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Fan questions: In addition to RG3, what needs to improve?

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Fan questions: In addition to RG3, what needs to improve?

It's been a while since we've done fan questions and you submitted some good ones to me on Twitter at @Rich_TandlerCSN and on the Real Redskins Facebook page. Let's jump right in.
What do u think is the biggest need atm and what'll be the draftapproach? Best available or need? #RedskinsTalk @Rich_TandlerCSN

— Ralf Peeters (@RalfPeeters) March 18, 2014
I got lots of draft questions, this is a good one to represent them. Right now, the biggest need is another safety but they won't wait for the draft to get that lined up. The answer is best available but it is important to note that the determination of what is best available is shaped by need. "Best" doesn't just mean the player's talents, it means a fit into the scheme and, yes, what the team needs. A running back, for example, is unlikely to emerge as the best available player when their pick comes up at No. 34 or in the third round at No. 66 because they don't need to take a running back that high.

That's a fair question and the answer is that we are going to have to see. I'm not going to dismiss the "handcuffed" argument out of hand. To me it makes no sense to have two first-round draft picks as your primary pass rushers and then not use them as pass rusher as often as they did. Until I see otherwise, I'll accept that that was Mike Shanahan's doing; he talked all the time about how he was involved in the defense. On a dry erase board, the defense can be better. We won't find out how it will translate on the field until September.
@Rich_TandlerCSN With Meriweather signed, if Ryan Clark signs, means no room for Doughty, right? #RedskinsTalk

— Steve in TN ™ (@sdo1) March 18, 2014
I would not rule out Doughty even though, as far as has been reported, nobody on the Redskins has contacted him about a new contract and that's with Clark's status being very much up in the air. But if Clark does come on board it's going to be difficult to find a spot for Doughty. With both starters at safety on the far side of 30 they would have to allow room for Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo, Jose Gumbs and a potential draft pick to develop. Unless they go out in OTAs and don't like what they see from the younger players, Doughty is unlikely to return.

RG3, RG3, and RG3. Next question. OK, seriously, while it's hard to overemphasize how important a Griffin return to something near 2012 form is, more needs to go right if this team is going to have a big turnaround. Just to pick two more among several issues, I'd say they need to rush the opposing passer better and the special teams need to improve to something near the league average. Note: I'm working on the assumption here that Griffin can't improve unless his protection improves. And also, in mid March, I would not completely dismiss the Redskins' chances of competing for the title in what is still, despite all of the free agency activity by the Giants and Eagles, a very weak NFC East.
@Rich_TandlerCSN which 2012 draft pick(s) has the best shot of earning a starting spot on the offensive line? #RedskinsTalk

— Rémy LeBeau  (@Lil_Tem) March 18, 2014
I would say it's probably Adam Gettis. He has bulked up to around 315 and if he is given a fair shot he will have a chance to beat out Chris Chester at guard. Tom Compton could have a shot but their pursuit of Donald Penn doesn't indicate a great deal of confidence in him. Josh LeRibeus was going to get a shot at starting last year but he showed up out of shape and I'm not sure they will trust him again. 
#RedskinsTalk hey Rich..any progress or word on field turf? Thanks

— HTTR (@Lifelongskinfan) March 18, 2014
The word on field turf is no. It is not happening, at least not anytime soon. Bruce Allen favors natural grass and Dan Snyder is inclined to follow his recommendation. And I agree--a well-maintained grass field is far, far preferable to playing on field turf. What happened in 2012, when for some inexplicable reason they failed to re-sod the field in midseason, won't happen again. Frankly, criticism of the condition of the field late last year bordered on ridiculous. It's as though every divot was some sort of land mine. A grass field is going to get a little torn up, it's OK, really. And, this just in, if it's snowing or raining players slip on both field turn and on natural turf. On more note, Snyder is not sticking with grass because he's cheap. It is considerably more expensive to grown and maintain a grass field than it is to install a carpet and replace it every eight years or so.

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to spend send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110 but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

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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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!