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Need to Know: What are the Redskins' most important remaining needs?

Need to Know: What are the Redskins' most important remaining needs?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 11, two days before the Washington Redskins hold their rookie minicamp.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 122 days ago. It will be 124 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Rookie minicamp 2; OTAs start 13; Redskins training camp starts 79

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The Redskins have gone through free agency, the draft, and have signed about a dozen and a half college free agents. But they still have some needs on the team. These could be filled by someone stepping up from within, by signing a veteran free agent or by Scot McCloughan trading one of those extra 2017 draft picks that he stockpiled.

Here are the top needs that remain on the Redskins’ roster:

No. 2 running back—Or, is Matt Jones doesn’t pick it up a few notches over last year, they could be in search of a No. 1 running back. Chris Thompson isn’t built to handle a full load and seventh-round pick Keith Marshall is not a lock to even make the roster. The current free agent back who was the most productive last year was Joseph Randle, who rushed for 313 yards. But he is up to his neck in legal troubles. Joique Bell rushed for 2,235 yards in the last four years with the Lions. The preferred choice for a veteran still seems to be Pierre Thomas but a deal isn’t done.

Nose tackle—Can Kedric Golston plug the middle for 15 plays per game? Or will rookie Matt Ioannidis be the guy? The free agent options aren’t very attractive. They may go to training camp with what they have, see how Golston and Ioannidis work out, and either make a waiver claim or make a trade if they still believe they are in need.

Backup tackle—Last year Ty Nsekhe did a decent job of filling in for both Trent Williams and Morgan Moses. But he will be 31 around the midway point of the season and even though he’s a “low mileage” older player, with only two NFL games played prior to last year the Redskins may want to find a younger alternative. They didn’t draft anyone so perhaps they will give a shot to Takoby Cofield, who spent last year on the practice squad after being signed as an undrafted player.

Outside linebacker depth—You can’t have too many good pass rushers and the Redskins aren’t even close to having too many. They have three starting caliber players at the most important position on the defense in Preston Smith, Junior Galette, and Ryan Kerrigan but a lot of question marks behind them. Houston Bates may have some potential but perhaps McCloughan will want someone with more experience. And, no, the toxic Greg Hardy does not seem to be a possibility.

Stat of the day

The 1991 Redskins outscored the opposition by 261 points. That was the best post-merger point differential in the NFL until the 2007 Patriots outscored their opponents by 315 points. The Redskins are still second in that time period. They were had a point differential of plus-209 in 1983, a performance that ranks as the 15th-best since the merger.

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

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Fantasy Football -- Thanksgiving Day plan

The Week 12 fantasy football rankings are out -- but when it comes to Thanksgiving Day, everyone wants some player regardless of where they slot overall. Don't overthink it and take a lesser player, but for those on the fence or simply looking for Thursday action, here are some recommendations for all three games.

Vikings @ Lions

Obvious: Vikings -- Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs... running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon are in the RB2/Flex discussion for most, but good luck picking between them; Lions -- Wide receiver Golden Tate and ... wide receiver Marvin Jones works in three-WR formats while quarterback Matthew Stafford is No. 14 among passers this week.

Start: Case Keenum averaged 19.3 points over the last four games while the Lions have allowed ample points to fantasy quarterbacks in that stretch, though only three touchdown passes. Having Thielen and Diggs up the potential for Keenum, who is QB17 in the Week 12 rankings. That's comparable with Matthew Stafford (QB14), Andy Dalton, Jacoby Brissett and ahead of Derek Carr.

Add: Not sure there's any fringe skill player worth taking a flyer on so take a look at Vikings kicker Kai Forbath. He's attempted at least three field goals in four of his last five games and he kicked five extra points in the lone exception. ... Some will start Ameer Abdullah based on their options, but just know the Vikings allow the second fewest points to fantasy tight ends this season.

Chargers @ Cowboys

Obvious: Chargers -- running back Melvin Gordon and wide receiver Keenan Allen; Cowboys -- Wide receiver Dez Bryant, running back Alfred Morris and... quarterback Dak Prescott, though his production is down without running back Ezekiel Elliott and left tackle Tyron Smith.

Start: This hasn't been a vintage Philip Rivers season, but he's coming off his best performance (251 yards, two touchdown passes) since Week 5. The Cowboys aren't that special in the secondary and have surrendered two touchdown passes in three consecutive games. At QB13, he's on the cusp of QB1 status in 12-team leagues. 

Add: Kickers Nick Novak (Chargers) and Mike Nugent (Cowboys) are 15th and 16th respectively. So, there's that. 

Giants @ Redskins

The obvious: Giants -- tight end Evan Engram and... running back Orleans Darkwa is a viable RB2 option against a Redskins defense giving up gobs of yards on the ground; Redskins -- quarterback Kirk Cousins, tight Vernon Davis and...running back Samaje Perine is RB12 this week, though listed as questionable on the injury report with a finger issue.

Start: Jordan Reed is out for a fourth consecutive game, meaning Vernon Davis once again is Washington's main tight end. While he hasn't provided wow performances like Reed at his Pro Bowl best, Davis has been good for a solid 8-11 since taking on a larger role starting in Week 3. This could be his best statistical week of the season. The Giants allow the most points to fantasy tight ends on the season. Opposing tight ends scored a touchdown in each of the first 10 games before the streak snapped Sunday.

RELATED: NEW AND IMPROVED WEEK 12 FANTASY RANKINGS

Add: Josh Doctson is only owned in 55 percent of leagues on CBS even though he's moved into the role of Washington's top outside receiver. The second-year player had four receptions for 81 yards in Sunday's overtime loss, though all the production came in the first half. Consistency is the next step, but Kirk Cousins is showing more and more confidence in the 6'3" target especially on 50-50 balls. Doctson is WR36 in my Week 12 rankings, meaning he's worth starting consideration in three-WR formats regardless.