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After a solid draft, is the dysfunction at Redskins Park a thing of the past?

After a solid draft, is the dysfunction at Redskins Park a thing of the past?

If you look around the internet you see many analysts praising the Redskins’ draft. I would have been ecstatic if one of my high school report cards came back like the draft grades the Redskins have received.

SB Nation and USA Today both gave them an A-minus. Rob Rang of CBS Sports wasn’t quite as impressed but you should be able to win games with players from a B-graded draft. I went with a B-plus. There may have been a contrarian or two out there giving them a C but most of the reviews were positive.

Hit the rewind button to about eight weeks ago, to March 9. After about a week of speculation, Scot McCloughan was fired as the team’s general manager. The organization was being called a dysfunctional clown show and a GIF of a dumpster fire was a common attachment to tweets about the team.

But life went on at Redskins Park. They checked a lot of boxes in free agency, signing two defensive linemen, a safety, linebacker Zach Brown, and receiver Terrelle Pryor. The building of the defense continued during the draft with the acquisitions of DL Jonathan Allen, OLB Ryan Anderson, and CB Fabian Moreau. The contracts for the free agent acquisitions were reasonable and they got solid value for most of these draft picks.

RELATED: Grading the Redskins 2017 draft

There was nothing dysfunctional about the process. We will see how things work out on the field, which is what really matters. But taking an objective look at it, it appears to be a carefully thought out and well-executed offseason personnel plan.

Sometime in the next few weeks the Redskins will name a new general manager. Perhaps it will be Scott Campbell, the current director of college scouting who has been working in the personnel side of the NFL for 30 years, including 16 years with the Redskins. It could be Doug Williams, who has been involved in both coaching and personnel in the 30 years since he was a Super Bowl hero for the Redskins.

Perhaps hiring from within is not ideal. While Campbell and Williams are both sharp and good at their jobs, it isn’t like either name comes up when another team is looking to interview GM candidates. The Redskins may be better served by casting a wider net in their general manager search.

Still, if the search turns out as expected, Campbell or Williams would be an acceptable general manager. The hiring of either would not scream dysfunction, just that they could do better.

So, has the dumpster fire been put out? While the correct answer is yes, there is no assurance that (to mix in another metaphor here) the train will stay on the tracks.

MORE REDSKINS: Five Redskins who could lose their jobs to draft picks 

We’ve see this all before. Marty Schottenheimer had a strong finish in 2001 only to be fired after one season on the job. Joe Gibbs had a bumpy four-year second run that ended abruptly with his second retirement. Mike Shanahan was in the process of trying to patiently assemble a winning program until the RG3 trade blew things up. There has been some semblance of stability with Jay Gruden entering his fourth year as coach but that was marred by the ugly McCloughan dismissal in March.

There always seems to be plenty of fuel in the dumpster just waiting for an ignition spark.

Enjoy it while you can, Redskins fans. There is a glimmer of hope on the coaching front. There will be stability long enough to build a team that can make a playoff run or two. Maybe the past won’t repeat itself but it’s up to you to determine how much hope you want to invest in that possibility.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Dwayne Haskins believes he gives Washington best chance to win, even if Alex Smith can play

Dwayne Haskins believes he gives Washington best chance to win, even if Alex Smith can play

While many expect Dwayne Haskins to be Washington's quarterback in Week 1, head coach Ron Rivera has yet to formally name a starting quarterback and has preached "pure competition" between Haskins and Kyle Allen.

The battle for the job has the potential to take an interesting twist in the coming weeks if veteran Alex Smith is able to return from the active/PUP list. In a media session with local reporters on Monday, Rivera said Smith is "going to be in the throes of this competition" if he's able to return.

However, even if Smith is healthy enough to compete for the starting job, Haskins believes he's the best man for the job. 

"All respect for everyone in that room, but I feel like I give us the best opportunity," Haskins told Julie Donaldson, Washington's Senior VP of Media and Content. "I look forward to showing it."

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Haskins had his growing pains as a rookie but really started to show flashes of his potential towards the end of the season before an ankle injury prematurely ended his first season as a pro. Over his final six quarters, Haskins finished with 394 passing yards on a 72 percent completion rate with four touchdowns and zero turnovers. 

