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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 Talk crew hosts NFL Draft live stream: How to watch and listen

Redskins Talk crew hosts NFL Draft live stream: How to watch and listen

Ever wanted to actually see JP Finlay jump out of his seat during a Redskins Talk podcast than just listen to him talk about jumping out of his seat? Well here's your chance.

With the long anticipated 2019 NFL Draft finally starting Thursday, Finlay, Pete Hailey, Mitch Tischler and a variety of guests will conquer the airways and discuss every surprise, victory, and (possbily) bad decision made throughout the offseason event on exclusive streams of the Redskins Talk pod.

Each week day, starting on Wednesday, April 24th and running through Monday, April 29th, you can join the gang on the MyTeams by NBC Sports App from 1 to 2 p.m. as they analyze the intricacies of every draft decision that's made and explain how those decisions will impact the Burgundy and Gold. The Redskins Talk crew will also host special coverage of Round 1 on Thursday, April 25th, beginning at 8 p.m., offering an in-depth anlysis up to and through the 'Skins' pick. 

So, if you haven't already downloaded the MyTeams App, you can do so right now, RIGHT HERE.

Redskins Talk Podcast 2019 NFL Draft Special

CLICK HERE to watch the daily live stream of the Redskins Talk Podcast

When: 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. ET, Wednesdday, Thursday, Friday & Monday, with special coverage of the Redkins pick starting at 8 p.m. on Thursday

Live Stream: Click to stream Redskins Talk Podcast Live every day this week

Want to subscribe to Redskins Talk?: 
Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19\

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: 

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Why Daniel Jones might make sense if the Redskins truly believe they’re ‘close’

Why Daniel Jones might make sense if the Redskins truly believe they’re ‘close’

Daniel Jones seems unlikely to be the best quarterback in the 2019 rookie class. He also seems unlikely to be a bust.

Given the Redskins' history at the quarterback position, both recent and ancient, Jones’ lack of sexy upside might be his most attractive quality. 

Polarizing might not accurately portray this class of QBs. Divisive might be the better word. 

Kyler Murray ranks as the top prospect, and seems likely to be drafted first overall by the Arizona Cardinals. Still, some teams don’t believe he has the size or commitment to make it as an NFL signal caller.

After Murray there’s even less consensus. 

Dwayne Haskins has a big arm and great size, but only started one year in college and didn’t show much ability to read defenses in the Ohio State offense. Drew Lock makes some 'Wow!' plays, but then he also makes terrible plays. His most consistent traits are arm talent and inconsistency. 

In some order, Murray, Haskins and Lock probably mark the top three rated passers in the 2019 draft. 

Then comes Jones. 

The Duke quarterback does nothing that screams first-round pick. His combine numbers were good and his game film seems good. At the same time, there aren’t any real knocks against him either, other than Jones doesn’t have the super star potential the other three have shown. 

Jones isn’t a sexy pick. He’s not even a PG13 make-out scene pick. 

And that might be just what the Redskins want. 

For months, the Washington front office has repeatedly talked about being “close.” Close to what remains a question, but it must at least mean competing for the NFC East title and winning a playoff game. 

Well, of all the rookie passers, Jones might be the one that presents the least risk. He might not make jaw dropping deep throws or electric moves outside of the pocket, but he probably won’t throw 20-plus interceptions either. 

Last year, the Redskins traded for Alex Smith to run their offense. Smith’s best traits are controlling the football and making the smart, not sexy, play. 

You know what rookie could fit that mold? 

Certainly isn’t Murray. Probably isn’t Lock. And Haskins likely needs to sit a year to learn NFL offenses. 

Jones, however, has been playing in a pro system for years at Duke. He’s been coached by the Manning-Whisperer in David Cutcliffe. 

Veteran NFL personnel executives believe in Jones in a major way. Gil Brandt, a Hall of Fame former Cowboys GM, compared Jones to Peyton Manning. Seriously.

"When you watch him and you go back (20) years and watch Peyton Manning, you are watching the same guy. He's athletic," Brandt said on an SiriusXM pre-draft conference call. "He doesn't have a rocket for an arm, but neither did Peyton. Very smart."

ESPN's Mel Kiper believes Jones will be the best QB in this draft. Former Redskins GM Charley Casserly thinks Jones is the most ready for the NFL of any 2019 passer.

Add all of that up, and the Redskins taking Jones with the 15th overall pick starts to make sense. Then go back and listen to some Jay Gruden quotes, and it makes even more sense. 

Speaking at the NFL League Meetings in Arizona last month, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden explained that he likes winning low-scoring, grinding football games. 

"You try to protect the football and let the strength of your football team carry you through the tough times and hopefully your team or offense or special teams or offense will come through and make a play at a critical time," Gruden said. " It was a great recipe for us early. I like playing that way."

Of the rookie quarterbacks the Redskins might be able to get, Jones could be best suited for that style, especially in 2019. Not every analyst believes in Jones, including NBC Sports' Chris Simms. He doesn't even rate Jones in the top four QBs available this fall.

Regardless of the analysts, the Redskins believe they’re close, and need a quarterback that won’t lose them games. Of the rookie collection, Jones best fits that role.

Just by his risk taking nature, Lock will probably lose some games as a rookie. Maybe throughout his career. Haskins can play but the speed of the NFL will require a major adjustment for his game. Murray is dynamic, but his skill set requires a complete offensive overhaul for whatever team takes him. 

Add any of those three QBs to the Redskins and it’s hard to imagine the team competing for the playoffs in 2019. In the penultimate year of his contract, Gruden needs to compete for the playoffs in 2019. 

Last season, ugly or not, the Redskins legitimately looked on their way to a playoff spot. In Week 10, the team was 6-3. Injuries derailed those plans, but the roadmap was established. 

Even at 6-3, the Redskins hardly played aesthetically pleasing football. It sure as hell wasn't sexy. 

If the Redskins want to recreate that formula, and build on it for the future, Jones might be the best pick. 

In football, in sports, even in life, sometimes the best course of action is to avoid a major mistake and play it safe. 

The Redskins tried to that last year with Smith, but a broken leg disrupted the plan. 

It's entirely possible the Redskins don't take a quarterback in the first round, but if they do, Jones offers the best chance for a mulligan.

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