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Need to Know: Running of Redskins RB Jones best thing to come out of Browns game

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Need to Know: Running of Redskins RB Jones best thing to come out of Browns game

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 4, five days before the Washington Redskins go up the road to play the Ravens in Baltimore.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No media availability

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Lions 19; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 26

Final look at Redskins vs Browns

—The best thing that happened all game was Matt Jones’ running. He didn’t always pick the right place to go but when he decided he committed and the results were good. He is averaging 4.5 yards per carry, an improvement of over a full yard over his 3.4 average in his rookie season. And the average hasn't been padded by any long runs; Jones' has a 25-yard run as his long and his second-longest is only 16 yards. He is earning that average. We are still early in the season so it’s too soon to proclaim that the Redskins have their next star running back. But the calls for a veteran running back and/or for Robert Kelley to get more carries have faded. We will see what Jones can do.

—I looked at the disputed Duke Johnson fumble several times in slo-mo, back and forth and I think the Browns may have received the wrong end of the call. After the ball came out it looked like Will Compton got two hands on it quickly. But his knees weren’t down. If he has possession and a knee down it doesn’t matter if Johnson comes up and grabs the ball; Compton would be down by contact. The ball gets lost in the pile, however, and you can’t see if Compton still has it by the time his knees hit. Johnson comes up with it pretty quickly. This is one of those situations where the replay system is flawed because it's hard to prove a negative, that the Redskins never had possession of the ball down by contact. You lose sight of the ball. If I had to make the call from just the video I’d award the ball to the Browns. The call on the field stood properly because there was no evidence to overturn it. But a call that stands on replay isn't necessarily the right one and I don't think this one is.

—Did the call lose the game for the Browns? They were moving the ball and they were past midfield. But they had managed to finish off only one extended drive with a touchdown all game, on their second possession of the day. There was no guarantee that they would have made it in for the go-ahead touchdown or even a tying field goal. And the Redskins did not score on the ensuing possession. However, getting the ball near midfield did flip field position. Tress Way punted down to the two yard line and a few plays later Cody Kessler threw the interception to Josh Norman and the Redskins scored their clinching touchdown after that. The missed call wasn’t decisive but it did help Washington.

—By scoring four touchdowns in five red zone opportunities the Redskins’ efficiency there jumped from 21.4 percent to 36.8 percent. They are still 29th in the NFL but if they can get their percentage up in the 40’s they will be fine. As you might suspect, they ran the ball a lot more in the red zone on Sunday. In the first three games they threw 23 passes and ran 10 times in the red zone. That translates to 70 percent passes. Against the Browns they passed five times and ran eight, 61 percent runs.

—Kendall Fuller had a solid NFL debut. He played 45 snaps (62%) and led the team with seven solo tackles. The rookie was solid in coverage. If he remains competent Dashaun Phillips will have a tough time getting his nickel corner job back.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it 

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Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: It's tag day

Will the Redskins go with a defensive player in the first round of the 2017 Draft?

Finlay: The Redskins haven't drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2011 when the franchise grabbed Ryan Kerrigan with the 16th pick. In fact, the team has only drafted five defensive players in the first round over the last 15 years. 

History suggests Washington will stay away from a defensive player, but sources in Ashburn have suggested otherwise. Assuming the talent is there when the 'Skins pick at No. 17, Scot McCloughan would like to bolster the team's defensive line specifically. 

Things will get complicated should Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook slide to 17. Rich Tandler certainly would like to see the Burgundy and Gold add a top-flight running back.

Tandler: Many fans believe that conducting a draft is like going into a grocery store with a list. Defensive lineman is at the top of the list so you go to aisle 12 and put a DL in the cart. Safety is next on the list so you push the cart over to that aisle and pick out one of those.

No, a draft is much more unpredictable. There might not be a defensive lineman who is close to worthy of the No. 17 pick when the Redskins are on the clock. Talk of taking the best available player is like fingernails on a chalkboard to some. But if you’re reaching for need in a draft, you’re losing that draft. Sure, if a player in a position of need is just a spot or two down from the best available you think about it. Still, staying true to your board is the way to build a team.

The other thing to consider here is that we haven’t gone through free agency yet. Needs will shift after that. Suppose the Redskins sign two starting-caliber D-linemen and lose both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in free agency? Defensive line is no longer a five-alarm priority and receiver will be. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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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Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Twice in the last five seasons Pierre Garçon logged more than 1,000 yards receiving as a member of the Washington Redskins, including the 2016 season. He's caught 376 passes in Washington for 21 touchdowns over 74 games.

Outside of a foot injury that cost his six games in 2012, Garçon has been arguably the Redskins most durable wide receiver, and he's known to be a hard worker in the weight room and the practice field. 

Despite all that, Garçon doesn't know that he will be back with the Burgundy and Gold once free agency opens. In fact, that uncertainty led the 30-year-old wideout to post a simple question on his Instagram page.

#YallHiring?

A post shared by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

The top of the Redskins offseason questions remains QB Kirk Cousins. Garçon and fellow wideout DeSean Jackson are headed for free agency, as is standout defensive lineman Chris Baker. Reports show that the team has made little to no contact with any of the players or their representatives, though many conversations could be planned for the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis later this month. 

Garçon's question seems simple, but the answer remains a mystery. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!