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Need to Know: Redskins 2015 regular season superlatives

Need to Know: Redskins 2015 regular season superlatives

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 5, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers in a wild card playoff game.

Redskins 2015 regular season superlatives

Before we dive head first into the playoffs let’s take a look back at the 2015 season. As you know, most major sports awards are decided after the end of the regular season but before the playoffs start. Let’s pass out a little Redskins hardware here based on the 2015 regular season.

Offensive player of the year: Kirk Cousins—The hotter he has gotten over the past couple of months, the better the team has played. His most impressive stat this year was his 69.8 percent completion rate. It was the seventh best season a quarterback has had in that stat category ever. Honorable mentions: Jordan Reed, Trent Williams

Offensive newcomer of the year: Brandon Scherff—He was every bit as good as advertised. If he keep improving over the next year or two nobody will care that the Redskins used the fifth overall pick on a guard. He missed two snaps all year, one against the Bears and one against the Cowboys on Monday night. Honorable mention: Jamison Crowder

Defensive player of the year: Chris Baker—There were a lot of ways to go here on a defense that didn’t have any real stars and was in constant turmoil due to injuries. But Baker was steady throughout, getting six sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, and setting an infectious attitude on the defense. Honorable mention: Bashaud Breeland

Defensive newcomer of the year: Will Blackmon—He wasn’t even on the team in Week 1 but he turned out to be invaluable to the secondary. Blackmon started 10 games and played some nickel. His presence allowed the team to move DeAngelo Hall to safety. Blackmon put on one of his best performances on Sunday. In the second half he picked off a pass with the Cowboys in a goal to go situation. Later he poked the ball out of Darren McFadden’s arm as he was about to score a TD. The ball bounced out of the end zone and the Redskins took over after the touchback. Honorable mention: Preston Smith, Kyshoen Jarrett.

Special teams player and newcomer of the year: Dustin Hopkins—Another player who wasn’t on the Week 1 roster. They wanted a kicker who could pound the ball into the end zone consistently and they found one in Hopkins. He booted 65 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks and he was No. 8 in the league in net kickoff distance. Hopkins was solid on field goals as well, converting on 25 of 28 with two of his misses coming from 50-plus yards, kicks they likely would even have attempted before signing Hopkins. Honorable mention: Tress Way

Agree? Disagree? Dive into the comments and let me know!

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Player meetings, no media availability

Days until: Redskins vs. Packers in wild card playoff game 5; Super Bowl 50 33

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Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins Playbook: Niles Paul forcing a fourth tight end roster spot?

Redskins coaches appreciate Niles Paul. Not just for the immense physical skills, a 6-foot-1, 225 lb. college receiver turned NFL tight end and fullback. He works hard every day at practice, and demands the same from his teammates. 

Last season, Paul landed on the injured reserve after an injury in London during a Week 8 tie against the Bengals. Because of that, some speculation emerged that Paul could be the odd man out in the Redskins tight end group, behind Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis and fighting with 2017 draft pick Jeremy Sprinkle, not to mention veteran Derek Carrier. 

RELATED: COULD REDSKINS MAKE RUN AT NICK MANGOLD?

After two preseason games, it's clear Paul is ready to fight for that spot. Against Green Bay on Saturday night, Paul logged a touchdown catch and a fumble recovery on special teams, showing the versatility that makes him so valuable to Washington. 

For Paul, he's just happy to be back on the field. 

"I got my season cut in half last year. I just want to be back on the field by any means necessary. I've just been missing it. I've been missing football in my life," Paul said after the game (full video above).

Paul's acrobatic TD grab showed that he still has the explosiveness to help the offense, but his special teams play is what will keep him on the roster. It also helps that head coach Jay Gruden complimented Paul for an outstanding camp and work ethic. 

"His speed looks where it was before the injuries. I mean, I think he's had an outstanding training camp so far. He's done so many different things. And that's one of the toughest positions," Gruden said of Paul. 

The Redskins offense hasn't hit full cylinder yet, but Paul thinks the return of Jordan Reed will help. 

"We're missing a major piece and that's Jordan Reed," he said. "We got some fine tuning to do."

Considering Reed's injury history, and backup tight end Vernon Davis starting the season at 33, a healthy Paul is a luxury for the Redskins. He stands to make nearly $2.5 million this season, but he also brings versatility. Paul is happy to play fullback, a role that seems to be growing, as well as all over the field on special teams. 

Washington will absolutely keep Reed and Davis. With his play this preseason, Paul seems a sure thing too. And if the squad wants to keep their draft pick in Sprinkle, who has tremendous size and has shown promise, four tight ends on the 53-man roster looks like the future. 

<<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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With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

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USA Today Sports

With Spencer Long on the shelf, could Redskins make a run at Nick Mangold?

News broke late Monday night that Redskins' center Spencer Long underwent a minor knee scope and is expected to miss two weeks. That timetable spells good news for Washington, as that would bring Long back to the team before the first regular season game against the Eagles on September 10th. 

In the meantime, expect rookie Chase Roullier to take over at center for the Redskins. A 6th round draft pick, Bruce Allen and the Washington brass moved up to select Roullier, and the young player out of Wyoming had a strong training camp. 

RELATED: NILES PAUL FORCING HIS WAY TO A ROSTER SPOT?

"He’s done a great job, he really has. For a rookie to come in here and handle all the things he has to handle, it’s been very impressive," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of Roullier in early August. 

Still, Jay Gruden has been very clear about the need for a backup center on the roster. Last season the team brought in veteran John Sullivan during the year to provide depth at the position after Kory Lichtensteiger went down with injury.  Sullivan ended up starting one game for Washington, and is now playing with the Rams. 

With Long on the mend, the only other center on the Redskins roster is Roullier. Ronald Patrick is listed with the more generic OL designation though he has played center too.

It seems likely the team will move quickly to add another center, and one name that will get suggested is Nick Mangold. An 11-year veteran that played his entire career with the Jets, Mangold has more experience than Long, Roullier and Patrick combined.

He's also played the position at a very high level. Twice named to the NFL's All Pro team, Mangold has made seven Pro Bowls, most recently in 2015.

It's not entirely clear why Mangold isn't on an NFL roster already. He worked out for the Ravens this offseason, though some reports suggested Mangold wanted more guaranteed money than was discussed. 

A quick look at his Twitter feed does not suggest a guy missing the NFL life. A big soccer fan, Mangold seems very dialed in to London's Tottenham Hotspur and the New York City Football Club. (Check his Twitter out here)

If the team truly believes Long should not miss any regular season action, Mangold is probably not a fit. At 33-years-old with an impressive resume, Mangold likely doesn't want to come back just to be a backup, and Gruden has repeatedly talked about Long's ability and potential in the middle of the line. Should Long suffer a setback, the equation could change. 

Other names are likely to pop up for tryouts, as the 'Skins must consider more interior line depth. Making a run at Mangold might be something fans want to do, though it might not make sense at this point.

<<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!