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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Lamenting a lost opportunity

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Lamenting a lost opportunity

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 12, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Bears in Chicago.

Redskins Week 14 in review

Some thoughts on the news during the week that was:

Missed opportunity for the Redskins—There’s no other way to put it; they blew it against the Cowboys. It was predicable because it’s apparent that this team is not ready for prime time (literally and figuratively) but at the same time it was somewhat shocking to see them bumble to the loss in the fashion that they did.

The accelerated phaseout of Alfred Morris—The player who Jay Gruden insists is still his “No. 1 back” played eight snaps and got six carries in the most important game of the year. It’s apparent they are going to move on from Morris when his contract is up at the end of the year but what’s baffling is Gruden’s refusal to even say that Morris and Matt Jones are 1-A and 1-B. It’s costing him credibility

Should the Redskins abandon the run?—I was sort of kidding when I wrote this but they can’t go on gaining less than three yards per attempt. At some point you just have to say you’re going to throw the ball and spread out the field and do it. Maybe this Sunday in a rainy Soldier Field against a Bears rushing defense that allows 4.8 yards a carry isn’t the time to do it. But at some point, before the season is lost, Gruden has to consider it.

'Banged up' Redskins cancel practice, hold walkthrough—This drew some snickers on social media when I posted the article on Wednesday but, news flash, not everybody on Twitter and Facebook knows what they’re talking about. Practice was scheduled less than 36 hours after a very physical Monday night loss. With six players out and four more limited it would have been hard to conduct even a light practice. The walkthrough was the way to go.

Skins' Thompson has a torn labrum—The third-down back went into the Dallas game with a sprained shoulder and came out of it with an even more severe injury. While I’m interested to see if Matt Jones can make some plays filling in on third downs, Thompson has a burst that Jones doesn’t have.

'Keep ripping it out'—One are where the Redskins’ defense has improved is in the takeaway department. They have 20 on the season, one more than they did all of last year. Unfortunately the Redskins have been able to turn those takeaways into a mere 28 points. But the D is doing its job here.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No availability; travel to Chicago

Days until: Redskins @ Bears 1; Bills @ Redskins 7; Redskins @ Eagles 14

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 27, 2 days before the March 1 NFL franchise tag deadline.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/2) 3
—Start of NFL free agency (3/9) 10
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 49
—NFL Draft (4/27) 59
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 195

Monday morning Redskins musings as free agency approaches

1. It appears that the Raiders are going to let Latavius Murray, who rushed for over 1,800 yards combined in the last two seasons, test free agency.

I’d be surprised if the Redskins showed any interest. I’m not sure that they will be jumping into the RB free agent pool, at least not into the deep (expensive) end of it. They might draft a back to compete with Rob Kelley, Matt Jones, and Mack Brown. Chris Thompson will remain the third-down back.

2. Do you wonder why the Redskins have been reluctant to draft a safety?

Eventually, someone will need to figure out the safety position in the NFL. With all the spread offenses that safeties face in college the safeties have become more like additional corner. Also, the better defensive backs in college want to be cornerbacks because it pays better in the pros. The pool coming out is generally small to begin with and then it shrinks even further for each team due to the scheme factors that Farrar discusses. Su'a Cravens could be the solution to one safety spot for the Redskins but they continue to be in search of someone to pair with him. 

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

3. The Jets allowed C Nick Mangold to announce his own release. He was one of the best centers of the past decade; Mangold went to seven Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro twice. But I don’t see him being of interest to the Redskins. They are happy with Spencer Long and even if they weren’t, Mangold is 33 and he missed half of last season with an ankle injury. Those factors likely will make the Redskins steer clear.

4. Maybe some fans don’t care if they are getting information from the team through the media at the combine. Or at the Senior Bowl. Or anywhere. And it is the team’s option to have someone available or not during most of the offseason (a press conference prior to the draft is mandatory). But they are missing out on a chance to give their side of the story.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

5. We have another D-lineman signed as the Panthers retained DE Mario Addison.

Addison, who was with the Redskins for five games in 2012, also had six and 6.5 sacks the previous two year, not bad for a guy who has started just one game in the last three seasons. That average of just over $7 million per year sets another data point for the Redskins to use to try to retain Chris Baker. Addison is a 4-3 end while Baker is a 3-4 end so it’s not an apples to apples comparison but it will help figuring out what a reasonable contract is. Without seeing the details, it looks like Addison gave the Panthers something of a hometown discount as that’s a good price for a guy who was half a sack away from double digits.

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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