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The Final Countdown: Preston Smith finally makes a play, and it's a big one

The Final Countdown: Preston Smith finally makes a play, and it's a big one

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and at the 10 worst.

No. 2 best play of 2016

Vikings at Reskins Week 10

5:53 left in Q4, Vikings ball at Washington 39, 2nd and 10, Redskins leading 23-20

Sam Bradford pass short left intended for Adam Thielen INTERCEPTED by Preston Smith at WAS 36. Smith to MIN 42 for 22 yards (Joe Berger).

Related: #RedskinsTalk podcast: A new deal for Cousins?

Tandler: The Redskins were clinging to a three-point lead but the Vikings were driving in Washington territory with a good chance to tie or go ahead. On second down, Smith dropped back into coverage and Bradford either didn’t see him or didn’t think the linebacker could make the play on his pass into the left flat. But Smith reached out, tipped the ball back to himself, and made his first career interception. He knew what to do with it once he got it as he dashed for 22 yards into Vikings territory. That set up a Dustin Hopkins field goal, padding the lead. Smith himself finished it off with a fourth-down sack of Bradford.

More Redskins: Free agency to-do list

Finlay: Expectations were crazy high for Smith coming into the season, partially on the strength of his eight sack rookie year in 2015, and partially because he looked so good throughout training camp in Richmond. For much of 2016, however, Smith could not finish sacks. He often got close, but couldn't bring the QB down. Against Minnesota Smith proved to be able to get it all done, and nothing better than the tipped pass-interception that for a brief moment looked like he might take to the house. Smith has a wild amount of athletic ability, and on this play, he showed it all. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Report: Trent Williams wants a new deal or a trade from Redskins

Report: Trent Williams wants a new deal or a trade from Redskins

INDIANAPOLIS -- While recent meetings between Redskins head coach Ron Rivera and disgruntled left tackle Trent Williams helped repair the relationship between star player and team, the situation isn't resolved.

In fact, Williams still wants to be traded if he can't get a new contract, according to a new report from NFL Network.

Williams did not play a single snap for Washington in 2019. Not one. That came as the result of a cancer scare that he didn't believe was adequately handled by the Redskins medical staff. He also lost trust in former team president Bruce Allen. Importantly too, Williams wanted a new contract with lots of guaranteed money. 

Rivera has overhauled the Redskins medical staff and Allen is obviously gone from the team, but the contract hurdles remain. 

For the Redskins a new deal for Williams might not make a lot of sense. He will turn 32 in July and hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2013. He's also a great player, so perhaps an extension could make sense. 

The best read on the situation is Williams likely won't play on his current contract, which has one-year remaining and a salary-cap charge of $14.5 million. None of that money is guaranteed. 

Right now, it seems like both sides are playing nice. The Redskins don't want to come out and say they're not going to pay Trent. And Trent's side doesn't want to come out and demand a trade. The meetings with Rivera and Williams mattered in that a resolution that pleases both sides is possible. 

What seems impossible, or at least unlikely at this point, is that Williams wears the Burgundy and Gold this fall unless a new contract emerges.

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Redskins are working with Brandon Scherff and view him as 'big part' of their O-line, Ron Rivera explains

Redskins are working with Brandon Scherff and view him as 'big part' of their O-line, Ron Rivera explains

The franchise tag window in the NFL officially opened on Thursday, and the Chiefs have already placed the label on defensive lineman Chris Jones. The deadline for clubs to follow suit comes in mid-March.

So, could the Redskins do the same with Brandon Scherff? That's a question the Redskins Talk podcast asked Ron Rivera directly on Thursday, when the head coach sat down for an interview.

"Well the plan is to continue to work with his agent and see what we can get worked out, more so than anything else," Rivera said. "But Brandon, most certainly, is somebody that we really believe is a big part of our offensive line and we'll see how things work out."

The first half of that answer is fairly general; trying to get things "worked out" is something teams and agents are doing all the time. However, Rivera labeling Scherff as a "big part" of the Redskins' O-line certainly appears to be a clue that, at the very least, they don't intend to let the multi-time Pro Bowler leave.

"I don't want to deal in what-ifs and all that kind of stuff, but again, I know [Redskins Senior VP of Football Administration] Rob Rogers will be working with [Scherff's] folks trying to get something worked out," the coach said.

Scherff's recent injury history, plus issues with penalties in 2019, appear to have caused some fans to shift how they look at him. The 28-year-old is still an absolute force, though, and while Rivera also has to figure out Ereck Flowers' future and consider how Wes Martin fits into this guard equation as well, keeping Scherff in Washington has to be a top priority.

In fact, outside of reaching a solution to the Trent Williams dilemma, retaining Scherff might be the top priority as things currently stand.

Therefore, expect both sides to continue their dialogue, and if the organization senses that more time may be needed, they could use the franchise tag on Scherff to keep him where he is. Then, they can try to finish up negotiations on a long-term agreement, or play him on the tag in 2020, which would be quite expensive but still better than losing him altogether.

The last time the Redskins were involved in a franchise tag conundrum, it was messy and felt endless. If they turn to it again, however, expect the new leadership to handle it in a more professional manner.

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