Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 7, 30 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.
—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 22
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 69
—NFL Draft (4/27) 79
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 215
With the season over, looking ahead
—Usually after a Super Bowl I come out with a post about what the Redskins need to do to be more like the team that just won the title. But what the Patriots have done can’t be replicated. Bill Belichick can find players that other teams don’t want and teach them how to be champions. I don’t think he’s for hire and nobody else has demonstrated the ability to do what he does, at least not on a consistent basis. Tom Brady can adapt to any situation because he’s seen them all. You can rattle him for a while with a pass rush but he will come out on top more often than not. The bottom line is that their formula is one of a kind.
—The Falcons’ key players and coaches aren’t a dime a dozen by any means but the Redskins can learn more from them. One thing that stood out about them was their speed, particularly on defense. They were flying all over the field and getting to Brady and when he could complete a pass they were right on top of the receiver. They did wear down; any defense would as the Patriots were in the process of running an astounding 93 plays. During the course of the season the Falcons utilized multiple running backs, allowing both Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman to keep each other fresh. This is in contrast to Jay Gruden’s approach of generally employing one back at a time.
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—The Falcons are young but at this moment they don’t seem to be a team that will form any sort of a long-term roadblock in the NFC. Losing Kyle Shanahan as their offensive coordinator will hurt. Freeman is making rumblings about wanting a new deal after finishing three years of his rookie deal and you wonder if the team can make both him and Coleman happy. We will see what the mental impact in the biggest collapse in Super Bowl history will have on them as well.
—Regardless of the status of the Falcons, it’s hard to look at the Redskins and see a team that is ready to step in and grab the conference title if Atlanta should falter. Even though the Cowboys may not be as good as their 13-3 record they are ahead of the Redskins right now in terms of being a team that is built to finish ahead of Washington more often than not. So are the Packers and Seahawks. That doesn’t mean that the Redskins can’t beat any of those teams on a given Sunday. But they would be an extreme long shot to beat two or three of the top four teams in the playoffs (including Atlanta in that group) to make it to a Super Bowl.
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—The good thing for the Redskins and their fans is that this is just the view looking at it seven months before the season starts. It’s not a static situation. With some solid acquisitions, either in free agency or the draft, of a few quality defensive linemen, some safety help, and possibly at wide receiver if they don’t bring back their own, they could be competitive with those teams. The challenge is to make up ground fast enough to get yourself even with your rivals while they also are trying to improve.
Tandler on Twitter
Between now and the end of the draft in 83 days the #Redskins’ 2017 roster will be nearly set.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) February 7, 2017
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