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Need To Know: The Redskins week that was—A leadership void?

Need To Know: The Redskins week that was—A leadership void?

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 12, 47 days before the NFL Draft.

The Redskins week that was

Redskins were coming and going this week as NFL free agency got underway. Here’s a look at some of our most popular articles of the week.

At long last, Redskins release Robert Griffin III—This wasn’t really news except perhaps to the few fervent fans who thought that by some miracle the Redskins would figure out a way to keep Griffin or possibly trade him. It ended a chapter in Redskins history that we won’t really know the full implications of for years.

Examining ripple effects from Monday's Redskins roster moves—Besides Griffin a few other Redskins departed on Monday as the Redskins cleared some cap space and set the table to get younger. There is a leadership void left by the departures of Terrance Knighton, Dashon Goldson, and Jason Hatcher. But if a team is going to get younger that is something it they will have to deal with. Players like Ricky Jean Francois and Ryan Kerrigan will have to step into the void.

After Monday's roster moves, how much cap space do the Redskins have?—The answer is not a whole lot, considering that they were over the cap after applying the franchise tag to Kirk Cousins. But they have enough to retain the players they want to keep, sign some help from the outside, and have some cushion to go into the season with.

Tom Compton's departure further depletes Redskins' 2012 draft class—I wouldn’t call the Redskins 2012 draft class depleted, I’d call it disappeared. That draft class should be forming the core of the team but only one player, Cousins, is left from it. Looking at the previous item, being tight on cap space and having poor drafts are related; draft picks should provide inexpensive, quality players.

Redskins who are still on the bubble—We’re just a few days into the league year so just because some veteran players survived the initial wave of cuts that doesn’t mean that they are not endangered. Here are some players who may still be on the chopping block due to age, cap number, and/or injury.

Osweiler contract may make a Cousins deal harder to make—It appears that the four-year, $72 million contract that quarterback Brock Osweiler got from the Texans may complicate the Redskins’ efforts to get Kirk Cousins locked up with a long-term contract. The details are in the post but suffice it to say that the most likely scenario now may be to have Cousins play out 2016 on the franchise tag.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 62 days ago. It will be about 183 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 37; 2016 NFL draft 47; Redskins training camp starts 138

In case you missed it

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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

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: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

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?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<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 iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<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!