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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—The path to 10 wins, Smith leads over-30 club

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—The path to 10 wins, Smith leads over-30 club

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 6, two days before the Washington Redskins visit the New Orleans Saints.  

Talking points

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

The Redskins’ path to 10 wins—We will know a lot more about this team after Monday night. It’s an important game but it’s not make or break. They could lose and still go on to have a successful season. How, you ask? Check out the post. 

First look at Redskins vs. Saints—As I’ve dug a little further into the matchups I’m thinking that the Redskins have more than the “on any given Sunday” (or, in this case, Monday) chance of winning this game. The Saints’ defense is bad. Yes, it’s a small sample size but they are giving up more yards per pass attempt than Drew Brees is making. If the Redskins can move the ball consistently and get touchdowns in the red zone and not field goals, they will have a very good chance of sending the Superdome crowd him stunned. 

In the early going the Redskins’ defense is looking a lot like it did last year—It’s too early to draw any great conclusions about the Redskins’ defense but the trends have it looking a lot like the unit we saw last year. That group had a strong pass defense and a subpar rushing defense. The thing about the rushing defense is that they really haven’t been gashed by the running game like they were last year. The most they have given up in a game this year is 104 yards; they gave up more than that 10 times in 2017. 

Peterson, Smith leading the over-30 club for the Redskins—The Redskins are right about in the middle of the pack in terms of average age. Usually, average means that you have a number of youthful players (the Redskins have Daron Payne, 21, Montae Nicholson, 22, Jonathan Allen, 23, and a few others not old enough to rent a car from most companies) and a few over the age of 30. Included in that group in Washington are starting quarterback Alex Smith and tight end Vernon Davis, both 34, and running back Adrian Peterson, 33. Check the post and accompanying video for a look at how they help the team win. 

Tweet of the week

Fourth? Really? No way!

That was the reaction of most of the 627 fans who replied to this tweet. I assume that most of the people who follow me are Redskins fans, so a lot of that reaction was from the fan base. 

I agree that such a ranking seems too lofty for this team, which has had some impressive moments along with some ugly ones on the way to going 2-1. However, I am not sure that it’s wildly out of place. They are ninth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings. Their point differential is +6.7 per game, sixth in the league. Both of those metrics are good indicators of team success. 

Still, the Redskins haven’t done enough yet to be considered the fourth-best team in the league. In the next three weeks, however, they have a chance to make a move. If they win two out of their upcoming games against the Saints, Panthers, and Cowboys, they could change the way just about everyone views them. Well, except maybe Benjamin Albright. He will have been right all along. 

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The agenda

Today: No media availability

Upcoming: Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 2 days; Panthers @ Redskins 8; Cowboys @ Redskins 15

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Please realize how impressive it is that Adrian Peterson is returning for a third year with the Redskins

Please realize how impressive it is that Adrian Peterson is returning for a third year with the Redskins

What was supposed to be a miniseries is now being renewed for a third, full season.

On Wednesday, the Redskins announced they're exercising Adrian Peterson's team option for 2020, meaning the running back will return to Washington for another year in their backfield.

The natural reaction to news like that in today's sports landscape is to retweet it, or send the story to a buddy, or reflect on it for about seven seconds — and then immediately spin it forward. 

Will he start in Week 1? What does this say about Derrius Guice? Will the team still be thinking about drafting a running back? And asking questions like that is absolutely fine, since they're all worth considering.

Still, just chill for a bit before launching into what's next, because what's happened already with Peterson's Redskins career is remarkable and worth reflecting on.

When the former MVP signed with the Burgundy and Gold a few weeks before the 2018 season began, it felt completely possible that he'd be gone before even appearing in a meaningful contest. His contract was for one year and it was worth the NFL minimum. It was a total flyer for what was then a desperate offense.

But then Peterson showed his trademark burst in an exhibition matchup with the Broncos, hinting that he was no flyer. Then he posted 96 yards and a rushing touchdown in the opener in Arizona. Then two weeks later, he went off for 120 yards and two scores in a win versus the Packers.

Quickly, it became clear: The guy no one wanted was turning out to be the guy for the Redskins offense.

More highlights followed, including a 64-yard end zone visit against the Giants, a 90-yarder in Philly on Monday Night Football and a 119-yard effort in his penultimate appearance of the campaign.

All together, Peterson topped 1,000 yards for the eighth time in his career — as a 33-year-old behind an offensive line that changed constantly. So, the Redskins inked him to a two-year contract last offseason, rewarding him for his tremendous output. The expectation was that he'd share carries with Guice and Chris Thompson in 2019, helping out in more of a shared role.

Peterson, though, doesn't really abide by expectations.

After a bizarre Week 1 where then-coach Jay Gruden made No. 26 a healthy scratch, Peterson stepped in for an injured Guice and assumed the main role again. 15 starts later, the 34-year-old finished with another 898 yards and five TDs — on an even more limited offense that was without its two best blockers for the majority of its plays.

As a Redskin, he's carried the ball 462 times for 1,940 yards. He's racked up 12 rushing scores to go along with a receiving TD. The only time he's missed a game was when his head coach inexplicably deemed him not worthy of suiting up.

More often than not, a longtime, one-team legend will change uniforms late in their athletic life and quietly fade away. Their highlight reels won't feature a single clip from that final stop, pretending like it never happened. 

Peterson isn't exactly fading with the Redskins. Peterson isn't really fading at all with the Redskins, in fact. And now, the man whom Ron Rivera called the "epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league" is coming back for a third go-round.

Shortly after Washington's Wednesday announcement, Peterson tweeted at a photo of himself along with a caption that read, "Still going strong!!!" The post also featured an emoji of a fully-juiced battery.

In reality, the battery of Peterson's career is closer to 0% than it is 100%. But instead of trying to project the day when it finally runs out, sit back and enjoy what's left.

Yes, Peterson will ultimately be remembered as a Viking, but he's also giving Redskins fans plenty of memories. It feels like there's more to come, too.

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Report: Jordan Reed has cleared concussion protocol, wants to continue playing football

Report: Jordan Reed has cleared concussion protocol, wants to continue playing football

Just days after it was reported that Jordan Reed was still in concussion protocol six months after suffering one last August against the Falcons, the Redskins tight end is apparently healthy once again.

According to The Athletic, Reed has cleared concussion protocol and wants to continue playing professional football. Reed missed the entire season due to the concussion he suffered in Atlanta, the seventh documented concussion of his football career. 

While Reed may still want to suit up, it's unlikely it will be with Washington.

The Redskins are expected to release the tight end, who is entering the second to last season of a five-year, $46 million extension he signed following the 2015 season. The Redskins would save $8.5 million against the cap if they parted ways with Reed prior to June 1.

New head coach Ron Rivera has already parted with multiple veterans, releasing cornerback Josh Norman and Paul Richardson last Friday. Norman had one year remaining on his deal, while Richardson had three.

When asked about the tight end position earlier this month, Rivera wasn't shy about the team needing to improve the unit.

"Do we have our tight end? Probably not," Redskins head coach Ron Rivera said on Redskins Nation on Feb. 4. "That’s a big question mark." 

Two tight ends the Redskins could seek in free agency are Austin Hooper and Eric Ebron, among others.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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