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Need to Know: Will McCloughan look to deal the Redskins' top pick?

Need to Know: Will McCloughan look to deal the Redskins' top pick?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 22, 37 days before the NFL Draft.

I’m changing around the Need to Know format a bit. There may be some more tweaks in the coming days and weeks; your comments are welcome.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 72 days ago. It will be about 173 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 27; 2016 NFL draft 37; Redskins training camp starts 128

Hot topic

Scot McCloughan let it be known that he is in search of additional draft picks, perhaps parlaying the eight he has into as many as 12. Some have interpreted that as meaning that the Redskins are going to trade down from their first pick, No. 21 overall. I think that assuming that is like adding two and two and getting eight.

He said nothing about dealing the top pick. While the pick No. 21 would yield the highest quality picks—the Redskins probably get picks early in the second and third if a team wants to move up—the team would also give up its best shot at getting an impact player.

Last year McCloughan went into the draft with seven picks and came out with 11, including one in the sixth round this year and he didn’t make any deals until the third round. I don’t think he’ll have a problem turning eight picks into 12 this year with a similar strategy.

Fan question of the day

https://twitter.com/Robostop10/status/711945577324539904

I think we see the same starting lineup as we did last year with Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson on the outside and Jamison Crowder in the slot. This is a pretty solid trio, although it lacks the big red zone and third down threat (although TE Jordan Reed capably fills that role). After that, though, the picture is somewhat muddled.

It’s hard to imagine that Andre Roberts won’t get cut at some point between now and the April 18 start of offseason workouts. That would leave Ryan Grant and Rashad Ross. If they get a receiver in the earlier rounds of the draft and he can catch on he could be the first option off of the bench. If that doesn’t happen, it looks like Grant will be the primary backup.

Stat of the day

In 2015 the Redskins converted 22.4 percent of their third downs with 10 yards or more to go. That was slightly better than the NFL average of 21.3 percent.

In 2014 they were dead last in the league in converting in such situations, getting a first down just 7.6 percent of the time.

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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