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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a quarterback?

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins draft a quarterback?

INDIANAPOLIS—Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 19, 19 days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL start free agency.

Question of the day

While I’m here at the NFL Combine this week, I’m going to change it up a bit. I’m going to pose the question each morning centered around the draft and the position group that will be talking to the media on that day. You can find the daily schedule here. Up today, the quarterbacks.

Will the Redskins draft a quarterback?

The Redskins may be getting ready to hop on the quarterback carousel. Robert Griffin III is in the last year of his contract and there are strong, serious doubts that he will be the answer going forward. Kirk Cousins had his shot last year but he couldn’t protect the football well enough. He’s also under contract only through the 2015 season.

If you don’t have a quarterback, you don’t have anything, the saying goes. Will Scot McCloughan dip into the draft to see if he can get a signal caller for the future?

One issue is that this is not a great year to be doing that. There are serious questions about the consensus top two picks. Character and interception issues surround Florida State’s Jameis Winston. Nobody is sure that Oregon’s Marcus Mariota can make a successful transition from Oregon’s spread-style offense.

The question marks grow bigger from there as you go into the next tier of QB prospects. If Griffin is having a tough time transitioning from Baylor’s offense, Bryce Petty, his successor in Waco, is likely to have the same issues. UCLA’s Brett Hundley—stop me if you’ve heard this one—is not comfortable working in the pocket.

Perhaps the Redskins can find a project a bit deeper in the draft, someone like Grayson Garrett. The Colorado State product shows poise in the pocket and has great accuracy on the deep ball. He has a lot of mechanical things that he needs to work on like a slow release. Scouting reports say that he needs to process faster and make quicker decisions. Is that something he can be taught? You don’t know until you try.

McCloughan has his work cut out for him at the quarterback position. With Griffin playing as well as he was in 2012 nobody had any notion that the Redskins might be back in the market for a quarterback so soon. Even in 2013 it was easy to write off his spotty performance to issues stemming from the knee injury he suffered late in 2012.

If Griffin bounces back or Cousins can get a handle on the turnover issues, both will not be back in 2016. So even if the starting position doesn’t need to be addressed the backup spot will be. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Redskins draft a QB sometime on Saturday in the draft (rounds 4-7) and see what he can develop in to. But if they’re banking on this draft to find their QB of the future they could well be out of luck in 2015.

Timeline

—It’s been 53 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 206 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 19; Redskins offseason workouts start 60; 2015 NFL Draft 70

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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Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

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: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

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?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<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 iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<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!