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Redskins fan mailbag: Evaluating the O-line

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Redskins fan mailbag: Evaluating the O-line

Welcome to this week's fan mailbag with your questions about the Washington Redskins. Remember you can hit me with a question at any time on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN or on the Real Redskins Facebook page. Let's jump right into your questions:
@Rich_TandlerCSN do you think well see changes on the oline this year?

— adam (@adam19b) November 12, 2013
This was one of several questions about the offensive line and I have to say that I don't get it. The Redskins are third in the NFL in rushing and second in average yards per carry. Robert Griffin III has been sacked 18 times. Only five other NFL teams have allowed fewer sacks. I'm not sure what else you want out of a line short of preventing sacks and helping the running backs gain yardage. Have they had some bad games? Sure they have, including the one in Dallas and the most recent one in Minnesota (which I suspect is prompting all of the questions today). Should they look seriously this offseason at going younger and cheaper and having Adam Gettis, Josh LeRibeus (assuming he shows up in shape), and Tom Compton legitimately have a chance to compete for a job? Certainly they should. But the O-line is not a dumpster fire in need of immediate attention as many of you seem to believe that it is.
@Rich_TandlerCSN 29th ‰ Skins d, and Haslett ranked 21st or worse every year since 01. http://t.co/CEWDAvAhLH any accountability next year?

— Prem Iyer (@premiyerx) November 12, 2013
It looks like my friend Prem, like many others, is asking if Jim Haslett will be back next year. And I hate to disappoint you all by saying that is still to be determined. We have almost half of the season to go and if the defense turns things around like it did last year, it's very likely that, despite the historic record that Prem points out, he will be back. That's not set in stone; regardless of the finish, if Mike Shanahan believes that he has to jettison Haslett in order to save his job he likely will do so.

The wide receiver corps will need bodies, no question about it. Santana Moss is unlikely to return and Josh Morgan would have to give a massive hometown discount if he is going to stay and compete for a job. They might look in the draft for some talent but free agency also is a possibility. However, I wouldn't look for them to go after the specific players you mention. Nicks hasn't been healthy for two year now. Now that Britt is managing to stay out of jail he can't catch a cold. And Bowe signed a long-term deal with the Chiefs earlier this year. I'd look for some lesser names to be pursued by the Redskins.
@Rich_TandlerCSN If Orakpo continues to be underwelming at his position, is he a member of the Skins next year?

— Lombardi_trophy 2 DC (@readytowinitall) November 12, 2013
First thing to say here is that while I don't think that the ratings on Pro Football Focus are the last word by any means, but they do have some merit and PFF has Orakpo ranked as the Redskins' best defender and it's not really close. Disappointing sack numbers notwithstanding, there is no reason the Redskins would not welcome him back. And there's no reason why Orakpo wouldn't want to come back. The multi-million dollar question will be if they can agree on what fair compensation for him will be. If I had to guess right now I think that they'll be able to come up with a deal that neither side is completely happy with but that both will be able to live with. But that's far from a sure thing.

I'll roll the half dozen or so Nick Williams questions into this one. Yes, I think there is a very good chance that Williams will be active on Sunday against the Eagles and that he will be deep when the Eagles punt. How will be do? Sorry, can't tell you that. His only preseason return was a 29-yard effort so that has to be considered a good sign. But they don't run live punt returns during training camp and we can't see the walkthroughs they do in practice at Redskins Park. We will all have to find out together. If he catches the ball cleanly and doesn't go backwards, he will at least not be a downgrade compared to what they have been putting out there.

One more question rolling up many. I picked this one because of the last part is something that nobody else asked. I have heard that Bruce Allen is not going anywhere regardless of what happens to Mike Shanahan. The fates of the two are not intertwined. As to Shanahan, I think a lot depends on how this season finishes out. If the Redskins can get to, say, 8-8 or thereabouts I think Shanahan gets a one- or two-year extension. If the Redskins win a few more games but still end up with double-digit losses I think that an extension becomes very problematic. If the team collapses are there are signs that Shanahan is losing the locker room, all bets on the coach's future are off.

