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Need to Know: Five things the Redskins need to do to beat the NFC East

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Need to Know: Five things the Redskins need to do to beat the NFC East

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 17, 111 days before the NFL Draft.

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The Redskins went winless against the NFC East last year and have finished last four out of the last five years. Here are five things the Redskins have to do compete in their division.

1. Stop speedy receivers—They have done pretty well against bigger, more physical receivers in the division. Players like Dez Bryant and Miles Austin have had their moments against the Redskins but players like DeSean Jackson on Philly (32 receptions, 17.9 yards/catch, 5 TD’s in 11 games) and Victor Cruz (23/15.6/1) have burned them. Their lack of speed on defense really shows here.

2. Stop tight ends—The big wide receivers have been held in check but the big tight ends haven’t. Jason Witten and Brent Celek along have gained almost 1,500 yards and have scored 10 touchdowns against the Redskins. This is a general issue for the Redskins but it gets exposed in division games because of the presence of players like Witten and Celek.

3. Make a special teams play—Yes we know this was a major problem in 2013 in general and during the loss in Dallas in particular. But prior to that six of the Redskins’ division losses were by a touchdown or less and none of those games featured a big, positive play by the Redskins special teams. A return TD, a blocked kick, just about any play from the kicking game could have turned the tide.

4. Contain scrambling QB’s—Every week before facing Romo, Vick or, last year, Foles all the talk is about keeping contain and not letting him beat you with his feet. And almost always the quarterback finds a way to beat the Redskins with his legs. It’s always easier said than done, for sure, but they need to do a better job.

5. Make clutch plays—Yes, that is straight from the keyboard of Capt. Obvious. But this has been a particularly acute problem in the division. You don’t have to look back any further than the Dallas game in December for evidence of that. It’s always the other team scoring the late touchdown (@NYG in 2012) or kicking the late field goal (Dallas 2X in 2011) to grab the win in the late going.

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Timeline

—It’s been 19 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 233 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Combine 33; NFL free agency 53; Offseason workouts start 80

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NFL Draft 2017: Going 22 deep on possible Redskins first round picks

NFL Draft 2017: Going 22 deep on possible Redskins first round picks

A lot has changed since the end of the college football season, and that's obvious when you consider all of the names the Redskins might look at with the 17th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday night. 

Some players have surged up draft boards on the strength of strong combine or pro day efforts. Other have dropped, due to unfortunate incidents, injuries or poor measurements.

 <<<CLICK HERE TO OPEN ALL-22 LOOK AT REDSKINS POSSIBLE DRAFT 1ST ROUND DRAFT PICK>>>

Think about players like Teez Tabor or Zach Cunningham. Those guys play in the SEC and seemed like first-round locks two months ago. Now the 'Skins might be able to value shop for those players in the second round.

The flip side: A plyer like Haason Reddick. A star at the Senior Bowl who really busted out at the Combine, the Redskins might love to have him but he could be a Top 10 selection.

 <<<CLICK HERE TO OPEN ALL-22 LOOK AT REDSKINS POSSIBLE DRAFT 1ST ROUND DRAFT PICK>>>

All sorts of legal trouble and diluted urine samples will also impact draft night. Injuries too, or even the thought of possible injuries.

Few sporting events are as wild as the first round of the NFL Draft. Stay tuned with CSN for all your Redskins coverage. Chick Hernandez and Rich Tandler will be in Ashburn with the team, JP Finlay will be live in Philadelphia as the chaos unfolds. 

RELATED: A LOOK AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS

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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Need to Know: Setting the odds on the Redskins' top draft pick one last time

Need to Know: Setting the odds on the Redskins' top draft pick one last time

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 27, 27 days before the Redskins start OTAs on May 24.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 15
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 27
—Training camp starts (7/27) 91
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 136

Setting the odds one last time

So, today’s the day for the NFL draft and our final chance to make some Monopoly money on who the Redskins first-round pick will be. I’ve chosen five names from the various mock drafts out there and from my own analysis to come up with the five most likely players to be picked at No. 17. Then I broke out the imaginary $100 in casino chips and spread them out on the five players.

LB Haason Reddick, Temple, $30—Reddick could give the Redskins some versatility and learn the inside linebacker spot in the base 3-4 defense and then move to the edge in nickel situations. I’m nearing he’s a “hot” name but I’m not so sure I believe he’s a top-10 pick like I’ve been seeing in some mock drafts lately. Pick 17 seems to be about right for him.

LB Reuben Foster, Alabama, $25—Foster has more red flags than an interstate highway construction project, including a diluted drug test sample at the combine, multiple shoulder injuries, and getting upset during a wait for a medical test, also at the combine. But at some point, the talent makes the player too good a value to pass up at that point would be at No. 17.

Edge Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, $20—Of the five names on here this is the one with the least buzz. But the Redskins need an edge rusher and McKinley, who can win with speed and by being relentless, may be the best one available. A lot of fans may be surprised by this pick but nobody should be mad if it happens.

RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State, $20—I’ve been going back and forth about Cook. He’s undoubtedly a talented runner with breakaway potential. But some injury concerns and his fumbling problems create doubts about him. Then again, as with Foster there is a point where the talent outweighs the flags. I’m not so sure that No. 17 is the spot where that happens but I would not be shocked if the Redskins think that it is.

RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, $10—This is another player who supposedly zoomed up draft boards over the last few weeks without playing a single down. Five or six weeks ago he was a late first-round pick. Then he was a lock to go to the Eagles at 14 overall. Now everyone has him going to the Panthers with the eighth pick. The movement seems to be based more on pack journalism rather than any actual information coming out of teams. I’m not going to completely dismiss the chatter but I think there is a good enough chance that McCaffrey will be there when the Redskins pick to throw a few long shot dollars on him.

Bonus bet: As far as possible trades go, with an additional $100, I’ll go with $15 on a trade up, $35 on trade down, and $50 on staying put at 17.

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

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