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Redskins fan questions: Rak, O-line, the draft and more

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Redskins fan questions: Rak, O-line, the draft and more

Haven't done this in a while, answering your questions from Twitter and Facebook. Let's jump right into it.
@Rich_TandlerCSN Will the Redskins address the secondary or WR corps with their first pick? #RedskinsTalk

— Eli Nachmany (@PFF_EliNachmany) February 12, 2014
It's too early to even make an intelligent guess. Those certainly are positions of need. But it's better the fill immediate needs in free agency. If you wait until the draft you could end up on the clock without someone who represents good value at your positions of need. Bottom line, I could see them going any position with that 34th overall pick except QB, RB, TE, and, if they do have Brian Orakpo back in the fold, outside linebacker.

I think all scenarios are in play. I wrote yesterday that they might want to jump up into the end of the first round to get an extra year of team control for the their top pick. I could also see them moving back and getting additional picks. When you have 20 unrestricted free agents you are going to have roster spots to fill and it's better to fill the bottom of the roster with draft picks than with journeyman veterans. So they could grab some extra picks as well.
@Rich_TandlerCSN #RedskinsTalk Rak healthy in '13 and the defense was horrible. He wasn't part of '12 run. Why so critical we sign him?

— Brandon Moore (@habimaki88) February 12, 2014
I'm trying to recall what was so great about that 2012 defense. Was it the No. 28 ranking in yards (18th this year)? The 32 sacks (36 last year)? Not to say that the '13 unit was clearly superior but it is a stretch to say that the '12 run had much to do with the defense. It was all about a healthy rookie QB named RG3 and a rookie running back named Alfred Morris. And even that team wasn't that good. They were the 4th seed and one and done in the playoffs. If that's the ceiling of what you want then I suppose you could stick with Rob Jackson at outside LB. I would think that most Redskins fans want better than that, something like 12 or 13 wins and a first-round bye. Players like Orakpo help you get there so that is why they need to bring him back.

I also wonder about the retention of Chris Foerster. There may have been better options out there. But he didn't pick what he had to work with. It's remarkable that the Redskins were able to lead the NFL in rushing and in yards per play last year given the talent (and I use that word loosely) he had to work with. It wasn't Foerster's call to leave Tom Compton, Adam Gettis, and Josh LeRibeus on the bench after the season was lost. That was Mike Shanahan's call all the way. One good thing about retaining Foerster is that he's been on the practice field and in meeting rooms with the three 2012 draft picks and he should have a good handle on if they have to potential to contribute this year.
#RedskinsTalk will Chase Minnifield get an opportunity for a significant role on the team next year?

— James Eye (@Jaeye18) February 12, 2014
Let's throw Bacarri Rambo into here since they are in similar situations. Remember last year when Niles Paul was talking about the team not having enough players who were enthusiastic about playing on special teams? Minnifield and Rambo didn't show much enthusiasm for special teams. They both could have been active every week if they had balled out on special teams. When you're a sixth-round pick or an undrafted free agent that's how you earn snaps on defense. To answer the question, the amount of opportunity that Minnifield gets will be in direct proportion to the ability, effort, and enthusiasm he gives to special teams.

I get that concern but it's not really an apples to apples comparison. It's not as though Bruce Allen and/or Doug Williams had final say on personnel. By the time Allen got there that power mostly belonged to Jon Gruden. Taking that into consideration, the Bucs were far from a disaster when Allen/Williams were there. They had three winning records and two playoff appearances in five years (and, yes, double-digit losses in the other two years). Allen/Gruden were fired after back-to-back 9-7 seasons. Around here that would be grounds for a contract extension, not a pink slip. And firing the coach and GM wasn't necessarily the smartest move for the Bucs. That 10-6 season they had in 2010, two years after Allen was fired, has the look of a fluke. It's their only winning record since Allen/Gruden left and it's buried in three double-digit loss seasons.

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10 Questions in 10 days: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

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USA TODAY Sports

10 Questions in 10 days: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

Right or wrong, fans blamed Shawn Lauvao for much of the Redskins struggles on the offensive line last season. Pro Football Focus backs up the fans, as Lauvao landed a -19.1 grade, among the worst in the NFL at the guard spot. 

