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Need to Know: Why did McCloughan bring the 32-year-old Davis to the Redskins?

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Need to Know: Why did McCloughan bring the 32-year-old Davis to the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 1, 27 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 82 days ago. It will be about 163 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 17; 2016 NFL draft 27; Redskins training camp starts 118

Hot topic

Less than an hour after I hit the “publish” button on this post about how Scot McCloughan is operating a lot like Packers GM Ted Thompson the news that the Redskins had signed 32-year-old tight end Vernon Davis broke. That was a decidedly un-Thompson like move. So why did McCloughan do it?

For one thing, tight ends are become scarce these days. Spread offenses don’t use them and so the number of quality tight ends coming out of the college ranks seems to shrink every year. McCloughan undoubtedly would rather obtain tight end depth through the draft but it’s possible that he has looked at all of the prospects and decided that the chances of landing one he wants in a place in the draft where he could be the best available player were extremely slim.

It’s also important that McCloughan knows Davis well. He drafted him in San Francisco in 2006. One of the things that McCloughan said that he didn’t like about signing free agents is that you didn’t know how they will fit in the locker room. McCloughan worked with Davis for five years so he knows that the player will fit right in to the Redskins’ culture.

It’s similar to last year when McCloughan acquired just one player over the age of 30, Dashon Goldson. The safety came in a trade but the reasoning is the same. Safety is a tough position to fill in the draft (the better athletes are gravitating to cornerback, where the money is better) and McCloughan knew Goldson from their days together in San Francisco.

Fan question of the day

how can the redskins improve their defense from last season?

I can only scratch the surface of this here but here are the two improvements they can make that I think would have the most immediate impact.

Increase their sacks and interceptions I don’t see their defensive backfield becoming a shutdown unit so the pass defense will depend on pass rush. The addition of Junior Galette and what should be further development for Preston Smith should help. More pressure will help the defensive backs in coverage and the Redskins may be able to double their interception total from last year.

Stop the run on first down Sure they need to stop the run all the time. But they were the worst in the NFL on first down, giving up a little over 5 yards per attempt. This is a matter of simple, fundamental defense, with the front seven being where they are supposed to be and not missing tackles.

(Hit me up on Twitter with #NTK @Rich_TandlerCSN or here in the comments to submit a question)

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Who is Nick Rose? Three things you should know about the new Redskins kicker

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Who is Nick Rose? Three things you should know about the new Redskins kicker

Here are three things you need to know about Nick Rose, who was signed on Tuesday to replace Dustin Hopkins.

1) His next NFL kick will be his first one

Rose has spent offseason time with the Falcons and 49ers since entering the league in 2016 after his collegiate career at Texas. However, he has never attempted a regular season field goal or PAT, so the first time he does so with the Redskins will be the first time ever for him as a pro.

The 23-year-old certainly has potential: He was one of the nation's top touchback producers in 2014 and 2015 for the Longhorns, so distance on kickoffs and field goals shouldn't be an issue (this video of him nailing one from 80, yes, 80, backs that up). What remains to be seen is whether he can split the uprights for Washington.

For what it's worth, Hopkins was totally inexperienced in the NFL when he first signed with the Burgundy and Gold, too.

MORE: UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS - 'SKINS IN TOP 10

2) He can make kicks in unconventional ways

While this doesn't come across as something Jay Gruden would ever want Rose to try in, say, this Monday's game in Philly, Rose can sink chip shots while simultaneously completing a backflip.

Ever seen Adam Vinatieri do that? Nope, didn't think so.

3) He beat out at least three other candidates for the job

With Hopkins likely done for the year with a hip issue, the Redskins worked out a handful of replacement options on Tuesday.

It was Rose, though, who emerged with a contract. He earned it over at least three other guys, including veterans Mike Nugent and Andrew Franks. Now he must bring that strong leg, as well as some accuracy, when called upon to ensure the 'Skins don't miss out on any points on a weekly basis.

Making kicks in the middle of backflips is fun, sure. But making them in front of national TV audiences instead of a YouTube audience is probably more fun. Let's see if Rose has what it takes to stick around.

RELATED: IN CROWDED NFC, WHY NOT THE REDSKINS?

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Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins headed to injured reserve, per sources

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Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins headed to injured reserve, per sources

Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins will likely not play again this year, a source with knowledge of the situation tells our JP Finlay.

The team placed Hopkins on the injured reserve list, which means he's out at least eight weeks. To replace him, the Redskins signed Nick Rose, per NFL Network.

In his third season with Washington, Hopkins had made nearly 82 percent of his field goals this year. He made 12 of 13 extra points, but missed a very important extra point in Sunday's win over the 49ers.

Hopkins had a very strong leg, capable of touchbacks on kickoffs nearly every time the situation called for it. 

Rose is yet to play in the NFL but spent time with the 49ers. He kicked collegiately at the University of Texas.

As a senior in Austin last year, Rose made 13 of 17 field goals and 38 of 39 extra points.