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Redskins will benefit the least from Richardson, McClain and Hardy suspensions

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Redskins will benefit the least from Richardson, McClain and Hardy suspensions

BY PETER HAILEY

Early Thursday, news broke that both Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson and Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain were each suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy. 

Understandably, the first reaction after word of these suspensions is made public is to evaluate how they will affect the teams that employ the players. But something else worth examining is how it will affect those team's opponents.

The NFC East and the AFC East will be playing each other this year, meaning that Richardson's suspension means more to the Redskins, Eagles, Giants and Cowboys more than it normally would. McClain's suspension, meanwhile, obviously matters a lot to Washington, New York and Philadelphia, because those teams play Dallas twice a year.

So which NFC East organizations will benefit from playing against a weakened Jets' defense, and how will the division's three teams not located in Dallas be affected by McClain's absence? Let's take a look (Redskins fans, you won't be pleased by what you're about to see):

  • Philadelphia is the team that will gain the most from the two suspensions. The Eagles play the Cowboys in Week 2 and the Jets in Week 3, so they'll get to face both defenses when they're missing key pieces in their respective front sevens.
  • New York is only affected by the McClain news. They start their season in Dallas, but don't play the Jets until Week 13, so they'll have to face the Jets defense when they're at 100%. 
  • Dallas is obviously hurt by McClain's suspension, as they'll miss a player who had a very productive season last year for them for the first quarter of their 2015 schedule. They also won't be able to reap the benefits from playing a Richardson-less New York, as the Cowboys play the Jets in Week 15.
  • And as for the Redskins, Thursday's news won't really affect them at all. Their two matchups against Dallas come in Week 13 and Week 17, and they don't play New York until a week after Richardson makes his return. 

To review, the Eagles get to play the Cowboys once without McClain and also get their Jets game out of the way before Richardson comes back, while the Giants get to play the McClain-less Cowboys once. The Redskins, on the other hand, don't get either advantage, and the Cowboys will miss out on Richardson's suspension and also have to deal with the consequences of McClain's decision, too.

However (cue that corny informercial voice), that's not all, Redskins fans. Here's something else to think about that will make even more upset.

McClain isn't the only Dallas defender in trouble with the NFL. New defensive end Greg Hardy is also currently suspended by the NFL. As of now, he's set to sit out the first ten games of 2015. Will that help the Redskins at all, at least?

The short answer: no.

The Eagles and the Giants play both of their games against Dallas while Hardy is suspended, while (as stated above) the Redskins play both of their contests against their rival in the last five weeks of the regular season. So, though their other divisional foes will get to deal with a weakened Cowboys pass rush two times, Robert Griffin III and company will be going up against the Cowboys' full repertoire of lineman.

For a team that looks like it'll need as many breaks as they can get, they won't find any of them in these three suspensions.

MORE REDSKINS: Kerrigan gives an update on his knee after surgery

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

At NBCSportsWashington.com, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>

Today we are continuing to reveal the list of the players we ranked from 16-30.

Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—The team’s top draft pick (but not the second pick, who is in a higher-ranked group).  

—Two of the anticipated starting offensive linemen

—The team’s leading rusher from 2016

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>

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10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

10 Questions in 10 days: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

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 Redskins receiver broke the 1,000-yard mark in 2017, and bluntly, the receiver position did not unfold like the front office designed.

Terrelle Pryor proved a free agent flop, and while Josh Doctson flashed talent, the consistency did not follow. Jamison Crowder led Washington with 789 receiving yards while 34-year-old tight end Vernon Davis was the team's second-leading receiver. 

The Redskins need more at wideout in 2018, and the front office acted on it. 

The team signed Paul Richardson in free agency, and advanced statistics suggest he could make an impact right away. Richardson has vertical speed in a way the organization hasn't had since DeSean Jackson went to Tampa two seasons ago. 

Doctson could emerge as a true No. 1 WR, and Richardson's speed will help. Sources inside Redskins Park question if Doctson is the type of wideout that can beat cornerbacks off the line. Instead, the team believes Doctson is best when using his athleticism to go up and get balls. That skill set was best illustrated for Doctson in the end zone, where he grabbed six TDs last season. 

Crowder could again lead the Redskins in receiving yards. New QB Alex Smith likes to look to his inside receivers, and with defenses having to account for more speed on the field in Richardson, Crowder should get plenty of open looks. 

Ultimately, the question is if the Redskins will have a 1,000-yard receiver. The answer is an unknown, but the evidence suggests they won't.

No 1,000-yard wideout does not spell doom for Washington. In the last two seasons, eight of 12 NFC playoff teams had a receiver get into four digits. Among the teams that did not get that kind of production from one wide receiver: 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. Remember, that team won the Super Bowl. 

Further down the roster, Washington has contributors but unlikely a breakout star. Maurice Harris has great hands and Robert Davis has shown plenty of athleticism, but significant production would be a surprise. Rookie Trey Quinn could be a player that helps the 'Skins, particularly should Crowder get banged up this year like he did last year, but a 1,000-yard season for a 7th-round rookie seems pretty absurd. 

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