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Need to Know: A week into free agency, five Redskins questions

Need to Know: A week into free agency, five Redskins questions

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 18, 20 days before the Redskins start their offseason workouts.

Nickel coverage We’re just a week into the league year and we have some answers about the 2014 season. But there are still many questions, here are five of them:

What will be done at safety? I’m not one of those media types who thought it was right to blast the team for not landing Mike Mitchell to play safety. But we’re almost a week in and there still are no starting-caliber safeties on the roster. I’m sure there’s a plan but it remains a question mark until players are signed.

How is Robert Griffin III doing? In great contrast to the last two off seasons, we haven't heard much from or about Griffin this year. He has been working out since returning from vacation a few weeks after the season was over.  Is he "ahead of schedule" for getting ready for the season? Are there any lingering aftereffects of the knee injury?

Will Orakpo sign his tender? This will not become a big subject until offseason workouts approach. Those get underway in less than three weeks and unless Orakpo signs his tender he will not be under contract and can’t attend. So far he hasn’t given any indication one way or the other.

What’s the offense like? When those workouts start on April 7, the players will line up and walk through the new playbook for the first time. They won’t be going up against the defense, since that is against the rules at that point. But they will get an idea of what the new offense, which if we believe what we’ve heard from Jay Gruden is an “all of the above” approach, will look like.

More changes on the O-line? It was thought that the offensive line would see one, maybe two new starters. Now the possibility that someone new will be at every spot to the right of Trent Williams is very much in play.

Like Real Redskins on Facebook! Timeline

—It’s been 79 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 173 days until they play another one.

—Days until: Offseason workouts start 20; NFL Draft 51; Training camp starts 127

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Need to Know: Do the Redskins need a big day from Cousins to win?

Need to Know: Do the Redskins need a big day from Cousins to win?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, December 6, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Off day

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 14; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 19; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 26

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
C Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion)
Postgame injury report

Last look at Redskins vs. Cardinals

Turning point: I have feeling that Sunday was a pivotal point in the season. When it’s all over the Cardinals game will either be looked at as the beginning of the end of their playoff run or as the low point that preceded a streak that got them into the playoffs.

A one-man show? One question raised on Sunday is whether the Redskins can win without a stellar performance from Kirk Cousins. His completion percentage of 56.8 on Sunday was his worst in any game this season. He made some nice passes but all in all he was not the guy who has carried the team for the past six weeks. If they are going to make the playoffs and perhaps do something when they get there the defense and running game are going to need to pitch in.

Pass happy play calling: The Redskins’ first four plays were passes. Then Rob Kelley went up the middle for 13 yards. The next five plays were passes. It was foreshadowing; during a game they never trailed by more than one score the Redskins called 39 passes and 17 runs. Kelley got 63 yards of 14 carries and Chris Thompson got 24 yards on two. Doing the math, the running backs averaged 5.4 yards per carry. I’m not one to nitpick the play calling but perhaps a few more handoffs would have helped move the ball more effectively.

Snap count spot check: Vernon Davis played every offensive snap but one. On defense, Duke Ihenacho played 64 snaps, his second-highest total of the season. They were in nickel a lot—Kendall Fuller played 55 snaps—but Su’a Cravens played only 37 snaps, about half.

Potpourri: If Dustin Hopkins was in a slump it looks like he’s out of it after booming a 53-yard field goal and pounding all six of his kickoffs for touchbacks . . . Although Davis did catch five passes for 47 yards with Jordan Reed out, he is missed as a second option when Reed can’t play . . . With Tyrann Mathieu, who usually covers the slot receiver, out Cousins tried to go to Jamison Crowder but he caught just three of the eight passes targeted to him . . . Like many games, we could stop all analysis of this game after seeing that the Redskins turned the ball over twice and didn’t manage to take it away.  

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Redskins release Dashaun Phillips, again

Redskins release Dashaun Phillips, again

Cornerback Dashaun Phillips had a very short return to the Redskins’ active roster.

Phillips, who started the season as the nickel cornerback before being benched and eventually released and moved to the practice squad last month, was re-signed to the roster on Friday. He made the trip to Arizona but he was inactive for the game. The Redskins announced today that he has been released again.

It is possible for Phillips to return to the practice squad if he clears through waivers.

The transaction clears a roster spot for the return of offensive tackle Trent Williams, who has been suspended for the last four games.