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Need to Know: Gruden talks Redskins draft strategy, Ryan Anderson, QBs

Need to Know: Gruden talks Redskins draft strategy, Ryan Anderson, QBs

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, May 1, 23 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

It’s been 120 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 132 days.

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 11
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 23
—Training camp starts (7/27) 87

Gruden on the draft

Here is some of what Redskins coach Jay Gruden said about the draft along with my take:

On the nose tackle situation:

“I feel good, you know? I think a lot of people don’t know the guys we’ve had here or the guys there were on our practice squad like Joey Mbu, A.J. Francis. We feel good about the development of Matt Ioannidis, those three guys. And we added Phil Taylor.”

Tandler’s take: Gruden is one of the few who feel good about the Redskins’ current nose tackle depth chart. Once again, they will try to patch something together. Hate to tell you, Jay, but it hasn’t worked. In each of the last two years the Redskins have allowed over five yards per carry on first down. That’s when the nose is in the game. It’s the worst performance in the league and it’s not close.

On if they were tempted to trade up as Jonathan Allen started to slide their way:

“There was a couple of guys that were slipping that we really liked. We were in a very good situation. We had two or three guys that we really felt good about with that pick. But Jonathan had our highest grade and it was an easy pick for us.”

Tandler’s take: It was a good strategy because it worked. But if the Ravens, picking right before the Redskins, had snagged Allen there would have been a lot of questions about why they hand not dangled one of their two fourth-round picks to move up. Even though there may have been two or three guys they liked there, none of them would have been a better combination of filling a need and getting value, even if they would have needed to use an extra pick.

On what they liked about Ryan Anderson:

“He’s a non-stop-motor guy. He plays extremely hard. I heard part of his interviews today [laughter]. I think he’s that type of guy. Watching film with him, he’s standing up watching film and talking about everybody’s job. He’s just a very high energy, high motor, tenacious guy and I think it’s going to rub off on a lot of people.”

Tandler’s take: Anderson’s presence could have the side benefit of motivating Preston Smith to a new level. Perhaps Gruden wants Anderson to rub off on Smith, who is physically talented but somewhat laid back. The coaches have tried to fire him up for the last two years and it hasn’t worked. Maybe having the high-intensity Anderson in the building can get Smith rolling, which would create a true nightmare for opposing offenses.  

On if not drafting a quarterback was an endorsement of the current group of signal callers:

“I think so. I think just because we draft a guy at your position doesn’t mean were saying you’re bad at your position. I think it’s just that those are the best players available. But we obviously feel good about Kirk [Cousins], Colt [McCoy] and Nate [Sudfeld] moving forward. If we get one as a free agent for the rookie minicamp and see how he does, well go from there.”

Tandler’s take: I was mildly surprised that they didn’t take a quarterback with one of their 10 picks. Although you never know what will happen, it seems doubtful that Cousins will sign a long-term deal by July 15. And if he does leave as a free agent next March, the Redskins will be caught with a journeyman in McCoy and a very raw third-year player in Sudfeld. I figured they would take a mid-round QB to shore up the most important position on the field. We will have to see how things play out.

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 have a 1 in 8 chance of playing in Mexico City next season

Redskins have a 1 in 8 chance of playing in Mexico City next season

There is a one-in-eight chance the Redskins will play against the Arizona Cardinals next season in Mexico City.

The Cardinals are hosting the Super Bowl in 2023, so as a tradeoff, one of their games next season will be played south of the border at Estadio Azteca, the NFL announced Friday.

Arizona has home games against the Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins in 2020, so one of those eight squads will head to Mexico City rather than the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. AZ.

"We are thrilled to learn that this game will take place at Estadio Azteca where we received such an enthusiastic reception in 2005," Cardinals chairman and president Michael Bidwill said in a release. "We are extremely grateful for the support we receive from fans in Mexico and look forward to an incredible experience."

The Redskins have only played in one game outside the United States as part of the International Series. In Week 8 of the 2016 NFL season, the Redskins and the Bengals finished in a 27-27 tie at Wembley Stadium in London.

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Junkies' call Mel Kiper's stance of the Redskins taking Tua Tagovailoa over Chase Young 'preposterous'

Junkies' call Mel Kiper's stance of the Redskins taking Tua Tagovailoa over Chase Young 'preposterous'

What should the Redskins do with the second pick in the 2020 NFL Draft? 

Some believe Washington has an easy choice and should take Chase Young. Some think they should consider taking Tua Tagovailoa despite drafting Dwayne Haskins a year ago. ESPN's Mel Kiper is a proponent of both.

"You can have all the Chase Young's you want," Kiper said Thursday. "This is a quarterback league all the way.

"If the medical staff clears [Tagovailoa], and the medical staff is going to be key to this," he continued. "If they sign off, you take Tua at No. 2. You don't trade the pick, you don't take Chase Young. And if Haskins turns out to better, than great then we can trade Tua."

This goes against what Kiper said just a month ago. In a mock draft from January 24, Kiper wrote, "If you scanned Washington's depth chart, you probably wouldn't pick out an edge rusher as its top need. It might not even be in the top three. And yet, the Redskins absolutely can't pass on Young -- unless they get bowled over with an offer from a team trading up."

Anyway, The Sports Junkies took time to react to Kiper's comments on their Friday show. Eric Bickel, J.P. Flaim and Jason Bishop had particularly interesting takes on whether the Redskins should consider drafting a quarterback in the first round in back-to-back years.

That's preposterous," Bickel said. "That's the part where it falls apart."

"You can't draft quarterbacks back to back in the first round and have them battle it out," Bishop said. 

"It would be just like what happened in Arizona," Bickel said in response. "They'd have to unload Haskins and get what they could."

The Cardinals did exactly what Kiper is proposing for the Redskins last season when they took Kyler Murray with the first pick despite drafting Josh Rosen in the top-10 the year prior. Arizona, similar to the Redskins this year, hired a new head coach after taking Rosen. 

The Cardinals then traded Rosen to the Dolphins on Day 2 of the draft last year in exchange for a second-round pick (Andy Isabella) and a 2020 fifth-round pick. Murray went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year and Rosen only made three starts for the Dolphins in 2019. 

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and if the Redskins believe Tagovailoa gives them a better chance to compete for a Super Bowl than Dwayne Haskins, then they shouldn't worry about taking a quarterback in back-to-back drafts. It's certainly worked out for the Cardinals so far. But there are no certainties in the draft, as Flaim points out. 

"I think [Kiper's] just saying that," Flaim said. "The reality is if you really believe Tua is going to be one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Like, if you're evaluation is Tua's going to be a Russell Wilson, he's going to be an Aaron Rodgers, he's going to be an elite quarterback in the league, and Haskins is just going to be a guy, he could be a starter, then you take Tua. But it's so inexact you have no idea."

Washington's interest in Tagovailoa is unknown at this point, though they will be meeting with him and Joe Burrow prior to the draft. Head coach Ron Rivera did say however, the Redskins are, 'just doing our due diligence,' in meeting with the top two quarterbacks in this year's draft. 

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