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Need to Know: Will the Redskins make a move at safety?

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins make a move at safety?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 4, 24 days before the NFL Draft.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 85 days ago. It will be about 160 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 14; 2016 NFL draft 24; Redskins training camp starts 115

Hot topic

A couple of weeks ago, Jay Gruden sounded the alarm bell at the safety position, saying that it is an area of “great concern”. Since then, the Redskins have not done anything to try to bolster the position.

Over the weekend, one additional veteran has hit the free agent market. On Saturday, the Browns released Donte Whitner, who made three straight Pro Bowls in San Francisco (2012-2013) and Cleveland (2014). The former first-round pick of the Bills will turn 31 in July.

Still unemployed are Dashon Goldson, who was cut by the Redskins just before the start of free agency when he and the team were unable to agree on a reduced salary for this year, and Reggie Nelson, formerly of the Bengals.

Of the three veterans, Nelson had the best 2015 season. He intercepted eight passes, tying for the league lead. He’s also the oldest; Nelson will celebrate his 33rd birthday sometime during Week 3 of this season.

There was word that the Redskins had some interest in Nelson early in free agency but nothing has come of it since.

Both Gruden and Scot McCloughan have indicated that the door would be open to Goldson returning and that there have been some talks with his camp but there doesn’t seem to be much happening there at the moment. He might be their top option since he knows the defense and he provided some veteran leadership in the secondary last year.

Reading the tea leaves here, I think that the Redskins are waiting for Goldson’s asking price to drop to what they think his value is. In the meantime, it looks like Nelson is Plan B and they could make a move involving him if interest heats up.

It’s too soon to tell is Whitner is in the picture. One thing that the Redskins might like about him is his durability. He missed two games with a concussion last year but he had gone the previous five seasons with just one missed game.

The Redskins will have an eye on the position in the draft but it's tough to rely on that to fill an area of "great concern". Sooner or later, perhaps in May, they are likely to make a move for a veteran safety.

Fan question of the day

The Redskins will take Treadwell at No. 21 if they believe that he is the best available player. If he is not, they will take another player. The same applies to Thomas and their second-round pick.

Yes, that’s a simplistic answer so let me expand a bit here. If the Raiders had not taken Amari Cooper right before the Redskins make their first-round pick last year, Cooper would have been a Redskin and Brandon Scherff would have been playing elsewhere. So, clearly, they wanted a wide receiver. But despite the fact that there were some pretty talented wide receivers on the board in the second round they didn’t take one. Ditto in the third. They didn’t take a wide receiver until they took Jamison Crowder in the fourth.

So, for the most part, who they take in the second round is independent of who they take in the first. It seems that wide receiver is among the top two needs (it was last year, too) but that doesn’t mean they will use one of their top two picks to address it. So if things don’t fit right to take a wide receiver in the first, they won’t necessarily reach to take one in the second.

If they do bypass Treadwell in the first round because he’s not the best available in their evaluation they may hope in the back of their minds that Thomas will be there in the second and take him if he is. But if Treadwell is the best player on their board they will not leave him there in hopes that they can get their second choice later on.

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

Stat of the day

Here’s record that may never be broken: The 1983 Redskins had a turnover margin of plus-46. That’s the best in NFL history by 12. Only three other teams since the merger, the 2000 Ravens (+33), 1985 Bears (+30), and 1991 Redskins (+30) have been within 16 of that record.

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Need to Know: The week that was—Allen injury, why not the Redskins?

Need to Know: The week that was—Allen injury, why not the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 21, two days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles for Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 12:05 p.m.; Jay Gruden news conference, open locker room, after practice approx. 2 p.m.

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 8
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 15
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 33

Injuries of note:
Not practicing
: OT Trent Williams (knee), S D.J. Swearinger (rest)
Limited: CB Josh Norman (rib), CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), RB Rob Kelley (ankle),
It was a little surprising not to see Swearinger out there but he has a lingering hamstring injury and they figured he could use day of rest more than the day of practice. Jay Gruden said that both Norman and Breeland did more on Friday than they did on Thursday.

The Redskins week that was

Here is a look at some of the top posts and hot topics from this week at NBCSportsWashington.com and at RealRedskins.com.

Bad News For Jonathan Allen—A few of the site’s stop posts this week were about Allen’s Lisfranc injury (here's one about how the Redskins will try to fill the void). We went from him being out three or four weeks to him being out for the season to injured reserve with the possibility that he can return after eight weeks. I thought all along that three or four weeks was a very aggressive timetable for return from a Lisfranc. And it would be just short of a miracle for him to return before the end of the season. I think the best that fans can hope for is for Allen to bounce back from his Lisfranc like Morgan Moses did from his. Morgan suffered his in December of 2014 and he became the starting right tackle in next year in training camp. He has played at a high level and he hasn’t missed a game since.

In a muddled NFC, why not the Redskins?  With Aaron Rodgers sidelined and everyone in the NFC looking vulnerable, the Redskins could have a chance to make a deep playoff run this year. The key word is could and they will have to do some things right, starting with beating the Eagles on Sunday. Even a loss in Philly wouldn’t be fatal for their chances. Take a look at the post and see if you agree with me.

