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Need to Know: Redskins likely to return at least 16 of their 22 starters from last year

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Need to Know: Redskins likely to return at least 16 of their 22 starters from last year

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 23, 34 days before the NFL draft.  

Stability at the top of the depth chart

A Redskins defense that ranked 27th in total defense and was dead last against the run is likely to return nine or 10 of the players who were the primary starters in 2017. The Washington defense, which was 16th overall and 27th running the ball, will certainly return seven starters and could have eight the same as last year.

I’m sure that this will alarm many Redskins fans, but it shouldn’t. Before getting into that, let’s look at the changes.

On defense, the nine starters who are assured of returning are DE Stacy McGee, DL Jonathan Allen, OLB Preston Smith, OLB Ryan Kerrigan, ILB Zach Brown, ILB Mason Foster, CB Josh Norman, S Montae Nicholson, and S D.J. Swearinger.

As of right now, a tenth returning starter has to be penciled in at nose tackle. Yes, if the season started today it would be Ziggy Hood at nose tackle again. More on that in a minute.

The only starting spot that is certain to turn over is the cornerback opposite Norman. Even though Bashaud Breeland’s contract agreement with the Panthers fell through due to a failed physical, he is much more likely to land on another NFL team than he is to return to the Redskins.

It is impossible to think that the Redskins will not do something to address the nose tackle position, whether it’s in the draft or in free agency. Then again, it’s impossible to believe they have run the 3-4 defense since 2010 without coming up with a long-term solution at the nose.

On offense, the seven starters certain to return are WR Josh Doctson, WR Jamison Crowder, OT Trent Williams, C Chase Roullier, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses, and TE Jordan Reed. RB Samaje Perine could be an eighth returning starter depending on if the Redskins take a running back early in the draft.

The new starters will be QB Alex Smith, WR Paul Richardson, and someone at left guard.

Having between 16 and 18 returning starters from a team that went 7-9 in 2017 may not be enough turnover for some fans. That’s not a completely unreasonable point of view. However, there is such thing as having too much churn in your starting lineup and some stability for the Redskins may be a good thing this year.

They had five new starters on defense last year and a new defensive coordinator. They also had a new coordinator on offense along with two new wide receivers and, by midseason, changes in the starters at running back and center. This is not counting all of the on-the-fly changes that had to be made due to injuries.

Continuing to make changes in the starting lineup is not always a recipe for success. Sometimes you just need to pick a group of players and, to the extent that you can in the free agency-salary cap world of the NFL, stick with them. Sure, you have to address weakness like nose tackle and possibly running back and fill holes created by free agency departures. However, it is often better to give a player time to acclimate to a system and, especially with a rookie, time to learn the fine points of the game.

Tearing things down and starting over again after a mediocre season is a recipe for, well, more mediocre seasons.

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.

Tandler on Twitter

In response to a tweet about this article that said that the Redskins led the league in losing important players in injuries:

Timeline  

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 25
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 127
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 171

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Dwayne Haskins wants the Redskins to draft another Buckeye wide receiver

Dwayne Haskins wants the Redskins to draft another Buckeye wide receiver

The Redskins recruiting coordinator and quarterback Dwayne Haskins wants to reunite with another one of his former Buckeye teammates in the NFL.

On Thursday, Haskins quote tweeted a video of WR K.J. Hill's highlights at the Senior Bowl with the caption "Need em."

After a back-and-forth, the Redskins' first-round draft pick sealed his approval on the draft prospect by tagging the Redskins' team account. 

K.J. Hill overlapped with Haskins for two years with the Ohio State Buckeyes. During Haskins' final year in Columbus, Hill was the No. 2 receiver with 70 receptions for 885 yards and six touchdowns. 

There was a small dip in production for Hill after Haskins left for the NFL, however, he became a bigger red zone target with 10 touchdowns. 

If the Redskins decided to adhere to their QB's requests, he would not be the only former pass-catching Buckeye to wear the Burgandy and Gold. Third-round draft pick Terry McLaurin was also on the 2018 Ohio State squad before making the move to the NFL.

Hill is just the latest player to be endorsed by Haskins since he became the Redskins starter.  Haskins has tweeted support for the Redskins to bring on Chad Johnson as a wide receiving coach, to draft Chase Young with the No. 2 overall pick, and to sign free agent WR Antonio Brown

Additionally, he understandably asked Trent Williams to come back to protect him on the offensive line after Bruce Allen was removed. 

Could the Redskins go and get another Buckeye in the draft?

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Redskins' Tress Way on his Pro Bowl experience: 'I did not realize it was this fun'

Redskins' Tress Way on his Pro Bowl experience: 'I did not realize it was this fun'

The Redskins may just have one Pro Bowler, but punter Tress Way is having an incredible time in Miami thus far.

The second-team All-Pro recipient has been in Orlando for less than 48 hours, but has quickly realized just how fun the week of the NFL's all-star game truly is.

"This sounds funny, but I did not realize it was this fun," Way told Redskins.com's Gabe Henderson on Wednesday on how his week has been thus far.

One of the punter's favorite parts of the week thus far was the basketball shoot-off Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll organized.

"Coach [Pete] Carroll had a shoot-off, had a basketball goal set up and a free throw line," Way said. "He kept calling offensive and defensive guys to come shoot for 30 seconds, and whoever made the most won. The place was going nuts. We had a quick meeting, came out here and did a glorified walkthrough, blasting music, dancing, throwing the ball around. It's seriously so fun, and it's just getting started."

Way, a first-time Pro Bowler, is not enjoying the experience by himself. Several family members made the trek down to Orlando to support the 29-year-old.

"I'm so thankful. This is so awesome," he said. "My whole family is here. I got more family coming. It is definitely surreal."

But perhaps the part Way is looking forward to the most is how he's planning on spending his Thursday evening. 

Way and his family are planning on spending the night at Harry Potter World. The punter never got into the series, much to his mother and little brother's dismay, but plans on going all-in when he arrives.

"I plan on learning all the spells, picking up a custom wand, and having a couple butter beers," Way said. "Really just embarrassing my wife, that's the main goal here. I will be the Master of Death; I will have all three deathly hollows by the time I leave, and pretty much just nerding out the entire night."

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