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Need to Know: Five Redskins free agents who are unlikely to return

Need to Know: Five Redskins free agents who are unlikely to return

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 14, 61 days before the start of NFL free agency.

Five Redskins free agents who are unlikely to return

ILB Keenan Robinson—If you’d told me a year ago that he would be on a list like this one in early 2016 I would have said that you’re crazy. But a nagging injury and issues with fitting in to the defensive scheme led to him spending a lot of time on the bench this season. He could be a good player but he needs a change of scenery.

QB Colt McCoy—The Redskins need to get a younger backup quarterback with some potential. They were able to survive the downfall of Robert Griffin III because Mike Shanahan had drafted Cousins. While there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about Cousins’ future there are no guarantees. They need to get and groom a younger quarterback to be the backup and let McCoy, who will be 30 before the season starts, go to another team.

RB Alfred Morris—I’m not going to say that there’s no way Morris will be back. Perhaps there won’t be much of a market for back who has seen both his per-carry average and total rushing yards decline in each of the last four years and he and the Redskins will agree on a short-term deal. But it seems much more likely that he will find a team that emphasizes the zone-blocking scheme and move on.

TE Logan Paulsen—His season was shut down before it even started after he suffered a toe injury in training camp. There was talk that he might not have made the team had he not been injured. The team would like more speed and athleticism at the position and seem likely to move on from Paulsen, who turns 29 next month.

CB Will Blackmon—He did a decent job filling in for the injured Chris Culliver and, before that, DeAngelo Hall. Decent is fine for a guy you pick up in Week 2 of the season but not when you have the whole offseason to sift through options and find a backup to Culliver, who could miss some regular season time after tearing his ACL and MCL.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game four days ago. It will be about 241 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 41; NFL free agency starts 61; 2016 NFL draft 105

In case you missed it

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Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

Eagles coach's comments on effort create a stir in the locker room

The day after the Eagles 32-14 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, Philadelphia coach Doug Peterson said that he didn’t think that all his players played hard.

Not everybody, and that’s the accountability that I talk about,” Pederson said, via the Birds 24/7 blog. “I hold coaches accountable for that; I hold myself accountable for that because it all starts with me. I pride myself each week to make sure the guys are ready to go, but at the same time, it comes down to a mentality by each individual player. This is a business where we have to be ready to go every single weekend because every team in the league — there are some teams that are better than others, but for the most part anything can happen any weekend.”

This sort of vague shot fired at the team did not sit well with the players. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the most respected voices on the team, said that the comments put players in a bad spot.

“I know the intent of the guys that I practice with and play with every day, and I didn’t see effort being an issue,” Jenkins said. “It puts us in a little bit of a tough position as players because now everybody wants to know, ‘Well, who were you talking about?’”

Some in the media in Philadelphia surmised that two of the players Pederson was talking about were tight end Zach Ertz and safety Rodney McLeod. One on play it looked like Ertz failed to block Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on a Carson Wentz scramble.

“I’m not going to get into the details of every thought I had on that play,” said Ertz. “I’m focused on giving this city everything I have on each and every play. I promise going forward, I will do that. I think I have done that in the past.”

It didn’t look like McLeod did everything he could to keep Bengals running back Jeremy Hill from scoring a touchdown on a two-yard run in the first quarter.

“I thought the ball was going to hit somewhere else, and then obviously it came through. By the time I could react, Hill already crossed the plane,” said McLeod. “Just got caught flat-footed, tried to react and by the time I did, I feel like if I were to hit him it could possibly be late. Just a tough situation.”

You can see both of the plays in question here.

We don’t know if Ertz and McLeod are among the players that Pederson was talking about when he spoke of issues with effort. Leaving things vague like that doesn’t do much for the coach’s credibility in the locker room. And when that starts to be in doubt the coach gets asked about his job security. Pederson said that owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman have been supportive.

“From both of them, it’s been 100 percent support on everything. I meet with Jeffrey and Howie every week and we discuss a lot of things and go over a lot of things. Every week, it’s very positive,” Pederson said. “I just don’t think you can base a guy’s career on one season. I think you got to give it time to develop.

But the fact that these questions are being asked after he has been in his job for a dozen games is an indication that he is facing at least a minor crisis as his team prepares for four games that are likely to be meaningless in terms of the playoff picture. We will see if he can get the train back on the tracks by Sunday.

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the play of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins?

As usual, answer the poll and either rely on Twitter or come back here and hit the comments section.