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Need to Know: Five Redskins who have exceeded expectations

Need to Know: Five Redskins who have exceeded expectations

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 10, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

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The Redskins will get back to work tomorrow to try to work their way from 3-6 back up to at least respectability if not a playoff berth. Here are five players who have exceeded expectations this year. In this space tomorrow we’ll look at five who have not lived up to preseason hopes.

1. Some fans were delighted when DeAngelo Hall was released in a salary cap move last spring but now one shudders to think where the Redskins’ pass defense would be had the team not signed him back. At times you can’t help but notice him as he has three interceptions and has returned two for touchdowns. At other times you go for long stretches of the game without hearing his name because he’s shutting down the likes of Dez Bryant.

2. Leonard Hankerson still needs to develop consistency as he sometimes disappears during games. He still has some improving to do before the Redskins can declare him to be that solid No. 2 receiver option. But he is on pace for 52 receptions for 650 yards and six touchdowns, a solid improvement over last year’s line of 39/453/3. Hankerson might never be a star but if he continues his steady improvement he’ll be a solid asset.

3. Perhaps if the Redskins had not been working under an $18 million salary cap penalty, Tyler Polumbus would have been replaced during the offseason. Now, if you look at the NFL offensive tackle rankings on Pro Football Focus (premium content), Polumbus is the ninth-best tackle in the league. He gets positive marks both in terms of run blocking and, yes, pass blocking. PFF says that he has allowed just one sack this year after giving up eight in 2012.

4. After leading the team in rushing in 2011, Roy Helu Jr. had a lost 2012 season after going on injured reserve early in the year. Alfred Morris emerged as the stud running back but Helu has managed to carve out a nice role for him self as a change of pace runner (40 carries, 171 yards, 4 TDs), receiver out of the backfield (17 receptions, 174 yards), and as a solid blocker in third and long and two-minute situations.

5. A lot of people thought that third-round pick Jordan Reed would be able to put up numbers like he has so far this season (44 receptions, 487 yards, 3 TDs)—but in 2014 or 2015. Reed was a spectator for all of OTAs and minicamp while rehabbing an injury and he missed some time in training camp as well. But he has made up for lost time in part by frequently being the last player off of the practice field.

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In case you missed it

Sunday 11.13

Monday 11.14

Tuesday 11.15

Wednesday 11.16

Thursday 11.17

Friday 11.18

Saturday 11.19

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The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 7 worst play of 2016

Giants at Redskins, Week 17

4:02 left in Q4, Giants ball 1st and 10 at their own 31, game tied 10-10

Eli Manning pass deep left to Tavarres King pushed ob at WAS 25 for 44 yards (Will Blackmon).

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Tandler: It looked like the Redskins were on the verge of saving their season. They were down 10-0 in the third quarter but they battled back to tie it up in the late going. But after lulling the Redskins defense to sleep with running plays and short passes, Manning launched one deep down the left sideline. King, who had one reception for six yards on the season coming into the game, had a step on cornerback Greg Toler and he hauled in the pass for 44 yards. Four plays later Robbie Gould kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead.

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Finlay: In a terrible game that led to many more questions than answers for the Redskins, this play was just a huge, huge disappointment. Washington fought back to tie up a game that they had largely been outplayed in, particulrly in the first half. Remember, the Giants had nothing to play for while for the 'Skins, a win would put them in the playoffs. The New York offense was laregly nonexistent in the second half of this game, as it became obvious Eli Manning did not want to get hit. And still, the embattled Redskins defense gave up a long pass play to a dude that had contrbuted basically nothing all season. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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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Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

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What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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!