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Offseason questions: Should the Redskins draft another quarterback?

Offseason questions: Should the Redskins draft another quarterback?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS

Should the Redskins draft another quarterback?

Finlay: No. The guess here is that Kirk Cousins gets hit with the franchise tag, again, and plays 2017 with Washington. That means the 'Skins will have Cousins making $24 million, Colt McCoy making another $3 million and a developmental passer in Nate Sudfeld. The team does not need to add another QB into the mix.

The big caveat: Should Washington not franchise Cousins, not ink him to a long-term deal, or figure out a trade, then drafting another quarterback would make sense. It seems highly unlikely that Cousins won't play for the Redskins in 2017, both the coach and team president said they expect him back, but crazy stuff happens. Many in the organization feel quite strong about McCoy's ability to run the team as needed, but if Cousins is gone, then another QB makes sense. 

The calendar is on the Redskins side. Whatever happens with Cousins will come long before the NFL Draft in April, so the team can react accordingly. 

Tandler: If Cousins signs a long-term contract between now and the draft or if the Redskins have a very high degree of confidence that they will be able to get a deal done by the July 15 deadline they should not look elsewhere for a quarterback. But if Cousins is playing on the tag, meaning that 2017 is much more likely than not to be his last year in a Redskins uniform, the team needs to look seriously at draft a quarterback.

The team is not at all prepared to be without Cousins in 2018. Backup Colt McCoy could be a free agent and even if he returns he is only a temporary (as in part of the season) fix. Sudfeld has a long way to go and there is a good chance he never gets there.

Waiting until 2018 to resolve the situation would be a big mistake. That would leave them either needing to dip into a pool of free agent quarterbacks, which is always awful, or forced to take a quarterback high in the draft. Both of those “solutions” have double-digit losses written all over them.

They have two fourth-round picks this year and two in the fifth round. That is the area where they need to be on the lookout for the next Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson (or, for that matter, Kirk Cousins). In fact, if the Redskins had used their fourth-round pick last year instead of trading it away for two fifths they could have had Prescott. Can you imagine how much better the Redskins’ leverage would be in the Cousins negotiations if they had a capable starting quarterback waiting in the wings?

But back to reality. The best thing for the Redskins to do would be to sign Cousins to a long-term deal and be done with the quarterback position for the next several years. If they can’t do that they need to be proactive about finding his successor. That could well mean getting a quarterback in the middle rounds and using 2017 to groom him to be the 2018 starter. Yes, they have plenty of other needs but they must do what they must do to set up the most important position on the field for success.

More offseason questions: 

What are resonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

- With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Opposite extremes, but loss of Chris Thompson, Terrelle Pryor tell Redskins story in 2017

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Opposite extremes, but loss of Chris Thompson, Terrelle Pryor tell Redskins story in 2017

The hype train escalated for Terrelle Pryor as soon as he signed in Washington. Folks looked at his 2016 production - 77 catches for more than 1,000 yards - and immediately saw huge potential paired with Kirk Cousins. 

The hype train barely moved when Chris Thompson signed an offseason extension with the Redskins. Despite a breakout season in 2016 - 700 total yards and five touchdowns - most Redskins fans expected similar production from Thompson in 2017.

Once the season started, however, it was obvious both men were on opposite trajectories. In fact, looked at a bit more carefully, it started to show during training camp.

RELATED: WEEK 11 NFL POWER RANKINGS

While fantasy experts predicted monster stats for Pryor, it became clear he and Cousins were not exactly on the same page. Cousins is a precise passer, wanting to know when and where his targets will break off routes and where he can throw the ball to hit an open man. Pryor, for all of his size and physical prowess, is still learning the receiver position, as he played quarterback almost exclusively in his career. 

Watching practices under the Richmond sun, it was obvious Josh Doctson was the team's best wideout. Still, the praise and hype mounted for Pryor.

By Week 1, expectations far outpaced reality, and on the first offensive play of the year Pryor could not find a deep pass from Cousins. In the moment it was just one play. In hindsight, it was a microcosm of everything that was to come. 

When Jay Gruden announced Pryor would go to injured reserve and miss the remainder of the season on Monday, it almost seemed like a fair way for things to end for all parties. Pryor has talent, and maybe in a system less exacting and more volume oriented (like 2016 in Cleveland) he can accel again. It wasn't going to happen in Washington, and as his playing time and targets dwindled, there was no reason for Pryor to play through ankle pain. 

Losing Pryor shouldn't make much of an impact on the final six games of the Redskins season because, well, Pryor didn't make much impact on the first half of the season either.

Losing Thompson is another matter entirely. 

RELATED: NFL APOLOGY LITTLE MORE THAN HALLOW FOR COUSINS

The five-year veteran was in the middle of a career year, leading all NFL running backs in receiving yards and likely on his way to being named the Redskins Offensive MVP. It's hard to overstate Thompson's value to this team. He is the best runner, receiver and pass blocker the Redskins had at running back, and one of the few game-breaking talents on the field. 

Washington likely needs to run the table, win out their final six, to make the playoffs. Doing that without Terrelle Pryor won't be too difficult.

Doing that without Chris Thompson, that's going to be very difficult. 

The 2017 season will be remembered by many as a year where injuries buried the Redskins chances. Early on, Washington looked like a possible contender. 

Losing Thompson, and Pryor, tell that story, but in very different ways. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Need to Know: How bad are the Redskins late in each half?

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Need to Know: How bad are the Redskins late in each half?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 21, two days before the Washington Redskins play the New York Giants on Thanksgiving Day at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden press conference and open locker room, 11:45 a.m.; the team will conduct a walkthrough instead of a practice.  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 9
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 19
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 26

Quantifying the problem with giving up late points:

Anyone who has watched the Redskins this year knows that they have had problems keeping other teams from scoring points late in the first half and at the end of the game. How bad is the problem? Let’s look at the numbers.

The Redskins have given up 266 points on the season. That’s 31st in the NFL. Of those points, 96 have been scored in last three minutes of the first and second halves. Opponents have put up 12 touchdowns, eight one-point conversions, two two-point conversions, and four field goals.

For comparison, the average NFL team has given up around 40 points near the end of each half. Looking at defensive scores allowed only (two of the late touchdowns against Washington were on returns), the Redskins have allowed 10 touchdowns while no other team has allowed more than seven. The average is 3.96 touchdowns given up late by each team.

You can look at it this way. In the first 27 minutes of each half of their 10 games, the Redskins have given up 170 points, or about .31 points per minute. In the other six minutes of the games, the final three of each half, the Redskins give up 1.6 points per minute played.

How have the Redskins done scoring points late in each half? They have put up five touchdowns and three field goals, a total of 44 points.

How does this affect the big picture? On the season, the Redskins’ net point differential is minus-28. If you take out the late scores, they are at plus-24. It usually works out that the teams that have positive point differentials have winning records and those with negative performances are under .500.

We saw that big picture up close on Sunday. At the end of the first half, it looked like the Redskins were going to get at least a field goal as they had a nice drive going. But the drive stalled, a false start forced them to abandon even a field goal try and the Saints put together a quick drive for a field goal as time in the half ran out. Then, of course, there was the touchdown and tying two-point conversion with just over a minute left in regulation. That’s minus-10 in the last three minutes of a game they lost in overtime.

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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