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Should the Redskins bring back DeSean Jackson in 2016?

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Should the Redskins bring back DeSean Jackson in 2016?

In less than a year, the Redskins completed a stunning turnaround, ascending from a laughingstock in 2014 to a division champion in 2015. But now comes the difficult part: taking that all-important next step and improving from a franchise that was fortunate to get into the playoffs to one that can do some damage once it gets there. And that work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players.

In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will examine the 25 biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

No. 17

Should DeSean Jackson be back in 2016?

Tandler: This may seem like a clown question, bro. It is if you have a short memory. If all you remember is the last half of the season, when Jackson caught 10 passes for 20 yards or more including three that covered more than 50 yards, you might think that bringing Johnson back is a no-brainer. If you look at Kirk Cousins’ performance last year, when seven of the quarterback’s nine games where he posted a passer rating of over 100 came after Jackson’s Week 9 return, it looks like an easy call.

But let’s step back and look at what transpired before November. Jackson decided to skip a substantial number of the team’s OTA sessions to film a BET reality series. Those sessions are voluntary and Jackson certainly has the option to attend or not. But Scot McCloughan also has the right to look at that and decide that he doesn’t like that example being set by a veteran player making over $9 million.

McCloughan also has the option to wonder about Jackson’s commitment after he suffered a slight shoulder sprain early in training camp. Jackson didn’t participate fully the rest of camp and didn’t appear in any preseason games. He returned for the season opener but just 13 snaps into the season he suffered a hamstring strain. Jackson himself admitted that his light workload leading up to the season may have contributed to the injury. He was on the shelf for the next six games.

So when McCloughan looks at the 2016 season and Jackson’s commitment and production compared to his $9.25 million cap number and the $6.75 million in cap space the team could save by letting him go he has a decision to make. I think the chances are that he decided that Jackson is worth it even though he has plenty of flaws. But it’s not an easy decision and it should not shock anyone if McCloughan decides that the best course if to part ways with Jackson.

El-Bashir: I think we can all agree that this wasn’t DeSean Jackson’s finest season—statistically or otherwise.

He suffered a significant hamstring injury in the season opener, raising questions about his fitness as it related to his decision to skip some OTA sessions and sit out the entire preseason while nursing a shoulder sprain.

Jackson, 29, was also involved in two of the more controversial plays of the season: the fumbled punt return against the Cowboys and the non-touchdown vs. the Packers.

All that said, I think there are more pros than cons when assessing Jackson's value to the Redskins. Consider: 

  • Jackson is one of three players on offense that I’d put in the ‘high quality starter’ category (Trent Williams and Jordan Reed are the others). If the Redskins want to take the next step, they need more players of that ilk, not fewer. One more thing to consider here: signing another impactful wide receiver would cost the Redskins a lot of money, too.
  • The effect Jackson has on opposing defenses/game plans can't be denied. In the first seven games of the season (without Jackson), Kirk Cousins completed 17 passes of 20-plus yards. In the final nine regular season games (with Jackson), the Redskins completed 35 passes that went for 20 or more yards.
  • Because of his elite speed, Jackson remains one of the game’s top deep threats. In fact, his four touchdowns came from 56, 63, 28 and 77 yards out. In addition, his average of 17.6 yards per catch ranked fifth among all NFL pass catchers in ’15.

Sure, the Redskins could roll the dice and hope that the offense—which was decidedly more dangerous with Jackson on the field—can overcome the loss of a player of his caliber. But I’m not sure the gamble is worth it. To me, the good still outweighs the bad with Jackson—even if the margin between the two is somewhat smaller than it used to be.   

25 Questions series

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Fantasy Football: Week 7 position-by-position rankings

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USA TODAY

Fantasy Football: Week 7 position-by-position rankings

Our goal with the Week 7 rankings: be more like the Broncos defense than the Cardinals offense.

Before we go position by position, some quick notes:

* The Browns traded running back Carlos Hyde to the Jaguars, who are without Leonard Fournette (hamstring). Adding depth is one thing, but a legit starter like Hyde is another. Fournette owners should be concerned. Root the issue keeps him off the field no longer than the Week 9 bye. On the Cleveland end, rookie Nick Chubb vaults into RB2 status. Must add in all formats if available.

