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Draft chatter: For many teams, the NFL Draft revolves around the QB position

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Draft chatter: For many teams, the NFL Draft revolves around the QB position

The draft starts on Thursday and while the don’t know how things will unfold, we do know one thing—that for most teams that don’t have a quarterback the draft will revolve around getting that quarterback.

The chances seem high that the Browns, Titans, Jaguars, Texans, Raiders, Vikings, Bucs and Cardinals will take quarterbacks at some point in the first three rounds. It’s possible that the Bills, Bengals, Broncos, Giants, and Rams will be looking as well. And there are always a few surprise teams in the QB market so nearly half of the league is looking.

The teams that are in the market for quarterbacks won’t necessarily be content to wait for the draft to come to them. They will trade up if they think they think that their guy will be gone. That means even more of the draft being invested in the quarterback.

The Redskins have plenty of problems and plenty of needs but quarterback is not one of them. You can’t say that Robert Griffin III is an established star at this point but he played well enough as a healthy rookie in 2012 to say that the Redskins won’t be in the market for a replacement this year or during any other draft in the next few years.

Meanwhile, the teams in search of quarterbacks have to make the single hardest evaluation there is in football, perhaps in all of sports. Too many “sure things” turn out to be busts because of a variety of reasons.

Any team looking for a quarterback is now trying to figure out if Johnny Football’s skill set translates into him becoming Johnny NFL Football, if Teddy Bridgewater’s pro day was an aberration or a revelation, and if A. J. McCarron’s intangible qualities can overcome his so-so arm strength and athleticism.

To be sure, teams have similar questions about every other player in the draft pool. But drafting the wrong defensive tackle won’t bring down a coach and general manager. Taking the wrong quarterback will.

All of the variables and pressure might tempt some teams to bypass going after a QB altogether. After all, the demand exceeds the supply every year. But the one thing that will get you fired faster than picking the wrong quarterback is sticking with the bad quarterback you already have.

Even though the Redskins aren’t in the market for a quarterback this year, their draft still revolves around the position. That’s because they are missing their first-round pick, which belongs to the Rams in the final installment of the deal to trade up to get Griffin. That turned out to be a very steep price, especially considering that the first rounder this year ended up being the 2nd overall pick.

We don’t know yet if the trade was worth it. But while the data will take some time to come in there is the side benefit of not needed to obsess over the relative merits of Blake Bortles and Derek Carr or figure out if Tom Savage is a legitimate NFL prospect or a figment of some scouts’ imaginations.

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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