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Need to Know: The week that was at Redskins Park--It's still win and in

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Need to Know: The week that was at Redskins Park--It's still win and in

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 19, one day before the Washington Redskins host the Buffalo Bills.

The week that was at Redskins Park

A look back on the headlines of the week:

Redskins playoff scenarios—Resting the starters in Dallas?—All of the teams in the NFC East won last Sunday so the playoff scenarios keep playing out based on a three-way tie for first place. The Redskins' simplest scenario is to win all three of their remaining games to get in but they could get away with a loss or maybe even two. The ideal scenario would have them clinch the NFC East with a win over the Eagles and being able to do what the want in the season finale in Dallas.

Carrier out for the season with knee injury—It didn’t look good the moment he went down after catching a pass early in the Bears game. Carrier was obtained via a trade with the 49ers on August 21 after the team lost Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen to injuries earlier in the month. It took him a while to pick up the offense and he caught 17 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. Carrier is still under contract for 2016 but his rehab could extend into next season.

Redskins sign veteran tight end Alex Smith—He was available and he knows the offense thanks to having spent time with Jay Gruden in Cincinnati. His role will be mostly as a blocker but he will occasionally sneak out on a pass pattern to keep the defense honest. At age 33 and coming off of a couple of injuries Smith isn’t a long-term solution. But the Redskins just need someone who can get them through three more regular season games and possibly a playoff game or two and Smith seems to be capable of doing that.

DeAngelo Hall is looking forward to facing "little brother" Tyrod Taylor—Hall and Taylor both grew up in the Tidewater region and both went to Virginia Tech. Those connections led to a friendship that will be set aside on Sunday as they will be on opposite sides of the ball at FedEx Field. Although there is a lot of mutual respect there, make no mistake that Taylor would love to burn Hall for a long gain and that Hall would be delighted to pick off one of his younger friend’s passes.

Redskins WR Andre Roberts could need surgery—A disappointing season could come to an early end if the medical staff decides he should have surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Even if he can play in these last few games his season has not been good. For a cap hit of $3.75 million the Redskins got nine games and 11 receptions for 135 yards. He did provide one highlight with a 99-yard kickoff return against the Panthers but that’s still not enough bang for the buck.

Cousins' 2016 price tag likely in $13-$17 million range—As the Redskins remain in playoff contention their quarterback’s value in a 2016 free agent contract continues to climb and it becomes a topic of discussion. He has a chance to push his earnings to the higher end of the range if he can help the Redskins get to the playoffs and maybe win a game or two. But first things first—they need to beat the Bills.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park; no media availability

Days until: Bills @ Redskins 1; Redskins @ Eagles 7; Redskins @Cowboys 15

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Need to Know: Five players who are wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

Need to Know: Five players who are wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 19, seven days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

We know what to expect out of many members of the Redskins. Ryan Kerrigan will register between 10 and 13 sacks. Zach Brown will be among the league leaders in tackles. Jamison Crowder will compile about 800 yards receiving. But we really don’t know what to expect out of a lot of the players expected to play key roles. Here are five of them.

S Montae Nicholson—Although most of the uncertainty surrounding Nicholson is about his health, we really don’t know what he can do over a full season. Sure, he looked good in the six games he played last year but opposing offenses did not have much of a chance to probe his weaknesses. If he stays healthy, his ability to adjust to what the offenses are doing against him will be the next phase of his development. 

CB Fabian Moreau—As a rookie, he was impressive as a punt team gunner, but he got very limited playing time on defense (59 snaps, only seven after Week 5). The Redskins will be counting on him stepping into a bigger role after the departures of Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller. He has the tools but we won’t know how well he can handle the job until he gets extended playing time. 

WR Maurice Harris—Last year he went from spectacular to invisible in a hurry. He made a sensational catch for 36 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings the first time he was targeted. In five games after that, he had just three receptions for 26 yards. Should he have had more playing time (76 snaps)? Or did he just not earn more targets? The real Maurice Harris should come to the forefront in 2018.

NT Phil Taylor—You know the story here. He was looking great in training camp until a quad injury sidelined him for the season. Taylor is healthy enough for the Redskins to give him another chance but this is a player who has not taken the field since November of 2014. We simply don’t know what to expect out of him even if he does make into Week 1 in good health. 

RB Samaje Perine—His play improved as the year went on but he wasn’t good enough to keep both Jay Gruden and Doug Williams from saying that running back is a draft need. Ideally, he shares carries with the probable draft pick with a few going to Chris Thompson and they combine to rush for 1,800 yards. 

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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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 33
—Training camp starts (7/26) 98
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 143

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Is the Redskins’ starter at left guard already on the roster?

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Is the Redskins’ starter at left guard already on the roster?

The Redskins have checked off a number of their “needs” boxes that they had when the season began. But there are two holes that remain. 

One is nose tackle. Of course, that has been an issue since 2010. The Redskins may have obtained part of the solution when the brought back Phil Taylor last week and most believe that more help will come in the draft. 

The other need, the one at left guard, also may be a work in progress. Or, perhaps they think they have the solution on the depth chart. 

The team does not put out a depth chart before training camp but if they did distribute one right now they would have Arie Kouandjio as the starting left guard. That is cause for consternation among many Redskins fans and based on some of his past play the low confidence level is justified. 

Kouandjio was a fourth-round pick in 2015. He played sparingly his first two years in the league, getting two fill-in starts in 2016. In training camp last year, he spent a lot of time playing with the third team and it was no surprise when he was one of the final cuts. The team kept undrafted rookie Tyler Catalina instead. 

Kouandjio caught on with the Ravens’ practice squad but when injuries started to pile upon the O-line in Week 8, the Redskins brought him back. Two days after he was signed he played 22 snaps at left guard against the Cowboys. 

In all, he played in eight games, starting six of them. He allowed three sacks, which is the same number that Brandon Scherff gave up, but Scherff played about twice as many snaps. 

What about 2018? Word from John Keim is that Kouandjio has changed his training to focus on lower-body strength and agility. He knows that he has a chance to establish himself in the NFL and he’s doing what he can to take advantage of it. 

Another option at left guard is 31-year-old Tony Bergstrom, who was re-signed earlier this week. He has played for four teams in six years in the league and has started seven games including three at center for the Redskins. Like Kouandjio, he may not be the ideal solution but perhaps a passable option. 

The whole picture here could up be upended in the draft if the Redskins use one of their top picks on a guard. There has been plenty of chatter about Ohio State center Billy Price going to the Redskins in the second round. He may not last that long. If he’s there, however, the Redskins have to seriously consider him. 

The team may go through the draft and perhaps OTAs and minicamp with what they have now. If it doesn’t look like they have a starting caliber player in place they then could reach out to the free agent market and bring in someone like Alex Boone

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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/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.