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Need to Know: Redskins step into spoiler role

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Need to Know: Redskins step into spoiler role

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 22, the day the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

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When you have nothing to play for, you find something to play for.

Although a Redskins win won’t help them in any way involving the NFL standings—they have locked up last place in the NFC East—they nevertheless have to play the game so they might as well find a reason to win it. Here are a five of them:

1. They can do severe damage to the Cowboys’ chances of making the playoffs. A Redskins win would set up a scenario where the Eagles would clinch the division with a Sunday night win over the Bears. If you can’t impact your own playoff chances, the next best thing would be to damage those of a division rival.

2. If there is anybody for whom the players would like to “win one” it’s London Fletcher. He is universally admired and respected by the team and a win in his last game at FedEx Field would be the perfect going away present.

3. It may be that Daniel Snyder has already made up his mind and Mike Shanahan is out no matter what happens in these last two games. But if the owner is still teetering, a win could bolster his chances of staying. It seems that the players all want Shanahan to stay—Fletcher and DeAngelo Hall both gave him endorsements this week—and a win just might help Shanahan get another year.

4. If they aren’t playing for Shanahan’s job perhaps they are playing for their own jobs. There are only a handful of players on the roster who aren’t unrestricted free agents or who wouldn’t be able to be released with more than minimal impact on the salary cap. In short, much of the team is working on a two-game contract. If that’s not incentive to play well, nothing is.

5. Finally how about winning one for the fans at FedEx Field? The Shanahan era has brought many more home losses than wins. They are 11-20 at home since 2010 and 2-5 this season. And since there is always a strong presence of fans dressed up in blue and silver when the Cowboys come to town the Redskins may need to stay out in front to avoid this sounding like a road game.

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In case you missed it

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Tuesday 12.17

Wednesday 12.18

Thursday 12.19

Friday 12.20

Saturday 12.21

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Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Redskins focus on defense through three rounds in the NFL Draft

Coming into the offseason, there was plenty of talk coming from the Redskins organization that the team needed to upgrade the defense. Those who have been following the team for a while have heard this for many years now. However, usually the talk is just that, with more draft capital and free agency money going to the offense year in and year out.

But this year things are different.

The lion’s share of free agent spending went to the defense. They added linemen Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, linebacker Zach Brown, and safety D.J. Swearinger. Now they have started off their draft with a laser focus in the defensive side of the ball.

RELATED: Redskins add cornerback with first round talent, but injuries pushed him to the third round

In the first round, they were delighted to take Jonathan Allen, the top-rated defensive lineman on their board. In the second round they went with outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, a teammate of Allen’s at Alabama. Then in the third round the pick was cornerback Fabian Moreau out of UCLA.

It’s been 20 years since the Redskins have gone so heavy with defensive picks at the top of the draft. Not since 1997 have they taken defensive players in the first three rounds of the draft. That year they took DE Kenard Lang, LB Greg Jones, and LB Derek Smith in rounds one, two, and three, respectively.

We will see how much impact the three draft picks have on the defense and, as Redskins fans have learned over the years, an influx of free agents on defense doesn’t guarantee improvement on that side of the ball.

But at least the Redskins organization is putting its money, and its draft picks, where its mouth is and that has be considered a positive development.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins make it two Alabama defenders in the 2017 draft class so far

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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NFL Draft 2017: First round talent, but injuries explain Fabian Moreau's third round selection by Redskins

NFL Draft 2017: First round talent, but injuries explain Fabian Moreau's third round selection by Redskins

On the field, Fabian Moreau makes plays from his cornerback slot that translate to the NFL game. Staying on the field has been a different matter though. 

In five seasons at UCLA, Moreau dealt with his fair share of adversity. He took a medical redshirt year in 2015, suffering a Lisfranc injury three games into the year. More devestating to his draft status, however, was an injury suffered during his Pro Day in late March. Moreau tore his pectoral muscle while lifting weights.

For many, that injury caused his slip from a possible fringe first rounder to Washington's prize with the 81st pick. It's possible Moreau will be back from injury by the time training camp opens, but it seems likely he begins the summer sessions in Richmond on the PUP list. 

At the combine, Moreau ran a 4.35 40-yard dash. Serious speed, and it instantly makes the 6-foot, 206 lbs., Moreau the fastest corner on the Redskins.

In his senior season, Moreau grabbed two interceptions, forced a fumble and made 31 tackles. Not scared to get physical and play press coverage, Moreau's mindset should mesh well with Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland as he looks to force his way to playing time. 

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