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Redskins free agent fits: Running backs


Redskins free agent fits: Running backs

When free agency opens March 9, the Redskins will have some holes to fill on both side of the ball. In the coming days, Redskins Insider Tarik El-Bashir will examine the expected field of free agents, position-by-position, and evaluate who might be a fit in Washington. Today, we’re looking at running backs.

Current situation: Last month, Redskins President Bruce Allen indicated that the team was not actively seeking to re-sign Alfred Morris, whose numbers declined for a third straight season. Meantime, Matt Jones, despite an inconsistent rookie season that included injury and ball security issues, appears poised to take on a bigger role in 2016. “I feel really comfortable about him going into the season fighting for the [No. 1] job for sure,” GM Scot McCloughan said at the scouting combine. Who would Jones battle for the top spot? Well, glad you asked. Because that player probably isn’t on the roster right now. Be he could be available next week, when four of the top 13 rushers in 2015 hit the open market.   

Best available: Doug Martin (27 years old Buccaneers) deserves the top spot assuming he does not re-sign with Tampa in the coming days, but there’s no real consensus here. Matt Forte and Arian Foster, who reportedly was informed Thursday that he’ll be released by the Texans, also deserve consideration. As for Martin, when he’s healthy, he’s a legit No. 1. His 1,402 yards last season were second only to Adrian Peterson’s 1,485, while his 4.9 yards per carry was tied for fifth. Martin, like Jones, lost four fumbles. He also enjoyed a huge afternoon against at FedEx Field last October, gaining 136 yards on the ground and 35 through the air in a wild 31-30 Redskins’ victory.

Three more options: Forte (30, Bears) would be the high end/high mileage choice, having averaged 254 carries, 1,075 rushing yards and 514 yards receiving over the past eight seasons. He missed three games last year with a knee injury, but he’s still got something left in the tank. The question is how much? Chris Ivory (27, Jets) rushed for a career-best 1,070 yards and 7 touchdowns last season. A bruising runner, Ivory piled up 146 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving against the Redskins in Week 6. Lamar Miller (24, Dolphins) rushed for 872 yards and eight touchdowns to go along with 397 yards receiving and a pair of scores last season. The youngest of the bunch, Miller averaged only 12 carries a game last season and wants a bigger role wherever he ends up.

Bottom line: The market figures to be flooded with affordable veteran running backs seeking employment, which should work in Washington’s favor. If, of course, free agency is route they chose to take.

RELATED: Scherzer: Franchise tag ‘frustrating’ for Cousins

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The NFL fills in the blanks on the Redskins' schedule tonight

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The NFL fills in the blanks on the Redskins' schedule tonight

Since the 2017 regular ended we’ve known who the Redskins will play this coming season and we have known where the games will be played. Tonight we find out the when. 

The NFL schedule will be released tonight at 8 p.m. The NFL will fill in the blanks beside all of the prime time games, the Thanksgiving Day games and the Sunday doubleheader and night games. 

Last year, the Redskins were coming off of an 8-7-1 season where they just missed making a second straight playoff appearance. Kirk Cousins was becoming one of the more recognizable names in the NFL and the schedule makers thought they would be enough of a draw to warrant five prime time slots. They were scheduled for a Sunday night, two Monday nights, and two Thursday nights, including a first-ever home game on Thanksgiving. 

The Redskins may not be as attractive a prime time candidate this year. They went 7-9 and Cousins is gone, although replacement Alex Smith is fairly well-known. It’s nearly a given that two NFC East games will be on prime time. That has been the case every year but one since 2012. We will see what will happen beyond that. 

The prime-time games that the Redskins do have will start a bit earlier than they have in the past. The league announced yesterday that Monday night games will move up from 8:30 p.m. ET to 8:15 p.m. ET and Thursdays will move from an 8:25 p.m. start to 8:20 p.m. Sunday night games move up from 8:30 p.m. to 8:20 p.m.

There has been speculation that the Redskins will play on Thanksgiving, perhaps at Dallas or against another opponent in the night game. That would make three years in a row on Thanksgiving for them. That is not without precedent although it would be unusual. Besides the Lions and Cowboys, who host Thanksgiving games annually, only two teams played in three straight Thanksgiving games. The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between they played at Dallas on Thanksgiving. 

The availability of FedEx Field should not cause any schedule alterations. There are some events scheduled for the venue but concerts by Taylor Swift and Beyonce & Jay-Z, an international soccer game, and the Maryland-Texas college game are all going to be done before the start of the NFL season. 

Here are the Redskins regular season opponents. 


  • Cowboys 
  • Giants
  • Eagles
  • Cardinals
  • Saints
  • Jaguars
  • Titans
  • Bucs


  • Cowboys 
  • Giants
  • Eagles
  • Packers
  • Panthers
  • Colts
  • Falcons
  • Texans

The preseason opponents were announced earlier this month.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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Need to Know: Five players who are wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

Need to Know: Five players who are wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 19, seven days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five wild cards for the 2018 Redskins

We know what to expect out of many members of the Redskins. Ryan Kerrigan will register between 10 and 13 sacks. Zach Brown will be among the league leaders in tackles. Jamison Crowder will compile about 800 yards receiving. But we really don’t know what to expect out of a lot of the players expected to play key roles. Here are five of them.

S Montae Nicholson—Although most of the uncertainty surrounding Nicholson is about his health, we really don’t know what he can do over a full season. Sure, he looked good in the six games he played last year but opposing offenses did not have much of a chance to probe his weaknesses. If he stays healthy, his ability to adjust to what the offenses are doing against him will be the next phase of his development. 

CB Fabian Moreau—As a rookie, he was impressive as a punt team gunner, but he got very limited playing time on defense (59 snaps, only seven after Week 5). The Redskins will be counting on him stepping into a bigger role after the departures of Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller. He has the tools but we won’t know how well he can handle the job until he gets extended playing time. 

WR Maurice Harris—Last year he went from spectacular to invisible in a hurry. He made a sensational catch for 36 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings the first time he was targeted. In five games after that, he had just three receptions for 26 yards. Should he have had more playing time (76 snaps)? Or did he just not earn more targets? The real Maurice Harris should come to the forefront in 2018.

NT Phil Taylor—You know the story here. He was looking great in training camp until a quad injury sidelined him for the season. Taylor is healthy enough for the Redskins to give him another chance but this is a player who has not taken the field since November of 2014. We simply don’t know what to expect out of him even if he does make into Week 1 in good health. 

RB Samaje Perine—His play improved as the year went on but he wasn’t good enough to keep both Jay Gruden and Doug Williams from saying that running back is a draft need. Ideally, he shares carries with the probable draft pick with a few going to Chris Thompson and they combine to rush for 1,800 yards. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 33
—Training camp starts (7/26) 98
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 143

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