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Need to Know: Who replaces Helu as the Redskins' No. 2 running back?

Need to Know: Who replaces Helu as the Redskins' No. 2 running back?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 16, 45 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

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.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

https://twitter.com/JFry555/status/577224336249131009

One question to a customer, my friend. We'll look at the third-down back situation here.

Given Roy Helu’s subpar pass blocking skills, running back may have been a need even if he had not signed with Oakland. It’s apparent that the Redskins did not consider him to be a major priority given the modest two-year, $4 million contract he got from the Raiders.

Helu has been the third-down/relief running back for the last two years so regardless of whether they wanted him or not, he’s gone and the team needs a replacement. So let’s go back to something we had some fun with a few weeks ago. Let’s say that we have $100 in poker chips to bet on each of the possible replacements for Helu. I’ll spread them out according to my current assessment of the chances of each to have that role in Week 1 of the regular season.

Silas Redd $35—The coaches like his work ethic and his ability. Redd, who made the team as a rookie free agent last year, displayed a good aptitude for catching the ball out of the backfield. But can he pass block well enough to nail down the role?

Chris Thompson $25—There are plenty of doubts about Thompson, including his blocking and his ability to stay healthy. But there are no doubts about his speed and if he can get the other aspects of his game together it will be hard for the coaches to keep him off of the field.

Draft pick $25—A running back like Melvin Gordon could well be the best player on the board when the Redskins’ pick in the second round comes around. Ditto for T.J. Yeldon in the third or fourth. I’m not sure that a back taken later in the day on Saturday would be ready for Week 1 action; an Alfred Morris only comes along once a decade or so.

Free agent $15—Pierre Thomas, formerly of the Saints, is 30 and may be just a one-year solution but he is a capable runner, receiver, and blocker. The remaining veteran free agent options either have had injury problems (Ahmad Bradshaw) or appear to be out of gas (Steven Jackson).

Timeline

—It’s been 78 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 181 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 35; 2015 NFL Draft 45; Redskins training camp starts 136

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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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75

The Redskins week that was

Here are some of the most popular post from the last week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com

How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.

Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.

Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.

For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.

Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.

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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85-year-old woman unafraid to coach Kirk Cousins

85-year-old woman unafraid to coach Kirk Cousins

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is always open to some coaching no matter who it comes from. On Friday that coaching came from Veronica, an 85-year old woman who works at Congressional Country Club and is a die-hard Redskins fan.

Cousins posted a picture of the pair together on his Instagram account Friday afternoon. 

Veronica made some solid suggestions, especially the one about him getting the ball out of his hands quicker. 

Despite the rocky contract situation with the team, there's no question that Cousins loves the passionate Redskins fan base. 

More Redskins: After four teams in five seasons, DJ Swearinger knows what it takes to make the Redskins home