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Orakpo talks remain stalled; what’s Plan B?

Orakpo talks remain stalled; what’s Plan B?

The Redskins’ contract talks with Brian Orakpo remain at a standstill. The team has yet to make their outside linebacker a firm contract offer, according to the Washington Post. The deadline for using the franchise player tag on Orakpo comes this Monday at 4 p.m. and there is no indication that the Redskins are going to use it. That would greatly increase the chances that the Redskins will have to prepare for a future without their leading pass rusher for the last five years.

Although we don’t know what they will do, the best move might be to move Ryan Kerrigan, who was second on the team in sacks last year, from the left outside linebacker to the right side. That would put their best pass rusher on the blindside of right-handed quarterbacks.

Kerrigan would represent a minimal downgrade from Orakpo on that right side, arguably the most important position in a 3-4 defense. The issue would become replacing Kerrigan on the left side.

The only legitimate candidate who the Redskins have under contract at that spot now is second-year player Brandon Jenkins. The staff was very high on him last year but he played sparingly and is very much an unproven commodity.

They also could bring back Rob Jackson and/or Darryl Tapp. Jackson started 14 games on the right side in 2012 when Orakpo was out with an injury. He is good in pass coverage but does not provide much pass pressure. Tapp is solid against the run but he also is limited when it comes to pass rushing.

Another option would be to bring in somebody in free agency or the draft. But premiere pass rusher are expensive in free agency (if they weren’t the Redskins may have locked up Orakpo a long time ago) and, like most years, the draft is not loaded with them.

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Gruden on contracts for Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson: That time will come

Gruden on contracts for Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson: That time will come

Jay Gruden knows both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon are in the final year of their contracts - but the coach isn't worried about that. For now. 

"I think when the season is over we start talking about that," Gruden said on Wednesday.

The plan called for rookie first-round pick Josh Doctson to simplify the Redskins' front office pending decisions on Garçon and Jackson, but that hasn't worked out. Doctson missed the bulk of his rookie year with an Achilles injury, and while there was some slim hope Doctson might be able to come back in the late stages of the 2016 season, that door has closed.

The Redskins placed Doctson on the injured reserve list in October, and earlier this week designated center Kory Lichtensteiger as the player to come back from the IR. That move ends Doctson's season.

"It is disappointing for all of us," Gruden said of shutting Doctson down. "You know, we had high hopes for him coming out of TCU and the talent that he has and he’s disappointed but these things happen."

The coach allowed that the team didn't get to see much out of Doctson - who played just two games - and that won't help in the evaluations for the long-term need at wideout.

"That does make it tougher but we’re not worried about that. I think right now it’s all about trying to get the guys that we have to play well and play hard and get us to where we want to go. When the season is over, we’ll address all the free agents, the receivers and all of them in general, so that time will come," the coach said.

On the season, Garçon has 59 catches for 714 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games. Jackson has missed one game but has comparable stats with 644 receiving yards and three TDs on only 39 catches.

Both receivers, Garçon and Jackson play the position much different. Jackson is a vertical speed threat while Garçon is a much more physical wideout. At various times, Gruden has spoken very highly of both players, and for good reason. 

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!

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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 6, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 16; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 24

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

QB Kirk Cousins—It’s on his shoulders. Not just this game but the entire playoff run. He can’t have an off day, not even one like the Arizona game where he was off for just part of the game. Cousins doesn’t have to be perfect on every throw but for this team to win he has to be very good every quarter.

OT Trent Williams—Back from his four-game suspension, Williams can’t miss a beat in returning to his All-Pro form. Any mistake, much less any sacks allowed, will open him up to further criticism that he left the team in a bad spot. 

WR DeSean Jackson—The dynamic here has become more intriguing since media reports of mutual interest between Jackson and his former team have emerged. Jackson has done his thing the last two games, catching passes for long gains. But if he is going to be of value down the stretch (and of value to any other team next year) he is going to need to get his hands on some shorter and intermediate passes as well.

OLB Preston Smith—He was a regular on this list until he came up big against the Vikings. But he has since disappeared again and needs to come on strong for the team’s stretch run.

ILB Will Compton—He has been coming under fire lately for ineffective play, including missed tackles and being out of position on occasion. The Redskins need him to raise the level of his game if they are going to land in the postseason.

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Reed catches a pass. Staying away from contact. #Redskins

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