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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Midway through the offseason, the roster bubble

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Midway through the offseason, the roster bubble

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 12, 10 days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.  

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

Redskins slow played problem at left guard—The Redskins didn’t want to spend big money on a guard and that’s understandable with Brandon Scherff due to make $12.5 million next year. But by being cautious in what they spend and not taking a guard in the draft, did they end up with too weak a link on the O-line? A good look by JP Finlay. (Note: This article was posted prior to the injury to Arie Kouandjio. That makes the situation even more of a mess.)

Redskins should have four compensatory picks coming their way—This isn’t a hot topic in places like New England but for a team that had just one compensatory pick this decade, a seventh-rounder, it’s welcome news. The Redskins don’t have enough draft capital to control the 2019 draft, but they will be able to get some things done. They also could use a pick to fill a hole at, say, left guard.

Examining the Redskins' roster bubble—Defense—I count about 20 spots on defense that are locks, leaving about a dozen players competing for four to six spots. It’s a little more open on offense, with about seven spots up for grabs. The battle starts this weekend at rookie camp and rolls on until the roster cut to 53 on September 1. 

Ranking the Redskins' 2018 draft picks—I liked the Redskins’ draft. I gave it an A based on the process. But I did like some picks better than others. And my ranking of a player at No. 8 upset some readers. But I didn’t hate the pick, I liked it less than the others. I mean, somebody had to be last, right? With that in mind, take a look here and let me know what you think (even if you hate them). 

Tweet of the week

The length of the NFL offseason has long been one of the banes of football fans’ existence. In case you need help with the math, that’s 252 days between the end of one season and the beginning of the other. 

How does that compare to the other local pro teams? Wizards fans had to wait 155 days between the end of the 2016-2017 season to the start of 2017-2018. Caps fans had to wait for just 148. Now, both of those teams did play 13 playoff games, extending their seasons by about a month. But even if one had failed to qualify for the postseason as was the case with the Redskins the wait for another game that counts would have been about two and a half months shorter than the wait for football. The Nats, who played five playoff games, had 169 games between the Game 5 loss to the Cubs in the NLDS to their 2018 season opener. 

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  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Tandler on Twitter

Guice noticed my tweet, retweeted it, and added this comment:

Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 75
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 89

The Redskins last played a game 132 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 120 days. 

In case you missed it

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Morgan Moses explains why he was not offended by Dwayne Haskins' viral pep talk vs. Jets

Morgan Moses explains why he was not offended by Dwayne Haskins' viral pep talk vs. Jets

During the Redskins blowout loss to the Jets on Sunday, cameras captured rookie Dwayne Haskins pleading to his offensive linemen, asking "What do I have to do to help you?" 

The moment went viral on social media, as many people had differing opinions on the exchange.

On the surface, it appears as if the Redskins offensive linemen weren't interested in listening to Haskins. The team was down big to a previously two-win Jets team, and the rookie quarterback had not played well.

But Redskins right tackle Morgan Moses, when asked on The Sports Junkies about the interaction, said that wasn't it at all. The veteran explained why he wasn't bothered by Haskins' pep talk, regardless of what the footage may show.

"He's a young quarterback. He's only had two starts. So he's filled with a lot of emotion," Moses said. "That's why you see me talking to him after the fact that he came over there and said what he had to say. He asked us, 'What can I do to help you guys?' In that moment, it wasn't him coming out there and chewing us out or anything like that. I understood where he was coming from."

Moses explained that the Jets defense, who's coordinator Gregg Williams is famous for bringing pressure and blitzing, ran several different stunts and formations that may have confused Haskins. 

"As a young quarterback, and you have an exotic defense like that, you have a star safety [Jamal Adams] that's in the box, he's out the box, he's a hell of a playmaker," Moses said. "[Haskins is] trying to figure out where he's at. It's almost like he comes over there and is asking, truly, like 'Hey man, what can I do?' Because he probably doesn't understand everything that's happening.

"Obviously, he's looking downfield, looking for open receivers and things like that," Moses continued. "So when you get sacked, you're like 'Where is he coming from?' Simply, when there's a five-man protection and they're bringing seven, somebody is going to be free."

The Jets defense had their way with Haskins and the Redskins offense for much of the game. The rookie was sacked six times and was unable to put together much of anything before falling down 31 points in the fourth quarter. Two late TDs made the margin appear closer than the game truly was, and Haskins knows he has to play better.

Moses understands that Haskins has gone through things as a rookie that most players don't usually deal with. The right tackle has high hopes for Haskins, and praised No. 7's drive and willingness to get better.

