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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Can Gruden build on success?

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Can Gruden build on success?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 19, the day the Washington Redskins play the New York Jets at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Jets, 7:30 pm, FedEx Field, telecast on CSN

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 222 days ago. It will be 24 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Final roster cut 15; Cowboys @ Redskins 30; Browns @ Redskins 44

The Redskins week that was

Cousins' goals for Redskins: win games, be boringI’m not sure if they will ever get to be the San Antonio Spurs, as Cousins said his goal is. Since the 1998-1999  season the Spurs have won five titles. The Redskins have not made an appearance in their conference championship game in that time span. Even if the Redskins did get to be a powerhouse, the NBA is better set up to have a dynasty that is the NFL. But the part about being boring as far as distractions is absolutely possible. It's the way most NFL teams operate.

NTK: Cousins thinks he missed a chance—Against the Falcons, Cousins said that one of the running plays that didn’t go much of anywhere while he was in the game could have been avoided had he audibles to a different play. He didn’t say why he didn’t audible when he was at the line, whether he didn’t recognize the bad matchup at the time or if he left the play as is for another reason. In either case, it’s part of the learning process for Cousins. If he starts catching defenses cheating up to the line often enough and burns them through the air, things may open up in the running game.

Michael Crabtree? Josh Doctson? What's the connection?—An interesting post by JP Finlay, looking at how Scot McCloughan may be using history (part his history, part not his) in guiding the team as it navigates the Doctson injury.

Sloppy Redskins practice requires Gruden's loud correction—The book on Jay Gruden as a head coach is not yet written; his persona is very much a work in progress. He let loose on the team with an expletive-laden rant during a sloppy practice at Redskins Park. Gruden has the credibility to be able to do this because the team is headed in the right direction, with a division title last year. A first-time head coach who had posted, say, double-digit losses in his first two seasons at the helm might not have the credibility to off on the team and have it have any effect.

NTK: Room on the Redskins roster for Toler, Sudfeld?—The one hard and fast rule about putting together a roster is that only 53 players can be on it at any given time. That means if you want to add somebody to it, somebody must be removed. To get players like Greg Toler, a veteran cornerback on a team loaded with young talent at the position, and Nate Sudfeld, a promising but raw rookie quarterback who likely won’t see the field this year, you have to cut players you may want to keep.

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Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 22, four days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five safe picks for the Redskins

Sometimes teams try to hit home runs with their draft picks. They may hit a few but they also will strike out a lot. Teams often are better off trying to hit solid singles and doubles. Here are five picks who would are unlikely to make many Pro Bowls but the Redskins would not regret the pick if they turned in the cards with their names on it. 

RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—I’m starting off here with a player who would be a safe pick in the third round. Of course, the Redskins don’t have a third right now but if they do swing a trade and get one, Johnson would be a good pick. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is one reason why he might be available in the third. He is a grinder who will be an upgrade over Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. 

DL Vita Vea, Washington—There is plenty of hand wringing over whether Vea is a three-down player or just a base defense nose tackle. But even if he can’t rush the passer very well his floor is a player who can go a long way towards helping the Redskins stop the run, a chronic weakness. This is why a lot of fans and media are urging the Redskins to not overthink this and take a player that will, at a minimum, bolster one of their weakest areas. 

OL Billy Price, Ohio State—He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most of any player in the storied history of the program. He did suffer the partial tear of a chest muscle in the combine but that will be fully healed by training camp. When he’s ready, he’s an explosive, smart, and powerful player. Just plug him in at left guard and the Redskins’ O-line is set with all home-grown talent. 

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State—He doesn’t have the ceiling that the more heralded Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have. However, he may have a higher floor. Smith is undersized, and Edmunds will be highly drafted based more on potential than on production. At 6-4, 256, Vander Esch has plenty of size, and he racked up 141 tackles last year on his way to defensive player of the year honors in the Mountain West. 

 CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado—The All-Pac-12 selection has the size and athleticism that add up to a safe pick in the second round. He needs some work on technique, but he has enough natural athletic ability—he competed in the decathlon—to be a productive cornerback right out of the gate. One other plus that fans will appreciate is that his strength is press coverage, not off man. 

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.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 95
—Redskins @ Cardinals (9/9) 140

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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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