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Need to Know: RG3 among Redskins most talked about this week

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Need to Know: RG3 among Redskins most talked about this week

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 22, 16 days before the Redskins start their offseason workouts.

Nickel coverage

Here are the five most talked about Redskins this week:

Robert Griffin III—His appearance here is noteworthy mostly because he hasn’t been talked about much this offseason. That, of course, is in stark comparison to last year’s “offseason of recovery” when we heard from Griffin and about him constantly. He made some news early in the week when he told our Tarik El-Bashir that he won’t be wearing a knee brace this season. Griffin also said that with Jay Gruden now in charge there is a “new energy” at Redskins Park.

Brandon Meriweather—We didn’t hear a whole lot about him when free agency started as the Redskins were looking for someone to replace him. But they couldn’t land Mike Mitchell and with Ryan Clark not willing to play for what the Redskins were offering so they turned to last year’s starting free safety.

Santana Moss—Many were wondering if he’d be back with the Redskins but he never had any doubt that he would re-sign. However, there is some doubt about whether or not he will make the team when the cut to 53 is made in late August.

Tyler Polumbus—The Redskins worked hard to try to bring in Donald Penn to replace him at right tackle but he ended up signing with the Raiders. The question is, can Polumbus and the rest of the holdovers on the offensive line breathe easy now or will changes be coming at some point in time before September?

Akeem Jordan—This could be the Redskins’ best under-the-radar signing of the offseason. He not only is a solid option to start beside Perry Riley at inside linebacker but he can be a force on special teams as well.

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Timeline

—Redskins offensive lineman Kory Lichtensteiger was born on this date in 1985.

—It’s been 83 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 169 days until they play another one.

—Days until: Offseason workouts start 16; NFL Draft 47; Training camp starts 123

In case you missed it

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Robert Kelley, Su'a Cravens, Colt McCoy among Redskins who'll have new numbers in 2017

Robert Kelley, Su'a Cravens, Colt McCoy among Redskins who'll have new numbers in 2017

The next time Robert Kelley plows over a helpless linebacker, he'll do it with a new number on his uniform.

The second-year running back is switching from No. 32 to No. 20, according to Redskins.com. And he's not the only returning player who'll take the field in 2017 with a new pair of digits.

Su'a Cravens will no longer be No. 36 for Washington. Instead, he'll change to No. 30. DJ Swearinger will be taking over No. 36 after coming over from the Cardinals, a number that he reportedly purchased from Cravens for $75,000

Then there's Colt McCoy. McCoy has donned No. 16 for the past three seasons, but he's throwing it back to his college days and will now rock No. 12.

MORE REDSKINS: THE ULTIMATE REDSKINS DRAFT PREVIEW

Finally, second-year corner Kendall Fuller only spent one year with No. 38. As he hopes to improve in his sophomore campaign, he'll be doing so with No. 29.

As for the free agents, Terrelle Pryor will be replacing DeSean Jackson in more ways than one when kickoff rolls around. Not only will the ex-Brown have to shine as a top receiver for Kirk Cousins like Jackson did, but he'll also be sporting Jackson's No. 11.

New linebacker Zach Brown, meanwhile, is now No. 56, linemen Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain are Nos. 92 and 97 respectively and Brian Quick will keep No. 83 from his Rams days.

For a complete list of all the changes, click here.

RELATED: IS REUBEN FOSTER WORTH THE RISK?

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How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

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How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

Do the Redskins have a draft need at running back? It depends on who you ask.

Jay Gruden seems to be very happy with incumbent running back Rob Kelley. Here is what he had to say last month about the second-year back, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane, last month:

“Oh, man, I love Rob Kelley,” Gruden said. “I thought he played great. You throw a rookie free agent into the fire like that and see him play and compete. Not one time did I feel like it was too big for him. Not once. That’s a hell of a thing to say for a kid out of Tulane who only had a couple of carries his senior year. He came right in, he competes on every play.”

[Related: Full Redskins Seven-Round Mock Draft]

Kelley played in 15 games last year and rushed for 704 yards and scored six touchdowns. He started the last nine games and if you project his numbers in this games out over a 16-game season you get about 1,050 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s not Ezekiel Elliott or Le’Veon Bell production but it’s good for a team that is going to rely mostly on the pass.

Gruden also praised third-down back Chris Thompson and backup Mack Brown. In a telling sign, he acknowledged that 2015 third-round pick Matt Jones is still on the roster but he didn’t have much good to say about him.

Why, then, do you see so many draft analysts listing running back as one of the team’s most urgent needs? Mark Maske, who is the Post’s national NFL writer but also a former Redskins beat reporter, has them taking Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey in his mock draft. “There certainly are issues on defense for the Redskins,” writes Maske. But there also is a need at running back.”

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said that the Redskins “obviously” need a running back as his rationale for mocking Florida State’s Dalvin Cook to Washington at No. 17.

So, what is it? Is Kelley adequate for the Redskins’ needs considering they call pass plays on over 60 percent of their offensive snaps? Would they run more often if they had a back like McCaffrey or Cook? And if they did run more would the offense improve?

I think that running back is like several positions with the Redskins. If they have to get through the 2016 season with what they have they will be OK. But if there is an upgrade on the board when they are on the clock they won’t hesitate to make the pick if he’s the best player available.

We will see what happens if, say, McCaffrey is still on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 17 and top defensive targets like Rueben Foster and Haason Reddick are off the board. That will be the true test to see how committed Gruden and the rest of the organization are to Kelley, Thompson, and company. 

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