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Need to Know: Who is the face of the Redskins franchise?

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Need to Know: Who is the face of the Redskins franchise?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 17, one day before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL assemble in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day 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.

Today's question is from Twitter:

With the NFL Combine starting tomorrow, this is a good question to ponder as the Redskins start the process of adding new players to the roster. The hope that someone they draft can get to be good enough to be considered to be the face of the franchise.

And since we’re talking about the draft I think you have to eliminate DeSean Jackson from the list of face of the Redskins contenders. Perhaps you don’t need to be drafted by the team but you at least have to have spent your prime seasons in Washington. Jackson is arguably the team’s best player but he can’t be the face.

I think that a lot of fans identify with Alfred Morris, a sixth-round draft pick who helped the Redskins to the division title as a rookie. He might be the most popular player on the team. But he has minimal contact with fans through the media (Morris does do more than his fair share of work in the community). That’s his option but I think that a critical part of being the face of a franchise is to be a team leader, to be out talking to the media in good times and bad. If not, you have to be very, very good, Hall of Fame good (think Barry Sanders) to be the face of a franchise. Again, there’s nothing wrong with preferring to keep to yourself, but that’s not what a face of the franchise does.

On the other hand, Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan are front and center in the locker room during the week and after a game, win or lose. Although they are only in their sixth and fifth years with the team, respectively, they are senior members of the team. Most hard-core Redskins fans would recognize them if saw one of them walking around the street.

But Robert Griffin III would be recognized by causal fans, even non-fans, if he was walking down the street. Ditto with fans of other teams. Would, say, a Packers fan recognize Williams in a grocery store? Would a Seahawks fan ask Kerrigan for his autograph in a restaurant?

Is being recognized by most NFL fans and by many casual fans and non fans a requirement for being the face of a franchise? I suppose not, especially if you think that every team has to have a player who is the face. But the reality of life for the Redskins is that they have a famous guy who isn’t playing well and some who play well but aren’t well known.

My opinion is that the Redskins don’t have a face of the franchise right now, no player who is recognizable on the field (i.e. you could tell who it is even if he wasn’t wearing a jersey number) and off the field. If forced to name one I’d say Kerrigan only because he plays the more glamorous position. But if you have to name a face of the franchise by default, you really don’t have one.

Timeline

—It’s been 51 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 208 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 21; Redskins offseason workouts start 62; 2015 NFL Draft 72

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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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

MORE NFL: Trent Williams is back but shed little light on suspension