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Need to Know: Who will the Redskins play in Knighton's place?

Need to Know: Who will the Redskins play in Knighton's place?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 8, the day the Washington Redskins visit the New England Patriots.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Patriots

PROVIDENCE, RI—Reporting from here this morning before heading over to Foxborough for the game.

—It is not a complete surprise that Terrance Knighton is out of today’s game with cluster headaches, similar to migraines.   Earlier this week he said that he didn’t do much during the days off for the bye because he was suffering from them. One option to replace him in the line would be to move Chris Baker to nose tackle and use Stephen Paea at left end. Or they could put Paea in at nose and leave Baker where he has been so effective this year.

—Before every game I write a report on the inactive players for CSNmidatlantic.com. I can usually write most it in advance because I know who the inactive players are going to be, between those already declared out due to injuries and the players who are usually inactive. But with seven players listed as questionable and many of them who will have their statuses decided this morning it’s not that easy. Of the questionable players, I think that DeSean Jackson, Ryan Kerrigan, and Keenan Robinson will play, DeAngelo Hall and Kory Lichtensteiger will not and Chris Culliver and Bashaud Breeland are coin tosses.

—The move of Jackson Jeffcoat to injured reserve is as much a surprise to those of us who are at Redskins Park every day as it is to anyone. He was on the injury report with a thigh problem for Weeks 1 and 2 but he has been fine since. We will find out what the thinking was tomorrow. In any case, Houston Bates, who impressed during the preseason, gets a spot on the 53-man roster and he should be able to hang onto it the rest of the season.

—If Jackson does play today, how much impact can he have? His snaps are likely to be limited as he has not played in a full game in more than 10 months. But Jackson doesn’t have to play a whole lot to have an effect on the game. If he can grab one or two deep passes that will help. But whatever he can do to loosen up the rushing defense up front is unlikely to materialize for a week or two. It’s likely that they will be throwing the ball most of the time when Jackson is in the game.

—Like most, I can’t find a pathway for the Redskins to pull off the upset today. Rob Gronkowski will give them a world of problems and, of course, Brady is an unstoppable force. The Patriots won’t score at will but they will put up somewhere between 30 and 40 points. Maybe the Redskins can get into the 30’s but, as I said yesterday, they won’t be able to do it on the ground. They will have to move the ball with Cousins throwing to Jackson, Pierre Garçon, and Jordan Reed. I see them keeping it respectable that way but ultimately the Patriots are way too much to handle. I’ll take Patriots 38, Redskins 17.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Patriots 1 p.m., FOX

Days until: Saints @ Redskins 7; Redskins @ Panthers 14; Giants @ Redskins 21

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Jay Gruden wants DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon back, but 'won't blink' if they're gone

Jay Gruden wants DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon back, but 'won't blink' if they're gone

The Redskins face the very real prospect of losing receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon via free agency. Head coach Jay Gruden wants both players back, but is prepared to roll with the guys on the team if Jackson and Garçon depart. 

"Obviously DeSean and Pierre had great years. 1,000 yards each. Those are going to be hard to replace," Gruden said to reporters in Indianapolis. 

It's still possible the Redskins keep both Jackson and Garçon, or keep one of the two, just as both players could leave the organization. In his comments, it seemed like Gruden does not expect one or both guys to be back, and that the team will move on without them. That could mean losing Jackson's 1,005 receiving yards or Garçon's 1,041. 

"Coach the guys that we have. Free agency you’re never going to be able to sign everybody you want as a coach," he said. "I’d like to have Alshon Jeffery, Pierre and DeSean. Heck, give them all to me. I know that's not going to happen."

Gruden tends to joke often speaking with the media, and clearly the prospect of signing Jeffery, a star wideout for the Bears that will hit free agency next week, along with Jackson and Garçon isn't going to happen. The receiver market in free agency will be interesting to watch, as a number of top options will be available. Jeffery, Jackson, Garçon along with Cleveland's Terrelle Pryor and younger prospects like Kenny Stills and Kenny Britt. 

Asked if it was "necessary" to bring at least one of Garçon or Jackson back, Gruden bristled. 

"Would never say necessary. I’d love to have them both back, I'd love to have one back. If we are unfortunate enough to lose them both, I'm not gonna blink."

The coach explained the team has a good crop of young pass catchers already on the roster. 

"I do feel very good about Jamison Crowder, Ryan Grant, Josh Doctson. I love the fact that Mo Harris got a lot of work in, he’s gonna develop."

The coach should feel good about the young receivers, their development is part of his job. Crowder looks like a future star in the slot. Still, Jackson and Garçon accounted for more than 40 percent of Kirk Cousins' passing yards in 2016. That's a lot of yardage to lose. 

Of course, Doctson's development will be a major theme this offseason. A first-round pick in 2016, the Redskins got next to nothing from him as a rookie as he dealt with an Achilles injury. A healthy 6-foot-2 Doctson could offset some of the lost productivity that would come with the departure of Jackson or Garçon.

And then there is always free agency. It's entirely possible Washington could sign another, perhaps cheaper, wideout on the marketplace should they lose two the same way. Gruden said the team has 'other free agents' the team could pursue.

"We have Plan B's and Plan C's ready to go," Gruden said. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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The Redskins aren't willing to trade Kirk Cousins unless they are

The Redskins aren't willing to trade Kirk Cousins unless they are

Shortly after Kirk Cousins got the exclusive franchise tag from the Redskins on Saturday, two sort of conflicting reports. One, from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, was that Cousins “is not going anywhere” and a trade is essentially off the table. Mike Florio of Pro Football talk, quoting “a source familiar with the dynamics of the situation” reported that the Redskins would have to be “blown away” by a trade offer in order to pull the trigger on a deal.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

On the face of it, the reports conflict. One says that Cousins is available, the other says that he isn’t. But that valuation of them assumes the sources for these reports were intent on putting out the truth. The fact is that Cousins is very much available for the right offer.

A conversation along the lines of this one could well take place in Indianapolis this week:

“How much do you want for your house?”

“It’s not for sale.”

“No, really, how much do you want.”

“Really, it’s not for sale.”

“I’ll give you $50,000 over whatever it gets appraised for.”

“Sold!”

In short, you don’t need to have a “for sale” sign up in front of something to sell it. In fact, sometimes it’s better to act as though you have no intention of selling whatever it is. That can intrigue potential buyers even more.

The analogy falters a bit as it seems that the Redskins are unlikely to get a premium over whatever Cousins’ valuation on the open market might be. The receiving team will have to give the QB a massive contract. In addition, a team that wants Cousins is likely to be able to get him with no compensation in a year, when Cousins is likely to be an unfettered free agent. But you get the idea.

More Redskins: What happens next with Cousins?

The message from the Redskins is, don’t come at us with a couple of mid rounders. There is some point where the compensation for giving up Cousins a year earlier than they might have to isn’t enough. It literally would be better to rent Cousins for one more season than get, say, a third-round pick with a 2018 fifth thrown in.

That being said, they are not going to get the RG3 type haul—three firsts and a second—in exchange for Cousins. The likely would accept something south of that in exchange for Cousins’ rights.

So, he’s not available at any price—unless the price is right.

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.