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Need to Know: Would the Redskins draft Derrick Henry in the second round?

Need to Know: Would the Redskins draft Derrick Henry in the second round?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 30, 29 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 80 days ago. It will be about 165 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 19; 2016 NFL draft 29; Redskins training camp starts 120

Hot topic

Yesterday, after news that Anquan Boldin is visiting the Redskins came out, Mike Giardi of our corporate brethren at CSN New England put out a tweet that shed some light on why Boldin is making his first visit almost three weeks into free agency.

“Still out there not because of lack of interest, but $$$ demands,” wrote Giardi.

This is not just the answer to why Boldin hasn’t visited anywhere before yesterday. It also possibly is the answer to “Why aren’t the Redskins interested in (fill in the blank with your favorite free agent safety, running back, tight end, or other position of need)?”

It’s not always a matter of the Redskins not recognizing that this player could help them or thinking that he can’t play. It’s often a situation where the player’s price tag is too high and they want to wait until it drops to a point where they might be able to agree on a reasonable contract.

Sometimes the reason why a team doesn’t show interest in a free agent is because of the lack of a scheme or character fit. But more often than not it’s a matter of money.

Fan question of the day

Not to be too obvious about it, but two things would need to happen for the Redskins to draft Henry in the second round. For one thing, he would have to be there when the Redskins pick at No. 53 overall. I don’t think that the Heisman Trophy winner will be a first-round pick so he likely will be there on the second day of the draft. But will he make it past 21 other teams, several of which have needs at running back, to the Redskins pick? It’s hard to say how a draft will play out but I’d say that chances that he is there are less than 50-50, maybe way less.

If he does make it to No. 53 will the Redskins take him? I don’t see it for a couple of reasons. The word is that they want a faster back, a guy who can score from anywhere on the field, to pair with Matt Jones. And I think that Scot McCloughan will believe that he can find his second running back later in the draft.

With all of that said, you can’t rule it out completely. McCloughan likes big players and at 6-3, 247 Henry certainly qualifies. By all indications he is a high-character player who has the work ethic that the Redskins are looking for. Still, the odds seem to be against it.

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

Stat of the day

Kirk Cousins threw at least one touchdown pass in all 16 games last year.

The Redskins’ 2015 opponents threw at least one touchdown pass in all but two games (@ Atlanta, vs. Dallas). They lost both of those games.

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Need to Know: Redskins looking for consistency from Preston Smith

Need to Know: Redskins looking for consistency from Preston Smith

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 9, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 12:05; Jay Gruden and news conference and open locker room after practice approx. 2:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 10; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 15; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 23

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

Around Redskins Park

—The Redskins’ third-down defense is the worst in the NFL in a long time. They are giving up first downs on 48 percent of opponents’ third downs. Since 2002 only one team, the 2011 Chargers, has been worse over the course of a full season. The Redskins have a chance to improve in the last four games of the season. Their remaining opponents rank 15th, 22nd, 26th, and 27th in converting third downs on offense. So, while the damage is done perhaps they can avoid historically bad territory.

—Perhaps one of the reasons why the Redskins haven’t done well on third down is because Preston Smith, a player they were counting on to generate pass pressure and rack up sacks, isn't getting that done. He has 3.5 sacks on the year, two of them coming into one game. What are they looking for out of Smith? “Consistency is the truest measure of performance,” said defensive coordinator Joe Barry. “You have got to show up every single week . . . Preston is giving great effort, he’s trying. He just has got to show up in the statistic column.”

—Barry was candid in admitting that they were taken by surprise when the Cardinals snapped the ball on the fourth and one play from their own 34 in the fourth quarter. “I think everyone was a little shocked that the ball actually was snapped and they ran a play, but that’s football,” Barry said. The center’s hand is on the ball, ball is ready, the ball can be snapped, we have got to be ready to execute.” Should the season go south from here that play will be remembered as the turning point.

—Although whether or not the season goes south will largely be dependent on the play of Kirk Cousins, he doesn’t think about the pressure. “I just go about my business. I think you take it one game at a time, that’s the best way to manage it, and just enjoy the process,” he said. “We’ll see where we are in a few weeks but I can’t play the game today, I can’t play next week’s game today. All I can do today is prepare and go to practice and have a great practice, and I thought today I had a great practice and that’s a good step.”

—Jay Gruden wants to see the defense improve in two specific areas in addition to third downs. “Turnovers the last couple of weeks and red zone,” he said. “Those are three big time areas of concern . . . We’ve been lacking in all three of those categories of late.” They have had just one takeaway in their last three games and in their last five games teams have punched it into the end zone on 14 of 17 red zone opportunities (82.3%).

Tandler on Instagram

A little more left arm use by Reed on this catch. #Redskins

A video posted by Rich (@richtandler) on

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Redskins injury report: Three return but still plenty of question marks

Redskins injury report: Three return but still plenty of question marks

The Redskins’ injury report is looking a little better today, three days away from their game against the Eagles. 

DE Chris Baker (ankle), CB Will Blackmon (concussion), T Ty Nsekhe (ankle), C Spencer Long (concussion) didn't practice today. That is a substantial reduction of the number of players who were out of practice on Wednesday.

Going from out yesterday to limited participants today were S Donte Whitner (illness), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), and DE Anthony Lanier (leg).

Also limited were TE Derek Carrier (knee), ILB Will Compton (hip), TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and OLB Preston Smith (groin).

A player moving from out of practice to limited is no guarantee that he will be able to participate come Sunday but it’s a step in the right direction.

On area of concern is the offensive line. Three players who started against the Cardinals have not practiced this week. One was Nsekhe and he already was headed to the bench after the return of Trent Williams from suspension.

RELATED: Five Redskins who need to perform vs. Eagles

According to Jay Gruden, the line will have enough bodies even if Long, Nsekhe, and Lauvao are out. Second year guard Arie Kouandjio would start at guard and John Sullivan, who finished up after Long left the game on Sunday, would be the starting center. They could activate Kory Lichtensteiger from injured reserve to back up guard and center and Vinston Painter would be the backup tackle.

It appears that Reed is making progress from the AC joint separation he suffered in his left shoulder on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas.

“He looked good out there today,” said Gruden. “He’s still a little sore. Right now I have absolutely no idea (if he will play).”