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Need to Know: Will McCloughan try to build the Redskins' defense through free agency?

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Need to Know: Will McCloughan try to build the Redskins' defense through free agency?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 9, 15 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

QOD: Will McCloughan try to build the defense through free agency?

Scot McCloughan has said that the Redskins will not be big players in free agency. During the prime signing period last March he signed five players, all on defense. Will he sign that many defenders next month?

With the additions of those players plus a trade for Dashon Goldson, the Redskins improved in terms of points scored from 29th in the league to 17th but they still gave up a lot of yards, ranking 28th.

So will McCloughan go back to the well and try to shore up the defense via free agency again? Assuming that he sticks by his statement that they’re not going to be big players, probably not, at least not to any great extent. Let’s look at the three levels of defense one at a time:

Defensive line—Three of the five free agents that McCloughan signed last year play on the line. Stephen Paea and Ricky Jean Francois will be back while nose tackle Terrance Knighton may not be. A free agent nose tackle to replace Pot Roast could be in the offing but I think that McCloughan would rather build the line through the draft rather than bringing in more veterans. One early pick and one late rounder would fit in nicely.

Linebacker—The Redskins are pretty much set at outside linebacker although I think McCloughan would grab one on the middle or latter rounds of the draft if the right guy is there. On the inside, if Mason Foster returns they have their starters with him and Will Compton. I could see signing a free agent to either replace or supplement Adam Hayward, who has missed most of the last two seasons with injuries, as a reserve ILB and special teams star.

Secondary—If the Redskins bring back Will Blackmon, they could go with him as the nickel or dime corner along with Quinton Dunbar. They are set for starters with Chris Culliver and Bashaud Breeland. Again, McCloughan will look to the draft to upgrade here. At safety, a lot depends on if Dashon Goldson is willing to take a cut from his $8 million 2016 salary. If they can come to an agreement they will have him and DeAngelo Hall as starters and Kyshoen Jarrett, Jeron Johnson and, if the restricted free agent is back, Duke Ihenacho at safety. If Goldson becomes a cap casualty they could either look to pick up a free agent or go with the other four. This is another position that can be upgraded in the draft but may not really benefit from a mid-range free agent.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 30 days ago. It will be about 215 days until they play another one.

—About 170 days until guards and cornerbacks report to Richmond.

Days until: NFL Combine 15; NFL free agency starts 29; 2016 NFL draft 79

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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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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

More Redskins

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.