A few questions will be answered as the Redskins start up their OTAs today in Ashburn. At a handful of positions, it will be interesting to see who lines up with the first team. While jobs that are up for grabs are not won in May with the opening game 111 days away, lining up with the first team sends a signal that it is the players job to lose.That can be the case even when the job is a backup role. Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger will be sitting out as he rehabs his injured knee. Does Maurice Hurt, who filled in there for the last half of the season, line up at left guard in Lichtensteigers absence? Or will it perhaps be rookie Josh LeRibeus?There is no question about who we will see with the first unit at quarterback. And it is likely that Robert Griffin III will be handing the ball off to Roy Helu Jr. The anticipated battle for the starting running back job between Helu and Tim Hightower will not take place until training camp as Hightower recovers from a knee injury.One third of the teams trio of top receivers will be sidelined today. Leonard Hankersons surgically-repaired hip isnt recovered enough for football activities so hell watch Pierre Garon and Josh Morgan catch passes from RG3. Santana Moss should be the third wide receiver but that spot will bear watching. If Anthony Armstrong or Aldrick Robinson gets significant time there, that could be a sign that the team is looking at moving on without Moss. That is not expected but there is always a surprise or two during this part of the year.Adam Carriker has been the staring left defensive end for the past two years. Jarvis Jenkins was drafted in the second round a year ago to take his place. Jenkins suffered a torn ACL in a preseason game so the plans were put on hold for a season. Will Jenkins line up with the first team today?The rest of the defensive front seven is pretty well set as are the starting cornerbacks. But when they line up with three corners, who goes in with Josh Wilson and DeAngelo Hall? Will it be Kevin Barnes, who held the nickel corner job las year? Or Cedric Griffin, the veteran free agent signed in March?Finally, who does secondary coach Raheem Morris line up at safety? It seems likely that Tanard Jackson, who followed Morris here from the Bucs, will get one of the spots. Will the other safety be be free agent Brandon Meriweather? Or will DeJon Gomes get the first crack at holding on to the job he had at the end of last season?Again, nothing is set in stone in May. But any player would rather be working with the first team than not.
I haven’t felt this way since my father passed last April. I’m not comparing the two, at all, but there were some similarities.
Rich Tandler had life experience. Few people accomplish what he did; total life reinvention.
Think about that.
After raising his two successful children and a lifetime in the restaurant business, Tandler created a blog. That blog became big enough to eventually become a full-time job, and over time, put him on television and send him all over the world.
We get so caught up in the “startups” and “disruptors” from Silicon Valley that we missed a true internet success story in Rich Tandler. Our world has become extra cynical. The loudest snark wins, especially on the internet.
Tandler didn’t trade in those currencies.
He provided good, quality information. He provided insight and analysis from six decades of obsessing over a football team.
And fans loved him for it.
The outpouring from folks that read "Need to Know" or listened to the podcast has been incredible. I’ve been flooded with messages from people, and one overwhelming response is that while they didn’t really know Tandler, they feel like they did.
Well, I was lucky to know him pretty well. And his persona on air was the same way off air.
Tandler helped me a in a lot of ways. I can be impulsive and have a temper, Tandler would calm me down. Whenever I had something important to say, news to break or a sharp angle of criticism, I would run it by Tandler first. Sometimes, maybe often, I would say too much, and he would reign me in.
Tandler loved pointing out mistakes. If the universe gave honorary degrees for pointing out minor math errors in salary cap blog posts, Tandler would have a Ph.D.
He was smart and he was sharp. Good natured but feisty.
He could dish it out plenty in a media room full of alphas. And he literally dished it out; Tandler controlled all the plastic utensils and paper plates that every media member used at Redskins Park. When we were running low on forks, Tandler would put out some not too subtle calls to action.
I think for a while he considered the podcast an annoyance, but somewhere along the way, we had a breakthrough. He realized its potential, and everywhere we went, listeners came up and told us how much they enjoyed it.
That made an impact on RT. And seemingly overnight, he was all in. That’s when things really started to gain steam. Wherever I am in my career, Tandler played a huge role in it.
But that kind of doesn’t matter now. We will keep the pod going but it will never be the same. Not better, not worse, but way, way different. Same thing with writing and TV. The show will go on, but it won't be the same. It will never be the same.
