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If Martavis Bryant wasn't an option for Redskins, neither is Anquan Boldin

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If Martavis Bryant wasn't an option for Redskins, neither is Anquan Boldin

Plenty of Redskins fans think the team needs help at receiver, but Anquan Boldin does not appear to be the answer.

"He can't run anymore," said one former NFL front office executive of Boldin. 

The numbers back up that assertion. In 2016, Boldin logged his lowest yards-per-catch numbers of his career. He caught 67 passes for the Lions last season, but totaled only 584 yards, good for less than 9 yards-per-reception. 

Boldin's name comes up because he's available. The 14-year veteran signed with the Bills this offseason, then announced his retirement to pursue social activisim. 

This week, news emerged the Bills would allow Boldin and his representatives to look for a deal. 

Production has been lacking for the Redskins at the receiver position, but that still doesn't mean the team will look to acquire Boldin. He was a free agent all offseason, and still Washington did not pursue him. 

Now, with Terrelle Pryor struggling and the team waiting for Josh Doctson to emerge, some fans want the team to pursue Boldin.

While the circumstances surrounding Martavis Bryant are entirely different than Boldin, don't expect the Redskins to pursue either player before the trade deadline comes Tuesday.

Boldin has had a long and impressive NFL career, both on and off the field. He might be able to still help an NFL team, but Washington doesn't seem the right fit. If Jay Gruden's team is missing any one thing in the receiving group, it's a true deep threat. Boldin would not fix that. 

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Is the Redskins’ starter at left guard already on the roster?

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USA Today Sports Images

Is the Redskins’ starter at left guard already on the roster?

The Redskins have checked off a number of their “needs” boxes that they had when the season began. But there are two holes that remain. 

One is nose tackle. Of course, that has been an issue since 2010. The Redskins may have obtained part of the solution when the brought back Phil Taylor last week and most believe that more help will come in the draft. 

The other need, the one at left guard, also may be a work in progress. Or, perhaps they think they have the solution on the depth chart. 

The team does not put out a depth chart before training camp but if they did distribute one right now they would have Arie Kouandjio as the starting left guard. That is cause for consternation among many Redskins fans and based on some of his past play the low confidence level is justified. 

Kouandjio was a fourth-round pick in 2015. He played sparingly his first two years in the league, getting two fill-in starts in 2016. In training camp last year, he spent a lot of time playing with the third team and it was no surprise when he was one of the final cuts. The team kept undrafted rookie Tyler Catalina instead. 

Kouandjio caught on with the Ravens’ practice squad but when injuries started to pile upon the O-line in Week 8, the Redskins brought him back. Two days after he was signed he played 22 snaps at left guard against the Cowboys. 

In all, he played in eight games, starting six of them. He allowed three sacks, which is the same number that Brandon Scherff gave up, but Scherff played about twice as many snaps. 

What about 2018? Word from John Keim is that Kouandjio has changed his training to focus on lower-body strength and agility. He knows that he has a chance to establish himself in the NFL and he’s doing what he can to take advantage of it. 

Another option at left guard is 31-year-old Tony Bergstrom, who was re-signed earlier this week. He has played for four teams in six years in the league and has started seven games including three at center for the Redskins. Like Kouandjio, he may not be the ideal solution but perhaps a passable option. 

The whole picture here could up be upended in the draft if the Redskins use one of their top picks on a guard. There has been plenty of chatter about Ohio State center Billy Price going to the Redskins in the second round. He may not last that long. If he’s there, however, the Redskins have to seriously consider him. 

The team may go through the draft and perhaps OTAs and minicamp with what they have now. If it doesn’t look like they have a starting caliber player in place they then could reach out to the free agent market and bring in someone like Alex Boone

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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/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

 

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Redskins have invested in running backs, but the investments haven't paid off

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins have invested in running backs, but the investments haven't paid off

The Redskins brass believes they need to upgrade the running back position. Jay Gruden and Doug Williams said so this offseason. 

That’s all well and good, but it’s time to dispel some myths regarding the run game. A popular misconception exists that the Redskins need to invest in the running back position to run the ball better. It's not correct. Washington has invested plenty at the position, it just hasn't worked.

Plenty of teams run the ball well without investing top draft picks in a running back. 

Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rushing last season as a rookie in Kansas City. Surely he was a Top 10 pick to make that kind of impact?

Nope. Hunt went in the 3rd round.

Nine players rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season. Of that group, less than half were first round draft picks. Two of the nine players went in the second round (Steelers' RB LeVeon Bell and Bills' RB LeSean McCoy), Hunt went in the 3rd, Chicago's Jordan Howard was a 5th-round pick and Denver's C.J. Anderson wasn't even drafted.

In 2016, four of the top five rushers in the league weren't first round picks. Yardage leader Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys was a first-rounder. After that it was Howard, 3rd-round pick DeMarco Murray (Titans), 5th-round pick Jay Ajayi (Dolphins) and Bell. David Johnson of the Cardinals compiled more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage that season, and he was a 3rd-round pick too.  

The point is running back talent lasts deep in the draft, and Redskins fans need to be aware of that. 

The ‘Skins' problem hasn’t been a lack of investment at running back either.

In the last three drafts, the team has taken a running back each year. Samaje Perine in 2017, Keith Marshall in 2016 and Matt Jones in 2015. 

While Marshall was a late-round flyer, Jones was a third-rounder and Perine selected in the fourth. The team has invested in running backs, but those investments haven’t paid off. 

It’s premature to dismiss Perine. He led the team in rushing last season, and showed improvement in spots. Could he make a jump in his second year? Sure. Also don't forget Robert Kelley, an undrafted running back that emerged in 2016 only to lose most of the 2017 season to injury. There's also Chris Thompson, an elite talent, though he's not a traditional running back.

The pick that really hurt the Redskins was Matt Jones. Drafted in the third round, higher than many expected for the former Florida Gator, he showed glimpses of playmaking ability as a rookie in 2015. 

Jones' emergence expedited the exit of Alfred Morris, the last consistent runner on a Redskins roster. But Jones' career went backwards in his second season with Washington. Fumbling and lack of willingness to play special teams forced Jones to the bench, and he was cut in 2017. He signed on with the Colts, but got five carries in five games, and was inactive much of the year. 

Morris, meanwhile, had a solid 2017 season playing for the Cowboys. When Cowboys star RB Elliott served his six-game suspension, Morris stepped in well. He averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry for the season and torched the Redskins for 127 yards and a touchdown in a late November blowout. 

The point here isn't that the Redskins cannot or should not invest in a running back in next week's NFL Draft. 

It is important to point out that the team has, however, made investments in the last three drafts. And though Washington's attempt at finding a good running back in the third or fourth round hasn't paid off, that's not because it can't. Plenty of good running backs get drafted in the later rounds of the draft. 

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