* Jamison Crowder won't play for the Redskins Sunday against the Cowboys. Paul Richardson's "doubtful" tag might as well say "We'll see you in Week 8." The situation means more Maurice Harris and Josh Doctson. Neither should be in fantasy lineups, yet both offer some potential considering the Crowder and Richardson could linger. 

* Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch reportedly may land on injured reserve with a groin injury that at least should sideline "Beast Mode" for a month. Doug Martin becomes the early down back when Oakland returns from its bye. 

* Other injuries to track this weekend: Sony Michel, Julian Edelman and Eric Ebron.

Quarterbacks

1.  Patrick Mahomes, KC
 
2.  Jared Goff, LAR
 
3.  Matt Ryan, ATL
 
4.  Cam Newton, CAR
 
5.  Kirk Cousins, MIN
 
6.  Jameis Winston, TB
 
7.  Tom Brady, NE
 
8.  Andy Dalton, CIN
 
9.  Andrew Luck, IND
 
10.  Carson Wentz, PHI
 
11.  Philip Rivers, LAC
 
12.  Matthew Stafford, DET
 
13.  Drew Brees, NO
 
14.  Baker Mayfield, CLE
 
15.  Joe Flacco, BAL
 
16.  Mitch Trubisky, CHI
 
17.  Blake Bortles, JAC
 
18.  Eli Manning, NYG
 
19.  Deshaun Watson, HOU
 
20.  C.J. Beathard, SF
 
21.  Alex Smith, WAS
 
22.  Dak Prescott, DAL
 
23.  Case Keenum, DEN
 
24.  Marcus Mariota, TEN
 
25.  Brock Osweiler, MIA
 
26.  Josh Rosen, ARI
 
27.  Sam Darnold, NYJ
 
28.  Derek Anderson, BUF

Running backs

1.  Todd Gurley, LAR
 
2.  Saquon Barkley, NYG
 
3.  Melvin Gordon, LAC
 
4.  Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
 
5.  Kareem Hunt, KC
 
6.  Joe Mixon, CIN
 
7.  Alvin Kamara, NO
 
8.  David Johnson, ARI
 
9.  Christian McCaffrey, CAR
 
10.  Sony Michel, NE
 
11.  Tevin Coleman, ATL
 
12.  LeSean McCoy, BUF
 
13.  Adrian Peterson, WAS
 
14.  James White, NE
 
15.  Nick Chubb, CLE
 
16.  Mark Ingram, NO
 
17.  Kerryon Johnson, DET
 
18.  Jordan Howard, CHI
 
19.  T.J. Yeldon, JAC
 
20.  Phillip Lindsay, DEN
 
21.  Matt Breida, SF
 
22.  Alex Collins, BAL
 
23.  Peyton Barber, TB
 
24.  Tarik Cohen, CHI
 
25.  Corey Clement, PHI
 
26.  Royce Freeman, DEN
 
27.  Kenyan Drake, MIA
 
28.  Marlon Mack, IND
 
29.  Latavius Murray, MIN
 
30.  Isaiah Crowell, NYJ
 
31.  Wendell Smallwood, PHI
 
32.  Bilal Powell, NYJ
 
33.  Frank Gore, MIA
 
34.  Ito Smith, ATL
 
35.  Lamar Miller, HOU
 
36.  Dion Lewis, TEN
 
37.  Austin Ekeler, LAC
 
38.  Carlos Hyde, CLE
 
39.  Chris Thompson, WAS
 
40.  Derrick Henry, TEN
 
41.  Nyheim Hines, IND
 
42.  Javorius Allen, BAL
 
43.  Duke Johnson, CLE
 
44.  LeGarrette Blount, DET
 
45.  Raheem Mostert, SF
 
46.  Ronald Jones II, TB
 
