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Need to Know: Redskins' free agents bring playmaking ability

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Need to Know: Redskins' free agents bring playmaking ability

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 14, 47 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Redskins free agent acquisitions are playmakers

The 2014 Redskins had some difficulty making big plays on defense. They had just 19 takeaways, tied for 28th in the NFL. They forced just 14 fumbles and only two teams had fewer than their seven interceptions. They ranked 22nd in sacks with 36.

We all know the story here. The Washington offense rarely got favorable field position because the defense couldn’t get takeaways and they struggled to score points.

It appears that Scot McCloughan is attempting to address that problem with his free agent acquisitions. All of the players acquired should add playmaking ability to the Redskins defense.

(2014 performances)

DL Stephen Paea—6 sacks, 3 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles; Paea would have been second on the team and would have led the defensive line in sacks. Jason Hatcher had the most on the D-line with 5.5.

DL Ricky Jean Francois—3 sacks, 6 passes defensed, 1 fumble recovery; A pass batted down at the line isn’t a huge play but it does make a statement and can shake a quarterback up. IN 2014 Hatcher and Stephen Bowen each defensed one pass so Jean Francois can help out in that department.

DL Terrance Knighton—2 sacks, 3 passes defensed; A nose tackle isn’t expected to make a lot of big plays since he occupies two blockers much of the time. This is a decent contribution for a man in the middle.

CB Chris Culliver—4 interceptions, 15 passes defensed, 1 fumble recovery returned 35 yards for a touchdown; The Redskins had only seven interceptions all year and no player had more than two. And they did not have a single return touchdown.

There is no guarantee that these players will duplicate their 2014 numbers but they are bringing the ability to make plays and that’s all the team can ask for right now.

Timeline

—It’s been 76 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 183 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 37; 2015 NFL Draft 47; Redskins training camp starts 138

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

The NFC East was a beast for a while, but in recent weeks, the division is fading. All the teams outside of Dallas lost this weekend, and losing streaks are popping up throughout the I-95 Corridor. Here's the NFC East update:

  1. The Minnesota Vikings gave the Dallas Cowboys all they could handle last Thursday night, and yet, the Cowboys won 17-15. Dak Prescott was not impressive in Minneapolis, but Ezekiel Elliott was and the Cowboys defense did just enough to slow the Vikings terrible offense. At 11-1, Dallas has clinched a playoff berth, and with a date in New York this Sunday night, Jerry Jones' crew has a chance to avenge their only loss of the year, which came in Week 1 to the Giants.
  2. It seemed expectations met reality for the New York Giants last Sunday in Pittsburgh. Ben McAdoo's team had won six games in a row, but largely, faced poor competition. In their first tough test since the leaves started falling, Eli Manning's offense could not get going and the Giants fell to 8-4, still in possession of the first NFC Wild Card spot. Even on their win streak, the Giants didn't pass many eye tests. Beat Dallas on Sunday night and all that changes.
  3. Two weeks ago the Washington Redskins were one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Winners of two straight and with a surging Kirk Cousins, the Redskins marched to Dallas on Thanksgiving and gave the Cowboys a real test. Despite the loss, Washington still held its spot with the second NFC Wild Card. After a deflating loss in Arizona, now the 'Skins are on the outside looking in of the playoffs. Good news for Jay Gruden and company: The team can get right back in the thick of things this week in Philly, and the remaining four-game schedule looks advantageous. 
  4. While the Redskins have lost two in a row and are in danger of falling out of the playoff race, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost three in a row and look to be falling apart. Rookie QB Carson Wentz is devoid of offensive weapons to work with and the Eagles have been outscored 85-42 in their last three games. Philly can get their first NFC East win this week with the 'Skins visiting, but it will take a different effort than they've shown in the last month.

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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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - How freaked out should Redskins fans be after Arizona loss?

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - How freaked out should Redskins fans be after Arizona loss?

JP Finlay and Rich Tandler address the most important question for Redskins fans after two straight losses - is it time to freak out?

Click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!