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Need to Know: Enemy Intel—Eagles, Giants may go shopping at key positions

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Need to Know: Enemy Intel—Eagles, Giants may go shopping at key positions

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 21, three days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Enemy intel: A spin around the NFC East and more

On Sundays we’re going to take a look around at what is going on the NFC East including an angle on the Redskins plus what’s up with another team that is on Washington’s 2016 schedule. We’ll try it for a while; if it’s fun and you readers find it interesting we’ll keep doing it.

The East

Eagles want to keep Sam Bradford but won’t tag him—When free agency starts Philly could be in the market for a quarterback or they may be set for the next several years. They won’t apply the franchise tag to Bradford; GM Howie Roseman said that he hopes that they can find a contract that “makes sense on both sides”. Apparently Roseman thinks that the $19.6 million tag tender doesn’t make sense for his side so if a team offers Bradford something close to that in average income in a long-term deal that it will be bye-bye Bradford and the Eagles will be looking for an alternative to Mark Sanchez, who would be their only quarterback under contract.

Giants’ Prince Amukamara won’t hear from Giants until March 9—New York GM Jerry Reese told the team’s first-round pick in the 2011 draft that he shouldn’t expect any contact from the Giants until free agency starts. That indicates a fairly low level of interest in re-signing him. The Nebraska product, who will be 27 before training camp starts, has played fairly well when he has been in the lineup but due to injuries he has played just one complete season in his five years in the league.

Cowboys’ Sean Lee says team could not overcome adversity—Talking on SiriusXM NFL Radio (via FoxSports.com), the Dallas middle linebacker said that his team went 4-12 because they couldn’t “overcome adversity” created by injuries to QB Tony Romo and WR Dez Bryant. Lee insisted that the Cowboys players had no issues with DE Greg Hardy, who quarreled with teammates and coaches on the sidelines and generally acted like a fool. He’s very believable on both counts. Few teams can do without a quarterback of Romo’s caliber and still thrive and a locker room can ignore one idiot no matter how much the owner is praising him.

Teammates tweet support for Cousins—There is no indication as of yet that the Redskins tend to try to lowball Kirk Cousins in negotiations for a new contract for the Redskins quarterback. Still, teammates WR Pierre Garçon and DE Chris Baker tweeted that the team brass should “pay the man”. That’s a good sign of solidarity although it won’t have much of an effect on the negotiations.

Around the NFL

Steelers TE Heath Miller retires—The team announced that the 11-year veteran is calling it quits. The Redskins won’t have to deal with the Pittsburgh’s all-time leading tight end in catches (592), yards (6,569) and touchdown receptions (45) when they play at FedEx Field. In two games against the Redskins Miller had four receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown. Miller’s retirement does clear $4 million in cap space for Pittsburgh.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 41 days ago. It will be about 205 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 4; NFL free agency starts 18; 2016 NFL draft 68

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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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