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Need to Know: Redskins 3 and out—Measuring fan optimism, Cousins contract offer

Need to Know: Redskins 3 and out—Measuring fan optimism, Cousins contract offer

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 31, 27 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 17
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 42
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 54
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 106
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 154

Three and out

1. I did a Twitter poll yesterday to gauge the optimism level of the Redskins fan base after I wrote about Jay Gruden ticking off a list of reasons why people should be excited about his team.

It’s kind of a split result. The plurality is on the optimistic side, with 41% at “somewhat optimistic”. Overall, however, adding up both replies on the pessimistic side shows a slight endge in favor of the pessimistic veiw (somewhtat and very pessimistic totaling 51%) with those seeing things in a more positive light.

The takeaway here is that while what I see on Twitter and Facebook and hear on talk radio is more negative than positive, that doesn’t reflect the fan base as a whole. However, the Redskins had better pay attention if half of their fans are pessimistic about the future. Often the next step from pessimism is apathy and that is a feeling that few sports franchises can withstand.

Finally, I got a lot of tweets like this in response that seem to sum things up:

2. Every offseason a few rather obscure backups become fan favorites. One of this year’s faves is ILB Zach Vigil. I’ve seen a few tweets like this during the offseason.

Vigil made the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of Utah in 2015. He played 16 games as a rookie, starting two. But last year he was on and off of the Miami game-day roster and was released after Week 15. The Redskins claimed him and saw some action on special teams in the final two games.

This is from his NFL.com draft profile: “One of the most productive linebackers in college football. Never quits on a play. Active pass rusher who worked well in team blitz scheme. Team leader.”

That was from the “strengths” area. Under weaknesses: “Gets overwhelmed by offensive linemen. Not a take-on linebacker and below average at slipping blocks.”

I haven’t seen enough of his play to add much to that. But he sounds like a “football player” and if he responds to coaching he could get a shot at some snaps on defense.

3. A site that could work for a new Redskins stadium appears to be opening up for development.

This site happens to be about 10 minutes from my house. It’s adjacent to the Silver Line Metro Station, which is good. Another positive is that there are plenty of roads leading there so not everyone would be coming from the same direction. The down side is that it is a long way from DC and an even longer way from the Maryland suburbs. But a tract of land big enough that is close to the population center may be too costly to make the project work.

As I said here recently, I think that a stadium announcement could come this year, before Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe is term limited out of office. There are still a lot of moving parts and then a long way to go after something gets announced.

Out—Albert Breer of MMQB reported a contract offer to Kirk Cousins that was for five years beyond this coming season. But beyond the $23.94 million he is already guaranteed for this season there are no financial terms reported by Breer. Allen told Breer that the offer is “proof” that the team is serious about keeping Cousins for the long term. But the length of the deal is only a part of getting something done, perhaps a small part.

While the length of the deal may provide two pieces of bread, you need to see the meat to evaluate the sandwich. The team’s offer of $20 million per year that was reported during the NFL Combine is like a slice of baloney. This sandwich needs to be piled high with lots of quality cold cuts, to the tune of at least $24 million per year with at least $52 million fully guaranteed. Otherwise, it’s a Blues Brothers wish sandwich.

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 schedule preview: Weeks 13 and 17 vs. Eagles

Redskins schedule preview: Weeks 13 and 17 vs. Eagles

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the two games against the Eagles. 

Week 13 December 3 (Monday night), Lincoln Financial Field

Week 17, December 30, FedEx Field

2017 Eagles: 13-3, First in NFC East, Super Bowl champions 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 10.5

Early line: Week 13, Redskins +7.5; No lines established for Week 17

Key additions: DE Michael Bennett, WR Mike Wallace

Key losses: DE Vinny Curry, WR Torrey Smith, RB LeGarrette Blount, DT Beau Allen

Notable: Quarterback Carson Wentz is aiming to be ready for Week 1 after suffering a torn ACL late in the season.  

Biggest questions: 

  • If Wentz isn’t ready, the Eagles have Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles ready. Is the real Foles the one who has been a journeyman or the one who starred in the playoffs? And will Wentz continue the freewheeling style that helped make him successful after the injury?
  • After winning Philadelphia its first Super Bowl, will the Eagles suffer from a hangover? 

Series history

The Redskins lead the all-time series 82-75-6; the Eagles won both meetings last year after Washington had won five straight. 

