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Need to Know: 5 Redskins who could have breakout 2014 seasons

Need to Know: 5 Redskins who could have breakout 2014 seasons

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 2, 15 days before the start of minicamp.

Nickel coverage

Breakout players can either be relative unkowns who all of a sudden have a standout year or they can be solid performers who blossom to play at a Pro Bowl level. Here are five 2014 breakout candidates for the Redskins, some from both categories.

LB Ryan Kerrigan—He’s been an eight-sack per year player with a total of two pick sixes and 10 forced fumbles in his three seasons. If Jim Haslett’s scheme does turn out to be more aggressive than it was under Mike Shanahan it’s not hard to see Kerrigan posting double digit sacks with half a dozen forced fumbles and a few touchdowns. Last year only Tamba Hali of the Chiefs had 10 or more sacks, an interception and scored two or more touchdowns (he had three). That would be some pretty good company for Kerrigan.

TE Jordan Reed—This is not a difficult pick. Last year he was on pace to catch over 70 passes for 800 yards before his season ended early with a concussion. With a year under his belt, a likely improved QB pulling the trigger in a healthy and prepared Robert Griffin III, and a head coach who knows how to utilize the tight end position Reed could well surpass last year’s “on pace” numbers in 2014.

DL Chris Baker—It’s hard for a 3-4 defensive lineman to break out since if they’re doing their jobs you don’t hear much about them. But with his size and athletic ability, Baker could rack up some sacks and make his presence felt on the field.

CB David Amerson—If Baker and Kerrigan are having breakout seasons and getting to the quarterback, a lot of opponents’ passes could end up in the arms of Amerson. It’s unlikely that he’ll become a shutdown corner but his ballhawking ability could get him more than his share of interceptions. If he can get over half a dozen he could lead the league, an accomplishment that usually earns Pro Bowl consideration.

OT Trent Williams—He’s already pretty well regarded with Pro Bowl selections in each of the past two years. His reputation could grow this year if Jay Gruden’s offense employs a hybrid of power running and zone blocking. This will give Williams a chance to show off his versatility and possibly advance from Pro Bowl to All-Pro.

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Timeline

—It’s been 155 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 97 days until they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 15; Training camp 52; Redskins @ Eagles 111

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Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

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: It's tag day

Will the Redskins go with a defensive player in the first round of the 2017 Draft?

Finlay: The Redskins haven't drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2011 when the franchise grabbed Ryan Kerrigan with the 16th pick. In fact, the team has only drafted five defensive players in the first round over the last 15 years. 

History suggests Washington will stay away from a defensive player, but sources in Ashburn have suggested otherwise. Assuming the talent is there when the 'Skins pick at No. 17, Scot McCloughan would like to bolster the team's defensive line specifically. 

Things will get complicated should Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook slide to 17. Rich Tandler certainly would like to see the Burgundy and Gold add a top-flight running back.

Tandler: Many fans believe that conducting a draft is like going into a grocery store with a list. Defensive lineman is at the top of the list so you go to aisle 12 and put a DL in the cart. Safety is next on the list so you push the cart over to that aisle and pick out one of those.

No, a draft is much more unpredictable. There might not be a defensive lineman who is close to worthy of the No. 17 pick when the Redskins are on the clock. Talk of taking the best available player is like fingernails on a chalkboard to some. But if you’re reaching for need in a draft, you’re losing that draft. Sure, if a player in a position of need is just a spot or two down from the best available you think about it. Still, staying true to your board is the way to build a team.

The other thing to consider here is that we haven’t gone through free agency yet. Needs will shift after that. Suppose the Redskins sign two starting-caliber D-linemen and lose both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in free agency? Defensive line is no longer a five-alarm priority and receiver will be. 

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?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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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Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Twice in the last five seasons Pierre Garçon logged more than 1,000 yards receiving as a member of the Washington Redskins, including the 2016 season. He's caught 376 passes in Washington for 21 touchdowns over 74 games.

Outside of a foot injury that cost his six games in 2012, Garçon has been arguably the Redskins most durable wide receiver, and he's known to be a hard worker in the weight room and the practice field. 

Despite all that, Garçon doesn't know that he will be back with the Burgundy and Gold once free agency opens. In fact, that uncertainty led the 30-year-old wideout to post a simple question on his Instagram page.

#YallHiring?

A post shared by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

The top of the Redskins offseason questions remains QB Kirk Cousins. Garçon and fellow wideout DeSean Jackson are headed for free agency, as is standout defensive lineman Chris Baker. Reports show that the team has made little to no contact with any of the players or their representatives, though many conversations could be planned for the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis later this month. 

Garçon's question seems simple, but the answer remains a mystery. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!