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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—The free agent list, Hatcher's status

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—The free agent list, Hatcher's status

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 6, 18 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

A look back at the Redskins week that was

Why is it highly unlikely that the Redskins will trade RG3?—It looked like a lot of Redskins fans were engaged in some highly wishful thinking so I thought it was a good idea to lay out the facts on the topic. Click for the details if you’d like but the bottom line is that the only realistic outcome here is Griffin getting released.

Five free agents the Redskins will not sign—Scot McCloughan said that the Redskins will not be big players in free agency. The list of players they won’t even try to sign is long and Scot McCloughan’s list of players he wants to sign is short. But the Redskins are going to sign a few players to fill a few holes so speculation won’t be pointless.

Report: Redskins sign DL Ziggy Hood—The Redskins got a jump start on free agency by signing the former Steelers first-round pick during the week. They were able to sign him because he was not on a team’s roster at the end of the season. His contract has no guaranteed money and he will have to compete for a roster spot. It could come down to Hood and Cory Crawford, who spent 2015 on the practice squad, for the last roster spot.

Five things the Redskins need to do before free agency starts—There is a lot of work to do before they start signing players—time in the film room, a trip to the combine, trying to avoid making a franchise tag for Kirk Cousins necessary, and more. After a January breather that lasted a few weeks they are back at it in a grind that will go on through June. Then it’s a couple of weeks off before the start of training camp.

Will Hatcher return or retire?—I don’t have a good feel for what will happen here. Right after the Packers game McCloughan told Hatcher that he would be welcome to return. The GM reiterated the statement at the Senior Bowl. And while he played better than his sack numbers indicate it’s hard to see Hatcher back at a cap number well north of $8 million. Will he retire? Come back at a lower salary? Get cut? We will see.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 27 days ago. It will be about 218 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 18; NFL free agency starts 32; 2016 NFL draft 82

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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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