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Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Facing one of the NFL's best running backs in Arizona's David Johnson, the Redskins plan to use rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens as a spy in nickel coverage to slow down the Cardinals' threat, per a source close to the team.

Johnson ranks third in the NFL with 921 rushing yards, but it's the variety of ways the Arizona offense uses their second-year running back that makes him so difficult to handle for opposing defenses. Johnson also has 55 catches for 613 yards, and that's just through 11 games.

Cravens comes into the game with momentum as perhaps the Redskins most dynamic defensive threat. With size to play linebacker and enough speed to play coverage, the 6-foot-1, 220 lbs. rookie out of USC will be put in a tough position covering Johnson. The reality of his assignment is to try and contain Johnson as the Cardinals offense is so reliant on the runner that he will get a number of chances.

In their last two games, Johnson has gone for more than 150 total yards in each contest and scored multiple touchdowns. For his part, Cravens has proved a playmaker in his rookie season. To go with 29 tackles in nine games, his stat sheet has sacks and an interception listed.

Getting to Carson Palmer is the best path for the Redskins defense - especially considering the Cardinals' offensive line woes - but using Cravens to try and limit Johnson is a smart course of action for the 'Skins.

One member of the Washington defense explained that Johnson is "going to make plays" but that the key is to limit the damage. If the running back catches a ball out of the backfield, Joe Barry's defense will be focused on making a stop after a five-yard gain, instead of a 20-yard gain.

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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Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, analysis, video

Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, analysis, video

The Redskins and Cardinals highlight the Week 13 schedule with a showdown in the desert with heavy NFL playoff implications on the line.

If the Redskins (6-5-1) can score a victory over the Cardinals (4-6-1), the team can move closer to solidifying one of the top two Wild Card spots in the NFC playoff race.

Depite the Redskins' difficult Week 12 loss to the Cowboys, Kirk Cousins is playing the best football of his career as of late, and earned the NFC Player of the Month honors for his efforts.

While running back Robert Kelley did have a slip-up against the Cowboys, the team's run game still looks vastly improved from the early season, which allows the passing game to thrive even more. Jamison Crowder continues to impress, and although Jordan Reed will miss the Cardinals game with an injury, Vernon Daivs has proven to be an excellent option for Cousins.

The most entertaining matchup of Week 13 might be Redskins DB Josh Norman vs. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, but the most important matchup will undoubtedly be the Redskins defensive line vs. Cardinals RB David Johnson. 

RELATED: NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS HEADING INTO WEEK 13

Johnson trails just DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott -- who finished with 83 yards and one TD in Week 12 -- in total rushing yards with 920 and trails just Elliott and Legarrett Blount in rushing touchdowns with 10. The Redskins rank 25th in rushing defense, and have given up an average of 108 rushing yards in their last five games.

Redskins vs. Cardinals kicks off at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 4 on FOX. Redskins Kickoff gets things started at 3:00 p.m. ET on CSN Mid-Atlantic. (Channel Finder)

CSN is providing all the live updates, stats, scores, highlights, videos and analysis from Redskins vs. Cardinals. Got a comment on the game? Be sure to let us know in the comment section and join Santana Moss and Sebastian Salazar at halftime for the Facebook Live Q&A.

RELATED: BEST & WORST REDSKINS ALTERNATE UNIFORMS

Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates

PREGAME:

10:30 AM: Game Preview: The five things you need to know before Redskins vs. Cardinals.

1. Keep it moving
2. Missing in action
3. Consider the source
4. Problems don't go away
5. Harder they fall

10:15 AM: Be sure to follow CSN Insiders J.P. Finlay and Rich Tandler, who are at University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, Ari. Also, give our CSN Redskins Twitter account too. Come for the analysis, stay for the dank memes.

10:00 AM: Welcome to CSNMA's live updates blog of Week 13 Redskins vs. Cardinals. As always, I am Troy Machir and today I will be your online guide to Redskins vs. Cardinals football in the painted desert of the southwest. If you have an issue with me, you can cuss me out on Twitter, 140 characters at a time. It's fun.