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Need to Know: Where do the Redskins still have needs?

Need to Know: Where do the Redskins still have needs?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 15, 76 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

I think that going into the offseason just about everybody knew that the Redskins would not be able to fix everything that was wrong with them in the wake winning just seven games over the last two seasons. And while Scot McCloughan did address a lot of positions, signing half a dozen veteran free agents and drafting 10 players, there is still work to be done, some holes that will need to be filled.

While there isn’t a position on the field that couldn’t use more good players, some remain weaker than others. On the defensive side of the ball the weak spot is safety. It’s hard to look at free safety Dashon Goldson and see anything than a 2015 version of Ryan Clark in terms of being a one-year patch at the position. He’ll turn 32 early in the season and his play the last two years has been spotty at best. Goldson’s contract is essentially a one-year deal since his salary skyrockets to $7 million next year, an amount the Redskins aren’t going to pay.

Behind him is Akeem Davis, who has way too much to learn to be counted on this year and he may never be a full-time solution. Perhaps a cornerback will move over to serve as free safety depth but David Amerson or DeAngelo Hall would be little more than additional short-term fixes.

Jeron Johnson is at the top of the depth chart at strong safety. With just one NFL start under his belt he has to be considered a question mark. Behind him are Phillip Thomas, Duke Ihenacho, and rookie Kyshoen Jarrett. While it’s possible that any or all of them could blossom into solid players you can't really check the box and say that strong safety is a solid and settled position.

On the other side of the ball, the position with major question marks is quarterback. There is optimism that Robert Griffin III can take hold of the position but it is far from a sure thing. Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy have had their moments but it’s a major stretch to think that either one of them can morph into a franchise quarterback.

In discussing current areas of weakness here we're assuming that the players the team drafted and signed all work out to reasonable expectations. That rarely happens so the to-do list for 2016 could well grow larger.

Let’s be clear here; I’m not saying that McCloughan bypassed any plausible solutions at these positions. The draft was very thin at safety and quarterbacks are always hard to find. We’ll just have to see what happens this year and continue to try to locate solutions.

Timeline

—It’s been 138 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 121 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 32; Redskins training camp starts 76; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 132

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants

Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.

Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.

Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.

Keys to winning

  • Run the ballThe Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
  • Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
  • Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.

Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.

Redskins 31, Giants 13

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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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.