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Ian Rapoport: Terrelle Pryor can be a 'star' and Zach Brown could be a 'steal'

Ian Rapoport: Terrelle Pryor can be a 'star' and Zach Brown could be a 'steal'

While everyone in the area continues to obsess over Kirk Cousins' value and potential deal — have you heard he's negotiating with the Redskins over one yet? — there are two contracts that have already been official for a few months that NFL Insider Ian Rapoport loves for Washington.

The first one belongs to Terrelle Pryor. During an appearance on CSN's #RedskinsTalk podcast, Rapoport told JP Finlay that the wideout should provide a huge return on the cheap one-year agreement he signed in March.

"I think he can be a real star," he said. "He has incredible incentive, because he still does not have a long-term deal. That carrot can really make guys perform and sort of keep them performing and keep them focused. I think that will help immensely. It could turn out to be one of the best deals of free agency."

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Rapoport even thinks Pryor's arrival can offset a key departure.

"I really liked it for the Redskins," he continued. "This offense lost DeSean Jackson — that'll hurt some. But Pryor being there kind of minimizes that hurt if you ask me."

That carrot the reporter referred to, along with the fact that Pryor is an athletic freak who's going to be paired with by far the best QB he's ever been paired with this coming year, backs up Rapoport's suggestion that the receiver will shine for the Burgundy and Gold. Yes, he'll have to share targets with Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed and he's still raw, but it's hard to envision a scenario outside of an injury where Pryor doesn't make his $6 million price tag look like a major bargain for the 'Skins.

The other player with a contract that Rapoport is high on belongs to a defensive player. Zach Brown, who joined Washington in April after the free agency market had really settled, could also turn out to be a tremendous find, Rapoport believes.

"I think, based on what it looked like last year, that he has the potential to be one of the best linebackers in football," Rapoport said. "[His speed is] crazy. That was another really good, smart, kind of value signing. For the Redskins, they got a really, really good player at a rate where you wouldn't think it'd be possible to get someone like that."

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"He is not perfect, he's not for everyone, certainly not for everyone, and I know there's some teams that say, 'You know what? Have him. We'll make do without him,'" he acknowledged. "But talent-wise, he is ridiculous. So, if the Redskins get out of him the kind of player he can be, that's gonna be a big-time steal."

To review: In Rapoport's mind, Pryor has star potential, while Brown might very well end up as a steal. If both of those predictions turn out to be true, well, the Redskins won't need to angst over whether the one-year deals they landed those players with were worth the time and money.

Instead, they'll just need to worry about how they can sign both of them to something longer in 2018.  

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Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan spoke to CBS Sports' Pete Prisco about the loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl and how the Falcons will rebound in 2017. 

In the process, he took a shot at former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's play-calling and put some of the blame on his style of coaching for the disastrous fourth quarter.

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan said. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

Those are some harsh words from Ryan and not exactly a ringing endorsement of Kyle Shanahan. This loss will surely haunt him should he never get back to another Super Bowl.

"There's always going to be a little sting," Ryan said. "You never lose that. Hopefully we've got four Super Bowl victories after this one, but that doesn't mean we won't still be like, 'Damn, let's talk about the other one we should've had."

Redskins fans may be able to relate to Matt Ryan's pain as some were vocal about Kyle Shanahan's play-calling during his time in Washington. Maybe Kirk Cousins takes notice of Ryan's comments as well before he considers San Francisco next off-season.

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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

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Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

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Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

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