May 14, 2015, 5:42 AM EDT
Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 14, 77 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.
Question of the day
A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.
Today’s question is from the Real Redskins Facebook page:
Well, we’ve heard who DeSean Jackson believes is the team to beat in the division:
“I’m excited about the new additions that [have] come in,” Jackson said last week on ESPN 980 (via the DC Sports Bog). “Really, we just have to kind of build a camaraderie. So once the season starts and we’re ahead full speed, I think we’re gonna surprise a lot of people, and a lot of people are really gonna be saying, ‘Wow, those guys are pretty good.’ So once the season starts — I’m not gonna put too much pressure on us — but I think we’ll be the team to beat this year.”
I must respectfully disagree with DeSean here. I think the Dallas Cowboys are the team to beat. They have a top-notch quarterback and offensive line, and a monster receiver. The Redskins and Eagles don’t have either of those elements, although Jackson is very good and the Eagles line is good when healthy. The Giants have Odell Beckham Jr. so they are set at the wide receiver but their line is a work in progress and Eli Manning has his rings but he’s not playing as well as Tony Romo right now.
I wouldn’t make the Cowboys prohibitive favorites in the division because of their defense. Rod Marinelli worked some magic with a pedestrian group of defenders last year. The talent has only improved marginally and it’s hard to do the smoke and mirrors thing two years in a row. Fortunately for the Cowboys, there isn’t anything approaching a dominant defense in the division so the Dallas D is maybe only slightly below par in the NFC East.
A reasonable goal for the Redskins this year would be to avoid finishing in last place; they have been in the cellar at the end of the year five times in the last six years. They would need at least six, probably seven total wins and at least a 3-3 record in the division to pull that off. That could bring them home in front of the Giants or, if Chip Kelly’s rolls of the dice all turn up snake eyes, the Eagles.
This is the place where the obligatory “anything can happen” disclaimer goes in. The Redskins could stay healthy, get solid quarterback play, have all of the free agent pickups work out just as envisioned, get major contributions out of several draft picks and win nine or 10 games. The other three teams could have a variety of issues, letting the Redskins steal a division title in a rebuilding year.
But what usually comes of rebuilding team, i.e. losing more than they win, is the more likely outcome. I see them being better but not good enough to continue playing in the postseason.
—It’s been 137 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 122 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.
—Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 33; Redskins training camp starts 77; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 133
If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
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