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Need to Know: The Redskins' five longest plays of 2013

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Need to Know: The Redskins' five longest plays of 2013

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 14, five days before the start of the NFL Combine.

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Here are the Redskins five longest gains of 2013:

1t. Robert Griffin pass complete deep left to Darrel Young for 62 yards, touchdown @ Eagles 11/17—If you had Griffin to Young for the longest play of the year in your office pool, you unexpectedly cashed in. I still can’t figure out where the Philly defense was.

1t. Kirk Cousins pass complete deep right to Aldrick Robinson for 62 yards @ Falcons 12/15—Robinson was past the defense and it looked like it was going to be an 80-yard TD. But he had to slow down just a little bit to get Cousins’ pass and that allowed the defensive back to make up the ground and bring Robinson down.

3. Kirk Cousins pass complete deep left to Pierre Garçon for 53 yards, touchdown @ Falcons 12/15—A well executed pump and go play. Cornerback Desmond Trufant grabbed Garçon as he blew by him, drawing a flag. Cousins showed nice touch in getting the ball over two other defenders and into Garçon’s arms.

4. Robert Griffin pass complete deep left to Aldrick Robinson for 45 yards, touchdown vs. Bears 10/20—This probably should never have happened but after Griffin heaved the ball towards a double covered Robinson near the goal line the safety fell down and Charles Tillman misplayed the ball. This is the only one of the five longest plays that took place at home and/or in a win.

5. Alfred Morris up the middle for 45 yards, touchdown @ Cowboys 10/13—This was a simple zone stretch play with good blocking from the entire line. Morris saw a huge hole, cut through it and only had to shake off a couple of Dallas defenders who took poor angles to finish off the play.

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Timeline

—It’s been 47 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 205 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Combine 5; NFL Free agency starts 25; Offseason workouts start 52; NFL Draft 83

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Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Many considered the Cardinals a Super Bowl contender this season, though the team has not performed to that level so far in 2016. One huge problem for Arizona - protecting quarterback Carson Palmer. 

In its last four games, Arizona has given up 16 sacks on Palmer, including a staggering eight sacks against the Carolina Panthers. In the last two games, Palmer has gone down six times, and both games have been losses. 

With weapons like wideout Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson, Palmer has lots of options to move the ball. That's why Jay Gruden knows how important it is for his front seven to get home.

"It’s going to start with the pass rush," Gruden said. "If Carson [Palmer] has all day to throw and give Larry time to do double moves and stem you inside and vertical and then get back out or break it back across, I don’t care how big you are or how fast you are, it’s going to be hard."

In all six Cardinals losses, Palmer has been sacked at least two times, and in four of the losses, Palmer has gone down at least four times. Beyond the Panthers' eight sacks, the Bills brought down the Cards QB five times, and both the Seahawks and Vikings got to Palmer four times.

While the sack totals stand out, Washington's Preston Smith knows each week is different in the NFL.

"Every game you’re fired up because you feel like it's an opporttunity to get out there and get sacks," Smith said. "You don’t think about what another team did, they’re going to play us different."

Talking on the latest #RedskinsTalk Podcast, Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy acknowledged that the defense knows how beat up the Cardinals' offensive line is. Murphy, who has seven sacks on the season, added that he's 'drooling' for this matchup and the opportunity to take advantage of the Arizona vulnerabilities up front. (Listen to the full podcast below.)

Bruce Arians knows his team is undermanned on the line, and the Arizona offense will be creative to protect Palmer.

"You have to help them," Arians said of his O-line. "You have got to stay balanced and hopefully not get into a situation where it’s a throw, throw, throw game because then you’re putting them in harm’s way and your quarterback in harm’s way."

It doesn't help that in his 14th season, Palmer is probably one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL. After matching up against Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott in their last two games, the Redskins defense knows Palmer won't move nearly as much, though that doesn't mean he's neccesarily easier to get down.

"You’re not going against a mobile quarterback but you still got to get to that spot," Smith said. "Carson’s a good quarterback."

Linebacker Mason Foster said that sacks aren't as important as consistent pressure. 

"On a great quarterback like that you want consistent pressure all day long. Make things tough on him, you don’t want a clean pocket," Foster said. "If you have pressure in his face all day and you don’t get no sacks, I think that's a success."

Even at 36, Palmer is still a dangerous quarterback. He's thrown for nearly 3,000 yards this year with a beat-up offensive line and missing one start. But numbers are numbers, and the data shows that if the 'Skins pass rushers can get Palmer to the ground, the chances of a Washington win shoot right up. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

As always, hit the poll and then head to the comments section here and talk about your answer, or reply on Twitter.