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Redskins putting their eggs in the pass-rush basket

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Redskins putting their eggs in the pass-rush basket

We are a week in to free agency and the Redskins’ two biggest signees will probably play a few yards apart from each other and will have the same primary responsibility much of the time.

Before free agency started they retained right outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, who had 10 sacks in 2013, via using the franchise tag on him. And a couple of days in they brought in Jason Hatcher, the former Cowboys who is likely to be lining up in front of Orakpo at right defensive end on most snaps. He had 11 sacks last year playing tackle in Dallas’ 4-3 scheme.

When you want to know what a team’s priorities are you follow the money. With the Redskins paying Orakpo $11.5 million this year and giving Hatcher a deal with $10.5 million guaranteed and $17 million over the first two years, you see that they are putting their money into the pass rush.

And they may not be done collecting guys who can get after the quarterback. They are still in pursuit of Anthony Spencer, another former Cowboy who had 11 sacks in 2012 but missed most of last year with a knee injury that required microfracture surgery. That injury has him shopping his services for pennies on the dollar compared to what he would get if he was healthy and making him a possibility for the Redskins.

The flip side of the follow the money coin is that if they don’t put many cap dollars into a particular position they don’t value it all that much. All you have to do here is look at the safety position. In need of two starters, they skipped the high-priced talent like Jairus Byrd and didn’t even get into much serious bidding for the mid-level players like Mike Mitchell and Malcolm Jenkins. They brought back Brandon Meriweather for around a million dollars for one year. The Redskins are in negotiations to bring back Ryan Clark, who they released in 2006. But things are hung up over what is likely a few hundred thousand dollars.

Bet if Clark had four sacks last year instead of one they would have found that extra money no problem.

And it’s not just the allocation of money that tells you where the priorities are. The other safeties on the roster are Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo, and Jose Gumbs, who were a fourth-round pick, a sixth-round pick, and a street free agent respectively. The other primary pass rusher is Ryan Kerrigan, a first-round pick.

The strategy is simple—get to the quarterback before he can expose your lackluster safeties. Will it work? The Giants won two Super Bowls utilizing that strategy. That doesn’t mean it will work for the Redskins but it appears that we will find out starting in September.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.

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Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.

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I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

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.