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Need to Know: A brawl, position changes and departures highlight the Redskins' week

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Need to Know: A brawl, position changes and departures highlight the Redskins' week

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 10, three days before Washington Redskins open their preseason against the Browns in Cleveland.

The week that was

RICHMOND—The Redskins are back here today for a couple of days of practice before they travel to Cleveland on Wednesday. Here is a look back at what happened in the past week and my reaction to it.

'It escalated very quickly'—It appears that the Texans were looking to start something to retaliate for Matt Jones mowing over one of their defensive backs on Friday. There is always a fine line on how much contact there should be in these joint practices and perhaps Jones crossed it. I’m not sure if a brawl involving over 150 players spread over two fields is exactly revenge but if the Texans are happy, that’s OK. It’s a good thing nobody got injured.

Scherff, Moses moves shuffle O-line depth chartIt looks like Brandon Scherff will start his NFL career as a guard. Although you never know what will happen it is likely that he will stay there. I’m not sure if the Redskins should be criticized more for using the fifth overall pick in the draft on a guard, a position of relatively low value, or if they should get credit for not waiting to make the move of Scherff to right guard and Morgan Moses into the right tackle spot. A little of both, probably.

Redskins waive Phillip Thomas—The Redskins aren’t exactly set at safety but they decided to move on without Thomas, their fourth-round pick in the 2013 draft. The organization thought he would develop into a starter but he missed his rookie year with a foot injury and when injuries created an opportunity for him to start last year he looked lost.

Colts claim Tevin Mitchel off waivers—The sixth-round pick suffered a shoulder injury that was going to put him out for the season. In order to get him onto injured reserve, the Redskins had to pass him through waivers, normally a routine procedure. But the Colts decided to claim him. Mitchel will now spend the season on the Indianapolis IR list and try to make the Colts team next year. It wasn’t much of a gamble since injured players are rarely claimed but Washington ended up losing a sixth-round pick.

Redskins add two to secondary, including former Virginia CBThomas was waived to help make room for cornerbacks Bryan McCann, a veteran with stints on five different NFL teams, and rookie free agent DreQuan Hoskey. The Redskins’ top four cornerbacks were nicked up and unable to practice and Mitchel was gone so they brought in some warm bodies to get through practice. But they will get a chance to make it.

DeSean Jackson leaves practice early with apparent shoulder injuryJackson didn’t last long in the joint practices. Early in Wednesday’s first session he went to the ground while trying to catch a pass and ended up with a sprained AC joint. The injury is not major and should only keep him out a couple of weeks. He did not, as some said, injure himself on a blocking sled that was near by. When Jackson fell he slid and wound up bumping the sled. By the time he made contact with the sled, the damage to his shoulder had already been done.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough 10:35; Jay Gruden news conference 2:45; practice 3:05

—It’s been 225 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 34 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 3; final cuts 26; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 45

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The betting houses are bearish on the 2018 Redskins

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

The betting houses are bearish on the 2018 Redskins

With the NFL schedule dropped last week, many fans and media types went through and predicted wins and losses for the teams they follow, just for fun. But others predict the records of teams and it’s not for laughs, it’s for very high stakes.

The betting houses in Las Vegas and offshore have established their lines for over/under in wins. They then take this a step further and go through the playoffs to establish the odds of winning the Super Bowl. 

Over the weekend, BetOnline published one of each and let’s just say that they do not like what the Redskins have done this offseason. Or, more accurately, they think that the public perception is that the Redskins will not be a very good team this year. 

Their over/under for wins is 5.5. They won seven games last year so the under would represent a decline of at least two wins. This line seems to be low. The Redskins won seven games last year with the worst injury situation in the league, per the numbers crunchers at Football Outsiders. They also faced one of the toughest schedules in the league in terms of opponent winning percentages. 

Yes, they did lose Kirk Cousins to free agency but they replaced him with Alex Smith, who, like Cousins, is not elite or even in the top 10 but in the category of solid, reliable quarterbacks. The QB exchange was close to a wash. But despite the fact that the chances are they will suffer fewer injuries and face a schedule that isn’t as much of a meat grinder, this over/under has the Redskins producing double-digit losses. They have managed to stay out of 10-plus loss territory for three straight years. 

