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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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When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon just filled out his ballot for the annual NFL Top 100 Players list.

Let's just say it's pretty one-dimensional. 

Straight like that

A photo posted by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

As you can see, the form asks guys to rank who they consider the top 20 players in the league. But instead of naming 20 different players, Garcon voted for the same player 20 times. Talk about stuffing the ballot box. 

No surprise, but he's hyping his quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

Cousins is having a career year with the Redskins. His stock has soared over the last three weeks especially. Take a look at his numbers in that span: 84 completions on 116 attempts for 1,086 yards (72 percent), eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

Those efforts earned the Michigan State product NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors. And more importantly, Cousins has the Redskins in favorable position to make the playoffs for the second year in a row.

So far this season, Garcon has caught 52 passes from Cousins for 636 yards and two scores. 

MORE REDSKINS: Reed out, 7 other Redskins questionable

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Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

The Redskins made a couple of roster moves just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.

They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.

Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.

The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.

Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.

Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.

Bruton started the first four games of the season at safety before going on injured reserve with a concussion. This past offseason he signed a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with $3.4 million full guaranteed. There will be a deal cap hit of approximately $1.7 million in 2017 to account for the prorated bonus.