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What effect will McCloughan missing the combine have on the Redskins?

What effect will McCloughan missing the combine have on the Redskins?

While there have been a few different reports and denials in the Scot McCloughan story one thing is clear. The man who supposedly has the final say in the draft and in free agency will not be at the NFL combine this week. How will this affect the team?

The combine operates on a few different levels. One is the activities that take place on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium with players running the 40-yard dash, doing vertical and long jumps, etc. McCloughan has never put much stock in that aspect of the combine.

“I think game tape is the DNA. That’s it,” he said during his introductory press conference in January of 2015. “You don’t play in T-shirts and shorts. All these kids nowadays get these speed trainers and nutritionists prior to the combine and I don’t blame them, if it gets them more money it gets them more money. I always go back to the tape.”

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The players’ times in the 40 and the three-cone drill and how far they went in the broad jump are all recorded so McCloughan can catch up on those if he chooses to. And it’s all taped so if he wants to look at the quarterbacks throwing he can do that as well.

Another important aspect of the combine is the medical exams. General managers seldom are involved here and the decision makers have access to the results.

The interviews with the prospects, however, are critical. McCloughan has always considered getting to know the potential draftees to get their stories to gauge their love for the game, something that McCloughan uses to determine if the prospect is his kind of “football player.” He can review videos of the interviews conducted by Jay Gruden, Scott Campbell, Doug Williams and others but that’s not the same as being there.

Outside of the interview rooms and stadium, there is plenty of business going on in Indianapolis. Although it’s not technically legal under NFL rules, there are plenty of discussions between GMs and agents about players who are going to hit the open market when free agency starts a week from today. This is mostly contract talk, which McCloughan is not heavily involved in. But presumably he has thoroughly evaluated the potential free agents and it would be useful for Bruce Allen and Eric Schaffer to have him there for consultation as they talk contract numbers.

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Back to his original presser almost two years ago, McCloughan believes that “game tape is the DNA” so perhaps he can learn 90 percent of what he needs to learn about the prospects in his office. But if he hasn’t been at the office since February 20, as was reported by 106.7 The Fan and denied by McCloughan and his agent, that is a lot of critical missed time.

Whether McCloughan has missed a couple of weeks or will only miss the combine it is hard to believe that he will be fully prepared to make decisions in free agency and in the draft. It has been reported that his authority at Redskins Park has been diminished as of late. Whether that’s the case or not, it’s hard to see him having full authority after having been out for such a critical stretch of time.

How the power dynamic will affect the quality of the players the Redskin select—which is ultimately what matters—remains to be seen.

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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Daunting early run in Redskins 2019 schedule reveals that survival requires a fast start

Daunting early run in Redskins 2019 schedule reveals that survival requires a fast start

The Redskins face four 2018 playoff teams in their first five games of 2019.

If that sounds hard, that’s because it is.

Washington opens in Philadelphia before hosting the Cowboys. Then the Bears come to FedEx Field. All three of those teams made the playoffs last year, and will be considered contenders for the NFC championship this season.

<<CHECK OUT THE REDSKINS FULL 2019 SCHEDULE HERE>>

In Week 4, the Redskins travel to New York to take on the Giants. While that might look like a win for Washington, historically it’s been tough to get victories in the Meadowlands.

After that, the Patriots come to town. Tom Brady. Bill Belichick. A bunch of Super Bowl trophies. Yep, those Patriots.

Add it all up and the early season looks very tough for Jay Gruden’s team. After three straight non-playoff seasons, surely the pressure is on to make the playoffs in 2019.

With those first five games, Washington must win two simply to stay alive for the long run.

It’s overly naive and simplistic to make schedule assumptions, especially in April.

The NFL is hard enough to predict week to week, when injuries and starters are known quantities, let alone five months away from real game action.

With that noted, still, the Redskins' opening stretch is hard. NFC East games are always hard, and the Burgundy and Gold will play three division contests by Week 4.

The Patriots are the greatest dynasty in the history of the sport. To say the least, that’s a tough game.

The Bears won 12 games last season and their defense gave up fewer than 18 points-per-game.

If the Redskins can survive the early portion of 2019, things look more forgiving later.

But survival is key.

The Redskins have never been a fast starting team under Gruden, although he did notch his first Week 1 win last year.

2019 won’t be about Week 1. It won’t be about Week 5. But it will be about not getting into a large hole between Weeks 1 and 5.

The Redskins, even with a litany of questions, cannot afford a 1-4 start. They certainly cant afford a start worse than that.

In the NFL, the pressure is always on.

In Washington, it just doesn’t relent.

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The five games you need to circle on the Redskins' 2019 schedule, and why you should circle them

The five games you need to circle on the Redskins' 2019 schedule, and why you should circle them

Every game on the Redskins' 2019 schedule is equally important, but not all of them are equally interesting.

Redskins vs. Bills in Week 9 for example? Sure, it's going to matter for Washington as they look to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015. But no one's wasting any ink circling that one on their calendars (unless you're a fan of breaking furniture, and if that's the case, circle away).

There are some very intriguing matchups on the 'Skins slate this season, though. These five stand out in particular.

Week 3 vs. the Bears (Monday Night Football)

If the Redskins' schedule was a golf course, it'd be one where the opening stretch was littered with endless, difficult Par 4s, lots of water and no catch-your-breath holes.

Washington certainly doesn't get to ease into the season, and they may very well need to turn around their struggles in Monday night home games (struggles that have seemingly lasted for roughly 200 years) against the Bears in order to stay relevant early.

Whoever their starting QB is at this point will face a loaded Bears defense led by Khalil Mack, while the Burgundy and Gold defense will have to bottle up Tarik Cohen. This could be an uplifting victory — or a loss that triggers lots of questions.

Week 5 vs. the Patriots 

Jot this one down as a loss, right? Sure. Probably.

But maybe not.

New England does tend to have issues pre-November. The Redskins, meanwhile, boast a stacked defensive line, which is paramount when trying to limit Tom Brady.

It's not going to be easy. It likely won't happen. But this is the NFL, a league where Nick Foles wins Super Bowls and Jason Garrett somehow holds onto a job for eight-plus campaigns. Don't assume anything.

Week 8 at the Vikings

It's the Redskins' first trip to US Bank Stadium!

Just kidding. You know why this one matters. Moving on.

Week 14 at the Packers

Lambeau Field late in the year is always interesting because there could be four feet of snow and the temperature might be 20 below zero.

Not only that — this contest could have NFC Wild Card implications.

Not only that — Aaron Rodgers might have alienated his new head coach already.

Not only that — Preston Smith will have a chance to go up against the likes of Trent Williams and Adrian Peterson.

There's a lot to look at here. Hopefully Washington is still in contention. 

Week 15 vs. the Eagles

Because of what happened in the 2018 finale, there'll be a lot of attention on what the crowd looks like at FedEx Field for this NFC East affair. This will also mark the start of three straight divisional games to close out the regular season.

Josh Rosen and the Redskins could be looking to guarantee a spot in January. Or, (random free agent passer) and the Redskins could be 4-9 and trying not to get Jay Gruden fired. 

It's hard to imagine what'll be going on at this point in the schedule. But it's a point of the schedule you'll absolutely need to see, just like the other four points in this blog.

FOR THE EIGHT MUST-SEE NFL GAMES OF 2019, INCLUDING BROWNS VS. PATRIOTS (WEIRD, YES) HEAD HERE.

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