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Need to Know: Five options for the Redskins at inside linebacker

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Need to Know: Five options for the Redskins at inside linebacker

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 13, 25 days before the Redskins start their offseason workouts.

Nickel coverage

All of the talk has been about the lack of a safety acquisition in free agency, and there hasn’t been much about another major need. Here are five options the Redskins have at inside linebacker.

Chris Borland (Wisconsin)—Of the inside linebackers in the draft he might be the only one who will both be available when the Redskins pick at No. 34 overall and who could be ready to start in Week 1.

Keenan Robinson—He was starting to get a regular role when he suffered his first torn pectoral muscle on Thanksgiving in 2012. The second one occurred early in training camp last year. Would three offseason programs, two training camps and a few games as a role player be enough preparation to start?

Adam Hayward—You don’t want him staring 16 games and playing 70 snaps per game. But perhaps he could hold down the fort at the start of the season as a bridge until someone like Borland or Robinson is ready.

Brandon Spikes (Patriots free agent)—Spikes is an excellent run defender. Against the pass, well, he’s an excellent run defender. Jim Haslett would have to deviate from his normal practice of having his ILBs play virtually every snap and substitute situationally.

Nick Barnett (free agent)—The Redskins signed him in training camp last year after Robinson was injured. He’ll be 33 before training camp starts and he has knee issues. But he knows the defense and perhaps could work in a role similar to the one described for Hayward above.

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Timeline

—It’s been 74 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 178 days until they play another one.

—Days until: Offseason workouts start 25; NFL Draft 57; Training camp starts 133

In case you missed it

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Pierre-Paul injury a big loss for Redskins' playoff rival

Pierre-Paul injury a big loss for Redskins' playoff rival

When you’re fighting for a playoff spot, it’s not only about what happens to you. It’s also about what happens to the teams you’re competing against for that playoff spot. And one of the Redskins’ main competitors got some very bad news this morning.

The Giants, who are in the No. 5 spot in the NFC, the first wild card spot, got word today that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has had sports hernia surgery. The recovery time is at least four weeks, probably more like six. The Giants’ season is likely to be over by the time six weeks elapse, barring a playoff run without one of their best defensive players.

Pierre-Paul has helped solidify what was a shaky Giants defense last year. He has seven sacks and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. He has been heating up down the stretch with 5.5 sacks in his last three games.

His loss is a big blow for the Giants. They are a game ahead of the Buccaneers, who hold the No. 6 spot, and a game and a half ahead of the Redskins, who are currently seventh.

The Redskins play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins have to pick up just one game on the Giants over the next three to have a shot at passing them in the season finale.

The chances of that happening looked pretty good with Washington playing playing three teams with losing records in the Eagles, Panthers, and Bears and the Giants going against division leaders Dallas and Detroit in addition to the Eagles. With the Giants now without Pierre-Paul, the Redskins’ probabilities got tilted in their direction a little bit more.

Just finishing ahead of the Giants wouldn’t guarantee a playoff spot but it would come close. It would mean that the Redskins would have at least nine wins and the Redskins’ tie means that two teams would have to get to 10 wins to knock them out of the playoffs. The Bucs have to win three more games to get to nine wins and the Packers and Vikings would have to run the table.

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Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked — and what didn't — against Arizona

Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked — and what didn't — against Arizona

CSN has teamed up with The Edge Systems to provide the occasional statistical review of Redskins game film. The Edge is analytical football software currently being used by coaches in the NFL, SEC, ACC and the media, providing some of the fastest and best data in football.

Below is a breakdown of the Redskins run game against Arizona - a game coach Jay Gruden admitted did not feature enough carries for Robert Kelley. 

The Redskins had a lot of success with their GAP runs early in the game.

In the first half they were successful on 75 percent of their GAP runs. 

As the game wore on the Redskins moved away from what had been successful and only ran two GAP runs in the second half.

As the Redskins power run game vanished, so did their prospects for winning the game.

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