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Need to Know: Is Forte a fit for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Is Forte a fit for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 15, 9 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

QOD: Is Forte a fit for the Redskins?

Normally I limit questions to one tweet or Facebook post but Justin here had a couple of related tweets that brought out some related issues that I’ve been meaning to discuss.

First, the answer to Forte is simply no, I don’t see that happening. Scot McCloughan has said he stays away from free agents who are in their 30’s (exceptions made for players like Will Blackmon, who are needed as immediate injury replacements). And Forte is a high-mileage 30. He has 2,035 career rushing attempts plus 487 receptions. He is coming off of career lows in both rushing yards and receptions.

To be sure, those numbers don’t mean that Forte doesn’t have some good years left in them. Frank Gore is a few years older and had a good season in Indianapolis after coming in with over 2,400 rushing attempts and over 500 receptions. But I think that McCloughan will let another team squeeze whatever they can out of Forte and pay him the $3-$4 million per year it will take to sign him.

So will they turn to the draft? With Alfred Morris very unlikely to return and Matt Jones not yet ready to take the reigns as the workhorse running back, they do need a running back. Since McCloughan views the draft as “the lifeblood of the organization” he’s rather get one there.

But waiting for the draft is risky. If you go into the draft with a shopping list of needs you will almost inevitably leave with your needs unfilled and/or with a bad draft. It’s best available player; if it’s close between two players, of course, you go with the position where there is more need. But you’re relying on some good fortune there, hoping that players you need are the best available or close to it.

There are a lot of ways it can play out but here’s a scenario I see as most likely. McCloughan stands pat during free agency, letting players like Forte, Lamar Miller, and Chris Ivory find homes elsewhere. Then he sees if there is a good fit in the draft, somewhere around rounds 2-4. If he can’t find a satisfactory solution there he looks at the secondary free agent market for someone like Pierre Thomas.

If they go the veteran route then the leadership role that Justin mentions is taken care of. But if they go in the draft, it’s still not an issue. Darrel Young is the natural leader of the running back group.

What happens if Young, who will be an unrestricted free agent, is gone and the running backs are Jones, a rookie, Chris Thompson and perhaps Silas Redd? That’s why you have a coach in ex-player Randy Jordan who can lead the unit. A team that is rebuilding (and despite their achievements in 2015 this is still very much a rebuilding team there are going to be some areas where there just isn’t a natural leader, a mentor to show the younger players how it’s done.

In 2012, Morris came to the Redskins and the running backs were second-year players Roy Helu and Evan Royster and Young, who was in his third year. Despite the lack of a veteran to show him to ropes, I seem to recall Morris being able to get the job done pretty well.

Timeline

—Redskins Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green was born on this date in 1960.

—The Redskins last played a game 36 days ago. It will be about 209 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 9; NFL free agency starts 23; 2016 NFL draft 73

In case you missed it

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

After a poor first preseason showing and some questions about the physicality of Redskins training camp, JP Finlay talks with Patriots Insider Phil Perry from CSN New England to discuss the differences between Washington's camp and how they run things in New England.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

Few Redskins players draw more heated fan reaction than Ryan Grant. In three seasons with Washington, Grant has never missed a game, but he also hasn't produced much. His career stats: 39 catches for 412 yards and two touchdowns. 

Regardless, Jay Gruden and the Redskins coaching staff appreciates Grant in a way few fans understand. Grant is able to back up both the slot and outside receivers, and knows the roles of all the players.

"He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent," Gruden said of Grant. "Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right."

When Jamison Crowder missed time in Richmond with a hamstring strain, Grant stepped into Crowder's slot role. When Josh Doctson hurt his hamstring and missed time, Grant stepped into his role on the outside of the offense.

Throughout camp, Grant has displayed good hands and an adept knowledge of the offense. 

"No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do, he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them," Gruden said. "He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is."

Against the Ravens in the Redskins first preseason game, Grant hung on to a tough catch over the middle to give the team one of very few offensive sparks. The problem for fans as it relates to Grant has not been preseason play. It's been inconsistent play in regular season games. 

Gruden believes that could change this year.

"I think people may be surprised with how many balls Ryan Grant might catch. Either way, could happen, I don’t know. I can’t foresee the future there, but I would be just fine with Ryan Grant being the target of a lot of balls."

To state the obvious: Grant is definitely making the roster. Behind Terrelle Pyror, Crowder and Doctson, Grant is the Redskins fourth wideout and one of the few players on the roster that is interchangeable among the Washington receiver positions. 

Grant's career best season came in 2015 when he caught 23 balls for 268 yards and two TDs. Based on his preseason, it seems Grant could surpass those totals in 2017. Much of his early season work has been a result of injuries to Doctson and Crowder, but make no mistake, Grant has been impressive in practice. 

Will it translate to the real games? The opprotunity seems only likely to arise if the Redskins deal with injuries at the receiver spot. 

Last year, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards, but DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon accounted for more than 2,000 of those yards. Doctson, Crowder and certainly Pryor are likely to be the major recepients of Cousins' aerial prowess. Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson accounted for another 1,618 yards last year.

Keep in mind, this is the last year of Grant's rookie contract. If there was ever a time to show in games what coaches have long seen and loved in practice, this would be the year. It seems only an injury would give him a major opportunity. If the situation came to pass, Gruden would have faith in Grant. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!