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20 questions in 20 days: 13 Can Orakpo post 15 sacks?

20 questions in 20 days: 13 Can Orakpo post 15 sacks?

By Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir
CSNwashington.comAs we count down to the first game of the Redskins season, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to be looking at some of the big questions facing the team and attempting to look into their crystal balls and answer them.Question 13:Can Brian Orakpo post 15 sacks?The background:In 2009, linebacker Brian Orakpo had one of the best rookie seasons in Redskins history as he posted 11 sacks and was selected to the Pro Bowl. While he has played very well since then he has yet to become the dominant pass rusher that many believed he can become. Orakpo has 8.5 and 9 sacks in his last two seasons, respectable totals but not elite. He enters a pivotal season where he can either climb up into that top level of pass rushers or continue to be above average.Tandler:This is partially up to Orakpo and partially up to the guys on the other side of the ball. For his part, Orakpo needs to deal with being doubled and to develop some new moves in his repertoire. But what will help him the most is playing with a lead. The Redskins have ranked 25thand 26thin the NFL in scoring the last two years. If Robert Griffin III, Pierre Garon and company can put the ball in the end zone a few more time a game that will force the other team to pass more. When a defense knows whats coming and doesnt have to worry about defending the run, pass rushing gets a whole lot easier. Griffin and the offense should be able to hold up their end of the bargain and with more opportunities to focus on rushing the passer Orakpo will see his sack total climbEl-Bashir:Orakpo focused on refining his pass-rushing technique and footwork, as well as studying the NFLs great defensive ends on film this offseason. That should help the 26-year-old two-time Pro Bowler, whose nine sacks were tied for 21st last season. Thats not a significant drop off from the 11 he posted in 2009, but those numbers ought to be trending in the other direction at this point in Orakpos career. Although its probably unreasonable to expect him to amass 22 sacks, like Minnesotas Jared Allen, or 18.5, like Dallas DeMarcus Ware, its not too much to expect Orakpo to crack the top-10, which would require at least 12 sacks. Whether he gets there, though, could hinge on how his surgically-repaired pectoral muscle holds up. Its already cut short his preseason. Will it affect him when the games count?20 questions in 20 days20 Aug.20Will Jammal Brown play this year?
19 Aug.21Will Chris Cooley make the team?
18 Aug. 22Can Brandon Meriweather get he job done at safety?
17 Aug. 23Is Garon a No. 1 receiver?
16 Aug. 24Can Trent Williams go from good to great?
15 Aug. 25Can DeAngelo Hall be a defensive playmaker?
14 YesterdayCan Santana Moss regain his old form?
13 TodayCan Orakpo post 15 sacks?
12 TomorrowWill Leonard Hankerson break out?
11 WednesdayCan the Redskins flip their turnover ratio?
10 ThursdayHow much can Hightower contribute this year?

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The Redskins have 10 picks in 2017 NFL draft

The Redskins have 10 picks in 2017 NFL draft

The NFL has announced every team’s picks in the upcoming draft. Here are the Redskins’ 10 selections:

Round-pick in round-overall pick

1-17-17 own pick
2-17-49 own pick
3-17-81 own pick
4-7-114 from Saints
4-17-124 own pick
5-10-154 from Jets
6-17-201 own pick
6-25-209 from Texans
7-2-220 from 49ers
7-17-235 own pick

The picks from the Saints, Jets, and Texans are from trades made during last year’s draft. The Redskins sent their fifth-round pick to the 49ers for TE Derek Carrier, who also sent their seventh-round pick in the deal.

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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Redskins offseason questions: Will DeSean Jackson be back?

Redskins offseason questions: Will DeSean Jackson be back?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will DeSean Jackson be back?

Tandler: For the second time in three seasons with the Redskins, DeSean Jackson led the NFL in yards per reception. In 2016, he averaged 17.9 yards per catch with 19 receptions that were good for more than 20 yards. The nine-year veteran was second on the team with 1,005 yards receiving.

That is some pretty solid production but the Redskins may have to find a way to replace it in 2017. Jackson is a free agent and his return to the team is very much in doubt.

During the season, Jackson said that he was looking forward to the experience of being in the free agency process for the first time in his career. He was a free agent in 2014 but he came to the Redskins after the Eagles cut him in April, well after most teams had finished with the process. Now he will be on the market with 32 potential suitors.

It seems likely that one of the 31 teams not called the Redskins will offer Jackson a contract that Washington will decline to match. He could get a deal with an average annual value in excess of $10 million and with Jamison Crowder eligible for an extension in a year and Pierre Garçon, also a pending free agent, possibly being a higher priority for the organization, it seems that will be too much for the Redskins.

Jackson may not have the offseason workout habits that the Redskins would like him to have but if it’s a matter of money then it will be understandable if he does end up leaving. Still, that production will have to be replaced and Jackson will get paid well precisely because few have his combination of speed and ball-tracking ability.

Finlay: Seems hard to see a scenario where DeSean comes back to the Redskins, and it will be a big loss for the team, and not just statistically. Jackson's elite speed and ball-tracking ability make him a threat that opposing defense's must constantly account for, in turn opening up the middle of the field for crossing routes and underneath patterns that Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed run so well.

Money will be the deciding factor, as it almost always is. Jackson wants to get paid when he has a chance to look all around the league. There are plenty of teams that could make sense, starting with his old squad in Philadelphia and elsewhere around the league destinations like Tampa, Kansas City and even San Francisco could make sense. 

Asked about bringing back Pierre Garçon or Jackson, this quote from Jay Gruden at the end-of-season press conference speaks volumes about the team's plans for DeSean: 

When you finish a season in the National Football League, you’re probably dreaming if you think you’re going to have the exact same roster back as you had a year ago. We’re going to have a draft with new players. We’re going to have free agents. We’re going to lose some of our free agents. It’s our job to make sure we target the ones we definitely want back that really have an impact on this football team, not only from a talent standpoint but from a leadership standpoint. Both of those areas are very important to me, almost more so as a leadership standpoint. A lot of these guys have talent, but we have got to make sure we keep the great leaders in this building​.

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

— Will Cousins take the next step?

— Will Baker be back?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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