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Redskins depth chart: Two of three interior line spots up for grabs

Redskins depth chart: Two of three interior line spots up for grabs

Over the past month, the Redskins’ depth chart has undergone a minor makeover as seven draft picks and more than a dozen college free agents have been welcomed into the fold. In the coming days, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will break down the revamped roster, position-by-position, and set up the key battles as OTAs ramp up.

Position: Interior offensive line

On the roster: Kory Lichtensteiger, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Arie Kouandjio, Shawn Lauvao, Cody Booth, Nila Kasitati, Josh LeRibeus, Austin Reiter

Likely to make the 53: Lichtensteiger, Long, Scherff, Kouandjio, Lauvao, Reiter

Comment: Lichtensteiger is the incumbent starting center but there is no guarantee that he will be there when the season starts. The team wanted to draft Alabama center Ryan Kelly in the first round but he was gone when their pick came up. The veteran dodged that particular bullet but he will be challenged from with in by Reiter, LeRibeus, and possibly Long. If he is the Week 1 starter he will have earned it.

Long could start at left guard as he did for 13 games last year. The coaches could move him to center and if he wins the competition he could start there. Or he could start the season on the bench. The best bet is that he stays at guard and competes with Lauvao.

Scherff is the rock in the interior offensive line. Last year he played 1,163 of 1,164 offensive snaps at right guard and you can take a Sharpie and put him in for something similar this year.

There probably should be an asterisk next to Lauvao’s name. The last time we saw him in January he was on a scooter after surgery on his foot. He had multiple procedures on both feet after going out in Week 3 with a foot injury. The veteran may not be ready for the start of training camp and you have to wonder if he’ll be ready for the start of the season. Although it’s unlikely, a decision to move on from Lauvao and his $5 million cap number is not out of the question if the team feels comfortable with the other options.

Both Long and Lauvao need to look over their shoulders at Kouandjio. The 2015 fourth-round pick has the nasty attitude the team is looking for but when we saw him on the field last his technique needed plenty of improvement. If a year spent mostly on the inactive list gave him time to brush up on his fundamentals he could force his way into the lineup.

Reiter, a seventh-round pick in 2015 who spent last year on the practice squad, has put on weight and he will push Lichtensteiger for the starting job at center. Expectations should be low until we see Reiter on the field with pads on.

Battling for a job: LeRibeus, Booth, Kasitati

Comment: LeRibeus started 11 games at center last year yet many were surprised when the team re-signed him to a one-year contract. While he was playing center his snaps were frequently challenging for Kirk Cousins to corral and his blocking was subpar, although both aspects of his game improved as he played more. His ability to play both guard and center is a big plus in his bid for a spot on the 53.  

Booth has been with the Jaguars and Bears but he has yet to appear in a regular season game. He can play some tackle, too but his versatility is probably enough to only get him through training camp and some preseason games. Kasitati was just signed after trying out a rookie camp and his prospects are day-to-day.

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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. 

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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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Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

There was some confusion about the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Tennessee when the NFL schedule dropped. The schedule pushed out by the Redskins said that the game date and time are to be determined. Other versions that went out, including the one on NFL.com, says the game will be on Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

So what’s the story? Well, if you’re thinking of making reservations to go to Nashville to watch the game you just might want to hold off for a while. Like, until early November. 

In an under the radar move, the NFL has established flex scheduling for its late-season Saturday games. Here are the details from the schedule press release from Redskins PR:

“Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network, with the game times of 4:30 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”

The way it sets up, if the Redskins and Titans are playing well in midseason there is a good chance the game will be played on Saturday, December 22 at either 4:30 or 8:20. If one or both teams are struggling, the league and networks could choose to flex two of the other four matchups to Saturday. 

This is taking flex scheduling to a different level. It’s one thing shifting a Sunday kickoff seven and a half hours from 1 p.m. to 8:30. It’s another to shift a whole day. The visiting teams can’t make travel arrangements, not knowing if they need to come into town on Friday for a Saturday game or on Saturday for Sunday. Fans who want to travel to the game are in the same boat. 

Of course, if you can afford it, you can just add a day to your Nashville excursion. There are worse things in the world than spending an extra day or two in Music City. 

If you have to wait to make your plans, as the Redskins do, you will find out no later than October 29, which is when Week 8 ends. 

Do you believe in trends? Then you should hope that the game does get flexed to Saturday. The Redskins have won three straight Saturday games, beating the Eagles in both 2014 and 2015 (the latter game clinching the division title for Washington) and the Bears in 2016. 

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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/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.