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Need to Know: Five free agent safeties the Redskins could target

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Need to Know: Five free agent safeties the Redskins could target

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 23, 74 days before the Redskins start offseason workouts.

Nickel coverage

The Redskins likely will need to add at least one safety who can start for them this year in free agency. Here are five who might fit their needs and their budget:

1. Taylor Mays, CIN—He has been inconsistent and injured, including a shoulder injury that ended his 2013 season early. But Jay Gruden was in the building with him for three years in Cincinnati and although he didn’t coach him he likely has a good feel for him. At 6-3, 231 he could be a good, inexpensive way to start building that Seahawks-like secondary everyone wants.

2. Chris Clemons, MIA—Clemons almost got tagged by the Dolphins a year ago but they agreed to a one-year contract instead. Maybe he’s not the ball hawk the Redskins want (4 INT in four seasons) but he’s a solid tackler and smart player. Age is a bit of a drawback as he will be 29 shortly after the season starts. But for the right terms he could be a solid stopgap until the Redskins can draft and develop a starter.

3. Michael Mitchell, CAR—I can guarantee you that if the Redskins sign him, Twitter will explode with “Who’s he?” He’s not even a household name in the Mitchell household but he was a key member of the Panthers’ strong defense. Mitchell picked off four passes and recorded four sacks last year. This could be a moderate-term solution as he turns 27 in June.

4. Stevie Brown, NYG—After missing all of the 2013 season with an ACL tear suffered in a preseason game Brown could be something of a gamble. But he picked off eight passes in 2012, his only full season as a starter. Will turn 27 before the season starts.

5. Kendrick Lewis, KC—Started 15 games for the Chiefs. He’s not a player who is going to make highlight show appearances on a regular basis but he is solid and, at the right price, Lewis would be an upgrade.

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Timeline

—It’s been 25 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 227 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Combine 27; NFL Free agency starts; NFL Draft 105

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Redskins coaching staff believes backups on O-line will be 'ready to roll'

Redskins coaching staff believes backups on O-line will be 'ready to roll'

All signs point to the Redskins starting Arie Kouandjio at left guard this weekend against the Eagles, and the coaching staff knows it's a big chance for the second-year man.

Incumbent starter Shawn Lauvao injured his groin last week against the Cardinals, and has not practiced all week. Assuming he doesn't play, this would mark Kouandjio's second start this season. He also got the start against the Browns in Week 4.

Washington coach Jay Gruden did not speak glowingly of Kouandjio's play against Cleveland, but it wasn't a negative review, either.

"He’s played one game, he played OK," the coach said. "He has another great opportunity for him. He’s waited his turn, done what’s asked of him. Practiced hard, played hard, and it’s a great opportunity.”

With center Spencer Long currently in concussion protocol and backup John Sullivan started to go in the middle of the Redskins offensive line, the group will have a number of new faces against the Eagles. The right side of the line, with guard Brandon Scherff and tackle Morgan Moses, will be the same as its been all year, though both of those players are nursing ankle injuries. 

"We have confidence in the guys that if some of those guys that are backups need to step up and be ready to roll," offensive coordinator Sean McVay said. 

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!

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One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

The Eagles defense is on a big-play streak, but not one that defensive coordinators will like very much, and it could be very good news for the Redskins and DeSean Jackson. 

At this stage of his career, Jackson is a well-known deep threat. While much of the 2016 season has been disappointing for Jackson, in back-to-back weeks, the vertical passing attack has worked. In Arizona last Sunday, Jackson only caught one pass, but it went for 59 yards. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Jackson hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins as part of his season-high 118 receiving yards.

"What he brings to this football team, he brings something that not a lot of people can bring, and that’s obviously the speed and the big play ability," 'Skins head coach Jay Gruden said of Jackson.

The last two games moved Jackson's yards-per-catch average back in normal range with the rest of his career at 16.5. Halfway through this season, Jackson was averaging below 14 YPC, which would have been by far the worst of his career.

"A lot of people think that we haven’t utilized his speed quite like we should, but I think he has had a major impact on this football team," Gruden said. "His deep threat has an impact on the defense. It opens up areas for Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder and the backs sometimes. He’s been a major influence for this football team in a good way."

Beyond just the big plays, the Eagles defense has given up 645 passing yards in their last two games. Cousins has historically played well in Philadelphia, and should be in good position to do the same this weekend.

And based on the Eagles' past six games, expect Jackson to have another big game at Lincoln Financial Field. 

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!