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Need to Know: The Redskins get back to football today, sort of

Need to Know: The Redskins get back to football today, sort of

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 17, 10 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 25
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 37
—Training camp starts (7/27) 101
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 146

Football gets back underway (sort of)

For the first time since their gut-punch loss to the Giants, a defeat that knocked them out of the playoffs, the Redskins get back to football today. 

Well, sort of. 

Today marks the start of the Redskins’ offseason program. It’s the first day that the NFL permits teams to hold the voluntary workouts at their facilities. Whoever “volunteers” to show up—and if the past is any indication it should be most of the team—will gather at Redskins Park this morning to get to work.

But this doesn’t really mean that football is back. During Phase One, which lasts for two weeks, the players can engage in strength, conditioning, and rehab activities only. Kickers can kick footballs, punters can punt them, and quarterback can throw them to receivers. But the receivers can’t be guarded and the offense can’t run plays.

Only the strength and conditioning coaches can observe players while they are working out. Jay Gruden and his on-field staff can hold up to two hours of classroom and film instruction per day. It’s a short day as no player can be at the facility for more than four hours per day.

When Phase One ends, the team will start adding players in the draft and as undrafted free agents. There will be a minicamp for these players plus some that the team will try out during those three days start May 12.

During the three weeks of Phase Two, players can line up and run plays on offense and defense but against air, not against each other.

Phase Three is more commonly known as organized team activities, or OTAs. Those start on May 23 with three sessions per week for three weeks. The offense and defense can line up and run plays against each other but they can only wear helmets with no pads and contact is not permitted.

The part about no contact should be taken seriously. Seattle ran afoul of the no-contact rule and it cost them. The Seahawks were fined $400,000, lost their fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and they will not be permitted to hold their first week of OTAs this year. The Redskins will be very careful to keep within the rules.

All three phases of the program are voluntary. Again, attendance is expected to be strong but there will be no penalties for players who aren’t there for whatever reason.

The only mandatory phase of the Redskins’ offseason program is minicamp. All players who are under contract are required to attend. The rules are the same as they are for OTAs. The Redskins will hold their minicamp from June 13-15.

After that the players are off until they report to training camp. That is tentatively scheduled to happen on July 26. Camp practices start the next day, 100 days from today.

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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Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

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USA Today Sports

Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Redskins offseason thus far comes from the lack of change. Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden, Greg Manusky are all coming back. 

One name that is less certain, and is widely loved, is defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. 

For Tomsula, there is no pressure on him to perform better. His work in developing Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle probably ranks as the most impressive on the team. 

"Jim [Tomsula] is definitely my favorite coach I've ever had," Redskins defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said this week. "I don’t really count [University of Alabama] Coach [Nick] Saban because he wasn’t my position coach, but as a position coach, love Jim Tom."

The Alabama product's comments came during a charity even at National Children's Hospital, and they came during an interesting time for the Redskins defense. The organization spoke with a number of highly sought after defensive coordinator candidates in the last few weeks, but stuck with Manusky at the position. The team claimed, through an unnamed source in a Washington Post article, that the meetings were just to gain different perspectives. Interesting. 

Now that Manuksy is back, however, the future for Tomsula becomes one of the biggest questions for the club. 

It sounds like Allen is prepared for any outcome. 

"I don’t know if he will be back. I would love to have him back but he has a family, definitely he’s a big family guy and his family is in Florida," Allen said. "I can completely understand his reasons for not coming back."

Any conversation with Tomsula always centers around family. He's one of the few coaches that remembers reporters' kids' ages and often asks about them. It's a genuine thing for Tomsula, and it's impressive. 

He is also close friends with Manuksy, and the coordinator's return could help in keeping the fiery D-line coach. If Tomsula does leave Ashburn, he's already made a significant impact for players like Allen.

"Regardless what happens I wish him nothing but the best and I’m just glad I got to spend two years with him."

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Would pursuing Antonio Brown be worth it for the Redskins considering their QB situation?

Would pursuing Antonio Brown be worth it for the Redskins considering their QB situation?

The Redskins need a stud wide receiver. Badly.

Antonio Brown is a stud wide receiver. Undoubtedly.

So, Washington should pick up the phone, call Pittsburgh and figure out a way to work out a trade for Brown, right? 

It's not that easy.

There are plenty of obstacles between Brown becoming a member of the Redskins, as Washington would have to clear out quite a bit of salary to make room for him and also weigh whether he'll fit into their locker room.

Another thing worth considering, too: What's the point of acquiring Antonio Brown without a QB to maximize his talents?

There are serious questions about whether Alex Smith will play next season, or ever again. That means, barring a drastic move, the Redskins will go into 2019 with someone like Colt McCoy or an unproven youngster starting under center.

Sure, you could argue that Brown would make that passer's life a lot easier. He would, to an extent. But ask someone like Odell Beckham or Larry Fitzgerald what life is like on the outside, even as an elite talent, when the guy getting you the ball isn't properly equipped to do so.

Brown is one of the best pass catchers of his generation and will likely end up as one of the best of any era. Whatever offense he's lining up for next season will be better thanks to his presence.

However, this is a guy who's grown frustrated in a franchise that's made the postseason four of the past five years and is unhappy in a place where he's paired with a top-tier signal-caller. 

The Redskins, on the other hand, have neither the track record of success or a settled situation at QB, so it's fair to be very skeptical of how he'd handle a move to D.C.

Now, for this organization to break out of football's middle class, an area they're stuck in, going after a star and taking a risk is absolutely worth trying.

Unfortunately, the quarterback depth chart will affect every potential move. And when that potential move involves heavily investing in a premier wideout, the quarterback depth chart should probably dissuade anyone from ultimately making that move.   

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