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Need to Know: Broncos' WR Welker, TE Thomas big concerns for Redskins

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Need to Know: Broncos' WR Welker, TE Thomas big concerns for Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 23, four days before the Washington Redskins travel to Denver to play the Broncos.

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Five things you need to know about the Redskins-Broncos matchup:

1. The Redskins defense is geared to stop the run and that won’t change against the Peyton Manning led Broncos. Denver is 16th in the league in rushing offense averaging 108 yards per game. They have rushed for over 100 yards as a team in five of their seven games. The two times they failed to reach 100 on the ground were their opener against the Ravens, a 49-27 win, and their last game, a 39-33 loss to the Colts.

2. Wes Welker is death by a thousand paper cuts. He isn’t going to make the big play on you—he averages 10.8 yards per catch and his long reception this year is just 33 yards. DeAngelo Hall covered Welker when he was with the Patriots so he will probably draw that assignment again. It will be an interesting battle, especially on third down.

3. Welker is a big concern but I think the guy with the capability to drive the Redskins crazy is tight end Julius Thomas. The 2011 fourth-round pick is tied with Welker for the team lead (and the NFL lead) in touchdown receptions with eight. It seems like every time I see the Broncos he’s making a key catch. Tight ends haven’t really killed the Redskins so far this year but then again they haven’t faced many really good ones. Thomas, I think, is one of the good ones.

4. Denver does have a defense but it’s hard to gauge how good it really is. The numbers get skewed when teams are forced into shootouts. They are last in the league in passing yards allowed but only two teams get thrown against more often. Still, they are allowing 8.2 yards per attempt, 28th in the league. You’d expect the rushing yards against them to be low due to teams passing so often and they are with the Broncos ranking fourth in the league. But they are second in the NFL in yards per attempt at 3.3 so they’re doing a good job of defending the few runs that are called against them.

5. It’s tough to write much about Manning that hasn’t already been written. He gets flack, some of it fair, some of it not, for his lack of postseason success. But that doesn’t matter right now given that it’s October, not January. The Redskins will have their hands full with him on Sunday.

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Stat of the day

—  The 134 receiving yards post by Jordan Reed were 25 more than Chris Cooley’s career high of 109.

Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Broncos 4; Chargers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Vikings 15

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Practice 1:00 (media can observe for first 30 minutes); Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan news conferences after practices after practice (approx. 3:15) streamed live on CSNwashington.com                   

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.

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Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.

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I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

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.