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Assessing the Redskins' needs on offense

Assessing the Redskins' needs on offense

Everyone knows the Redskins have plenty of personnel needs on both sides of the ball and the temptation is to say that they just need everything. And while there isn’t a position on the field where they can’t use some help, some areas are in more dire need than others.

In an attempt to quantify that, let’s put each position group on a needs meter. The scale is 1-10 and here’s the scale:

1—The depth chart at the position is completely set with players entering prime ages with market value contracts.
5—The team has enough NFL-caliber players under contract at the position but it could use quality depth and some replacement planning for aging players.
10—There are no players under contract who could reasonably be expected to start 16 games.

We’ll look at the offensive side of the ball today, the defense next week.

Offensive line—They have four of the players who started most of the year under contract plus Shaun Lauvao and Kory Lichtensteiger, who missed most of the season with injuries. The unit did well on pass blocking but run blocking left a lot to be desired. They are locked in at two positions, with Trent Williams at left tackle and Brandon Scherff at right guard, and Morgan Moses is probably set at right tackle, although if an upgrade was available in the draft Scot McCloughan might pull the trigger. They have some young depth in Arie Kouandjio and they got some good play from Ty Nsekhe, who is a low-mileage 30 years old.

Need Meter: 5 They need to upgrade a center sooner or later and add some depth as Lauvao is a question mark due to health issues.

Running back—Alfred Morris is a free agent and he is likely (although not certain) to be playing elsewhere. Matt Jones may have a chance to grab the starting job but he has a lot to learn and a lot to prove. Third-down back Chris Thompson should be recovered from shoulder surgery by the time training camp comes around but he’s not a workhorse back. Also returning from injury is Silas Redd but he has a lot to prove as well.

Need meter: 8 Even if Jones proves he can be a starting NFL back there is still a need for depth. Redd may prove to be the guy but some free agent dollars and/or a draft pick must be invested in the position.

Tight end—Jordan Reed is a star in the making if he’s not a star already and Niles Paul should be healthy enough for OTAs and work as Reed’s backup. Derek Carrier is pretty good pass catcher but blocking is not his forte as is the case with the other two.

Need meter: 6 A blocking tight end would be a great addition but as colleges go more to spread offenses that don’t utilize big-body tight ends they get tougher to find.

Wide receiver—There is plenty of discussion about Pierre Garçon and/or DeSean Jackson becoming cap casualties. Whether they are or aren’t, there is still a need to get some quality receivers in the building. Both are approaching the age of 30 and will be in the last year of their contracts. Jamison Crowder is fine in the slot. But with Andre Roberts likely to be gone the only receivers left on the roster are Ryan Grant and Rashad Ross. Close your eyes and envision them at your 2017 starters.

Need meter: 7 This is not quite as urgent as the running back position is as they should be in good shape in 2016. But with the future looking shaky some more quality depth is needed.

Quarterback—The reasonable assumption is that Kirk Cousins will be back either under the franchise tag or with a long-term deal. Then it gets iffy. Robert Griffin III will be released. The Redskins probably will want Colt McCoy back but he might want to go somewhere with a shakier quarterback situation where he has a chance to start some games. And whether he goes or stays the team will still need a developmental quarterback on the roster.

Need meter: 8 This is based on the notion the McCoy leaves for what he perceives to be greener pastures. A veteran backup who could step in if there is an emergency would be needed in addition to the developmental QB. If McCoy stays this drops down to about a 6.

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Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 6 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Cardinals Week 13

3:47 left in Q4, Cardinals ball at their own 34, 4th and 1, Cardinals leading 24-23

David Johnson up the middle to ARZ 48 for 14 yards (Josh Norman).

Related: A team to watch in the Cousins situation

Tandler: What's worse than a punch in the gut? A gut punch you don't see coming. The Redskins had pulled to within a point with plenty of time left to get a winning score—if the defense could get a stop. When Bruce Arians sent out his offense on fourth and one, the Redskins had to watch for Carson Palmer to try to draw them offside. In fact, Joe Barry told the Redskins not to expect a snap and to be sure not the jump. But they did snap the ball and Johnson ran for the easiest 14 yards up the gut you’ll ever see. The air was out of the Redskins’ comeback balloon and Palmer all but put it away a few plays later with a 42-yard TD pass to J.J. Nelson.

More Redskins: Will the first round fall into place?

Finlay: This is not the first 4th Down conversion on our list of bad plays, but perhaps the most important one. Washington desperately needed this stop, and the defense thought they had it on the 3rd down play prior. Only Arians did not flinch about going for it, much to Barry's surprise, and the 'Skins D had no shot at Johnson. This play illustrated the weakness of Washington's defensive front perhaps better than any other run all season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

Kirk Cousins' price tag just moved even higher with the news that he will replace Matt Ryan in the Pro Bowl. ESPN's John Keim reported the roster move first.

Ryan's Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 44-21 dismantling of the Green Bay Packers. That victory means Ryan will not be available for the Pro Bowl, held this Sunday in Orlando. Cousins got his spot as an alternate.

Cousins gets the spot deservedly. This season he passed for 4,917 yards, completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing 25 TDs to 12 INTs. In two seasons since being named starter for the Redskins, Cousins has thrown for more than 9,000 yards. 

The Pro Bowl nod for Cousins will only make the Redskins pending contract talks that much tougher. The quarterback played in 2016 under the franchise tag, which netted him nearly $20 million. This season Washington could again place Cousins on the franchise tag, with a price tag around $24 million. Both sides can still work for a long-term deal, though the value of that contract would likely soar past $100 million and closer to $120 million.

Some questions exist within the Redskins organization if that is too much money devoted to one player, even if it is a Pro Bowl quarterback.

It's fitting that Cousins is subbing in for Ryan, who has found much success playing under Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. All signs points to Shanahan taking over as the 49ers head coach after the Super Bowl, and a report emerged that San Francisco would make a strong push to obtain Cousins, either in free agency or via trade. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!