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Need to Know: The Redskins top five in sacks in the last 20 years

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Need to Know: The Redskins top five in sacks in the last 20 years

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 17, two days before the start of the NFL Combine.

Nickel coverage

Our stroll through recent Redskins history takes us to the pass rushers today. Here are the team’s top five in sacks in the last 20 years (1994-2013).

1. Ken Harvey (1994-1998) 41.5 sacks—It just so happens that 1994 was the year that Harvey came over from the Cardinals as a free agent. That also was his biggest sack season of his career as he racked up 13.5. That season brought the first of four straight Pro Bowl appearances for him as well.

2. Brian Orakpo (2009-2013) 39.5 sacks—Missing all but two games of the 2012 season likely keeps him from being on top of this list. The Redskins would like the pending free agent to return in 2014 and that will be one of the major story lines of this year.

3. Andre Carter (2006-2010) 34.0 sacks—Carter recorded two double-digit sack seasons in Washington with 10.5 in 2007 and 11 in 2009. He didn’t make the Pro Bowl until after he left the Redskins and was selected as a Patriot in 2011.

4. Bruce Smith (2000-2003) 29.0 sacks—Although he is not remembered fondly in Washington, the NFL’s all-time sacks leader did get after the quarterbacks some while he was here. He raced up 10 sacks in first season here and nine in 2013 2003.

5. Ryan Kerrigan (2011-2013)—It’s a credit to Kerrigan that he has been able to get to this point on the list in just three years in the league. It’s also an indicator of the fact that the Redskins haven’t had a whole lot of very good pass rushers in the past 20 year. For example, the Saints, who are not known for a fierce defense, have six players with more sacks than Redskins leader Harvey’s 41.5.

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Timeline

—It’s been 50 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 202 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Combine 2; NFL Free agency starts 22; Offseason workouts start 49; NFL Draft 80

In case you missed it

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Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Of course, Kirk Cousins is disappointed the Redskins didn’t make the playoffs, but among the various things he’s done in the offseason, one of them is a little curious.

Sunday, Cousins wasn’t just watching the Falcons dominate the Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship Game. He sent out a picture on Instagram from the stands of the Georgia Dome.

“Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!” Cousins wrote.

But — especially with rumors that Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be offered the head coaching position with the 49ers — is there more to this post than the Redskins’ quarterback simply watching the game?

Shanahan was the Redskins’ offensive coordinator from 2010-2013 and was reportedly “integral” in the team selecting Cousins in the 2012 NFL Draft.

So if Shanahan makes the move out to San Francisco and if the Redskins don’t put a franchise tag on Cousins, could the pair be reunited?

It’s possible, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who said, “don’t be surprised if the 49ers make a run at Kirk Cousins if the Redskins do not make him their exclusive franchise player.”

There’s a lot of if’s involved for that to happen, but it’s possible. It’s also possible Cousins was just enjoying the NFC Championship Game and decided to Instagram about it. 

MORE REDSKINS: Why Matt Cavanaugh makes sense for Washington

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3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:

  1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
  2. Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
  3. Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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