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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 8, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Joe Barry news conference 12:40; Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 16; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 24

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), G Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle
Wednesday injury report

QB Kirk Cousins—It’s on his shoulders. Not just this game but the entire playoff run. He can’t have an off day, not even one like the Arizona game where he was off for just part of the game. Cousins doesn’t have to be perfect on every throw but for this team to win he has to be very good every quarter.

OT Trent Williams—Back from his four-game suspension, Williams can’t miss a beat in returning to his All-Pro form. Any mistake, much less any sacks allowed, will open him up to further criticism that he left the team in a bad spot. 

WR DeSean Jackson—The dynamic here has become more intriguing since media reports of mutual interest between Jackson and his former team have emerged. Jackson has done his thing the last two games, catching passes for long gains. But if he is going to be of value down the stretch (and of value to any other team next year) he is going to need to get his hands on some shorter and intermediate passes as well.

OLB Preston Smith—He was a regular on this list until he came up big against the Vikings. But he has since disappeared again and needs to come on strong for the team’s stretch run.

ILB Will Compton—He has been coming under fire lately for ineffective play, including missed tackles and being out of position on occasion. The Redskins need him to raise the level of his game if they are going to land in the postseason.

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Redskins have safety needs but little cash, putting Clinton-Dix in precarious situation

Redskins have safety needs but little cash, putting Clinton-Dix in precarious situation

When the Redskins traded for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in October, the safety position looked to be a great strength for Washington. 

The team already had D.J. Swearinger, who was playing at a Pro Bowl level, and adding Clinton-Dix was supposed to make the Redskins defense one of the elite units in the NFL

That plan didn’t work. 

Clinton-Dix never performed at a high level in Washington, and frankly probably underperformed on the relative cheap fourth-round pick price the Redskins paid to acquire him. 

In nine games with Washington, Clinton-Dix registered 66 tackles and recovered one fumble. And while it wasn't entirely on him, Clinton-Dix's arrival coincided with the Redskins defensive demise. 

Now, it's free agency time for Clinton-Dix.

Pro Football Focus rated Clinton-Dix as the 32nd best safety in the NFL, and he will be one of the bigger names on the open market. What will the money look like?

It's hard to answer because 2018 wasn't an impressive season. Clinton-Dix struggled enough in tackling that Green Bay decided to trade him, and those struggles continued in Washington. 

The Redskins have a lot of needs this offseason, and safety is one of them. 

Swearinger is gone, and the depth chart features Montae Nicholson, Troy Apke and Deshazor Everett. Nicholson finished his season suspended after being arrested for assault and Apke finished his season on IR. Everett has made plays when he gets chances on the field, but for whatever reason, he rarely gets chances.

Washington doesn't have a lot to spend in free agency, as the Alex Smith contract will eat up a lot of their cap space. 

There definitely isn't room for a high-value contract for Clinton-Dix. 

There might not be room for a low dollar contract for Clinton-Dix based on his 2018 level of play, but the position is a need. 

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Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

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Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Redskins offseason thus far comes from the lack of change. Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden, Greg Manusky are all coming back. 

One name that is less certain, and is widely loved, is defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. 

For Tomsula, there is no pressure on him to perform better. His work in developing Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle probably ranks as the most impressive on the team. 

"Jim [Tomsula] is definitely my favorite coach I've ever had," Redskins defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said this week. "I don’t really count [University of Alabama] Coach [Nick] Saban because he wasn’t my position coach, but as a position coach, love Jim Tom."

The Alabama product's comments came during a charity even at National Children's Hospital, and they came during an interesting time for the Redskins defense. The organization spoke with a number of highly sought after defensive coordinator candidates in the last few weeks, but stuck with Manusky at the position. The team claimed, through an unnamed source in a Washington Post article, that the meetings were just to gain different perspectives. Interesting. 

Now that Manuksy is back, however, the future for Tomsula becomes one of the biggest questions for the club. 

It sounds like Allen is prepared for any outcome. 

"I don’t know if he will be back. I would love to have him back but he has a family, definitely he’s a big family guy and his family is in Florida," Allen said. "I can completely understand his reasons for not coming back."

Any conversation with Tomsula always centers around family. He's one of the few coaches that remembers reporters' kids' ages and often asks about them. It's a genuine thing for Tomsula, and it's impressive. 

He is also close friends with Manuksy, and the coordinator's return could help in keeping the fiery D-line coach. If Tomsula does leave Ashburn, he's already made a significant impact for players like Allen.

"Regardless what happens I wish him nothing but the best and I’m just glad I got to spend two years with him."

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