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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Free agency is almost upon us

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Free agency is almost upon us

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 4, 5 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 44
—NFL Draft (4/27) 54
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 133
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 190

The Redskins week that was

My take on the most popular posts of. the week from Real Redskins and CSN Mid Atlantic

Report: Redskins' Cousins 'not going anywhere'—The Redskins aren’t going to put up a “for sale” sign on their franchise-tagged quarterback. But if they get a strong impression that they won’t be able to sign Cousins to a long-term deal, you’d best believe that they will at least listen to what other teams have in mind. The odds are still against it but just because they are putting out a message like this don’t believe it is off the table.

NFL Mock Draft Ver. 4.0—In general mock drafts don’t start making sense until after free agency. But in four mock drafts for CSN Ben Standig has had the Redskins taking the same defensive lineman. I don’t think free agency will change the need there enough to change it.

'It's all bullsh**' the latest on McCloughan, per source—The McCloughan situation played out three days ago and we still don’t know much more now than we did then. Perhaps there is something going on but it just doesn’t ring true that a well-paid professional is missing a huge event like the combine because his 100-year-old grandmother died a month ago. Maybe there is another family matter that isn’t being disclosed. But based on the information we have, it doesn't pass the smell test.

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine? This was written prior to the McCloughan absence becoming common knowledge. Perhaps that’s the answer—they didn’t want Jay Gruden to have to answer questions about why McCloughan wasn’t there. Of course, there was a simple fix available. The team could have put out a statement saying that McCloughan would miss the combine due to personal reasons and Gruden could have taken to the podium and referred to the statement if he had been asked about it. But being transparent about such things just doesn’t seem to be in the organizational DNA. 

Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray? The combine is just underway and then free agency gets cranked up immediately after that. Seriously, it’s immediately. The last prospect workouts are Monday and at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday teams and player agents can start talking contracts. I don’t think they will go after an aging Nick Mangold or bring Latavius Murray into a crowded backfield depth chart. But, really, after the signed Josh Norman last year I can’t completely rule out anyone.

In case you missed it

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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DeAngelo Hall defends cornerback Josh Norman, but believes Redskins should move on

DeAngelo Hall defends cornerback Josh Norman, but believes Redskins should move on

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman has drawn criticism because of his performance in D.C. during his 5-year, $75 million contract he signed in April 2016. Former Redskins defensive back DeAngelo Hall came to Norman’s defense during a radio appearance with Craig Hoffman on 106.7 The Fan on Friday.

“He does compete, he’s a competitor. And if I have a football player on my roster who’s a competitor, who wants to be out there, who fights hard and plays hard, I’m [going to] find a way to put him in position to make plays,” Hall said. “I think we could’ve done a much, much better job of putting Josh in position to make plays.”

In November, then-interim head coach Bill Callahan benched Norman, and the 32-year-old cornerback played just 10 defensive snaps over the last six games of the season. Should Washington choose to cut ties with Norman this offseason before June 1, the team would save $12.5 million of cap space.

Hall, who interviewed for the Redskins’ defensive backs’ coaching position last January, said Norman wasn’t given the chance to be the leader of the defense. Hall said some of that was self-inflicted because of Norman’s habits and preparation, but a portion of that was because of schematics. 

“I always told those coaches ‘If you want Josh to be a leader — because Josh wants to be a leader — you’ve got to put him in a position to make plays, the same way Carolina put him in a position to make plays,” Hall said. 

The peak of Norman’s career came in 2015 under the direction of Washington’s newly hired head coach Ron Rivera. In that all-pro season, Norman recorded 56 tackles, 18 passes defended, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and two touchdowns. 

Hall believes Norman still possesses that all-pro ability; it just needs to be tapped with the right defensive scheme. Hall compared the situation to Richard Sherman, who has revitalized his career in San Francisco after battling injuries. 

“It’s not because [Sherman] is the best lockdown man-to-man corner. It’s because they play Sherm in a system that he’s able to succeed and shine, and they put players around him so that he can make plays,” he said. “If we [would’ve] done the same thing to Josh Norman, he could’ve been an all-pro player here, too, just like he was in Carolina.”

Despite Hall’s belief in Norman’s ability, and the presumption that Rivera and new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will run a similar system to what Norman played in with the Panthers, the former Redskins defensive back doesn’t think the $15 million price tag is worth it for a franchise that has other holes to fill.

“I, as a fan, would love to have Josh back on this team, in this defense that I feel will be similar to Carolina,” Hall said. “But to me, it doesn’t make sense to bring Josh back for $15 million. It’s just a big pill to swallow when you can do a lot with that money on a team that needs a lot of help.”

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Wait, what? Report says Bill Belichick 'inquired' about coaching the Redskins

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Wait, what? Report says Bill Belichick 'inquired' about coaching the Redskins

Bill Belichick is the greatest coach in NFL history. He's won six Super Bowl titles and made the playoffs every year in the last decade. Other coaches were great - Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs among a few - but nobody is Belichick. 

That's what makes a recent report out of Boston so near impossible to believe. 

Belichick checked in on coaching in Washington? The Redskins? 

Those are valid points, I guess. Belichick spent much of his young life in Annapolis and has great affinity for that area. He's talked about that openly. 

The timeline also makes some sense. Many reports out of New England in 2017 showed a power struggle between Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft about what to do with legendary quarterback Tom Brady as then backup Patriots QB Jimmy Garropolo got closer to free agency. New England wouldn't be able to keep both, and there has been speculation that Belichick wanted to keep the younger passer. 

Eventually, Garropolo got traded to the 49ers, for a surprisingly low return, and New England went to two more Super Bowls, winning last year. 

This year, however, marked the first real time the Patriots looked mortal. Brady's completion percentage dipped to 60.8 percent, his lowest since 2013, and he threw fewer passing yards than any 16-game season since 2010. Now, Brady is a free agent and for the first time ever the possibility of playing somewhere else seems real, even if only somewhat realistic.

Still, Belichick coaching the Redskins seems like the longest of shots. Checking on a job - looking at financial considerations or asking about parameters - and actually taking a job can be two very different things. 

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