It's worth pointing out that Lauvao was playing hurt during much of his nine starts before getting shut down for the season just before Thanksgiving. In fact, injuries have probably been the biggest issue for Lauvao in his four seasons with the Redskins. 

In four seasons in Washington, Lauvao has never played a full 16-game slate. Last year he played just nine games, and in 2015 he only played three games. 

That points to what may be the bigger issue for the Redskins: offensive line depth. Last season was wild with the amount of injuries Washington sustained up front. It seems almost impossible for the team to have that many injuries again.

Still, the Redskins lost Arie Kouandjio for the year in the offseason. Kouandjio played better last year than Lauvao, and having both men in Richmond would have provided real competition. 

And that might be the biggest question: Neither Lauvao or Kouandjio represent a difference maker at left guard, yet the team did little to address the position. 

All offseason, the Washington brass walked a fine line between confidence and arrogance. The organization believes strongly in the players they already have, and outside of signing Paul Richardson and re-signing Zach Brown, the team had a quiet offseason. The Redskins struggled to run the ball the last few years, and still, the team did not look to upgrade at LG. 

It's important to note that the Redskins have two All-Pro caliber offensive linemen in Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff. Morgan Moses is a plus at the right tackle spot too. The team likes Chase Roullier at center too, and they tried to add depth in drafting Geron Christian in the third round and bringing back swing tackle backup Ty Nsekhe as a restricted free agent. 

Left guard will be a question, and it's hard not to think that it will be the weakest position on the O-line. Should that submarine the group? It shouldn't. What if Lauvao gets hurt?  Then things get quite tricky.

For the Redskins, however, the expectation might be that the line needs to perform as a unit, and with talent like Williams and Scherff, that should cover up any weaknesses.

Time, and health, will tell if that plan works. 

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Need to Know: The best cornerbacks the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best cornerbacks the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 20, six days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best cornerbacks the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the cornerbacks are up. They are roughly ranked by Pro Football Focus’ coverage metrics, although I did some juggling based on interception totals and other factors. Prior to this, we looked at the best teamsreceivers, running backspass rushers, and quarterbacks

1. Patrick Peterson, Cardinals—The athletic Peterson has been All-Pro three times and has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his seven years in the league. He hasn’t had a big interception total since he got seven in 2012, but that is mostly because quarterbacks only throw his way about once every ten snaps he is in coverage. 

2. Jalen Ramsey, Jaguars—I could easily have ranked Ramsey over Peterson. I went with Peterson because he’s been doing it for longer and he’s only 28. Ramsey has justified his No. 5 selection in the 2016 draft. His long arms and ball skills serve him well. He has the size to defend the bigger receivers and the athleticism to be effective against shifty and speedy receivers. 

3. A.J. Bouye, Jaguars—If Alex Smith tries to throw away from Ramsey he will encounter trouble on the other side. It’s been trendy to say that Bouye is underrated for so long he’s in danger of becoming overrated. But he’s not there yet. Bouye was one of four full-time (played at least 60% of snaps) cornerbacks who did not allow a touchdown pass last year and he had by far the most plays in coverage. 

4. Malcolm Butler, Titans—If the Brady-Belichick Patriots don’t win another Super Bowl, the coach’s decision to keep Butler on the bench as Nick Foles shredded the New England secondary will be marked as the end of that era. Maybe Butler isn’t good enough to have made a difference, but it would have been interesting to see. He’s with the Titans now and he will give Smith problems in December. 

5. Marshon Lattimore, Saints—Last year’s defensive rookie of the year plays an aggressive style both in press man coverage and when tackling receivers who have caught the ball. An ankle injury sent him out of the game against the Redskins early, perhaps one of the reasons why Kirk Cousins was able to light them up for 322 yards and three touchdowns. 

Best of the rest: Desmond Trufant, Falcons; Brent Grimes, Bucs; Logan Ryan, Titans;k Jaire Alexander (rookie), Packers

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 6
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 20
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 43

The Redskins last played a game 201 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 51 days. 

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