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3-and-out: Redskins vs. Bears

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3-and-out: Redskins vs. Bears

At 1-4, the Redskins have all but used up their mulligans. And while they probably don’t need to win out, they certainly need to pull off a few upsets along the way. Which brings us to Sunday’s game against Jay Cutler, Devin Hester and the Chicago Bears.

Here are three story lines I’ll be keeping an eye on:

1st down - Robert Griffin III rushed for 77 yards on nine carries last Sunday night in Dallas. It was RG3’s most productive game on the ground since Week 11 of last season and his rushing total was five more yards than he gained in the previous four games combined. But Griffin couldn’t get it done with his arm, completing only 49-percent of his passes. Will this be the week Griffin puts it all together? The Redskins’ hopes could be depending on it. “It’s a matter of miscommunications, some missed throws in there, some dropped passes,” Griffin said of his completion percentage (59.8) for the season. “All that accumulates into what the stats says. It’s a long year and we have a chance to make sure those numbers do get back up. And we’ll make sure it does."

2nd down — The Redskins’ porous coverage units couldn’t stop the Cowboys’ Dwayne Harris, who took back a punt 86 yards for a touchdown and returned a kickoff 90 yards. And without special teams’ ace Bryan Kehl who suffered a season-ending knee injury, the unit’s challenge will be even more daunting Sunday as the Redskins attempt to corral three-time Pro Bowl returner Devin Hester, who is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball. “He’s probably licking fingers,” special teamer Niles Paul said of Hester. “It’s a great challenge for us as a special teams unit. We have to step up and be big.”

3rd down — In addition to losing Kehl, the Redskins will also be without long snapper Nick Sundberg for the balance of the 2013 season. But the team did get some good news regarding David Amerson. The rookie cornerback suffered a concussion Sunday but he said on Wednesday that his symptoms are not serious and that he felt “fine.” He was limited in practice but there’s a good chance he’ll be on the field against the Bears. That’s huge. Amerson is the Redskins’ No. 3 corner—and the Bears have four pass catchers on pace for 75 or more receptions. “He had no side effects,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. “So hopefully he’ll be okay tomorrow.”

Extra point - Wide receiver Santana Moss needs only 71 yards to become only the seventh active player to accumulate 10,000 yards in his career. The 34-year-old also needs only four catches to pass Gary Clark for third on the Redskins’ all-time list.

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 27, 2 days before the March 1 NFL franchise tag deadline.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/2) 3
—Start of NFL free agency (3/9) 10
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 49
—NFL Draft (4/27) 59
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 195

Monday morning Redskins musings as free agency approaches

1. It appears that the Raiders are going to let Latavius Murray, who rushed for over 1,800 yards combined in the last two seasons, test free agency.

I’d be surprised if the Redskins showed any interest. I’m not sure that they will be jumping into the RB free agent pool, at least not into the deep (expensive) end of it. They might draft a back to compete with Rob Kelley, Matt Jones, and Mack Brown. Chris Thompson will remain the third-down back.

2. Do you wonder why the Redskins have been reluctant to draft a safety?

Eventually, someone will need to figure out the safety position in the NFL. With all the spread offenses that safeties face in college the safeties have become more like additional corner. Also, the better defensive backs in college want to be cornerbacks because it pays better in the pros. The pool coming out is generally small to begin with and then it shrinks even further for each team due to the scheme factors that Farrar discusses. Su'a Cravens could be the solution to one safety spot for the Redskins but they continue to be in search of someone to pair with him. 

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

3. The Jets allowed C Nick Mangold to announce his own release. He was one of the best centers of the past decade; Mangold went to seven Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro twice. But I don’t see him being of interest to the Redskins. They are happy with Spencer Long and even if they weren’t, Mangold is 33 and he missed half of last season with an ankle injury. Those factors likely will make the Redskins steer clear.

4. Maybe some fans don’t care if they are getting information from the team through the media at the combine. Or at the Senior Bowl. Or anywhere. And it is the team’s option to have someone available or not during most of the offseason (a press conference prior to the draft is mandatory). But they are missing out on a chance to give their side of the story.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

5. We have another D-lineman signed as the Panthers retained DE Mario Addison.

Addison, who was with the Redskins for five games in 2012, also had six and 6.5 sacks the previous two year, not bad for a guy who has started just one game in the last three seasons. That average of just over $7 million per year sets another data point for the Redskins to use to try to retain Chris Baker. Addison is a 4-3 end while Baker is a 3-4 end so it’s not an apples to apples comparison but it will help figuring out what a reasonable contract is. Without seeing the details, it looks like Addison gave the Panthers something of a hometown discount as that’s a good price for a guy who was half a sack away from double digits.

In case you missed it

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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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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