In the hours since I learned of Tandler’s passing, I’ve done some reading. I drank a bunch. And I ended up landing on some YouTube videos.
The one I kept going back to was Jimmy V’s famous ESPY speech. Before he died, Jimmy V implored us all to think, laugh and cry every day, and that would lead to a good, full life.
If there was ever a dude that laughed, it was Rich Tandler.
His belly laugh was contagious, and his wit was superior. There were the wacky Tandler’s Got Jokes, and the sly one liners about players, plays and our road antics.
It wasn’t all laughter either. Tandler was smart as hell, and he was always thinking about new ways to present content for Redskins fans.
Seriously, our organization employs an army of young and talented digital-first thinkers. And Tandler generated more web traffic than all of them. He constantly tried to figure out why people would read something, or the optimal time for us to drop a new podcast.
Where I’m an idea guy, Tandler was all execution. I’m a terrible planner and constantly late. Tandler would be on time and busting my chops about our lack of schedule. It’s just how we operated.
As for crying, Tandler didn't do it much. I did see him tear up from laughing a few times, and once because it was real windy when we were taping a segment and something got in his eye.
I’m not much of a crier either. I’m glad that Jimmy V was, but it’s just not me.
Thinking about Tandler though in the last 36 hours, there have been some truly hard moments. He was kind and gracious. A true gentleman.
He never took personal shots at the team we cover, or their front office. Plenty do. He would certainly say when things were bad, and say it loudly. He was binary in a world full of context.
He was a good dude. He was my coworker, my partner and my friend.
And damn if it isn’t getting dusty in here all of a sudden.
NBC Sports Washington lost an important piece of its family this week when longtime Redskins reporter Rich Tandler died on Tuesday. He was 63.
Tandler joined NBC Sports Washington in 2011. He began his writing career in his 40s after working in restaurants and created his blog, Real Redskins, in 2004, which became the longest-running blog on the team. He also wrote three books on the Redskins and posted an estimated 2,300 consecutive “Need To Know” posts, becoming a must-read for Redskins fans as part of their morning routine.
“We’re devastated to learn of the loss of one of our most loved and valued media members, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington,” Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “His dedication to covering the Redskins over the past 14 years has made him an irreplaceable presence among our media corps, and he will be in our hearts. Our thoughts are with his family, our family at NBC Sports Washington, and the entire Redskins community. He will be truly missed.”
The team will hold a moment of silence for Tandler before its game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and will keep his regular seat on press row empty. On Wednesday, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith offered his “thoughts and prayers to his family.”
“Rich’s kind and warm nature made him a good friend and an especially close colleague to many of us at NBC Sports Washington,” NBC Sports Washington General Manager Damon Phillips said in a statement. “His passion for his work and the Redskins was inspiring and made him a critical part of many of our successes over the past seven years. This is a very big loss for the sports community. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.”
Fans, Redskins players, fellow reporters, and friends of Tandler paid tribute to him on social media.
“Incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of NBCSW’s Rich Tandler. He was a great talent and an important voice in the DC sports community. Our thoughts are with his wife @MissSkeetersmom, his family and his family at @NBCSWashington,” Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote on Twitter.
I am so sad to hear about the sudden passing of Rich Tandler. As a fan of the Redskins, I got to become good friends with Rich. He was a great person and will be missed.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) October 17, 2018
Rich's presence was one of kindness and positive energy, that always left everyone he encountered feeling better for having been around him. He will be missed.— Trevor Matich (@TMatich) October 17, 2018
I am crushed and devastated about @TandlerNBCS’s passing. When you’re in this room together a long time it goes beyond just covering the same team. It’s a competitive but close-knit group out here. Rich was a very good guy; his last years were spent in a dream job. Horrible news— John Keim (@john_keim) October 17, 2018
So sad to hear about my friend @TandlerNBCS. Passed away today. One of my favorite people in DC sports media when I played and after. You will be missed my friend— Chris Cooley (@thecooleyzone) October 17, 2018
Really saddened to hear this. Rich had a contagious smile! He will be greatly missed in the locker room. https://t.co/I5sDvM8o6p— Dustin Hopkins (@Dahop5) October 17, 2018