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Need to Know: Five free agents the Redskins should bring back

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Need to Know: Five free agents the Redskins should bring back

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 13, 62 days before the start of NFL free agency.

Five free agents the Redskins should bring back

QB Kirk Cousins—He will not hit the open market. If he is not signed to a long-term deal by the March 7 deadline, the Redskins will put the franchise tag on him.

OLB Junior Galette—This should be a fairly easy one. Galette may not sign a deal for the veteran minimum like he did last August but he wants to return and likely will sign a team-friendly deal. If you have a question about what will happen to Preston Smith or Trent Murphy if Galette is on the team, the answer is, “You can’t have too many pass rushers.”

FB Darrel Young—Sure, he only played 112 snaps on offense all year. But he played on all four of the major special teams units and that should not be overlooked. Even of you don’t need a fullback often you do need one occasionally and Young is a good person to have on the team.

ILB Mason Foster—It would not be surprising to see Keenan Robinson move on as a free agent so the Redskins would be well advised to keep Foster around. He’ll be 27 in March, right in the wheelhouse for a McCloughan free agent, and he did a good job starting five games at the end of the season. They will know what they’re getting as they know he has been a solid locker room presence. Moe linebacker is a position they might want to upgrade but Foster can be plugged in until a draft pick can learn the position.

NT Terrance Knighton—Perhaps some expected a dominant force wreaking havoc in opponents’ backfields. They didn’t get that from Knighton but they did get a solid job from him as a nose tackle. The Redskins will probably pay more than some would like for him but large bodies who can move like he can are rare and therefore they are at a premium.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game three days ago. It will be about 242 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL combine 42; NFL free agency starts 62; 2016 NFL draft 106

In case you missed it

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Redskins activate K Dustin Hopkins, waive K Nick Rose

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins activate K Dustin Hopkins, waive K Nick Rose

After missing the last eight games, the Redskins brought back place-kicker Dustin Hopkins from the injured reserve and waived Nick Rose.

Hopkins became eligible to return from the IR this week and took part in practice all week. Jay Gruden wouldn't commit to one kicker or the other when he spoke earlier in the week, but the decision came down on Saturday.

Rose played well in Hopkins' absence, making 10 of 11 field goals including a 55-yarder. The rookie Rose had some struggles with extra points, missing two of his 20 attempts, though neither snap/hold combination was totally clean either. 

RELATED: REDSKINS-CARDINALS PREVIEW

Hopkins has the stronger leg and is capable of booting the ball out of the end zone on seemingly every kickoff. With Rose as kicker, at times the Redskins deployed a different strategy where kicks were aimed for the goal line, forcing a return. 

Washington's kicker for parts of the last three seasons, Hopkins has a career 84 percent field goal conversion rate and 94.6 percent conversion rate on extra points in 36 games. 

The Redskins sent Hopkins to the IR after a Week 6 win over the 49ers with a right hip rotator muscle injury. 

MORE REDSKINS: SLOW STARTS HAVE BEEN KILLING THE REDSKINS

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

For the second consecutive game, the Redskins got blown out on the road. First in Dallas, then in Los Angeles, Jay Gruden's team is reeling with mounting questions and pressures about 2018 and beyond. 

The best way to calm down the flames? Get a win.

Washington will have that chance on Sunday at 1 p.m. (full coverage on NBC Sports Washington at noon) when they host the Arizona Cardinals. Getting the victory won't be easy, however, no matter how bad the Redskins need it. 

  1. Turn the page - The Redskins have lost their last two games by a combined score of 68-27. The results have been terrible, and the outcome in Los Angeles could have been much uglier had the Chargers not pulled starting QB Philip Rivers. Still, those games are over, and Washington needs to focus on the Cardinals. Gruden spoke this week that his team cannot "wallow" in the past two losses. If the Redskins are looking back at their lost season, instead of looking squarely at Arizona, another blowout loss is likely to come. 
  2. Get it going - Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense had by far their worst statistical output last week in LA. The offense must get back on track, and that means a better performance from Cousins and the 'Skins run game. Against the Chargers, Washington generated only 201 total yards and just nine first downs. Nine, their second worst total since having only 15 first downs against the Cowboys the week before. At this stage of the season, the Redskins defense will not win this team any games. The offense must do it, and that means improved play from the line, the quarterback and the skill positions. 
  3. Make a play - Turnovers can win or lose games, and in their last two blowout losses, it's no surprise the Redskins have been on the wrong end of the ledger. Washington has five turnovers in their last two games, and has generated only one takeaway in that span. (It can be argued that shouldn't even count, as it came on an interception from Chargers backup Kellen Clemens in the final minutes of a blowout.) Washington ranks dead last in the NFL in points per game allowed, and that won't improve with linebacker Zach Brown out this weekend. Generating turnovers, particularly against Arizona QB Blaine Gabbert, should be the defensive focus. 

Quote of the Week: Jay Gruden, asked about preparation before the Chargers game-

We didn't spend last week playing checkers.

News & Notes:

  • Gabbert has been sacked 15 times in the Cardinals last two games. Washington comes into Week 15 with the 13th most sacks in the league.
  • The Cardinals defense ranks in the Top 10 in yards per play, yards per game, and rush yards per game. Despite that, Arizona's defense ranks 25th in points allowed. 
  • D.J. Swearinger, who played for Arizona last season before signing in Washington as a free agent, is tied for fourth in the NFC in interceptions.
  • Jordan Reed won't be playing this week, or the remainder of the season. Washington moved Reed to the injured reserve this week. 
  • Arizona coach Bruce Arians was a college quarterback at Virginia Tech from 1972 to 1974.

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