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Redskins vs. Dolphins: Pros, cons, and a prediction

Redskins vs. Dolphins: Pros, cons, and a prediction

Three reasons why the Dolphins will win:

—From the Redskins’ standpoint it would be a great story if rookie guard Brandon Scherff could battle Ndamukong Suh to a stalemate. But the reality is that, while Scherff may visit many Pro Bowls in the future it is likely that Suh will get the best of him. This will have Kirk Cousins on the run, unable to get rid of the ball quickly and will disrupt the Redskins’ plans to control the game by keeping the ball on the ground.

—Even if Scherff is able to hold his own against Suh the Redskins’ revamped offensive line will have to go up against two other very good defensive linemen in Cameron Wake and Earl Mitchell. Someone is likely to get through frequently.

—Ryan Tannehill has improved every year he’s been in the league. If he takes a step up from last year, when he passed for over 4,000 yards and threw just 12 interceptions in 590 pass attempts, he will be tough to handle. Despite some changes the Redskins’ secondary remains suspect and Tannehill could have a big day

Why the Redskins will win:

—DeSean Jackson can take the top off of a defense. He may play a limited number of snaps as he works his way back into game shape and Kirk Cousins might not always have time to throw deep but it only takes one to change the complexion of a game.

—Matt Jones could be a secret weapon for the Redskins against the Dolphins defensive front. The rookie running back may not do to well slamming into the line. But he is also good catching passes out of the backfield and he has great feet when he’s out in space. A good way to beat the pass rush would be for Kirk Cousins to flip the ball to him about half a dozen times and see what he can do.

—Tannehill cut down on the number of sacks he took, from 58 in 2013 to 46 last year. That’s a solid improvement but it’s still in the bottom third in the league. Ryan Kerrigan, Jason Hatcher, Preston Smith, and Trent Murphy could have their shots at the quarterback. If they hit home it could be a long day for Tannehill.

Prediction:

This is a winnable game for the Redskins even though the Dolphins are probably the better team. In a game where defenses should dominate a deep pass or two to Jackson or a big gain on a swing pass by Jones could tilt the balance.

But the Redskins aren’t ready to win a game like this. The matchup reminds me of the Redskins playing the Texans a year ago. They didn’t play horribly but Houston had a dominant defensive lineman in J.J. Watt who disrupted things just enough and Washington made just enough mistakes (giving up a blocked punt and a block extra point and losing two fumbles in Houston territory) to lose. I am not yet convinced that the Redskins are immune from such gaffes.

Dolphins 24, Redskins 17

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Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins called a 'mercenary' and that's a good thing

Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins called a 'mercenary' and that's a good thing

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 24, 13 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 5
—NFL Combine (3/2) 6
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 52
—NFL Draft (4/27) 62
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 198

Friday quick hitters

What about Baker? I’m not sure what the Redskins’ thinking is regarding Chris Baker. As with all their other free agents the Redskins haven’t been in communication with Baker’s camp, waiting for the chance to scope out the market at the combine next week. I think that Baker’s fate will depend on cost. If they can get in for around $7 million or less, he stays. If the bidding pushes his deal up much higher than that I think he’s gone.

McCloughan’s status: It’s not exactly news that Scot McCloughan doesn’t have the full powers that many NFL GMs have. He has always been more of a super scout, in charge of stocking the roster. He is not frozen out when it comes to contracts and financial matters but they never have been his strong suit and they are best left to Bruce Allen and, particularly, Eric Schaffer.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Anything new? So, was there much new in Jerry Brewer’s column in the Post yesterday? Given that the power structure has been in place for over two years now, it doesn’t appear that there was. Brewer essentially said it himself: “McCloughan isn’t necessarily losing power as much as he is having his lack of power revealed.” So during this past two years, while the team improved from 4-12 to playoff contention, things have been how they are now. Let me be clear, there were some disturbing insights in Brewer’s article such as the team’s lack of a response to a request for comment on Chris Cooley’s on-air musing about McCloughan’s alcohol consumption. But on how things work on the organizational chart at Redskins Park it’s been the same.

Who wants Kirk? We are at a point where the popular perception among the fans and media is that Allen is the one who will run Kirk Cousins out of town, either this year or next, while McCloughan and Jay Gruden are begging for him to stay. The narrative is that Allen is the bad buy and McCloughan is the good guy because that’s the way fans and some in the media perceive it. But I would pump the brakes on the notion that McCloughan is willing to pay whatever it takes to keep Cousins around. We haven’t heard from him this year but last year he said on multiple occasions that while he was interested in keeping Cousins around for the long haul the team needs to be careful not to give up too much of the salary cap to one player. That doesn’t sound like he’s all in on giving Cousins a blank check.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Cousins is right to go for the money: Some fans in my Twitter timeline are calling for Cousins to take less money from the Redskins to help Allen and McCloughan pay other players. That’s not happening, nor should it. Jim Trotter of ESPN referred to Cousins as a “mercenary” and he meant it in a positive way. What he is doing is using the NFL system to maximize his earnings potential. Look around at what has been happening around the NFL over the last few weeks, with players getting dumped when they are no longer of use to their teams—and instances of players getting cut will increase exponentially soon—and you should understand why there’s not anything wrong with a player getting as much money as he can while he can. If you add in the short careers they have and the risk that they might spend the last 40-plus years of your life having trouble getting out of bed every morning or sufferig from worse problems and you still don't get it, I can't help you. Cousins should get as much money as he can and it's the job of the team that voluntarily pays him that to figure out how to make it work around him. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Bucs QB Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa

Bucs QB Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa

Plenty of teams will line up for the services of soon to be free agent DeSean Jackson, but Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston made clear he wants D-Jax with the Bucs. 

"You better believe we want DeSean here," Winston told the the Tampa Bay Times. "I think he would be a great asset to our team. Me growing up an Eagles fan, seeing what he did for the Eagles and back in his Cal days and even with the Redskins, I would love to have DeSean."

Jackson has been clear he looks forward to the free agent process. He's only hit the open market once, and that was under inauspicious terms. The Eagles released Jackson well past the start of free agency in 2014, and the Redskins moved quickly to sign the speedster. 

In three seasons with the 'Skins, Jackson has been a solid teammate and strong player. In 37 starts for the Burgundy and Gold, Jackson has more than 2,700 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. 

RELATED: DeSean Jackson wants to play for an elite QB

With elite speed and arguably the NFL's best ball tracker, Jackson makes sense for a lot of teams. Tampa, in particular, could use a deep threat to play alongside Mike Evans. Teamed with Winston, who has a strong arm and loves to go deep, the Bucs offense would be formidable. 

That does not mean Tampa is a sure thing.

While ESPN's Josina Anderson reported the Bucs could be a  "possible destination" for Jackson, Philadelphia has long been rumored to want him back. His old coach Andy Reid is in Kansas City. Former 'Skins offensive coordinator Sean McVay is now running the show in LA. For a player like Jackson, just about any potential destination could make sense. 

Like it almost always is in NFL free agency, guaranteed money will be a major factor in DeSean's decision. At 30 year's old and with a game reliant on speed and quickness, this could be the last big contract of Jackson's career. Odds are he will land a big deal, and the team with the biggest bag of cash may prove the most tempting. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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