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Need to Know: Where do the Redskins still have needs?

Need to Know: Where do the Redskins still have needs?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 15, 76 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

I think that going into the offseason just about everybody knew that the Redskins would not be able to fix everything that was wrong with them in the wake winning just seven games over the last two seasons. And while Scot McCloughan did address a lot of positions, signing half a dozen veteran free agents and drafting 10 players, there is still work to be done, some holes that will need to be filled.

While there isn’t a position on the field that couldn’t use more good players, some remain weaker than others. On the defensive side of the ball the weak spot is safety. It’s hard to look at free safety Dashon Goldson and see anything than a 2015 version of Ryan Clark in terms of being a one-year patch at the position. He’ll turn 32 early in the season and his play the last two years has been spotty at best. Goldson’s contract is essentially a one-year deal since his salary skyrockets to $7 million next year, an amount the Redskins aren’t going to pay.

Behind him is Akeem Davis, who has way too much to learn to be counted on this year and he may never be a full-time solution. Perhaps a cornerback will move over to serve as free safety depth but David Amerson or DeAngelo Hall would be little more than additional short-term fixes.

Jeron Johnson is at the top of the depth chart at strong safety. With just one NFL start under his belt he has to be considered a question mark. Behind him are Phillip Thomas, Duke Ihenacho, and rookie Kyshoen Jarrett. While it’s possible that any or all of them could blossom into solid players you can't really check the box and say that strong safety is a solid and settled position.

On the other side of the ball, the position with major question marks is quarterback. There is optimism that Robert Griffin III can take hold of the position but it is far from a sure thing. Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy have had their moments but it’s a major stretch to think that either one of them can morph into a franchise quarterback.

In discussing current areas of weakness here we're assuming that the players the team drafted and signed all work out to reasonable expectations. That rarely happens so the to-do list for 2016 could well grow larger.

Let’s be clear here; I’m not saying that McCloughan bypassed any plausible solutions at these positions. The draft was very thin at safety and quarterbacks are always hard to find. We’ll just have to see what happens this year and continue to try to locate solutions.

Timeline

—It’s been 138 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 121 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 32; Redskins training camp starts 76; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 132

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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