Series notables

The first time: October 10, 1937, Griffith Stadium — With the Redskins trailing 7-0, rookie Sammy Baugh twice led the Redskins deep into Eagle territory. Washington couldn’t push it across the goal line either time, though, and Philly got out with a 14-0 win.

The last time: October 23, 2017, Lincoln Financial Field — The Redskins took a 10-3 lead midway through the second quarter, but Wentz and the Eagles took over after that, scoring 21 unanswered points. The Redskins got it back within a touchdown and on a third and eight play early in the fourth quarter, it looked like they had Wentz sacked. However, he scrambled out of trouble and ran for the first down. That drive ended with a touchdown pass and Philly went on to win 34-24.

The best time: January 5, 1991, Veterans Stadium — After getting pummeled by the Eagles in the Body Bag Game (see “The worst time” below), the Redskins qualified for the playoffs and got their shot at revenge. The seedings called for the Redskins to return to the scene of the crime, Veterans Stadium, for a first-round playoff contest.

A near turnover that wasn't was the game's turning point. The Redskins had taken a 7-6 lead and were driving for more when the ball popped loose from Earnest Byner's grasp when he was tackled at the Philadelphia six. CB Ben Smith scooped the ball up and ran 94 yards for an apparent TD. 

Fortunately for the Redskins, instant replay showed that the ground caused the fumble and the call was reversed, with the Redskins retaining possession. The reversal became a 10-point turnaround as Chip Lohmiller connected on a short FG and instead of a six-point deficit, the Redskins had a four-point lead. The Eagles' offense never could get untracked and the Redskins won 20-6.

The worst time: November 12, 1990, Veterans Stadium — As the Redskins went into 1990, the core players on the team, Art Monk, Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, Charles Mann, Darrell Green, Don Warren, and Monte Coleman, were on or approaching the over the hill side of 30.  The team had gone from Super Bowl Champs in 1987 to a losing record in ’88 to out of the playoffs again in ’89. They were facing their last stand as they went into The Vet for a November Monday night game.

This one became known as "The Body Bag Game". Five Redskins had to be carted off of the field as Buddy Ryan's team knocked a total of nine out of the game, including both of the active QB's. The carnage induced one Eagle to yell, "Do you guys need any more body bags?'' as yet another injured Redskin was lying on the turf. The Eagles and Ryan taunted the Redskins after the game, a 28-14 Philadelphia win that was not nearly that close.

Redskins schedule series

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS  and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS  and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

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Various sources

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 18, 38 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—offense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on offense; defense up tomorrow. 

Quarterbacks (2)
Alex Smith, Colt McCoy

I think that Kevin Hogan is very much on the bubble as the third quarterback. They got along with two QBs last year, and with Alex Smith having demonstrated great durability during his career, Hogan may well get bumped off. 

Running backs (4)
Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley

I’d say that this is 95 percent locked in. Maybe Kapri Bibbs or Byron Marshall can make a push for Kelley’s roster spot but his history with Jay Gruden will make it very hard for him to get knocked out. 

Wide receivers (6)
Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Trey Quinn

The first time I did this back in April I didn’t have Quinn on the roster. That was before he was a man among boys at rookie camp and a player who looks like he belongs when the veterans showed up. I don’t know if he’ll have the impact that many fans think he will, but he’s certainly going to get his chance. Brian Quick could steal a roster spot from Harris or Davis.

Tight ends (3)
Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

The Redskins did not draft a tight end or sign one in free agency so there seems to be faith that Reed will be healthy. We’ve heard that before and it seems somewhat risky to leave Davis, who has Father Time nipping at his heels, and the inexperienced Sprinkle as the only two backups. They may try to make room for an undrafted rookie like Hudson Garrett.  

Offensive line (9)
Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tyler Catalina, Tony Bergstrom

I think that Gruden is probably happy with the starters here but the depth is shaky, especially in the interior. The key could be whether Christian is ready for prime time as the swing tackle. That could allow Nsekhe to fill in at guard. Bergstrom is fine as the backup center, although I wouldn’t want to have to count on him for more than a few games. 

Offensive players: 24
Rookies (3):
Guice, Christian, Quinn
New to the organization in 2018 (5): Rookies plus Smith, Richardson 
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (11): Rookies plus new plus Harris (practice squad), R. Davis (practice squad) and Bergstrom (not on the team). 

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

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An Indiana state police officer tweeted that he pulled a driver over for going too slowly in the left lane. I believe this person is a national hero. 

Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 38
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 52
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 75

The Redskins last played a game 167 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 83 days. 

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