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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was — Is this why Ryan Kerrigan has no sacks?

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was — Is this why Ryan Kerrigan has no sacks?

Here is what you need to know on Monday, October 1, seven 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.

Fantasy Football: Week 4 rankings — Yes, we have fantasy rankings and analysis. Ben Standing, doing some moonlighting from his regular job at The Sports Capitol, brings you some quality data to help you set your lineups. 

5 observations from the Redskins' Week 3 win — The key observation here is that Adrian Peterson got back on track. I had to laugh at people saying that all of a sudden, he looked all of his 33 years against the Colts when he picked up just 20 yards rushing in 11 carries. That was lazy analysis; he had nowhere to run. Peterson had holes against Green Bay and he hit them. All of a sudden, he’s back in his prime—until the next time the O-line has trouble creating running room for him. 

Allen, Payne and Ioannidis are changing the Redskins D — The Redskins have seven sacks this year and all but one of them comes from the defensive line. The pressure from the edge will come. 

The Redskins are just as confused as Clay Matthews — The NFL didn’t change the wording of the rushing the passer rule that has caused so much controversy. But after Matthews was flagged for what nearly everyone, including “victim” Alex Smith, thought was a 15-yard flag for making a normal tackle, there has been change nonetheless. The interpretation will change including saying that the referee has to be absolutely certain that all of the defender’s body weight fell on the quarterback. In short, enforcement shifts from throwing the flag if there is any doubt to letting it go if the official isn’t sure. 

Tweet of the week

I’m not sure if a flag got thrown in this picture from USA Today Sports Media. There could well have been one as Green Bay was called for offensive holding six times against the Redskins. One was declined so the tally was five accepted for 50 yards. 

Some fans who replied to this tweet were critical of Kerrigan, saying that he just needs to deal with it and get through to the quarterback anyway. Maybe, but holding like that is illegal for a reason; it’s almost impossible to get past a lineman doing that. 

But he still somehow got 13 sacks last year. That’s good production. It’s not elite production but Kerrigan isn’t an elite edge rusher and he isn’t paid like one. Eleven other edge rushers have a higher 2018 cap number than Kerrigan does and the $11.5 million average annual value of his current deal ranks 17th among edge rushers. At those numbers, you could argue that he’s a good value at his current number. 

I get the “what have you done lately” aspect here and obviously he has to get the quarterback down a few times over the next few weeks. We will see how it all plays out. 

The agenda

Today: Practice 11:00; Jay Gruden press conference after practice, approx. 1:00

Upcoming: Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 7 days; Panthers @ Redskins 13; Cowboys @ Redskins 20

In case you missed it

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Redskins exercise team option on Adrian Peterson for 2020

Redskins exercise team option on Adrian Peterson for 2020

There was little doubt, but Adrian Peterson is officially returning to the Washington Redskins in 2020.

Washington officially exercised Peterson's team option on his contract on Wednesday, keeping the 35-year-old under contract through next season.

"Adrian Peterson is the epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league," head coach Ron Rivera said in the team's statement. "Adrian’s leadership and passion towards the game of football will set an example of what is expected of the players in this program moving forward."

The seven-time Pro Bowler has led Washington in rushing yards the last two seasons. A year ago, he was named a team captain for the Burgundy and Gold and led the team in rushing touchdowns and carries in addition to rushing yards. In 2018, he rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first season with the team.

The future Hall of Famer has continued to climb in the record books during his time in Washington. Last season, he passed Walter Payton on the all-time rushing touchdowns list and eclipsed 14,000 yards on the ground. Entering 2020, he remains 1,054 yards away from passing Lions' legend Barry Sanders for fourth all-time in rushing yards.

Peterson's return to Washington was expected, especially considering the many question marks surrounding the rest of the position group.

If the Redskins had let Peterson become a free agent, Washington's top two running backs under contract would have been third-year pro Derrius Guice and sophomore Bryce Love, both who have a laundry list of injury concerns. The team's top pass-catching back, Chris Thompson, is a free agent.

"It’s a blessing to be back and I look forward to continue leading and inspiring those around me to be great and think outside the box!" Peterson told NBC Sports Washington's Julie Donaldson. "Not only am I appreciative to the organization for having faith in me but also love how the Redskins nation has embraced, showered me with love. I’ll continue to pour my heart and soul into winning a championship! The best is yet to come!"

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Redskins free agent targets: James Bradberry

Redskins free agent targets: James Bradberry

NBC Sports Washington is taking a long look at potential free agents that could help the Redskins in 2020. 

Carolina Panthers CB James Bradberry
2016 second-round pick by Carolina
Unrestricted free agent
6-foot-1 | 212 lbs. | 26 years old

Ron Rivera has brought a lot with him from Carolina to Washington. Most notably, the Redskins new coach has hired someone with ties to the Panthers to run, among other things, his new team's offense, training staff, player negotiations/salary cap dealings and a handful of positions on both sides of the ball.

It's safe to bet that trend will continue to some extent once free agency commences, with Greg Olsen visiting the Redskins before signing with the Seahawks Tuesday. Safety Tre Boston is slated to hit the open market as well.

If Rivera wants to get really aggressive, however, and poach who should be the top available Panther, he'll pursue cornerback James Bradberry.

Bradberry doesn't carry the same name recognition that Josh Norman did four offseasons ago, but don't overlook him. He's a legit cover guy in the NFL. 

The 26-year-old has started 47 of the last 48 games — the majority of which happened with Rivera on the sidelines — and is coming off a year where he notched three picks and defended 12 passes.

Bradberry will be one of the three premium available options at his position come March, thanks to his durability, age and steady improvement as a pro. And because of those factors, he's going to command a serious contract, likely somewhere north of $10 million per season.

Now, during Super Bowl week in Miami, Bradberry told the Redskins Talk podcast that his "dream scenario" would be to return to the Panthers and continue his career there. He did admit, though, he's enticed by the idea of re-joining Rivera, a person whom Bradberry described as a "great man and a great coach."

If Bradberry can't come to an agreement with the organization that drafted him, the Redskins should make a concerted effort to land him. Cornerback is a place of need for Rivera, Jack Del Rio and Co., and it's unlikely they'll be able to reinforce it with a high draft pick considering the team is without a second-rounder and is currently poised to take Chase Young second overall.

Therefore, free agency appears to be Washington's best path for addressing the outside of their secondary, and Bradberry very well could be the best choice on that path. 

Yes, the last time the Redskins went all-in on a defensive back from the Panthers who wore No. 24, it failed. That shouldn't dissuade them this time around. Bradberry will be expensive, sure, but he also could be very, very good for quite a while.

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