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Need to Know: Davis' return a key for 2017 Redskins

Need to Know: Davis' return a key for 2017 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 8, one day before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 40
—NFL Draft (4/27) 50
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 129
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 186

Davis a key to Redskins offense

A few hours ago, Chick Hernandez of CSN sent out the following:

It’s a multi-social media post, a tweet of a message that tight end Vernon Davis delivered via Snapchat. It apparently shows him signing a three-year contract extension worth a reported $15 million in Bruce Allen’s office.

That seems like a lengthy deal for a 33-year-old player but we will see what the details look like. In any case, given the what is going on with pass catchers on the Redskins, they needed to do what they had to do to retain him.

Davis is important for two reasons. For one thing, he is the backup for the best pass catcher they currently have under contract, Jordan Reed. Besides his talent, the one thing we know about Reed is that he is unlikely to play 16 games. Last year he missed two games with a concussion and two more with a shoulder injury. There was a drop off with Davis in for Reed but it wasn’t a big one.

But even if Reed plays every game the Redskins need Davis because he is a capable receiver as a second tight end. The departures of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon as free agents appear to be imminent. While they need wide receivers to replace then they also need hands. Last year Davis caught 44 passes for 583 yards and two touchdowns. They will lose over two thousand yards of offense if Jackson and Garçon walk out the door. They could ill afford to lose the nearly 600 that came from Davis.

We could see the Redskins offense transform into one that went through the outside receivers last year to one focused between the hash marks. Slot receiver Jamison Crowder, who caught 67 passes for 847 yards and seven touchdowns, is the leading returning receiver if the two free agents depart. Davis and Reed (66/686/6) will ably man the tight end spot. And they could utilize the speedy Chris Thompson (49/349/2) as a pass catcher out of the backfield more than they have been.

The Redskins still will need to hope that Josh Doctson is healthy and productive this year and they will need to get a wide receiver or two if Jackson and Garçon are gone. But with Davis back they have the core of a pretty good set of targets for Kirk Cousins to throw to.

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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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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 23, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles, 8:30 pm, ESPN

Days until:

—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 13
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 31

Final report on injures of note:
Out
: CB Josh Norman (rib),
Questionable: OT Trent Williams (knee)CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), RB Rob Kelley (ankle),
See the full injury report and analysis here

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The first time these teams met, both scored defensive touchdowns. Ryan Kerrigan got the first Redskins points on the board with a pick six of Carson Wentz in the second quarter. With a minute and a half left, Fletcher Cox wrapped up the game for his team with a 20-yard return of a very controversial fumble. The difference tonight could well be a defensive or special teams score.

—In that game, the Redskins never let the Eagles get any sort of running game going. The Eagles rushed for 54 yards, the second-lowest total for a Washington opponent this year. And they had 24 attempts (2.4 yards per) so it wasn’t as though they didn’t try. The Redskins could use another strong effort against the run this time as well.

—I examined third downs in the first look at this game a few days ago. Since then, this was bought to my attention.

Third downs could be a fatal flaw for the Redskins. The Eagles’ ability to convert third and long situations was a key to them being able to survive without much of a running game in the opener. The Redskins need to hold the Eagles to 40 percent or less on all third downs and to 25 percent or less on third and long. And they will have to do it without Josh Norman, their best defensive back.

—In the first meeting, the matchup of the Redskins’ offensive line and the Eagles’ defensive front went decidedly in Philly’s direction. Washington rushed for just 64 yards and Kirk Cousins was sacked four times. There were plenty of concerns about the line, especially RT Morgan Moses, who gave up two sacks, and RG Brandon Scherff, who gave up four total pressures. Those two and the unit as a whole have been better since that game. The Redskins’ front will need to win that battle this time around.

Prediction: A Week 7 game is not really a must-win when you have a winning record. There is a lot of season left to be played. But if the Redskins are going to take the next step and stay in the thick of things for the ideal playoff seeding, they need to take this one. This year in the NFL, just when everyone thinks they have things figured out something happens to flip the script. Everyone now figures that the Eagles are the best team in the NFC and perhaps the best in the NFL. They are ripe for an upset.

Redskins 24, Eagles 20

Season prediction record: 2-3

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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Trent Williams needs knee surgery eventually, but the timeline has many factors

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Trent Williams needs knee surgery eventually, but the timeline has many factors

PHILADELPHIA — Arguably the Redskins best player, all of the NFL knows that Trent Williams can still play at a high level while dealing with injury. 

How long Williams can play though injury seems the more important question though as reports emerged the left tackle will need knee surgery at some point. That could come in the next few weeks, or as Redskins fans hope, perhaps at the end of the season.

Currently playing with a torn medial patella-femoral ligament in his right knee, the six-time Pro Bowler has not practiced since sustaining the injury three weeks ago in Kansas City. He was able to gut out a strong performance last week against the 49ers, and is expected to do the same Monday night against the Eagles.

One factor that might be pushing Williams to play with such a damaged right leg is that backup tackle Ty Nsekhe is also out after having surgery on his core muscles. 

MORE: REDSKINS WEEKLY MVPS FOR EVERY GAME THUS FAR

Nsekhe is expected back relatively soon, but the timeline remains murky. When he can come back, perhaps Williams will reconsider his options. 

Surgery for the torn MPFL will leave Williams with a five or six-month recovery. 

It's obvious the Redskins' offense is best with Williams on the field. Nsekhe, however, proved a capable backup last season when Williams served a four-game suspension. 

Without Nsekhe, the Redskins would go to veteran T.J. Clemmings should Williams be unable to play. Nsekhe has not played since a Week 3 win over Oakland. The Redskins added Clemmings to the roster in early September, after their fourth preseason game. He spent the last two seasons with the Vikings. 

For now, the Redskins will continue to hope Williams can play through the pain.

"Trent is a tough guy, so we will see how it works, see how feels tomorrow and go from there," Jay Gruden said of Williams on Saturday. 

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