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Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up in 2016

Need to Know: Five Redskins who need to step up in 2016

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 1, eight days before the start of NFL free agency.

Five Redskins who need to step up in 2016

At the NFL combine, Scot McCloughan said that the team liked one player’s ability but added that “he has to do it”. There are several players on the Redskins’ roster who have the potential to be very good but who need to take the next step and, as they used to say, just do it. If they don’t the team could be looking for replacements in 2017.

RB Matt Jones—This was the player that McCloughan was talking about at the combine. A running back generally isn’t considered a three-year project; he needs to start consistently showing signs that he can get the job done this year. The starting job is his for the taking and this may be his first and only chance.

OLB Trent Murphy—When they draft you in the second round and then the next year they take another guy to play your spot in the same round you have better be ready to fight for your job. Although Murphy retained the starting position for most of the year it’s clear that Preston Smith will be the starter going forward. Murphy needs to step up and earn some snaps or he will be a career special teamer.

WR Ryan Grant—He sure has Jay Gruden in his corner. “I feel really strongly about Ryan Grant,” Gruden said at the combine. “I think he’s an excellent receiver just waiting for his opportunity to be a starter.” Well, he got his chance to get some starts while DeSean Jackson was sidelined and he responded with 16 catches in 6 games, hardly No. 2 receiver production. On the season, Kirk Cousins, the most accurate passer in the league, targeted him 42 times and he managed just 23 receptions.

S Jeron Johnson—Duke Ihenacho beat him out for the starting job in training camp and then when Ihenacho was injured in the season opener Trenton Robinson went in. Johnson has one year left on the two-year deal he signed with the Redskins in 2015. Everybody needs safeties. If he can either start or be a key substitute this year he could get a good deal from the Redskins or from someone else. If not he could be searching for tryouts.

PR Jamison Crowder—Don’t get me wrong here. Crowder the receiver is just fine and on track to have a good career. But his punt returning left a lot to be desired. He doesn’t have great speed (4.56 in the 40 in last year’s combine) but at Duke he showed an uncanny ability to find the open areas and elude would-be tacklers while rolling through them. But last year his average of 5.3 yards per return was among the worst in the league and he made some very questionable decisions when fielding punts. A year to get used to the speed on the NFL game is fine but at some point he has to break one. His long return as a rookie was 16 yards.

Timeline

—Redskins running back Silas Redd was born on this date in 1992.

—The Redskins last played a game 51 days ago. It will be about 194 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 8; Redskins offseason workouts start 48; 2016 NFL draft 58

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Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 19, 98 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 42
NFL free agency starts 50
First Sunday of 2017 season 235

The coordinator search and more

As noted above, we have 42 days until the deadline for the Redskins to put the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. The immediate future of the franchise is contingent this situation being handled correctly by the organization. It’s time to turn the attention and the $100 in imaginary casino chips towards what might happen with Cousins as the process unfold. We will revisit this from time to time as the various deadlines approach so consider this the early odds.

Sign before the tag deadline, $5—This seems unlikely after his rather cold response to my question immediately following the season-ending loss to the Giants when he said, “The ball’s not in my court.” He indicated that it’s up to the Redskins to tag him. It doesn’t look like he and his agent will have much of an inclination to sit down to any serious negotiations before that happens.

Let him go into free agency, $5—Yes, I know that this is out there but it makes no sense to take the chance of the possibility that he could walk with zero compensation. While there might be some logic in finding out what Cousins would be worth in a true free market in order to establish the basis for a fair contract the risk of behind left empty-handed is just too great.

Tag and trade, $20—This also has been discussed by various media types as a possibility. It would involve giving Cousins the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would let him go out and negotiate a deal with another team. The Redskins could then match that offer or choose to get compensation. The CBA calls for compensation of two first-round picks although the two teams may negotiate something less. The most frequently suggested trade partner is the 49ers and their soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan but there are probably around half a dozen teams, maybe more, who could be interested. If the Redskins don’t think they will ever sign Cousins long term this could be the way to go.

Tag and sign by July 15 deadline, $30—This may be a little low for this possibility. Perhaps if the other options are off the table he will consider that he is a perfect match for Jay Gruden’s offense and that he might not be such a good fit elsewhere. There also is the possibility of injury or, for whatever reason, Cousins having a subpar season. Those thoughts could spur him to instruct his agent to get the best deal he can get in Washington.

Tag and play the season on the tag, $40—Right now, this appears to be the mostly likely scenario. They can afford the $24 million cap hit and it would get them one more year of his services. However, the prospects for him remaining in a Redskins uniform for 2018 and beyond would be very cloudy.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

Ryan Kerrigan, Jordan Reed and Brandon Scherff will skip next week's Pro Bowl in Orlando a team spokesman confirmed to CSN. All three players dealt with injuries late in the season, most notably Reed, and playing in the exhibition game is not in the cards. Trent Williams, however, is still slated to play in the game. 

Reed suffered a separated shoulder on Thanksgiving playing against the Dallas Cowboys. For the rest of the season, Reed played through significant pain and his production dipped.

Kerrigan played much of the season with an injured elbow and hurt his finger in the final game against the Giants. Scherff played with ankle pain and was listed on the injury report much of the season's final four games.

For Reed and Scherff, this year marked their first Pro Bowl. The recognition was deserved for both players, and shows that the guard and tight end are gaining national spotlight for their play.

Kerrigan played in the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season. He finished this year with 11 sacks, 2.5 short os his career high 13.5 in 2014. 

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