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Need to Know: Are the Cowboys the Redskins' biggest threat in the NFC East?

Need to Know: Are the Cowboys the Redskins' biggest threat in the NFC East?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 30, 28 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 172 days ago. It will be 74 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 15; Preseason opener @ Falcons 42; Final roster cut 65

Three and out

—The more I think about it and the more I talk to other people the more I am convinced that the Redskins will pass the ball a lot more often than they run it. They are going to go where their talent takes them and that’s throwing the ball. They will be top five in the NFL in passing attempts (about 625 attempts or more). That may not be the way to win the Super Bowl and it shouldn’t be the long term play but passing does give them the best chance of winning in 2016.

—I’ve heard some chatter, mostly from fans, about the possibility of Reggie Bush signing with the team to be the veteran backup option. Bush has great name recognition but that’s about it. He has just 84 carries in 16 games the last two seasons combined. If you want someone as a backup because you’re concerned that Matt Jones is fragile you don’t go out a sign someone who is even more breakable. In 10 NFL seasons Bush has played 16 games twice.

—The Redskins’ biggest threat in the NFC East is supposed to be the revitalized Cowboys but the more I look at them the less I’m buying it. Bucky Brooks of NFL.com listed the Cowboys’ “blue chip” players and I wasn’t impressed. Jason Witten is 34 and averaged 9.3 yards per catch last year. Sean “If He Can Stay Healthy” Lee is turning 30 soon and he hasn’t played a full season in any of his six NFL seasons. How Orlando Scandrick, who missed all of last season and has never been to a Pro Bowl, is considered a blue chipper I have no idea. What you have left is a very good run blocking offensive line and Tony Romo passing to Dez Bryant. Doesn’t look like much more than a .500 team to me but we’ll see. The Redskins should be more concerned with the Eagles, who have the best defense in the division.

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Need to Know: Washington Redskins free agency needs—Offense

Need to Know: Washington Redskins free agency needs—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 23, 14 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 6
—NFL Combine (3/2) 7
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 53
—NFL Draft (4/27) 63
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 199

Free agent moves—Offense

Free agency starts two weeks from today. The Redskins have plenty of needs, both big and small. Let’s take a look around and see what offensive positions they might be looking to bolster when things get going. I’ll follow up with the defense in the next few days.

Quarterback—It could be a yawner at this position or there could be plenty of drama. If Kirk Cousins gets franchise tagged or defies current expectations and signs a long-term deal, the depth chart will remain the same. If he is gone via a trade, things could be shaken up. While they may draft a QB in late April they could go for a mid-priced veteran as insurance.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Running back—The Redskins have a depth chart loaded with young, unproven talent at this position. If they want a veteran presence in the meeting room they could look at someone like Robert Turbin (McCloughan had a hand in drafting him in Seattle in 2012) or maybe Knile Davis.

Wide receiver—Things will get very interesting if the word on the street comes to pass and both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson are gone. They have a presumably healthy Josh Doctson in line to replace one but they would need a veteran. Maybe Kenny Stills or Kenny Britt, both young and productive, could be under consideration. If one of the veterans stays they likely will get depth in the draft.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Tight end—Vernon Davis seems likely to be back. If he’s not, the Redskins probably would rather have an alternative to Niles Paul as Jordan Reed’s primary backup. The probably won’t swim in the deep end of the pool with Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook. But maybe they will look at Jermaine Gresham, who made the Pro Bowl twice in Cincinnati while Jay Gruden was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator.

Offensive line—Yesterday, JP and I discussed what they might do at left guard if they want to upgrade from Shawn Lauvao. Perhaps they could go for Kevin Zeitler, another Bengal who played under Gruden. But he will command a contract in the $8-$10 million range and with Brandon Scherff coming up for an extension next year that might be too much to spend at the guard position. Look for the Redskins to take an eventual Lauvao replacement in the draft.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

It still seems like a long-shot the Redskins trade Kirk Cousins, but if there is one persistent rumor, it's that the San Francisco 49ers want the Washington passer. The story is too familiar at this point: New Niners coach Kyle Shanahan was in D.C. when Cousins was drafted and wants the quarterback to come run his offense in San Francisco. With the second overall pick, the 49ers have a tremendous asset they can dangle in trade talks.

<<<CLICK HERE TO SEE 5 PROSPECTS FOR THE REDSKINS AT NO. 2 PICK>>>

Whether or not any of this rumor is true, it sure makes for engrossing speculation. With the NFL Draft Combine next week in Indianapolis, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he wouldn't be shocked to see the trade go down.

That's the backdrop. Beyond the debate of the merits of trading an established QB like Cousins, which is a very serious debate, there's also the notion of what player the 'Skins would select with the second overall pick.  

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 top heavy Cap could be a problem

It's worth examining the impact players available to Washington with the second selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the options are varied, including perhaps a new QB. Check it out. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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