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Rating the Redskins: Cornerbacks

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Rating the Redskins: Cornerbacks

New Redskins GM Scot McCloughan aimed to improve nearly every position through the draft or via free agency. How has he done? Over the next couple of weeks, Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will examine and rate each group on the team. The ratings will be based on the quality of the players as compared to the rest of the league and, in particular, the division.

We’ll use a scale of 1 to 10. To receive a 10, a position group would need Pro-Bowl caliber starters and solid backups. A rating of 1 means the starters are aging and ineffective and there are no promising reserves in the pipeline.

We’ve already looked at the defensive lineoffensive line, linebackers, wide receivers, and tight ends. Up this today, we’ve got the cornerbacks.

Starters: Chris Culliver and Bashaud Breeland.

Reserves: DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson and Tevin Mitchel.

Tandler: This unit was a weak link last year. Hall missed the last 13 games with an Achilles injury, Amerson struggled through a sophomore slump, Breeland played well at times and like an unpolished rookie at times, Tracy Porter, who was supposed to be the nickel back, missed most of the season with injuries, and below replacement level players like E. J. Biggers were forced into playing important snaps. The corners should be better in 2015. Culliver came over from the 49ers as a free agent and he is an instant, major upgrade. It appears that Hall’s rehab is going well enough to think that he will be back for Week 1. Breeland will have another offseason of learning under his belt and the word is that the talented Amerson is taking his struggles last year to heart and taking preparation more seriously. This all sounds good but a lot of things sound good in June but then don’t work out when the games start counting. Put me down for cautious optimism that the cornerbacks will be less of a liability this year but I need to see a lot more before believing that they will be a strength. Rating: 4.

El-Bashir: I’m not concerned about Culliver or Breeland. As long as they avoid trouble off the field, I’m confident they’ll deliver on it. Both bring a much-needed edge to the secondary and possess the potential to be a solid duo. I do, however, have concerns about the others. Hall, if healthy, will bring some playmaking ability and veteran calm. But when will he be 100-percent recovered from a twice-torn Achilles? During the first OTA session, when the 31-year-old did some light individual drill work, things seemed to be right on schedule. Hall did less work the next two weeks, however. Maybe it's just part of the plan, as Jay Gruden said. But I'll be curious to see what, if anything, Hall does this week in veteran minicamp. As for Amerson, he’s the No. 3 corner right now and is coming off a sophomore season in which he allowed a league-worst 10 passing touchdowns in his coverage, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Gruden says he’s been “very impressed” with Amerson this offseason, so perhaps he’s in the process of regaining his focus and, more important, his confidence. We’ll see, I guess. It’s too early to say if Mitchel, a sixth round pick this year, will make an immediate impact, or if any of the hopefuls, like Justin Rogers or Trey Wolfe can put pressure on those ahead of them. Let’s be honest here. After the Redskins’ defense surrendered a whopping 35 passing touchdowns—the most in the NFL in 2014—this group probably deserved a rating of 1 or 2. But I’m an optimist, and I think the addition of Culliver (as well as the tutelage of Perry Fewell) will help shore things up a bit. But, like Tandler, I need to see it before I get excited. Rating: 5.

Consensus: 4.5.

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL. They can also trade Landry and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first-round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 

What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical; few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins. But it's certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. Wide Receiver$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

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Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

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:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200