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Need to Know: Who replaces Helu as the Redskins' No. 2 running back?

Need to Know: Who replaces Helu as the Redskins' No. 2 running back?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 16, 45 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

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.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

One question to a customer, my friend. We'll look at the third-down back situation here.

Given Roy Helu’s subpar pass blocking skills, running back may have been a need even if he had not signed with Oakland. It’s apparent that the Redskins did not consider him to be a major priority given the modest two-year, $4 million contract he got from the Raiders.

Helu has been the third-down/relief running back for the last two years so regardless of whether they wanted him or not, he’s gone and the team needs a replacement. So let’s go back to something we had some fun with a few weeks ago. Let’s say that we have $100 in poker chips to bet on each of the possible replacements for Helu. I’ll spread them out according to my current assessment of the chances of each to have that role in Week 1 of the regular season.

Silas Redd $35—The coaches like his work ethic and his ability. Redd, who made the team as a rookie free agent last year, displayed a good aptitude for catching the ball out of the backfield. But can he pass block well enough to nail down the role?

Chris Thompson $25—There are plenty of doubts about Thompson, including his blocking and his ability to stay healthy. But there are no doubts about his speed and if he can get the other aspects of his game together it will be hard for the coaches to keep him off of the field.

Draft pick $25—A running back like Melvin Gordon could well be the best player on the board when the Redskins’ pick in the second round comes around. Ditto for T.J. Yeldon in the third or fourth. I’m not sure that a back taken later in the day on Saturday would be ready for Week 1 action; an Alfred Morris only comes along once a decade or so.

Free agent $15—Pierre Thomas, formerly of the Saints, is 30 and may be just a one-year solution but he is a capable runner, receiver, and blocker. The remaining veteran free agent options either have had injury problems (Ahmad Bradshaw) or appear to be out of gas (Steven Jackson).

Timeline

—It’s been 78 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 181 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 35; 2015 NFL Draft 45; Redskins training camp starts 136

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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Redskins activate K Dustin Hopkins, waive K Nick Rose

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins activate K Dustin Hopkins, waive K Nick Rose

After missing the last eight games, the Redskins brought back place-kicker Dustin Hopkins from the injured reserve and waived Nick Rose.

Hopkins became eligible to return from the IR this week and took part in practice all week. Jay Gruden wouldn't commit to one kicker or the other when he spoke earlier in the week, but the decision came down on Saturday.

Rose played well in Hopkins' absence, making 10 of 11 field goals including a 55-yarder. The rookie Rose had some struggles with extra points, missing two of his 20 attempts, though neither snap/hold combination was totally clean either. 

RELATED: REDSKINS-CARDINALS PREVIEW

Hopkins has the stronger leg and is capable of booting the ball out of the end zone on seemingly every kickoff. With Rose as kicker, at times the Redskins deployed a different strategy where kicks were aimed for the goal line, forcing a return. 

Washington's kicker for parts of the last three seasons, Hopkins has a career 84 percent field goal conversion rate and 94.6 percent conversion rate on extra points in 36 games. 

The Redskins sent Hopkins to the IR after a Week 6 win over the 49ers with a right hip rotator muscle injury. 

MORE REDSKINS: SLOW STARTS HAVE BEEN KILLING THE REDSKINS

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

For the second consecutive game, the Redskins got blown out on the road. First in Dallas, then in Los Angeles, Jay Gruden's team is reeling with mounting questions and pressures about 2018 and beyond. 

The best way to calm down the flames? Get a win.

Washington will have that chance on Sunday at 1 p.m. (full coverage on NBC Sports Washington at noon) when they host the Arizona Cardinals. Getting the victory won't be easy, however, no matter how bad the Redskins need it. 

  1. Turn the page - The Redskins have lost their last two games by a combined score of 68-27. The results have been terrible, and the outcome in Los Angeles could have been much uglier had the Chargers not pulled starting QB Philip Rivers. Still, those games are over, and Washington needs to focus on the Cardinals. Gruden spoke this week that his team cannot "wallow" in the past two losses. If the Redskins are looking back at their lost season, instead of looking squarely at Arizona, another blowout loss is likely to come. 
  2. Get it going - Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense had by far their worst statistical output last week in LA. The offense must get back on track, and that means a better performance from Cousins and the 'Skins run game. Against the Chargers, Washington generated only 201 total yards and just nine first downs. Nine, their second worst total since having only 15 first downs against the Cowboys the week before. At this stage of the season, the Redskins defense will not win this team any games. The offense must do it, and that means improved play from the line, the quarterback and the skill positions. 
  3. Make a play - Turnovers can win or lose games, and in their last two blowout losses, it's no surprise the Redskins have been on the wrong end of the ledger. Washington has five turnovers in their last two games, and has generated only one takeaway in that span. (It can be argued that shouldn't even count, as it came on an interception from Chargers backup Kellen Clemens in the final minutes of a blowout.) Washington ranks dead last in the NFL in points per game allowed, and that won't improve with linebacker Zach Brown out this weekend. Generating turnovers, particularly against Arizona QB Blaine Gabbert, should be the defensive focus. 

Quote of the Week: Jay Gruden, asked about preparation before the Chargers game-

We didn't spend last week playing checkers.

News & Notes:

  • Gabbert has been sacked 15 times in the Cardinals last two games. Washington comes into Week 15 with the 13th most sacks in the league.
  • The Cardinals defense ranks in the Top 10 in yards per play, yards per game, and rush yards per game. Despite that, Arizona's defense ranks 25th in points allowed. 
  • D.J. Swearinger, who played for Arizona last season before signing in Washington as a free agent, is tied for fourth in the NFC in interceptions.
  • Jordan Reed won't be playing this week, or the remainder of the season. Washington moved Reed to the injured reserve this week. 
  • Arizona coach Bruce Arians was a college quarterback at Virginia Tech from 1972 to 1974.

Want more? Listen up!

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