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Redskins Position Outlook: Talent at corner, but need better results in 2017

Redskins Position Outlook: Talent at corner, but need better results in 2017

Over the next few weeks, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will grade each position group’s performance in 2016, break down the current personnel situation and evaluate the unit's outlook for 2017. 

Cornerback

Starters: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland

Backups: Quinton Dunbar, Kendall Fuller, Dashaun Phillips, Greg Toler

Free Agents: Greg Toler 

Redskins Position Outlook: Running back | Defensive line | Outside linebackers | Inside linebackers 

Rewind: With Josh Norman starting opposite Bashaud Breeland, the Redskins should have one of the strongest set of starting corners in the NFL. Norman is an elite talent, and Breeland has shown he can be quite good. In 2016, however, the results weren't pretty.

The Redskins finished 25th in passing defense, and while that's not all on the corners, the position group doesn't get a pass either. Norman got his hands on a ton of passes, but was only able to haul in three interceptions. Breeland also had three picks. 

Washington struggled for much of the season defending the slot. Rookie Kendall Fuller showed promise early, but that ended fast in a game where he got torched by Vikings WR Stefon Diggs. Quinton Dunbar is an incredible athlete with a lot of potential, though he logged just two starts last year. Greg Toler and Dashaun Phillips gave the team depth, but neither player provided enough for coaches to depend on them.

Fast forward: Confusion seemed to reign in the Redskins secondary in 2016. Some of that might be a result of a patchwork group of safeties and a poor performing defensive line, but coaching changes might help in 2017. When Joe Barry was let go, so was secondary coach Perry Fewell. Last season, some folks say Fewell's coaching style and scheme led to breakdowns for the Washington corners. With a new defensive backs coach in Torrian Gray, some of that may change, but it's also worth pointing out that some players wanted Aubrey Pleasant promoted to that job. 

It would be near impossible for Breeland's 2017 season to start as poorly as 2016 did. Late in the year, Breeland was again playing well, especially when deployed in the slot. It's also hard to imagine Josh Norman can make as many clean breaks on passes without bringing a few more in. 

This group will largely be back, certainly Norman, Breeland, Fuller and Dunbar. New defensive coordinator Greg Manusky will have to decide early on his plan for a nickel corner, and if Fuller in his second season will be ready for that role. If not, it's possible Dunbar could work outside and Breeland move inside in spots.

Also, don't forget about Will Blackmon. The versatile defender was asked to play safety in 2016, but still has the wheels to play corner, his natural position. In 2015, Blackmon had two INTs and forced two fumbles as a corner. Should the 'Skins actually address the safety position via the draft or free agency, maybe Blackmon moves back to corner this fall, especially considering his ability to cover the slot.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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If the Redskins go with a new name, quarterback Dwayne Haskins has a favorite

If the Redskins go with a new name, quarterback Dwayne Haskins has a favorite

As the Redskins name-change debate continues to gain steam, people everywhere are weighing in on potential options for a switch.

Scanning social media, the leaders in the clubhouse seem to be the Washington Warriors, Redtails and Redhawks.

At least one of those names has the blessing of a player fans hope will eventually become the face of the franchise.

RELATED ARTICLE: COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF FAN-GENERATED POTENTIAL NAME CHANGES

With several former Ohio State players on the team -- Dwayne Haskins, Chase Young, Terry McLaurin -- Bleacher Report's Matt Miller tossed around the idea of changing the Redskins to the Buckeyes. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins responded saying he liked the Redtails.

The Redtails were a group of Tuskegee airmen, all-black fighter pilots during World War II.

Haskins said "that's if we have to change the name," making clear he isn't taking a stance on whether the team should change the name.

Reports have suggested a name change is likely before the 2020 season begins.

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Report: Globetrotters willing to sell Washington Generals name to Redskins

Report: Globetrotters willing to sell Washington Generals name to Redskins

As the Washington football team mulls over the increasingly likely decision to change its name from the Redskins, the parent company of the Harlem Globetrotters suggested Friday that it'd be interested in giving the team another option.

According to Action Network's Darren Rovell, a spokesman for Herschend Entertainment said the company would "love" for the Redskins or NFL to call about buying the rights to the Washington Generals name.

RELATED ARTICLE: COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF FAN-GENERATED POTENTIAL NAME CHANGES

The Generals are the frequent opponent of the Globetrotters, almost always on the losing end of the fun basketball competition. Herschend Entertainment owns trademarks for both the Generals and Globetrotters.

“We think that the Globetrotters are right up there as the most liked team in the world with Manchester United and the New York Yankees,” Brett Meister, the spokesman, said. “Our heritage includes the Washington Generals.”

The Generals also have other local ties, as the team's former owner/coach/player Red Klotz was a member of the 1948 title-winning Baltimore Bullets.

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