There are more reasons to think that they will win at least as many games as they did last year than there are to think that they will win fewer. If I’m betting, which I’m not, I’d be tempted to hit the over on that pretty hard. 

I would keep my money in my pocket when it comes to betting on the Redskins’ chances of winning the Super Bowl. I don’t think they’re close, but I think they’re much closer than the Browns but BetOnline has Cleveland and Washington with the same odds of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. The Redskins, Browns, and Bucs are at +6600 to win it all. The Redskins odds are worse than all but six other teams. 

Again, I don’t think that the Redskins are going to win the Super Bowl. Winning a playoff game would be quite an accomplishment for them. But same could be said of the Colts, Giants, Chargers, and 49ers, but they all have considerably better odds than the Redskins. 

In fact, there may be some irrational exuberance with the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo. They have the seventh-best odds at +1600. Sure, Jimmy G was very good in five meaningless games at the end of last season. Let’s see how he does with some pressure on and after defensive coaches have had a chance to study how to take away his strengths. It just goes to show you how little real analysis goes into this. 

I get a little annoyed when teams play the disrespect card, especially when they have to look too hard to find it. But if the Redskins look at this, they certainly can embrace the underdog role if they want to. What they do with it, we will find out starting September 9. 

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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.

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5 draft scenarios that make sense for the Redskins in the 1st round

5 draft scenarios that make sense for the Redskins in the 1st round

As NFL Draft Week starts in earnest, a million scenarios will get presented. Hypothetical trades, absurd reaches and nonsenical slips will get discussed, most likely to not happen. 

For the Redskins, the team could go a number of different ways, and plenty of them make sense. Let's take a look at those options.

  • Draft Vita Vea or Da'Ron Payne- The Redskins had the worst run defense in the NFL in 2017, and defending the run has been a problem for Washington for some time. Vea would help, immediately, both on the front line and the linebackers making tackles. Washington could make this pick at 13 and nobody would question it. Drafting Payne would be a move for higher potential, rather than immediate performance. Vea has been the more impressive college defensive lineman, but that doesn't mean Payne couldn't be the better professional. Payne could develop pass rushing skills, becoming a valuable interior pass rush disruptor. Vea seems a longer shot to do so. 
  • Draft Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James - Neither of these players should last to 13, but because of the expected run on quarterbacks, it's entirely possible James or Fitzpatrick last until the Redskins' pick. Both players are versatile and highly capable, both could help the Redskins in 2018, and maybe more in the years following their rookie season. Position questions will get sorted out, whether it's at safety or corner or some hybrid of roles. Listen to the folks from Tallahassee or Tuscaloosa, and the word on these two secondary players is elite potential. 
  • Go linebacker - Roquan Smith seems undersized for the NFL, but he will help an NFL team. He is a high floor, low ceiling player. Tremaine Edmunds could be much more. He has outrageous measurables and is only 19 years old (see video above). Smith is an interior linebacker that will make a ton of tackles; Edmunds can rush the passer and be disruptive in pass coverage. It's entirely possible neither make it to Washington at 13, but if either do, that would mark a good option for the Redskins. 
  • Trade down - Bruce Allen made clear speaking with NBC Sports Washington in March that the organization would look for opportunities to trade down, and it would be a wise strategy. Most top draft analysts believe the value in this draft comes from the 30th to 100th best players, not necessarily the Top 30. Washington gave up its third-round pick in the trade to acquire QB Alex Smith. If an opportunity presents itself to move back in the first round and gain additional picks the team needs to give that offer strong consideration. A player like Payne might be had around the 20th pick in the first round, or there are other defensive linemen available. The Redskins also need interior offensive line help, and a number of quality candidates will likely get picked in the bottom third of the first round.
  • Catch a falling star - This plan worked great for the Redskins in 2017. Nobody expected Alabama DL Jonathan Allen to slip to the 17th pick, but sure enough, he did. All Washington had to do was wait for their pick and take easily the best player available. That could happen again. The expected early run on QBs will drive top talent down the board, and if one or two teams make surprise, reach picks, the Redskins could again win out. It seems unlikely, but if a talent like Denzel Ward or Quenton Nelson falls to 13, the Redskins should pounce. 

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