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Need to Know: The five best quarterbacks the Redskins will face in 2016

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Need to Know: The five best quarterbacks the Redskins will face in 2016

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 21, 37 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 163 days ago. It will be 83 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 37; Preseason opener @ Falcons 51; Final roster cut 74

Top five QBs the Redskins will face in 2016

The Redskins will face five on the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL in terms of Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals 34.4% (1st)—Every year I wonder if this will be the season that Palmer falls off but it hasn’t happened yet. He did end the season on a decidedly down note, throwing four picks in a blowout NFC title game loss to the Panthers. But he got them that far and he was solid week in and week out getting into that game.

Andy Dalton, Bengals 31.7% (2nd)—You have to think that Jay Gruden will spend some extra time with the defensive coaches since he knows Dalton as well as anyone, having coached him his first three years in Cincinnati. He was having by far the best year of his career last year when he suffered a broken thumb in Week 13. The Redskins will see Dalton on neutral ground in London.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers 22.1% (4th)—Big Ben is the only one on this list who is a future Hall of Fame enshrinee (in my opinion, anyway, feel free to debate that in the comments). He is usually left off of the list of elite quarterbacks but he’s just below that level. The Redskins will have a handful in Week 1 with Ben and WR Antonio Brown, his favorite target.

Jay Cutler, Bears 8.6% (9th)—You may be as surprised as I was to see Cutler considered a top 10 quarterback but there he is (FYI, Cutler was 16th in passer rating at 92.3). He put a scare into the Redskins in Chicago last year throwing for 315 yards and two touchdowns but Washington managed to hold on for the win.

Matt Stafford, Lions 8.0% (10th)—I think Stafford is an underrated quarterback. I think what hurts his reputation with the fans is that he throws so many passes that some of them are bound to go wrong and they show up on highlights. There also is the fact that’s he’s made a ton of money without a playoff win thanks to the old rookie pay system. But last year he completed 67.2 percent of his passes with 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. It seems like he’s been around for a long time but he’s just 27.

Cam Newton is not on this list because quarterback DVOA doesn’t take into account running stats and making plays with his feet is a bit part of his game. I wouldn’t argue if you put him at the top of it. He ranked 12th in DVOA.

[Edit]: Seeing some comments asking where Aaron Rodgers ranks. He is 17th with a DVOA of -1.0%. He's certainly better than that and should be in the top five but the numbers are what they are. He did not have a great 2015.

For purposes of comparison, Kirk Cousins ranked sixth with a DVOA of 19.7%.

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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!