA Today, a league official told Redskins president Bruce Allen that intentional grounding should not have been called against Kirk Cousins with the game tied with 28 seconds left in regulation on Sunday.

The rule is clear. From the NFL rule book:

It is a foul for intentional grounding if a passer, facing an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense, throws a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion.

There wasn’t a Saints defender within a few yards of Cousins when he threw the ball. The pass was not to prevent a sack, it was a mixup with receiver Jamison Crowder.

MORE REDSKINS: A BRUTAL FINAL SIX MINUTES

But the men in stripes conferred and dropped a flag. The penalty was 10 yards, a loss of down, and a 10-second clock runoff. So instead of second and 10 at the 34 with time to run a few more plays, it was second and 20 at the 44 with time running out. The Redskins have every right to believe that they were robbed.

However, they also robbed themselves. The litany of self-inflicted problems is there for anyone who watched the game to see. From not being able to get a touchdown on the board early after D.J. Swearinger’s interception in Saints territory, to committing a false start lining up for a field goal try near the end of the first half, to the inability to get a yard on third and one and to the helplessness of the defense against Drew Brees in the final six minutes of regulation. The mistake by referee Walt Coleman’s crew was glaring but it was far from the only entry on the list of reasons the Redskins lost.

RELATED: TANDLER'S FIVE TAKEAWAYS

The thing is, it shouldn’t have been on the list at all. At least one official on the field is always able to communicate with the suits at 345 Park Avenue. They handle the replays from the league office and we get all kinds of strange interpretations of what a catch is or isn’t. Why can’t someone in New York get in the ear of someone in stripes on the field and say, “Hey, don’t drop that flag, he wasn’t under pressure?”

The technology to prevent a misinterpretation of the rules by the officials on the field is in place right now. It could be done with minimal disruption to the game. It’s a crime that the league won’t use it.

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.