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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—the draft, Aikman on RG3

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—the draft, Aikman on RG3

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 30, 25 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

A look at the Redskins week that was

Looking back at some of our most popular Redskins posts of the week:

Troy Aikman could see RG3 in Cowboys uniform, with one caveatThis is one of those silly season stories, where the former Dallas quarterback says that he could envision either Robert Griffin III or Johnny Manziel in a Cowboys uniform in 2016. You can’t dismiss it out of hand because of the source. Aikman is wired in to the organization and it’s likely that he has heard of some interest in Griffin on the part of the Cowboys. But that is a long way from a contract offer and Griffin agreeing to go to a situation where he would have to go and wait for the starter to get injured before getting a chance to play. Tony Romo isn’t going to get benched.

Which Redskin might be a surprise cap casualty in 2016?—The Redskins will have some cap room to work with and they will have more when they release Griffin. But there are some high-priced vets who might need to be released to create some more room to be able to sign Kirk Cousins, perhaps extend Jordan Reed, and add some needed players in free agency. Check out the post to see who Tandler and Tarik think could go.

How many draft picks do the Redskins have?—We’re still about three months away from the draft but interest is high which is why this draft basics post got so many page views. There are probably two or three dozen players that Scot McCloughan could take with their first pick, which is No. 21 overall. It seems like every fan has his or her favorite. We’ll talk about the draft plenty in the months leading up to it and, of course, during and after.

Giving odds on the return or departure of every Skins' free agent—Free agency comes well before the draft and the Redskins have 16 players with expiring contracts. Some will be back, many won’t. We looked at every Redskins pending free agent and the odds of him being back in burgundy and gold for the 2016 season.

Ertz contract gives Redskins guidance on new deal for Reed—Jordan Reed isn’t going to be a free agent this year but the Redskins may look to lock up their standout tight end before he is. They got some help in figuring out what a deal with Reed should look like when the Eagles locked up Zach Ertz, their top tight end, through 2021 a year before his rookie contract expired. They have comparable career numbers up to this point but Reed is considered to be more of an impact player and he likely will make more than Ertz, who got a five-year deal worth $42.5 million with $20 million guaranteed.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 20 days ago. It will be about 225 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 25; NFL free agency starts 39; 2016 NFL draft 89

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!