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Enemy intel: Early look at the Packers

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Enemy intel: Early look at the Packers

The Redskins weren’t the only team that had some defensive issues in their season opener. The Packers, their opponent on Sunday, did not have a good day defensively in San Francisco.

Colin Kaepernick lit up their secondary for 412 yards passing and three touchdowns. I think Anquan Boldin just caught another pass against them adding to the 13 for 208 yards and one touchdown on Sunday. Tight end Vernon Davis added six catches for 98 yards and two TDs. San Francisco also rushed for 90 yards, although it took them 34 attempts to get there (2.6 average).

Although the defense struggled, the Pack stayed in the game until the end thanks to Aaron Rodgers (21 of 37 for 333 yards, 1 interception, 3 touchdowns) and his stable of receivers. Two of them went over 100 yards, Randall Cobb (7-108) and Jordy Nelson (1-130).

One good thing for the Redskins is that the Packers don’t have a LeSean McCoy to run at the Redskins. A lot of analysts wanted to hand Eddie Lacy the rookie of the year award before the season even started but he picked up just 41 yards on 14 carries against the 49ers. He’s still a good combination of speed and power and the Redskins won’t sleep on him but he’s no Shady.

Thoughts from Green Bay

—Here are some thoughts on the Packers defense from Packer Geeks, a long running blog about the team:
Yes, the defense tried hard and I liked to see that. But like Mike Sherman, who spent 18-20 hours a day working on coaching stuff – sometimes the amount of effort just doesn’t matter if the job is not getting done. Bottom line – our defense was really bad.
—Packers safety Morgan Burnett, the quarterback of the defense, missed the game with a hamstring injury. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal:
The Packers really, really missed Morgan Burnett in the back end. Colin Kaepernick is that good, but a solid safety would have made a difference on a day when the Packers did not let Kaepernick beat them with his feet.
Burnett’s status for Sunday is undetermined. He did not miss a snap in 2012.

—The Green Bay starting offensive line doesn’t have much of a pedigree. Three of the players were drafted in the fourth round or later, including rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari (4th round) and two are undrafted free agents. Again from the Journal-Sentinal:
Green Bay's front five gave an admirable performance in the Packers' 34-28 Week 1 loss to San Francisco. Facing one of the NFL's top defenses, the line allowed two sacks and helped the Packers roll up 385 total net yards.

"If you play in the league, you play in the league," said Packer center Evan Dietrich-Smith, who went undrafted in 2009. "It's not an 'Oh, I was drafted here' or 'I was drafted there' type of situation.
"If you show up to a camp and you display that you can play in the league, then you're going to play. That's the bottom line. And if you don't, you're going to get cut."

An early preview on that site gives the Packers the advantage at quarterback, receiver, defensive line, secondary, and special teams. The Redskins have the edge at running back and coaching with the offensive line and linebackers being even.

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Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

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Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 19, 54 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 46
—NFL Draft (4/26) 97
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 233

Things change quickly

Two years ago today, the Redskins were in the process of picking up the pieces after their 35-18 home loss to the Packers in the wild-card round of the 2015 season playoffs. How many of the 22 players who started that game for Washington are still with the team? You may be surprised to find out just how few are likely to be with the Redskins when the season opens in September.

Offense:

WR DeSean Jackson—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
WR Pierre Garçon—Signed with 49ers as a free agent last year.
WR Jamison Crowder—Still with the Redskins
TE Jordan Reed—Still with the Redskins
LT Trent Williams—Still with the Redskins
LG Spencer Long—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
C Kory Lichtensteiger—Retired following the 2016 season
RG Brandon Scherff—Still with the Redskins
RT Morgan Moses—Still with the Redskins
RB Alfred Morris—Signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in 2016
QB Kirk Cousins—Set to be a UFA, you know the story here

Of the 11 offensive starters, five are still with the team, one has retired, three are employed by other teams, and two are headed into free agency. The chances of either Long or Cousins returning currently hover under 50 percent, although things can change.

