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Need to Know: RB Arian Foster says he’s ready to go—should the Redskins call?

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Need to Know: RB Arian Foster says he’s ready to go—should the Redskins call?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 23, 35 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 165 days ago. It will be 81 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 35; Preseason opener @ Falcons 49; Final roster cut 72

Should the Redskins go after Arian Foster?

The Redskins are still in need of a running back to back up Matt Jones and to take some of the load off of the second-year back. A good option may have just become available.

According to ESPN, Arian Foster, formerly of the Texans, has put out the word that he will be ready for training camp and that he is “hungry” to regain his previous form. According to the article three unnamed teams have expressed interest.

That previous form was pretty good. He four seasons with at least 1,200 yards rushing and three with 10 or more rushing touchdowns. Foster is also a good receiver out of the backfield with 249 career receptions and 14 receiving touchdowns.

The problem is, we haven’t see that form much lately. Foster has missed 23 games in the last three seasons. In 2013 he spent the last half of the season on injured reserve with a back injury. He was reasonably healthy in 2014, missing three games with hamstring and groin injuries. But the injury bug bit again last year as he missed three games early with a groin and then after struggling for four games he tore his Achilles and was out the rest of the season.

The Achilles injury happened in late October so when training camp starts he will have had about nine months of rehab. That’s a fairly aggressive schedule but it’s certainly possible that Foster could be ready, although it should be noted that all players heal at different rates.

If he is ready should the Redskins bring him in? There certainly is no reason not to conduct due diligence but there are plenty of questions hanging out there. As noted above, he struggled when he played last year, gaining 163 yards on 63 carries, a paltry average of 2.6 yards per carry. Was he still recovering from the groin injury? Or at age 29 was it just what tends to happen to running backs as they get older? In either case it’s a red flag for any team looking to sign him.

Another question is what kind of money Foster is looking for. In 2012 he signed a five-year, $43.5 million extension with the Texans. He collected on a good chunk of that money before they let him go in March. The Redskins likely would not want to pay a back with Foster’s recent injury history much more than the vet minimum, perhaps with some incentives. Sometimes players who are used to collecting big paychecks have a hard time lowering their salary expectations.

I’d be surprised if the Redskins get past the injury issues, the tepid performance last year, and the money to reach a deal with Foster by the start of training camp. But as the preseason goes on desperation on both sides could push them to a contract. I doubt it but you can’t rule it out.

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Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

There continues to be a (ridiculous) debate on whether or not Kirk Cousins can continue to be a successful starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

In the betting industry, there is not much debate with Cousins being listed with 50/1 odds to win the NFL MVP award this upcoming season from Bovada. Among all the other players listed, he is in a tie for 14th. 

He is coming off back-to-back seasons with seven 300 yard passing games, a team record, and has an abundance of fresh, young wide receivers to compliment his passing style. Last year he was third in the league in passing yards with 4,917, trailing only Drew Brees (5,208) and Matt Ryan (4,944). 

The team may not be poised for a Super Bowl run in 2017-18, but if the team makes a post-season run, who will it be on the back of? Jordan Reed? Rob Kelley? Ryan Kerrigan?

No, it will be Kirk Cousins. 

RELATED: Ex-GM outlines staggering contract for Kirk Cousins

Entering this season at 40-years-old, and defending Super Bowl MVP, Tom Brady is the overall favorite at 4/1. He is closely followed by Aaron Rodgers, and young quarterbacks Derek Carr and Dak Prescott. 

BOVADA 2017-18 NFL MVP ODDS:

Tom Brady, NE — 4/1
Aaron Rodgers, GB — 7/1
Derek Carr, OAK — 9/1
Dak Prescott, DAL — 12/1
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT — 12/1
Russell Wilson, SEA — 12/1
Matt Ryan, ATL — 16/1
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL — 20/1
Drew Brees, NO — 25/1
Andrew Luck, IND — 25/1
Cam Newton, CAR — 25/1
David Johnson, ARI — 33/1
Marcus Mariota, TEN — 33/1
Sam Bradford, MIN — 50/1
Antonio Brown, PIT — 50/1
Kirk Cousins, WAS — 50/1
Julio Jones, ATL — 50/1
Eli Manning, NYG — 50/1
Carson Palmer, ARI — 50/1
Adrian Peterson, NO — 50/1
Philip Rivers, LAC — 50/1
Matt Stafford, DET — 50/1
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG — 66/1
Rob Gronkowski, NE — 66/1
Alex Smith, KC — 66/1
Ryan Tannehill, MIA — 66/1
J.J. Watt, HOU — 66/1
Jameis Winston, TB — 66/1
Blake Bortles, JAX — 100/1
Andy Dalton, CIN — 100/1
Joe Flacco, BAL — 100/1
T.Y. Hilton, IND — 100/1
Marshawn Lynch, OAK — 100/1
LeSean McCoy, BUF — 100/1
Von Miller, DEN — 100/1
DeMarco Murray, TEN — 100/1
Carson Wentz, PHL — 100/1

RELATED: After Derek Carr deal, Cousins' best option may be short-term

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True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

Robert Kelley emerged as the Redskins top running back in 2016, an incredible story of an undrafted guy working his way to the top. Of course, Matt Jones' problems with fumbling helped push Kelley to the top. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden speaks highly of Kelley, particularly his fluidity and vision, but the team drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round this year to provide additional competition in the backfield.

Here's the crucial statement: Rob Kelley will lead the Redskins in rushing yards in 2017.

Finlay: True.

Kelley averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry last season and the Redskins ground game is very much centered on a "4 or more" philosophy. Washington running backs coach Randy Jordan joined the #RedskinsTalk podcast and explained that the team wants a runner it can count on for positive yards more than creating big plays. The Redskins offense, as designed by Gruden, sets up for big plays in the pass game, and the run should allow for proper use of play action. 

In just nine starts last year, Kelley gained more than 700 yards. Project that out over 16 games, and he would be over 1,000 yards rushing. Perine has much to learn about the NFL, and understanding pass protections will take time for the rookie out of Oklahoma. Chris Thompson will be a key part of the offense, but much of his yardage will come via the pass game. 

Kelley will lead this team in rush yards. He's looked great in OTAs and minicamp while the coaching staff believes Kelley is in much better shape this year than he was as a rookie. Write it down in pen. 

RELATED: How will Kelley and Perine share the carries?

Tandler: True.

After the draft and during rookie camp I was saying that there was a chance that Perine could lead the team is rushing this year. But after seeing Perine playing with the big boys in OTAs and minicamp it’s apparent that he has a long way to go to become a consistently productive running back.

One thing Kelley seems to have going in his favor is that he has a very sensible outlook on the NFL. As JP noted, Kelley showed up to Redskins Park in better shape than he did as a rookie. This indicates to me that he understands that being an NFL players is a year-round job. Staying in great shape is important in the league but at running back it’s vital. Kelley gets that and because he does, his chances of being available for 16 games are much higher.

In turn, that improves his chance of being the team’s leading rusher. I’m not sure if he’ll get 1,000 yards—Perine will get things figured out enough to take some carries before the season gets too old—but Gruden will make sure that he gets fed plenty as long as he is available. 

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