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Need to Know: 11 predictions for the 2017 Redskins defense

Need to Know: 11 predictions for the 2017 Redskins defense

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 13, 14 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 193 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 59 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 4
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 28
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 51

11 predictions for the Redskins’ defense

Not all of these can be characterized as bold, but here goes with one prediction for each of the 11 anticipated 2017 defensive starters for the Redskins.

DE Jonathan Allen—He’ll post six sacks and two forced fumbles. I think he’ll get off to a slow start as he adjusts to the NFL and gradually become a force in November and December.

NT Phil Taylor—The bold prediction here is that he makes the team and starts. Assuming he has been able to get his knees into shape during his two years on the sideline, he’s the most viable candidate.

DE Stacy McGee—He will break his career high in sacks. That’s not saying much because his best sack season came last year, when he had 2.5. But he will be a solid addition to the line.

OLB Preston Smith—He triples his career interception total, getting two more picks. Coverage is not necessarily his strength but I can see him batting one in the air at the line and picking it off and getting another one like he had against the Vikings, when the QB thought he was throwing it past him but Smith made the play with his length.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan—The least bold prediction I will make in this post is that he will get to double-digit sacks this season. He’s done it two of the last three years and missed out in 2015 by just a half.

ILB Zach Brown—He had a good season making plays last year but he was better as a rookie with the Titans. I’ll take the under on the three interceptions he got that year but I’ll go over on the two fumble recoveries and 5.5 sacks.

ILB Will Compton—He will start 16 games but play fewer snaps than Brown and Mason Foster. They like his smarts and ability to play chess at the line with the opposing quarterbacks. But they want more speed on passing downs and Brown and Foster provide that.

CB Josh Norman—Norman works hard to fix his flaws and he will get better at catching the ball. Put him down for six interceptions and a Pro Bowl selection.

CB Bashaud Breeland—Breeland has at least two interceptions in each of his three NFL seasons and he had three last year. Put him down for another three.

S Su’a Cravens—It’s hard to get a handle on him with the position change. But if he can get an interception as a nickel linebacker I have to think that he can get three at strong safety.

S D. J. Swearinger—He has forced one fumble in the last two season combined. Swearinger forces three this year.  

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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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

Annually, Forbes releases the worth of all professional sports franchises in the world. Once again, the Washington Redskins are sitting near the top. 

This year the Redskins are ranked the fourth most valuable NFL franchise at $3.1 billion. 

That marks a five percent worth increase from a year ago. They leapfrogged the San Francisco 49ers for a spot in the top four after placing fifth in 2017. They still trail the Dallas Cowboys ($4.8 billion), the New England Patriots ($3.7 billion), and the New York Giants ($3.3 billion).

Compared to other leagues and franchises, the Redskins jumped into the top-10. They are tied for the tenth overall value with the Golden State Warriors who are coming off of their third NBA title in four years.

From year-to-year there is never much movement from the top of the ranking. Once again, the Cowboys are the top team in the world by over $600 million. They were followed by three European soccer teams. In total four NFL teams made up the top-10, the most of any sport. 

2018 Top-10 World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams according to Forbes:

1. Dallas Cowboys, $4.8 billion (NFL)

2. Manchester United, $4.123 billion ( Soccer)

3. Real Madrid, $4.09 billion (Soccer)

4. Barcelona, $4.064 billion (Soccer)

5. New York Yankees, $4 billion (MLB)

6. New England Patriots, $3.7 billion (NFL)

7. New York Knicks, $3.6 billion (NBA)

8. Los Angeles Lakers, $3.3 billion (NBA)

8. New York Giants, $3.3 billion (NFL)

T-10. Golden State Warriors, $3.1 billion (NBA)

T-10. Washington Redskins, $3.1 billion (NFL)

Next five NFL franchises:

13. San Francisco 49ers, $3.05 billion

T-14. Los Angeles Rams, $3 billion 

17. Chicago Bears, $2.85 billion 

T-19. Houston Texans, $2.8 billion

21. New York Jets, $2.75 billion

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Additions: Pernell McPhee (free agent)
Departures: Junior Galette (free agent)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Other roster locks: Ryan Anderson, McPhee
On the bubble: Pete Robertson

How the outside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: By any measure, the Redskins had a top-10 pass rush last year. They were tied for seventh with 42 sacks and they got a sack on 7.3 percent of pass attempts, also seventh in the league. Looking forward to this year, Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the sixth-best pass rushing team for 2018. Ryan Kerrigan is showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches age 30 and Preston Smith is about to hit his prime. After the departure of Galette, the depth is questionable, and we’ll deal with that next. Even without Galette, it’s still one of the best units in the NFL. 

To the 2017 Redskins: Some downplay the decision to let Galette walk in free agency, saying he had just three sacks. But his value went beyond that. He had 9 QB hits and 25 hurries, both second-most on the team, in just 258 pass rush snaps. Someone will have to step up and replace that pressure. The spotlight will be on Anderson, who had no sacks after being a second-round pick. He will need to step up for this year’s Redskins pass rush to be as good as last year’s. 

2018 outside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: Since the 2015 season, only one NFL player has at least 20 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions and it’s Preston Smith. His consistency is an issue but even when he is going for a few weeks between sacks he is getting pressure on the quarterback. Still, there is more ability there. Smith could set himself up for a big payday by breaking through with a double-digit sack season while continuing to make big plays in his contract year.

Most to prove: To be fair, Anderson did not get a whole lot of chances to rush the passer last year, playing just 81 pass rush snaps. Still, there are reasons to be concerned about how much he can produce after a zero-sack, one-hit, three-hurries 2017 debut season. Anderson was not expected to make a splash as a rookie, but more was anticipated. He was drafted where he was in part because of his work ethic. The Redskins hope he will work his way into a significant second-year leap. 

Rookie watch: There are no rookie outside linebackers on the roster. 

Bottom line: The main concern about the Redskins’ defense this year revolves around the cornerback spot following the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. The best way to manage problematic cornerbacks is by getting a strong pass rush. The Redskins need to Smith to have a true breakout season and for Anderson or McPhee to be a strong contributor off the bench. Along with the improved defensive line, the pass rush could transform the defensive line into a quality unit in 2018. 

2018 Redskins Position Outlook Series