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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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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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