Hopkins to IR, Redskins sign Nick Rose—Allen wasn’t the only Redskins player to go in injured reserve this week. Dustin Hopkins suffered a hip injury that is going to take six to eight weeks to rehab so he hit IR. We will see if he comes back, which he could do in Week 15 against the Cardinals. That will depend on his health and on how well replacement kicker Nick Rose is performing.

5 overlooked stories from the Redskins-49ers game—There was plenty of (justified) pre-game hand wringing over Josh Norman being inactive for the 49ers game. But it turned out that replacement Quinton Dunbar played well. The Niners tried to get to him—he was targeted 14 times—but held up well. Check out some details on Dunbar’s play and four other things that weren’t talked about enough.

Week 7 stats, trends, and storylines—The Redskins are still banged up going into this game. While they have been able avoid major injuries since the season started with the exceptions of Allen and Hopkins, they have had enough nagging type injuries to hamper the team’s effectiveness, especially on defense. Take a look at other storylines and see how the Redskins are trending in key statistical categories.

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.

Take a look at what happened on Friday at Redskins Park with this Twitter moment.

Tandler on Twitter

From the locker room

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Week 7 Redskins-Eagles Preview: Monday night means more than it usually does

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Week 7 Redskins-Eagles Preview: Monday night means more than it usually does

After five straight defeats, the Eagles decided enough was enough and beat the Redskins on their home field in Week 1. In a bizarre turn of scheduling, Washington will face Philadelphia for the second time this season before playing any other NFC East opponent. 

For the Redskins, that means the time for a win is now. Behind the arm of Carson Wentz, the Eagles have streaked out to a 5-1 record, not to mention 2-0 in the division. Jay Gruden's squad sits at 3-2 and 0-1 in the division. Another loss to the Eagles, even though it's still early in the year, would put a major dent in the Redskins hopes of a NFC East title. 

"It’s a big game. The NFC East, they’re in the lead. They’re 5-1 and we’re 3-2. I mean, just do the math," Gruden explained this week. "If you look at 3-3 and 6-1 and we’ve lost twice to them, that’s a big difference. 4-2 and 5-2 and we’re right there in the thick of things as far as the NFC East is concerned."

MORE: TEN TIMES PHILADELPHIA FANS WERE THE WORST

The coach knows the stakes. Redskins fans certainly do, too. All the coverage starts at 7:30 on NBC Sports Washington with Redskins Kickoff, and here are three storylines to watch for the game:

  1. Blount force - In the Week 1 loss to Philadelphia, the Redskins defense did a fine job of stopping the Eagles rush attack. Zach Brown and the 'Skins held Philly to just 58 yards rushing. In that game, LeGarrette Blount rushed 14 times for only 46 yards, averaging less than 3.5 yards-per-carry. Well, Blount and the Eagles run game looks mighty different now. In their last four games, Blount is averaging more than 6 yards-per-carry and posted more than 330 yards. Known for his strength between the tackles, Blount will present a problem for the Burgundy and Gold playing their first game without rookie star defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. The challenge will be real, and D-coordinator Greg Manusky knows it: "He does a great job of making people miss at the hole, in the hole. So we have got to make sure we get in his face and be able to get him down. He is a big-body guy." 
  2. No wiggle room - For the most part, the Redskins defense did a solid job against Carson Wentz in the first matchup against the Eagles. Unfortunately, with a mobile QB like the 6-foot-5, 240 lb. Wentz, a few broken plays can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of the game. Think back to early in Week 1, the Redskins forced Wentz from the pocket and as he scrambled, he kept his eyes downfield and connected with WR Nelson Agholor for a long touchdown. On that play, two different 'Skins defenders nearly brought Wentz down in the backfield. But they didn't. And the 'Skins secondary did a good job in coverage for more than eight seconds. In that ninth second, however, Wentz struck. He's been doing it each game since, as he's emerged as an NFL MVP candidate with more than 1,300 pass yards to go with 13 TDs against just 3 INTs through six games. His ability to escape trouble must be incredibly frustrating for defenders, and Eagles head coach Doug Pederson explained his passer's skill, saying, "He is strong in the pocket and usually the first guy, an arm-tackle guy, can’t bring him down. He usually sheds that block and can escape."
  3. 8 or more - Throughout the 2016 season, the Redskins frustrated their fans by getting out to slow starts. In 2017, the opposite has been true. In four straight games, Kirk Cousins and the 'Skins offense have scored a first quarter touchdown and taken early leads. In the second half, however, the offense has stagnated. While the Redskins average about 23 points-per-game, the team is only scoring about 8 points-per-game in the second half. Against a Philly team capable of scoring every time they touch the ball, Washington will likely have to score more in the second half to get a victory.

News & Notes

  • This will mark the Redskins 70th game on Monday Night Football, and their ninth MNF matchup against Philadelphia.
  • Kirk Cousins enters the game 3rd in NFL history in completion percentage (65.9) among players with at least 1,500 career attempts.
  • With 100 yards receiving, Chris Thompson could break a tie with Dick James, Craig McEwen and Larry Brown (two each) for the most career 100-yard receiving games by a Redskins running back in records dating back to 1960.
  • A win would snap a four game losing streak on Monday Night Football for the Redskins and give the Redskins their first Monday win since a 20-17 overtime win at Dallas on Oct. 27, 2014.
  • The Redskins rank first in the NFL and the NFC in fewest penalty yards (204).

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