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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Still searching for a nose tackle, early depth charts

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Still searching for a nose tackle, early depth charts

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 18, 40 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 30
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 55
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 67
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 119
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 176

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts of the week on CSNmidatlantic.com with some commentary.

Redskins' cap space dwindling but they have some options—It looked like the Redskins had a huge pile of cap space but Kirk Cousins’ franchise tag put a big dent in it and now their supply of available cash is dwindling. Since this was published the Redskins did add $3 million to their cap space so one option to create more is off the table. There will be some free agent options lower down the depth chart that they can add but they should focus their remaining resources on locking up Morgan Moses and Spencer Long, who are eligible for extensions.

Report: Cousins concerned about potential trade to Browns—The post right after this one on the most popular list was on a report that the Browns aren’t interested in Cousins but that other teams have inquired about a trade. The takeaway from the last few weeks of conflicting Cousins reports is that what teams and agents and players say is not necessarily in the interest of spreading the truth. Words are about trying to create leverage and send messages to the other side in negotiations. Letting the fans know what is really going on is low on the list of priorities when messages are chosen.  

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0

Bad grades for some Redskins FA additions—Evaluations from Pro Football Focus get paned as worthless in some circles. I’ve always thought that, like any one metric, PFF’s ratings and stats are useful if you don’t take them as the final word on a given player. Anyway, they liked the Terrelle Pryor and D.J. Swearinger acquisitions and they panned the two players signed on the D-line. What they miss is that Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee don’t have to be long-term solutions in Washington. If the Redskins can draft a couple of solid defensive linemen they could easily move on from McClain and McGee as post-June 1 cuts in 2018. Of course, given the team’s long-standing reluctance to draft defensive linemen early, that scenario is problematic.

Examining the Redskins updated depth chart—Defense—It’s too early to do a depth chart but that never stops me (I also drew up an offensive depth chart). Although much of it is in dry erase marker and not Sharpie, it is still useful to see how things are evolving. The one alarming thing that jumps out is that if the season started today the starting nose tackle would be Phil Taylor. The good news is that he’s a former first-round draft pick. The bad news is that he hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2014. And, yes, the topic will keep coming up until the Redskins draft some linemen and get a long-term solution at nose tackle. 

Despite need for D-linemen, Redskins cut Ricky Jean-Francois—Francois wasn’t a nose tackle but he was a reasonably effective end when he rotated into games. The team decided to cut him loose. The move saved the team $3 million in cap space and it also got rid of a player who was vocally critical of the organization in the wake of the firing of Scot McCloughan. While the move could be justified on the basis of productivity compare to his cap hit, his outspoken nature, especially recently, made the decision a whole lot easier for the Redskins.

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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In case you missed it

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Kyle Shanahan says he won't make Redskins game personal, but it sure sounds like he will

Kyle Shanahan says he won't make Redskins game personal, but it sure sounds like he will

Kyle Shanahan had to know the question was coming, and for the most part, his answer was perfectly polite and diplomatic. Until a nice, little elbow at the end, that is.

The 49ers coach was asked on a Wednesday conference call how he'll avoid making this Sunday's game against the Redskins personal. Shanahan was with Washington from 2010-2013 along with his dad, Mike, but the end of his tenure in D.C. was very messy.

In his response, he explained how he'll try to treat the Burgundy and Gold like any other opponent, but then he dropped one comment that indicated he is in fact looking for some major revenge.

"It's not my first time back there," he said. "I've been in three buildings since. I've moved on with my life in many other ways and I think my family has also. I think it's pretty easy not to make it personal. The guys it'd be personal with don't play in the game."

That last portion was no doubt directed at the Redskins' front office, with whom Kyle and Mike had plenty of issues with. It wasn't the only part of the call where Shanahan slighted the Redskins, either. 

At one point, the 39-year-old was pushed to describe how he's gone about rebuilding San Francisco's culture since he took over. He stressed having a united vision with the decision-makers above him and sounded quite pleased to be in a place where he feels like that's happening.

"To me, culture's based off the type of people you have there," he explained. "I knew, during the interview, meeting the owner, then being able to get a general manager like John Lynch, we knew we had the people, the right people with the right intentions that were in it for one thing, and that was to win. And we also could be very honest with where we were at at the time."

"We've got people who live and die football and they know how to treat each other," he added. "It's one of the more fun groups and higher-character groups that I've been around."

So, that wasn't as direct as his first jab, but it still got the job done. Don't worry, though. He found time for one more obvious remark about his old employer before facing them in Week 7.

Near the end of the discussion, Shanahan was given a hypothetical where a young, up-and-coming coach approaches him about possibly working with the Redskins. What would Shanahan tell that person? After a quick chuckle, he played along the best he could.

"Just look into it. See what the situation is, who you want to work for," he said. "Anytime you get opportunities, you've got to look into it. But I'm not there, I don't know how it is right now, so that would be up to that person."

Then came the kicker.

"I'm probably not the person they want to call on that advice."

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Dwayne Haskins took the first-team reps in practice on Wednesday and Bill Callahan was impressed

Dwayne Haskins took the first-team reps in practice on Wednesday and Bill Callahan was impressed

While the Redskins 2019 campaign has not gone as expected, news from Wednesday's practice should give the fanbase a glimmer of hope for the future at the quarterback position.

Starting QB Case Keenum was held out of Wednesday's practice to rest his body. With Keenum absent, rookie Dwayne Haskins took all of the first-team reps. Callahan was impressed with the Ohio State product and pleased with his development.

"Dwayne took all the reps today and it’s invaluable for a backup to take starting reps," Callahan said. "Especially at the beginning of the week in terms of putting your plan together and laying it out there and making all the adjustments, whether it’s new communication, new formations, handling the shift-motion game.

"I thought he did a really good job today, so his growth is starting to show in practice and also in his preparation," Callahan continued. "He’s in earlier, he’s out later, so it’s all coming to fruition. It’s going to take a little time, but it’s good to see him take a major step today in practice."

Keenum wasn't the only veteran to be held out as practice, as running back Adrian Peterson missed Wednesday's practice, too. Interim head coach Bill Callahan held out both players simply to rest their bodies. It's not atypical for veterans to miss Wednesday practices, especially as it gets to the deeper portion of the season.

"Definitely just veteran guys, backing them down and just trying to take care of their bodies a little bit better," Callahan said of why he held them out.

When Callahan took over as interim head coach last week, many expected the team to turn to Haskins as their starting QB. At the time, Washington was 0-5, and both Keenum and Colt McCoy had been largely ineffective under center.

Although Callahan did not immediately turn to the signal-caller, he's at least given a plan of action to develop the rookie, something that was unclear while Jay Gruden was the head coach.

"He will be [the starter] at some point in time,” Callahan said on Haskins during his introductory press conference last Monday. “We’re going to continue to develop him and heighten his maturation process, try to get him on schedule so he is prepared."

Gruden had Haskins running the scout team. Even when Keenum does practice, Callahan has given the rookie at least a few reps with the starters.

"We've got to be conscientious in getting him some repetitions during the course of the practice," Callahan said last week. "So that will a little be a shift in philosophy moving forward."

When Callahan ultimately pulls the trigger to move to the rookie remains uncertain. But with Haskins improving by the day, and Keenum continuing to turn in subpar results on Sunday's, that move could come sooner rather than later.

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