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Need to Know: Who needs to step up?

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Need to Know: Who needs to step up?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, October 4, nine days before the Redskins visit the Cowboys on Sunday night.

Nickel coverage

Since the Redskins news, the staple for this space, has crawled to a stop we’re doing something a little different here. Yesterday we looked at the five most valuable Redskins. Today, we look at five who need to step it up. Let’s count them down:

5. Stephen Bowen—He has not performed horribly but a player who has one of the top 10 salary cap numbers on the team should be having more of an impact. Bowen’s stats (10 tackles, no sacks) are identical to those of Kedric Golston, who makes far less.

4. Josh Morgan—Another high salary (5th-highest cap number) who needs to pick up his production. He has just nine receptions and it’s not like Robert Griffin III hasn’t thrown the ball a ton.

3. Robert Griffin III—Yes, he was on the list of most valuable yesterday but he still has a long way to go if this team is going to be what we thought it could be.

2. Brandon Meriweather—Where is that player we saw for a half against the Eagles last year? He hasn’t been nearly as aggressive (unless you count knocking Eddie Lacy and himself out of the Packers game) or confident since then. Certainly the ACL recovery has slowed him down but the sooner he can get himself back to, well, himself the better off the defense will be.

1. London Fletcher—The leadership, of course, has not diminished and he seems to be able to get where he needs to be. But the number of missed tackles has simply been unacceptable. When you have a defense designed to funnel plays to the inside linebackers so that they can make plays and one of them is having problems tackling the whole defense struggles.

Stat of the day

—In four games this year, the Redskins have a point differential of minus-21 (-5.2/game, 91 scored, 112 allowed), 26th in the league. Last year in 16 games their differential was plus-48 (3.0/game 436 scored, 388 allowed), 12th in the NFL.

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Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys 9; Bears @ Redskins 16; Redskins @ Broncos 23

—The Redskins are on their bye, no availability this week.

Pierre Garçon talks to Brian Mitchell

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Redskins interview another former Chargers defensive coordinator

Redskins interview another former Chargers defensive coordinator

The Redskins continue to cast a wide net in their search for a new defensive coordinator. On Thursday, they interviewed John Pagano, who was recently let go as the defensive coordinator of the Chargers.

Pagano, the brother of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, has been coaching with the Chargers since 2002. That year he started as a quality control coach and then he was the linebackers coach from 2005-2011. The Chargers fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, a current Redskins coach and another candidate to run the defense in Washington, after the 2011 season and Pagano was promoted into that job.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

In Pagano’s five seasons with the Chargers, the performance of the defense was respectable. In terms of total yards, San Diego was in the top 10 twice and only once were they ranked worse than 20th.

The Redskins fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry on January 5. The list of candidates they have interviewed includes Mike Pettine, Gus Bradley, Rob Ryan, Manusky, and Jason Tarver. They are expected to interview former Jets and Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman on Friday.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

None of the candidates they have interviewed have accepted positions with other teams so they are all still in play. There is no timetable for the team to make a decision, although the sense is that the process is coming to a close and will be concluded in the near future.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: How long is too long in the Redskins' defensive coordinator search?

Need to Know: How long is too long in the Redskins' defensive coordinator search?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 20, 97 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 40
NFL free agency starts 48
First Sunday of 2017 season 233

Will Pleasant push the defensive coordinator search to a conclusion?

Is the Redskins’ search for a defensive coordinator taking too long? Joe Barry was fired two weeks ago yesterday. The Redskins have made it clear that they want to be very thorough in their search. But taking time creates problems and one just popped up. Assistant defensive back coach Aubrey Pleasant apparently has the option to follow Sean McVay to Los Angeles. But the Redskins want to hold on to him.

The problem is that they don’t want to sign Pleasant to be, say, the cornerbacks coach and tie the hands of the incoming defensive coordinator. They already would like the new guy to keep OLB coach Greg Manusky and ILB coach Kirk Olivadotti. Locking in a third position coach might made it very hard to persuade a quality coordinator to come on board.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

However, they can’t hold Pleasant, who is a young, energetic coach who relates well to the players, back indefinitely. Presumably McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips have a bigger role in mind for him and they won’t wait forever for him to get things resolved in Washington.

But it’s not like the Pleasant situation will need to be resolved by the close of business today. We’re talking days, not hours. How many days? They could lose him due because of the Redskins’ deliberate process if it stretches into sometime early next week. I think the chances are strong that there will be a decision on the new defensive coordinator by, say, the close of business on Tuesday.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

I’ll wrap this up with a quick round of laying out the $100 in casino chips on the various defensive coordinator candidates. Things have changed since I did it on Monday. I’ll still make Greg Manusky the favorite but I’ll drop him down five bucks to $35. I’m downgrading Mike Pettine down to a $10 wager; I’ve heard that the organization was not impressed with his interview. I’m more than doubling the wager on Gus Bradley to $25. It’s been a few days since reports that the Chargers were pressing him for a decision and yet he remains in play. I’m going with $10 on Dennis Thurmon, who is from the school of the aggressive style of play that Jay Gruden is looking for. Rob Ryan gets not a cent and the remaining $20, including John Pagao, who interviewed yesterday, goes on the field.

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In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.