Redskins

Quick Links

Need to Know: The Redskins need to take two steps forward in 2017

Need to Know: The Redskins need to take two steps forward in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 10, 58 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 50
NFL draft 107
First Sunday of 2017 season 243

The Redskins need to take two steps forward in 2017

—I think that it’s bad that the Redskins missed the playoffs for one reason that outweighs all others. You can’t replace the experience of playing in a playoff game. These players missed that opportunity. And, strongly related to that is that the best way to measure the progress of a quarterback is how he performs in the postseason. The Redskins didn’t get that data point that they could have used to evaluate Cousins’ value.

—The Redskins need to take two steps forward in 2017. After making the playoffs and going one and done in 2015, last season was supposed to be the year that they returned to the postseason and won a game. The fact that they didn’t get it done puts extra pressure on this coming year. It’s hard to make progress in the NFL and it’s even harder to hold on to it once you’ve made it. I don’t see the passing game being as effective as it was this past season, not with the probability that DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon will be gone in 2017. Either that production will have to come from a significantly improved running game or the defense will have to be substantially better than it was last year.

—Even though Scot McCloughan did not draft a defensive lineman until the fifth round last year, he thought the defensive line would be covered. Chris Baker was fine at one end. He believed that 2015 free agent signee Stephen Paea would bounce back from injury issues and a slow adjustment to the Redskins’ defensive system and become a solid player. Kedric Golston was penciled in for 15 snaps per game at nose tackle. McCloughan figured that between holdover Ricky Jean Francois and free agent Kendall Reyes he would have two adequate rotational linemen. But only Baker and Jean Francois worked out as planned. Paea never got going and was cut before the season started, Reyes was cut a few weeks into the season, and Golston was on injured reserve with a torn hamstring after Week 2. So, they ended up with Ziggy Hood and Cullen Jenkins playing major roles when they should have been much further down the depth chart, if they belonged on an NFL roster at all.

—As the saying goes, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry (I use that saying even though it never made sense to me; mice never struck me as being particularly good planners). The thing is, McCloughan’s plan wasn’t particularly well laid. It relied on a 33-year-old player, Golston, staying healthy. It also involved hoping that Paea could rebound and that Reyes’ play would elevate above the mediocre level he displayed in his previous stop in San Diego. There is no such thing as a sure thing in the NFL; there is always some degree of hoping that things go right. But this setup would have defied the odds if it had worked, like drawing three cards to an inside straight.

—We don’t know if things would have been better if McCloughan had drafted a defensive lineman earlier than the fifth round. Perhaps Vernon Butler, taken by the Panthers No. 30 overall, or Kenny Clark, the Packers’ pick with the 27th pick, would have improved the line significantly. But had a talented D-lineman been selected the team would not be starting from scratch like they might be with Baker set to enter free agency. Having one piece of the puzzle isn’t ideal but it’s better than having none.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Jay Gruden returns to NFL as Jaguars offensive coordinator

Jay Gruden returns to NFL as Jaguars offensive coordinator

Jay Gruden has found a new team in the NFL as he was named the Jacksonville Jaguars' newest offensive coordinator for the 2020 season, the team has announced.

This will be Gruden's return to the league after he was fired as the Washington Redskins head coach earlier this year. He was relieved from his duties after an 0-5 start, the team's worst start under his tenure. 

The offensive mind, that was previously an offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals during their playoff runs with Andy Dalton, will now look to rejuvenate the Jaguars' offense. For years Jacksonville has had one of the least productive offenses in the entire league.

Strapped to Blake Bortles for several seasons and then signing Nick Foles has not paid dividends for head coach Doug Marrone and his staff. Aside from their improbable run to the AFC Championship in the 2017 season, the team has finished as one of the bottom seven offenses in the league under his tenure. 

Gruden also takes this new job as the Jaguars quarterback position is unsettled.

Nick Foles was signed to a four-year $88 million deal last offseason but struggled after an injury derailed his season. When he returned, he eventually was benched after two straight weeks without a touchdown pass. Rookie Gardner Minshew filled in for Foles' place and put together an admirable 6-6 record as a starter, accounting for all six of the team's wins. 

While directing the offense in Cincinnati, Gruden led the Bengals to three straight seasons as one of the top-13 offenses in the league. Their best season they were ranked as high as fourth. However, that did not fully translate to Washington. The last two seasons saw the Redskins offense fall to one of the bottom four in the league. Their record was not much better under his guidance at 35-49-1.

He likely takes this position with a short leash as John DeFilippo was fired from the same position after one year on the job. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Report: Dan Snyder petitions state of Maryland for gambling license for new stadium

usatsi_9694153.jpg
USA Today Sports

Report: Dan Snyder petitions state of Maryland for gambling license for new stadium

As a return to the old RFK Stadium site for the Redskins seems less likely, Washington owner Dan Snyder appears to be moving forward with a new plan: Staying in Maryland but adding a gambling license. 

Snyder met with a number of Maryland lawmakers to discuss sports betting and acquiring a license for a new Redskins stadium, according to The Washington Post. The report contends Snyder wants to use "sports betting as part of an overall plan to build a domed stadium that could include hotels, offices and training facilities."

The story also suggests Snyder could build the stadium with his own money. 

The Redskins currently play their games in Maryland at FedEx Field and their lease runs through 2027. The stadium is dated and Snyder has openly talked about wanting a new facility for his team to play.

For years, publicly, Snyder has opined that his team belongs back in D.C. at the RFK site. At various times in the last two years that seemed plausible, but political red tape from the federal government continues to hold things up. The stadium sits on federal land, and while the city has tried to regain control of that site, it hasn't happened. Until the city takes control, which is far from happening, it seems unlikely the Redskins get back to the site. 

So if it's time to move forward with Maryland, it requires a bit of a fresh start. The Redskins and the state were holding talks about a land swap to build a new stadium near the MGM National Harbor along the Potomac River, but those talks stalled when it became obvious the team preferred a return to D.C.

Legalized sports betting in Maryland seems likely to hit the ballot this fall, and considering the state already has fully operational casinos, there's little reason to think the vote wouldn't pass.

That's the first step for the Redskins to get a sports betting license for their new stadium. The idea isn't novel; Ted Leonsis has been quite open about adding a sports book to Capital One Arena and already has an agreement with William Hill bookmakers to run the gambling operation. Similar deals are expected at Audi Field and Nationals Park. 

It remains a bit of a surprise that Virginia politicians seem willing to sit out the courtship of a new Redskins stadium. Former Governor Terry McAullife actively flirted with the idea of building a new Redskins stadium in the Commonwealth, but current Governor Ralph Northam almost seems disinterested in the idea. 

The Redskins practice facility is in Loudon County and the team holds training camp each summer in Richmond. The training camp deal is soon to expire and some believe if and when a new stadium facility gets built, that could also house training camp and practices. Currently, no professional sports teams play in Virginia, and the Commonwealth does not appear as near legalized sports gambling as Maryland or the District. 

Like anything with a gigantic project in a region with three different local governing bodies and the omnipresent specter of the federal government looming, a new Redskins stadium will require significant legislative hurdles and deal-making. Stay tuned. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: