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Need to Know: What are the Redskins' options with Orakpo in 2015?

Need to Know: What are the Redskins' options with Orakpo in 2015?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 16, eight days before the Redskins start training camp.

Three and out

Yesterday’s 4 p.m. deadline for Brian Orakpo to sign a long-term contract with the Redskins came and went without a deal being done. He’ll play this year on a one-year, $11.45 million contract. Let’s fast forward to 2015 and consider how this might play out.

—A lot of how 2015 plays out will depend on what happens the rest of 2014. If Orakpo is healthy and produces, say, 15 sacks and makes some game-changing plays the Redskins will work on a way to keep him, either with a big money, long-term deal or by using the franchise tag again. If he gets 10 low-impact sacks and doesn’t do much in the turnover department they might be inclined to let him walk unless he signs a very team friendly deal. And by “team friendly” I mean something with a cap number in the $7 million to $8 million range that the team with a fairly low amount of guaranteed money.

—The reason the Redskins will base much of their decision on how Orakpo performs this year is that they are giving him everything he needs to be successful. They spent $10 million in guaranteed month to land Jason Hatcher to give him some help with an inside pass rush. They spent their top draft pick on Trent Murphy, who will line up with Orakpo in certain packages and draw some more attention away from him. The team brought in coach Brian Baker to coach his position and refine his pass rush technique. Jim Haslett has promised his scheme will feature more aggressive rush and less containment responsibilities. If he can’t become a top pass rusher under those circumstances at the age of 28 there isn’t much hope that he ever will.

—As noted, the Redskins will have the option of tagging Orakpo again in 2015. The issue with counting on that strategy is that players generally don’t like getting the tag for a second time. This time around, Orakpo signed the tender before the offseason program started. That let him participate on OTAs and obligated him to come to minicamp and training camp. But things might not go quite so smoothly the next time around. Orakpo’s camp might want to play hardball and take the only course of action they can, withhold the player’s services. We’re a long way from that happening but it’s one more thing that both sides have to consider as this situation plays out.

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Timeline

—It’s been 199 days since the Redskins played a game; in 53 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 22; Final cuts 45; Home opener Jaguars @ Redskins 61

Redskins take wait and see approach with Orakpo.

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Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Facing one of the NFL's best running backs in Arizona's David Johnson, the Redskins plan to use rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens as a spy in nickel coverage to slow down the Cardinals' threat, per a source close to the team.

Johnson ranks third in the NFL with 921 rushing yards, but it's the variety of ways the Arizona offense uses their second-year running back that makes him so difficult to handle for opposing defenses. Johnson also has 55 catches for 613 yards, and that's just through 11 games.

Cravens comes into the game with momentum as perhaps the Redskins most dynamic defensive threat. With size to play linebacker and enough speed to play coverage, the 6-foot-1, 220 lbs. rookie out of USC will be put in a tough position covering Johnson. The reality of his assignment is to try and contain Johnson as the Cardinals offense is so reliant on the runner that he will get a number of chances.

In their last two games, Johnson has gone for more than 150 total yards in each contest and scored multiple touchdowns. For his part, Cravens has proved a playmaker in his rookie season. To go with 29 tackles in nine games, his stat sheet has sacks and an interception listed.

Getting to Carson Palmer is the best path for the Redskins defense - especially considering the Cardinals' offensive line woes - but using Cravens to try and limit Johnson is a smart course of action for the 'Skins.

One member of the Washington defense explained that Johnson is "going to make plays" but that the key is to limit the damage. If the running back catches a ball out of the backfield, Joe Barry's defense will be focused on making a stop after a five-yard gain, instead of a 20-yard gain.

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!

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Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, analysis, video

Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, analysis, video

The Redskins and Cardinals highlight the Week 13 schedule with a showdown in the desert with heavy NFL playoff implications on the line.

If the Redskins (6-5-1) can score a victory over the Cardinals (4-6-1), the team can move closer to solidifying one of the top two Wild Card spots in the NFC playoff race.

Depite the Redskins' difficult Week 12 loss to the Cowboys, Kirk Cousins is playing the best football of his career as of late, and earned the NFC Player of the Month honors for his efforts.

While running back Robert Kelley did have a slip-up against the Cowboys, the team's run game still looks vastly improved from the early season, which allows the passing game to thrive even more. Jamison Crowder continues to impress, and although Jordan Reed will miss the Cardinals game with an injury, Vernon Daivs has proven to be an excellent option for Cousins.

The most entertaining matchup of Week 13 might be Redskins DB Josh Norman vs. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, but the most important matchup will undoubtedly be the Redskins defensive line vs. Cardinals RB David Johnson. 

RELATED: NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS HEADING INTO WEEK 13

Johnson trails just DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott -- who finished with 83 yards and one TD in Week 12 -- in total rushing yards with 920 and trails just Elliott and Legarrett Blount in rushing touchdowns with 10. The Redskins rank 25th in rushing defense, and have given up an average of 108 rushing yards in their last five games.

Redskins vs. Cardinals kicks off at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 4 on FOX. Redskins Kickoff gets things started at 3:00 p.m. ET on CSN Mid-Atlantic. (Channel Finder)

CSN is providing all the live updates, stats, scores, highlights, videos and analysis from Redskins vs. Cardinals. Got a comment on the game? Be sure to let us know in the comment section and join Santana Moss and Sebastian Salazar at halftime for the Facebook Live Q&A.

RELATED: BEST & WORST REDSKINS ALTERNATE UNIFORMS

Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates

PREGAME:

10:30 AM: Game Preview: The five things you need to know before Redskins vs. Cardinals.

1. Keep it moving
2. Missing in action
3. Consider the source
4. Problems don't go away
5. Harder they fall

10:15 AM: Be sure to follow CSN Insiders J.P. Finlay and Rich Tandler, who are at University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, Ari. Also, give our CSN Redskins Twitter account too. Come for the analysis, stay for the dank memes.

10:00 AM: Welcome to CSNMA's live updates blog of Week 13 Redskins vs. Cardinals. As always, I am Troy Machir and today I will be your online guide to Redskins vs. Cardinals football in the painted desert of the southwest. If you have an issue with me, you can cuss me out on Twitter, 140 characters at a time. It's fun.