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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who's going to run the defense?

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who's going to run the defense?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 15, 53 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 45
NFL draft 102
First Sunday of 2017 season 238

Looking at the Redskins week that was

5 possible Redskins free agent targets—After Scot McCloughan spent big money on Josh Norman you can’t dismiss the Redskins going after any free agent. There are four or five needs that need to be filled in free agency to allow McCloughan to do what he does, draft the best available player regardless of position. We have less than two months before that gets started up and we’ll be covering it extensively.

Is Mike Pettine the favorite to be the defensive coordinator? While there undoubtedly is activity going on behind the scenes at Redskins Park, the team’s search for a defensive coordinator is at a standstill from the fans’ perspective. They could ask to interview a coach who gets eliminated from the playoffs this weekend. Or they could go with Pettine, the first candidate they interviewed. And while Gus Bradley has interviewed with the Chargers, he still appears to be available. I am looking for something to happen this week.

MORE REDSKINS: An easy choice for best special teams player of 2016

The 5 highest-paid Redskins in 2017—Josh Norman tops the list; the cap hit for his five-year contract peaks this year at $20 million. He may not remain the highest paid player. If the Redskins franchise tag Kirk Cousins, that hit will come in at just short of $24 million. And if they are active in free agency, there should be some contracts that will fill the gap between Ryan Kerrigan, third at $11.7 million, and Jordan Reed, fourth at $5.8 million.

5 Redskins who need to step up in 2017—Team improvement from year to year comes in two ways. Most fans and many in the media focus on bringing in new players in free agency and in the draft. But perhaps more important is improvement of players from year to year. If Preston Smith develops consistency and brings his best every week, the Redskins defense will benefit more than it would from almost any free agent or draft pick.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

Redskins ranked near the bottom in defensive spending—The Redskins defense was the red-headed step child of the organization last year. Go to the post to see what the spending split compared to the offense was in 2016. You can’t expect filet mignon results when you’re paying ground chuck prices. As of right now, offensive and defensive expenditures are about even. Perhaps if they keep it that way the defense will have a shot at competence.

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Report: Trent Williams' dogs killed neighbor's dog

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Report: Trent Williams' dogs killed neighbor's dog

Trent Williams is defending his dogs after neighbors of a home registered to him in Missouri City, Texas say the Redskins' lineman's dogs brutally killed their dog.

The neighbor's dog, Sandy, according to reports, died after being mauled and dragged under an iron fence on their own property. 

According to Williams, the attack began after Sandy instigated conflict with one of Williams' smaller pets. Williams felt his dogs did nothing wrong and said the animals were defending the smaller dog, who is fighting for its life after $5,000 in medical bills. 

Williams told FOX 26 Houston that the situation was "dogs doing what dogs do."

In comments to local television stations, Sandy's owner's described how they found their dog.

"I found my dog halfway ripped apart, head and one leg on the other side of the fence, two of those stakes ripped through the body and one leg just dangling," said Jerry Flowers.

"They drug her head through the fence," Linda Flowers said. "Half of her body was through the wrought iron fence."

Animal control and local police are no longer investigating the incident according to ABC 13. Williams was not cited for the incident.

Williams is on the non-football injury list for the Washington Redskins after ending his holdout halfway through the season. 

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Once the Redskins Ironman, Ryan Kerrigan moved to injured reserve

Once the Redskins Ironman, Ryan Kerrigan moved to injured reserve

The Redskins moved outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan to the injured reserve after he injured his calf last week against Green Bay. He will miss the remainder of the season. 

Kerrigan had started every game for Washington since 2011 until just three weeks ago, one of the most impressive streaks in the NFL at 139 straight starts. 

He missed the Panthers game due to a concussion, was able to come back from the Packers game and then hurt his calf. 

After three straight seasons with double-digit sacks, Kerrigan’s numbers were down this year. He will finish the season with just 5.5 sacks after posting 37 over the last few years. 

Dexter Manley holds the Redskins franchise record with 91 sacks. After bringing down Aaron Rodgers last week in Green Bay before his injury, Kerrigan got to 90 sacks. 

If he comes back healthy in 2020, Kerrigan would look prime to break the franchise record. He will be in the last year of his contract, however, and will account for nearly $12 million against the salary cap.

Should Washington release Kerrigan, which was once unthinkable, it would carry no salary cap hit. 

To replace Kerrigan on the active roster the Redskins signed Caleb Wilson from the Cardinals practice squad.

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