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Need to Know: Will the Redskins make a move at safety?

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins make a move at safety?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 4, 24 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 85 days ago. It will be about 160 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 14; 2016 NFL draft 24; Redskins training camp starts 115

Hot topic

A couple of weeks ago, Jay Gruden sounded the alarm bell at the safety position, saying that it is an area of “great concern”. Since then, the Redskins have not done anything to try to bolster the position.

Over the weekend, one additional veteran has hit the free agent market. On Saturday, the Browns released Donte Whitner, who made three straight Pro Bowls in San Francisco (2012-2013) and Cleveland (2014). The former first-round pick of the Bills will turn 31 in July.

Still unemployed are Dashon Goldson, who was cut by the Redskins just before the start of free agency when he and the team were unable to agree on a reduced salary for this year, and Reggie Nelson, formerly of the Bengals.

Of the three veterans, Nelson had the best 2015 season. He intercepted eight passes, tying for the league lead. He’s also the oldest; Nelson will celebrate his 33rd birthday sometime during Week 3 of this season.

There was word that the Redskins had some interest in Nelson early in free agency but nothing has come of it since.

Both Gruden and Scot McCloughan have indicated that the door would be open to Goldson returning and that there have been some talks with his camp but there doesn’t seem to be much happening there at the moment. He might be their top option since he knows the defense and he provided some veteran leadership in the secondary last year.

Reading the tea leaves here, I think that the Redskins are waiting for Goldson’s asking price to drop to what they think his value is. In the meantime, it looks like Nelson is Plan B and they could make a move involving him if interest heats up.

It’s too soon to tell is Whitner is in the picture. One thing that the Redskins might like about him is his durability. He missed two games with a concussion last year but he had gone the previous five seasons with just one missed game.

The Redskins will have an eye on the position in the draft but it's tough to rely on that to fill an area of "great concern". Sooner or later, perhaps in May, they are likely to make a move for a veteran safety.

Fan question of the day

The Redskins will take Treadwell at No. 21 if they believe that he is the best available player. If he is not, they will take another player. The same applies to Thomas and their second-round pick.

Yes, that’s a simplistic answer so let me expand a bit here. If the Raiders had not taken Amari Cooper right before the Redskins make their first-round pick last year, Cooper would have been a Redskin and Brandon Scherff would have been playing elsewhere. So, clearly, they wanted a wide receiver. But despite the fact that there were some pretty talented wide receivers on the board in the second round they didn’t take one. Ditto in the third. They didn’t take a wide receiver until they took Jamison Crowder in the fourth.

So, for the most part, who they take in the second round is independent of who they take in the first. It seems that wide receiver is among the top two needs (it was last year, too) but that doesn’t mean they will use one of their top two picks to address it. So if things don’t fit right to take a wide receiver in the first, they won’t necessarily reach to take one in the second.

If they do bypass Treadwell in the first round because he’s not the best available in their evaluation they may hope in the back of their minds that Thomas will be there in the second and take him if he is. But if Treadwell is the best player on their board they will not leave him there in hopes that they can get their second choice later on.

(Hit me up on Twitter with #NTK @Rich_TandlerCSN or here in the comments to submit a question)

Stat of the day

Here’s record that may never be broken: The 1983 Redskins had a turnover margin of plus-46. That’s the best in NFL history by 12. Only three other teams since the merger, the 2000 Ravens (+33), 1985 Bears (+30), and 1991 Redskins (+30) have been within 16 of that record.

In case you missed it

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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!