"To give credit to the kid, he's a hell of a football player," Moses said. "He's in there willing to learn, he wants to learn, he wants to be great. He's playing through a lot of things that normal quarterbacks, rookie quarterbacks don't play through. His head coach got fired after a couple of weeks, and things like that. For him, he's just trying to find his way. We just have to do a better job of helping him find his way as well."

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Redskins’ young trio shows potential, but long after Jets game was out of hand

Redskins’ young trio shows potential, but long after Jets game was out of hand

The game was long since over when the young Redskins made their presence felt. 
 
Quarterback Dwayne Haskins and running back Derrius Guice combined for their first career touchdowns. Wide receiver Terry McLaurin had a 67-yard catch wiped out by a holding penalty, but later in the game made a spectacular play on a ball thrown 41 yards down field. 
 
That trio, for now, comprises what little hope Washington has for its immediate future. But if you chose to see their performance in the second half of a 34-17 loss to the woeful New York Jets as a small sign of progress, don’t bother. They don’t.
 
“It was okay. It wasn’t good enough,” Haskins said when asked to evaluate his play. “We didn’t win.” 
 
If Guice seemed hard on himself afterward, too, there was good reason. At halftime the Jets led 20-3. New York punched in two quick touchdowns early in the fourth quarter and it was 34-3. Nothing that came after by any player really mattered.
 
“It was embarrassing,” veteran linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said.
 
Kerrigan is 31 now. He’s seen far too many days like this in his nine years with the Redskins. Haskins was making his second career NFL start. He’s not used to losing like this. He and McLaurin went to Ohio State, not Rutgers. Guice was a star at LSU. Kerrigan knows a hard lesson that they do not: You don’t control much in the NFL.
 
It’s hard for any rookie to see a bright future when you walk off the field drubbed by a 3-7 team. Garbage time numbers don’t do much for anyone – even for top draft picks who should be the foundation going forward.   
 
“No, because it’s not just about us,” Guice said. “We’ve got to have linemen up there that’s going to block for all us. We’ve got to have all of that. It’s more than just three people.” 
 
Haskins completed nine passes in the first half for just 52 yards. He was sacked four times. There are plenty of things he needs to learn about playing quarterback at this level and pocket awareness is one of them. 
 
Guice played behind veteran Adrian Peterson in his return from a torn meniscus in his right knee during the first game of the season on Sept. 8. He carried the ball just four times for 16 yards in the first half. 
 
McLaurin barely had time to celebrate his 67-yard catch with 13:22 to go in the second quarter. Instead of setting up the Redskins with 1st-and-10 at the 12, a holding call and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on right guard Brandon Scherff made it 1st-and-24 at the 6. It was the story of the day.
 
By the end of the afternoon the numbers didn’t look so bad. McLaurin, a 2019 third-round draft pick, had three catches for 69 yards. Guice, last year’s second-round draft pick, showed how dynamic he can be taking a screen pass 45 yards for a touchdown. For a player who missed his rookie season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee and missed eight games this season with the meniscus tear, it had to feel great. 
 
“A lot of emotions going through my head at the time,” Guice said. “But I knew I had to put it aside because we were losing. It’s not about me. It’s about the team losing that really stinks. It took the excitement out of it.” 
 
Haskins completed 19 of 35 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. There were more big plays than in his first start, a 24-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Nov. 3 before the bye week. 
 
But his numbers were ugly after a drive stalled with 3:38 left in the third quarter following another sack. While the Redskins punted, Haskins gathered his offense together on the sideline and gave an impassioned speech caught by NBC television cameras. It was a fire we haven’t seen from him before.  
 
“He’s a guy that’s taking on a role and we’re all following,” Guice said. “Like I always tell him ‘It’s your offense, you’ve got to tell me where to go with protections, tell the line where to go, tell us what routes to run. That’s on you.’”
 
Added Guice: “He has to lead us and we’ve got to all follow. It’s team, it’s a team, it’s a team. We’ve got to play as a team, we’ve got to win as a team and we’ve got to lose as a team. It’s on all of us. We all made mistakes, we all made errors. We’ve got to fix it fast.” 
 
Haskins’ numbers before his outburst were 12-for-20, 95 yards. In the fourth quarter they were 7-for-15, 119 yards, two touchdowns. Encouraging? Sure. But there’s so much more work to be done for the small group that comprises this 1-9 team’s future. 
 
The veterans who have been around, who have lost more than they’ve won, know promise and potential isn’t worth much in a league with such a short shelf life. The young players aren’t going to turn this around on their own. They need to play better and they need help.   
 
“You have guys who have been in the league a long time. As a young dude with a new voice, you have to earn their trust,” Haskins said. “You have to earn that ability to ask for what you see out there. As the game went on telling them what I want and what I think would help us make plays. They started listening to me, but I have to keep earning that.”  
 

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