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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Trash talk from Philly, none from DJax

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Trash talk from Philly, none from DJax

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 25, one day before the Washington Redskins travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles.

Merry Christmas to all!

The week that was at Redskins Park

Andre Roberts is done for the season—This wasn’t a shocker as Roberts had been out for a few weeks and it seemed that the problem was more serious than the reported knee inflammation. It was a torn meniscus requiring surgery. Roberts should be ready to go by the time OTAs start but he may not be doing them in Ashburn. He carries a $5 million cap number for next year and the Redskins might not want to pay that for the 11 receptions he had in 2015.

Cousins on contract: ‘I want to be where I’m wanted’—The Cousins contract talk has started and will continue until something is done. I don’t see Cousins ever hitting the market. If the team is unable to come to terms on a multi-year deal with the quarterback I think they will franchise tag him on or before the March 7 deadline, which would pay him in the range of $19 million for the 2016 season. Then they will have until July 15 to work out a longer-term contract or Cousins would have to play out 2016 under the tag.

Despite blowout loss, Eagles defender issues warning for RedskinsThis quote found its way into the Redskins locker room, just printed out on a piece of white paper and stuck up on one of the support columns. It’s something we’ve been seeing more of lately as Jay Gruden has been playing the disrespect card. Later in the week another Eagles defender guaranteed a win over the Redskins. Geez, guys, you're 2-4 in your last six games. Get a grip.

Redskins sign a tight end prospect from Bills' practice squad—To take Roberts’ roster spot the Redskins added a fourth tight end to the 53 as they signed Marcel Jensen away from the Bills’ practice squad. Gruden said that Jensen is someone who “might help up in the future” and he said that brining him in was not so much about this year but keeping him around for next year.

Jackson: 'It’s just another game'—We all know that it isn’t your garden variety Redskins vs. Eagles game. It’s for the NFC East title and DeSean Jackson is getting heated up at just the right time. Although he hasn’t forgiven or forgotten Chip Kelly releasing him in late March of 2014 he played it low-key in talking to the media this week. He will let his play do the talking on Saturday.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No availability, team travels to Philadelphia

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 1; Redskins @Cowboys 9; start of NFL playoffs 15

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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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