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Need to Know: Five things the Redskins can learn from last weekend's games

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Need to Know: Five things the Redskins can learn from last weekend's games

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 14, 114 days from the NFL Draft.

Nickel coverage

Five things the Redskins can learn from the divisional playoff teams:

1. Give your young QB a solid D—The two veteran QB’s remaining, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on the AFC side, play on teams that have suspect defenses. Denver’s ranked 19th and the Patriots are 26th. The two future Hall of Famers can carry the load. But the NFC contestants have young QB’s and tough defenses with top-ranked Seattle facing 5th-ranked San Francisco. Those teams can survive an uneven game by their QB’s like Russell Wilson’s 9-18 effort against the Saints. If the Redskins’ defense improves it will be amazing to see how much Robert Griffin III will improve.

2. But give your young QB weapons to work with—Three of Wilson’s completions were to Percy Harvin and Colin Kapernick has Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. Oh, and both have super stud running backs to hand the ball to. Griffin has a good start with Pierre Garçon and Alfred Morris. But one more weapon certainly would help.

3. Be prepared—One of the most underrated clutch performances of the weekend was the job done Patriots kicker Stephen Gostowski—as a punter. When Ryan Allen went out with an injury, Gostowski ended up punting five times with an average of 41.8 yards. You have to think that Gostowski practiced punting, at least occasionally, probably frequently. When you watch other kickers pressed into duty as punters you get the impression that most don’t practice it at all. Score (another) one for The Hoodie. Hopefully Jay Gruden

4. Don’t be predictable—Twice in the first half the Panthers drove deep into 49ers territory. On seven plays from inside the four yard line they tried to run the ball up the middle. Seven times the 49ers knew what was coming and stuffed it. Too bad they didn’t have an athletic QB who could roll out and stress the defense. Oh, wait, they had Cam Newton. Gruden’s Bengals were the best in the NFL in goal to go situations (TD’s 84% of the time) so it appears that he knows how to keep the defense off balance in the compressed area near the goal line and knows how to utilize his weapons.

5. Don’t be afraid to be a copycat—The Redskins have an opportunity to rebuild their secondary with so many of the defensive backs being free agents or relatively inexpensive to release. The Seahawks built their intimidating secondary on the cheap. Safety Earl Thomas (1st-round pick) is the only top-100 pick in the group. They started cornerbacks Richard Sherman (5th) and Byron Maxwell (6th) and safety Kam Chancellor (6th) along with Thomas. The Redskins have a start on such a secondary with 6-1 David Amerson. They just need a few more pieces.

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Timeline

—Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather was born on this date in 1984.

—It’s been 15 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 236 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Combine 36; NFL free agency 56; Offseason workouts start 83

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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.

MORE REDSKINS: WHAT CAN THE REDSKINS LEARN FROM THE PLAYOFFS?

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.