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Need to Know: Looking ahead—The Redskins' core defensive players in 2020

Need to Know: Looking ahead—The Redskins' core defensive players in 2020

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 10, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 190 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 62 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 7
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 31
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 54

The Redskins core in 2020, defense

It is the season for looking into the future, both to the 2017 season and beyond. 

Let’s look at the Redskins three years from now. Who will still be here? Which players will be top performers? Here’s a possible snapshot of the team going into training camp in the year 2020. We’re looking at the defense today; we covered the offense yesterday.

The terms used here largely are self-explanatory but if you want some details look at the post from last year that looks three years down the road.

Defense (age as of Week 1 2020)

Potential blue chip players: Josh Norman (32), Jonathan Allen (25)
Solid starters: Ryan Kerrigan (32), Su’a Cravens (25), D. J. Swearinger (29), Bashaud Breeland (28), Ryan Anderson (26), Zach Brown (30)
Potential starters: Kendall Fuller (25), Preston Smith (27), Mason Foster (31), Will Compton (30), Trent Murphy (30)

Allen is here based on sheer projection. He was projected to be a top-10 pick, maybe even top-five, and he slid due to concerns that his shoulders may be an issue in five or six years. That won’t be a problem in 2020. Norman has been an All-Pro. He will be past his prime by the time 2020 comes around but with his work ethic he still should be effective.

The only one on the solid starters category in whom I have a lot of confidence is Kerrigan. He will still be cranking out 10-sack seasons although the team may be in search of an eventual replacement. I think Brown will be a solid starter somewhere, but he is on a one-year contract. Breeland is in a pivotal year and the rest have potential but a lot to prove.

When I did this exercise a year ago, Smith was coming off a very strong finish to his rookie year and he was listed as a potential blue chipper. After an inconsistent 2016, he may or may not have a long-term future. Fuller struggled as a rookie but the organization has confidence that he will settle in. Foster and Compton are both free agents after this season and the team could decide to pick just one to move forward with. This is a big year for Murphy, also in the last year of his contract.

Contracts: Norman, Allen, Kerrigan, and Anderson are under contract through 2020. Cravens, Swearinger, and Fuller are signed through the 2019 season. Smith is in the fold through 2018 and Breeland, Brown, Foster, Compton, and Murphy will be free agents next spring.

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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FedEx Field has a plan for maintaining grass for Redskins season after its event-filled summer

FedEx Field has a plan for maintaining grass for Redskins season after its event-filled summer

Partly due to their relentless passion and partly due to the large amount of things their favorite organization has trouble with, Redskins fans seem to be aware of and care about plenty of things most NFL fans don't pay any attention to.

For example, when the team changed trainers this past offseason, it was crucial news. The trainer!

Or how about all of the focus and debate on Washington's ping pong table in the locker room (which no longer exists, by the way). The Redskins are a football team, yet thousands of folks had a strong opinion on a piece of equipment that's typically used to avoid strange relatives at family gatherings. 

Yet even those two storylines don't get as much attention as the quality of FedEx Field's field, and concerns are mounting about said quality now that a handful of concerts and events at the stadium have been announced for the summer.

As of now, BTS (May 27), Justin Bieber (Aug. 21) and Rammstein (Aug. 27) will all appear in Landover, as will Monster Jam (June 6). For those tracking at home, those are three internationally-known music artists and a giant collection of trucks meant to create destruction scheduled to stop by the Redskins' home, with Bieber and Rammstein doing so just before the regular season begins.

According to JP Finlay, however, a plan is in place to ensure that FedEx Field's grass isn't compromised for the Burgundy and Gold:

The question remains how the team will fit their home preseason games in between the other things that are going on, but they do intend to start fresh before the NFL returns. 

So, that should calm everyone down (note: it won't). That means you're free to return to your takes about the new training staff and the ping pong table. Have fun. 

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Kyle Shanahan admits he knew Kirk Cousins was leaving Washington after the 2017 season

Kyle Shanahan admits he knew Kirk Cousins was leaving Washington after the 2017 season

Kyle Shanahan has never hidden the admiration he has for Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

The two worked together for two seasons with the Redskins in 2012 and 2013, when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator and Cousins was the backup to Robert Griffin III.

In his third year as the San Francisco 49ers head coach, Shanahan's squad is facing the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl, led by third-year quarterback and reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes. Shanahan had the opportunity to draft Mahomes in 2017, his first draft as the helm in San Francisco.

So, why did Shanahan pass on Mahomes? Enter Cousins.

"It's pretty well documented the relationship I had with Kirk," Shanahan said. "Just being in Washington and everything, I felt confident he wasn't going to stay there."

It was expected that Shanahan's 49ers would be making a run at signing Cousins the following offseason before they traded for Jimmy Garoppolo at the 2017 trade deadline. Garoppolo won all five of his starts in 2017, and the 49ers signed him to a five-year extension the following offseason.

Cousins, who spent his final two years in Washington playing under the franchise tag, departed from the nation's capital to Minnesota, where he signed a three-year, $84 million fully-guaranteed deal with the Vikings.

"Any time you go into a season and know a franchise quarterback is going to be available the next year, it made me a lot more picky with what we were looking at," Shanahan said.

The 49ers decided to trade back with the Chicago Bears (who traded up to No. 2 to select UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky), and San Francisco ended up selecting defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. San Francisco took Iowa signal-caller C.J. Beathard in the third round, and he competed with veteran Brian Hoyer for the 49ers starting job in 2017. 

Shanahan expanded on his decision to pass on Mahomes, emphasizing the difficulty in scouting college quarterbacks in certain systems. Mahomes' system under Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech was named the "Air Raid' due to the high-volume of passes. 

"There were a bunch of talented guys in that draft," Shanahan said. "But it's very tough when you watch college systems and stuff, you don't really know until you get somebody in the building.

"You can see ability. You can see talent," he continued. "But how's the mind? How's the play in the pocket? How do they process? That's not just an IQ score. That's stuff that I don't think you can totally test."

The 2017 draft wasn't just Shanahan's first with the 49ers, it was his first draft as a head coach, ever. Thomas was a highly-rated prospect and was a relatively safe pick.

Looking back, it makes sense that the rookie head coach did not want to take a risk on a rookie quarterback, especially if he felt the team had a good chance at landing Cousins, someone he was familiar with.

But San Francisco ended up sticking with Garoppolo, and now the 49ers are 60 minutes away from their sixth Super Bowl title.

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