Since Rivera took over as head coach in January, he's challenged Haskins to take command of the job, and the quarterback has responded. Haskins has dropped close to 20 pounds this offseason and said he is in the best shape of his life. He's spent the bulk of his offseason training and learning from numerous NFL stars, most notably Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton and Odell Beckham Jr.

Although Rivera has yet to name Haskins the starter, he's taken notice of the 23-year-old's progress and has publicly praised him for it. In a media session last week, several comments the head coach made sounded as if he was ready to move in the direction with Haskins as QB1.

While Haskins and Smith may be directly competing with one another, the two have a strong relationship.

Haskins has said multiple times how much of a help Smith was to him as a rookie. On Monday, Haskins said he looks at Smith as a "mentor" to him.

"He's a great teammate," Haskins said. "Somebody in the meeting room that we look for answers and questions and everything he's been through in his long tenure as a professional quarterback in the NFL. He's someone I kind of look to as a mentor in that sense."

RELATED: MORGAN MOSES IS IMPRESSED WITH DWAYNE HASKINS 'KNOWING HE'S GOING TO BE NO. 1 QB'

Smith's journey is remarkable, and the fact that he's even close to playing after suffering the gruesome leg injury he had in November 2018 is already impressive enough within itself. And of the three quarterbacks, Smith is by far the most proven and experienced.

But Washington is currently in a rebuild, and Rivera has said multiple times that the 2020 season will be crucial in determining who he sees as core players on his roster. So, starting a 35-year-old Smith over Haskins, a second-year player who the team invested a first-round pick in just one year ago, wouldn't make much sense.

Yet, if Smith does end up being healthy enough to compete for the job, Haskins is ready to embrace the challenge.

"I'm extremely happy and excited for Alex. Having watched him train last year and him just getting into the position to try and play this year...I can tell how much work he's put in," Haskins said. "I'm excited for him. Hopefully he gets back to where he needs to be, and I look forward to competing with him and everything of that nature."

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Dan Snyder's attorney raises conspiracy questions with defamation suit

Dan Snyder's attorney raises conspiracy questions with defamation suit

Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder wants to clear the air about a series of slanderous rumors that his attorney believes were part of a wider campaign to spread misinformation and defame his character. 

"There's a lot of things going on in Washington right now regarding the club and there are people that may have some motives to falsely attack Mr. Snyder," attorney Joe Tacopina, who represents Snyder, said in an interview with NBC Sports Washington. 

The center of the issue comes from an article that ran on meaww.com - a website owned by India-based company Media Entertainment Arts WorldWide - alleging Snyder had personal involvement with financier Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who killed himself while in prison last year. 

"Dan Snyder has nothing to do with [Epstein] and had nothing to do with him," Tacopina said of the article. 

That article, shared repeatedly via social media, deeply bothered the Snyder family and now the owner wants to do everything in his power to clear his name. 

In the process, Tacopina alleges that a former employee was spreading the disinformation at the behest of a financial backer. Snyder is taking legal action against former Washington employee Mary Ellen Blair in an attempt to prove she intentionally spread lies and was told to do so by a third party. 

"We believe there are obviously people behind that had their own purposes for doing it," Tacopina said. The lawsuits aim to "to uncover who’s behind the scenes, who’s pulling the strings."

RELATED: DAN SNYDER FILES TWO DEFAMATION LAWSUITS

In a New York Times report, Blair is connected to Dwight Schar, one of the Washington minority owners looking to sell his shares in the team. The article contends that Blair dealt with financial hardships and lives in a building that Schar's daughter's real estate development company owns.

Asked if the misinformation and defamation lawsuits have anything to do with Washington's minority partners looking to sell 40 percent of the team, Tacopina would not speculate, but he did respond. 

"I think common sense will sort of play out. I think the evidence in this case will present us with who’s behind this," Tacopina said. 

Tacopina has an impressive and high-profile legal track record. He worked with Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill to end his decade-long legal saga and multiple jail visits. He also lists Alex Rodriguez and Jay-Z as clients. 

This looks to be just the beginning of a series of legal actions that could unclose a significant conspiracy against the Washington Football Team owner. Then again, it could be nothing. The legal process will play out.

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