Defense:

DE Chris Baker—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
DE Jason Hatcher—Retired following the 2015 season
NT Terrance Knighton—Signed with the Patriots following the 2015 season but was cut and he hasn’t played and subsequently retired
ILB Will Compton—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
ILB Mason Foster—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
OLB Ryan Kerrigan—Still with the Redskins
OLB Trent Murphy—Spent 2017 in injured reserve, set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Bashaud Breeland—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Will Blackmon—Released last September, currently unsigned
S DeAngelo Hall—Set to be an unrestricted free agent, likely to retire
S Dashon Goldson—Released after 2015 season, currently unsigned

Only one starter, Ryan Kerrigan, is under contract for 2018. Of the free agents, Breeland is likely to depart and things are up in the air regarding Foster, Compton, and Murphy.

To sum it up, out of 22 starters in that game played 740 days ago, only six are certain to be with the team in 2018 while nine have either signed elsewhere, spent 2017 out of football, or have retired (10 if you count Hall).

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

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Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Most NFL teams usually carry at least six wide receivers, but going into the 2018 season, only Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Maurice Harris and Robert Davis hold signed contracts with the Redskins.

That means Washington must consider adding receiver help via free agency, especially considering Harris and Davis rarely played in 2017. Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Grant both played with the Burgundy and Gold in 2017, and while Grant has a solid chance to return, it would seem Pryor will head elsewhere after a disappointing season in D.C. 

Like every year, a number of receivers will be available via free agency, but what guys make sense for Jay Gruden's team? Let's take a look at three different scenarios, knowing Washington likely needs to add at least one free agent wideout. 

RELATED: MOCK DRAFTS LINKING 'SKINS TO BAKER MAYFIELD

  • Expensive: Jags WR Allen Robinson - A second-round pick in 2014, Robinson posted a 1,400-yard season in 2015 and has shown the ability to be a true No. 1 wideout in the NFL. He's 6-foot-3 with speed and leaping ability. In 2016, his numbers dipped to less than 900 yards receiving, but that season the Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles struggled significantly. Here's the thing: Robinson blew out his knee in the NFL opener in 2017, and that might make his price tag drop a bit. Word is the former Penn State star should be fully cleared by early March from the injury, and just 24 years old, he will be intriguing. Washington showed they would spend for a wideout in 2017 with the Pryor signing, but they did so on a one-year deal. If Robinson finds the free agent market not as robust as he wants, maybe a similar short-term deal could be reached?
  • Reasonable: Colts WR Donte Moncrief - A third-round pick in 2014, Moncrief also had a big sophomore season in 2015. He grabbed 64 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns. That was his only full 16-game season, as injuries have continued to be an issue for the 6-foot-2, 220 lbs. wideout out of Ole Miss. In 2016, only playing in nine games, he still contributed with seven touchdowns. In 2017, his numbers slipped big-time, and he posted less than 400 yards receiving in 12 games. Moncrief's problem isn't talent, it's health. That means he could be relatively cheap, and at just 24 years old, that contract might bring a strong return. 
  • Wild Card: Jets WR Eric Decker -  The Redskins have lacked a true veteran wideout since DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon left the team following the 2016 season. Decker will turn 31 in March and would give Washington a different presence in the WR meeting room. He posted two 1,000 yard seasons playing with Peyton Manning in Denver and went to the Super Bowl in 2013. In 2015, while teamed up with Ryan Fitzpatrick playing for the Jets, Decker again hit the 1,000-yard mark and hit the end zone 12 times. Throughout his career, Decker has been a solid red zone threat and has shown the ability to win on tough routes. He will need to take a big pay cut from the $4.5 million, one-year deal he signed in Tennessee in 2017, but that has to be expected considering his paltry production. In 16 games with the Titans, Decker logged 563 yards and only one TD. Decker might make sense, though the cost would need to be low. 

There are plenty of other names to watch, guys like Seattle's Paul Richardson or Buffalo's Jordan Matthews. Free agency opens in mid-March, and some connections between the Redskins and wideouts will start prior to that.

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