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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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In case you missed it

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Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

Redskins offseason questions: Will Scot McCloughan go defense in 1st round?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: It's tag day

Will the Redskins go with a defensive player in the first round of the 2017 Draft?

Finlay: The Redskins haven't drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2011 when the franchise grabbed Ryan Kerrigan with the 16th pick. In fact, the team has only drafted five defensive players in the first round over the last 15 years. 

History suggests Washington will stay away from a defensive player, but sources in Ashburn have suggested otherwise. Assuming the talent is there when the 'Skins pick at No. 17, Scot McCloughan would like to bolster the team's defensive line specifically. 

Things will get complicated should Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook slide to 17. Rich Tandler certainly would like to see the Burgundy and Gold add a top-flight running back.

Tandler: Many fans believe that conducting a draft is like going into a grocery store with a list. Defensive lineman is at the top of the list so you go to aisle 12 and put a DL in the cart. Safety is next on the list so you push the cart over to that aisle and pick out one of those.

No, a draft is much more unpredictable. There might not be a defensive lineman who is close to worthy of the No. 17 pick when the Redskins are on the clock. Talk of taking the best available player is like fingernails on a chalkboard to some. But if you’re reaching for need in a draft, you’re losing that draft. Sure, if a player in a position of need is just a spot or two down from the best available you think about it. Still, staying true to your board is the way to build a team.

The other thing to consider here is that we haven’t gone through free agency yet. Needs will shift after that. Suppose the Redskins sign two starting-caliber D-linemen and lose both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in free agency? Defensive line is no longer a five-alarm priority and receiver will be. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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 free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Redskins free agent WR Pierre Garçon has simple question: 'Y'all hiring?'

Twice in the last five seasons Pierre Garçon logged more than 1,000 yards receiving as a member of the Washington Redskins, including the 2016 season. He's caught 376 passes in Washington for 21 touchdowns over 74 games.

Outside of a foot injury that cost his six games in 2012, Garçon has been arguably the Redskins most durable wide receiver, and he's known to be a hard worker in the weight room and the practice field. 

Despite all that, Garçon doesn't know that he will be back with the Burgundy and Gold once free agency opens. In fact, that uncertainty led the 30-year-old wideout to post a simple question on his Instagram page.

#YallHiring?

A post shared by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

The top of the Redskins offseason questions remains QB Kirk Cousins. Garçon and fellow wideout DeSean Jackson are headed for free agency, as is standout defensive lineman Chris Baker. Reports show that the team has made little to no contact with any of the players or their representatives, though many conversations could be planned for the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis later this month. 

Garçon's question seems simple, but the answer remains a mystery. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!