47.  Alfred Blue, HOU
 
48.  Chris Ivory, BUF
 
49.  Kyle Juszczyk, SF
 
50.  Theo Riddick, DET
 
51.  Mark Walton, CIN
 
52.  Jamaal Charles, JAC
 
53.  Wayne Gallman, NYG
 
54.  Spencer Ware, KC
 
55.  Malcolm Brown, LAR
 
56.  Devontae Booker, DEN
 
57.  C.J. Anderson, CAR
 
58.  Alfred Morris, SF
 
59.  Kapri Bibbs, WAS
 
60.  Roc Thomas, MIN
 
61.  Rod Smith, DAL
 
62.  Chase Edmonds, ARI
 
63.  Jordan Wilkins, IND
 
64.  Gus Edwards, BAL
 
65.  Jacquizz Rodgers, TB

Wide receivers

1.  Adam Thielen, MIN
 
2.  Julio Jones, ATL
 
3.  Tyreek Hill, KC
 
4.  A.J. Green, CIN
 
5.  Odell Beckham Jr., NYG
 
6.  DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
 
7.  Robert Woods, LAR
 
8.  Michael Thomas, NO
 
9.  Mike Evans, TB
 
10.  Brandin Cooks, LAR
 
11.  Keenan Allen, LAC
 
12.  Stefon Diggs, MIN
 
13.  Jarvis Landry, CLE
 
14.  Tyler Boyd, CIN
 
15.  Golden Tate, DET
 
16.  Alshon Jeffery, PHI
 
17.  Kenny Golladay, DET
 
18.  John Brown, BAL
 
19.  Emmanuel Sanders, DEN
 
20.  Allen Robinson, CHI
 
21.  Marvin Jones, DET
 
22.  Michael Crabtree, BAL
 
23.  Devin Funchess, CAR
 
24.  Julian Edelman, NE
 
25.  DeSean Jackson, TB
 
26.  Sterling Shepard, NYG
 
27.  Josh Gordon, NE
 
28.  Taylor Gabriel, CHI
 
29.  Corey Davis, TEN
 
30.  Demaryius Thomas, DEN
 
31.  Calvin Ridley, ATL
 
32.  Sammy Watkins, KC
 
33.  Marquise Goodwin, SF
 
34.  T.Y. Hilton, IND
 
35.  Keelan Cole, JAC
 
36.  Dede Westbrook, JAC
 
37.  Chris Godwin, TB
 
38.  Robby Anderson, NYJ
 
39.  Will Fuller, HOU
 
40.  Nelson Agholor, PHI
 
41.  Mohamed Sanu, ATL
 
42.  Christian Kirk, ARI
 
43.  Keke Coutee, HOU
 
44.  Albert Wilson, MIA
 
45.  Kenny Stills, MIA
 
46.  Antonio Callaway, CLE
 
47.  Mike Williams, LAC
 
48.  Donte Moncrief, JAC
 
49.  Tyrell Williams, LAC
 
50.  Maurice Harris, WAS
 
51.  Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
 
52.  Chester Rogers, IND
 
53.  Willie Snead, BAL
 
54.  Jermaine Kearse, NYJ
 
55.  Pierre Garcon, SF
 
56.  Chris Hogan, NE
 
57.  Courtland Sutton, DEN
 
58.  Tre'Quan Smith, NO
 
59.  Cole Beasley, DAL
 
60.  Taywan Taylor, TEN
 
61.  Kelvin Benjamin, BUF
 
62.  Cameron Meredith, NO
 
63.  D.J. Moore, CAR
 
64.  Danny Amendola, MIA
 
65.  Anthony Miller, CHI
 
66.  Josh Doctson, WAS
 
67.  Josh Reynolds, LAR
 
68.  Jakeem Grant, MIA
 
69.  Terrelle Pryor, NYJ
 
70.  Allen Hurns, DAL

Tight ends

1.  Travis Kelce, KC
 
2.  Zach Ertz, PHI
 
3.  Rob Gronkowski, NE
 
4.  Eric Ebron, IND
 
5.  George Kittle, SF
 
6.  David Njoku, CLE
 
7.  Jordan Reed, WAS
 
8.  Trey Burton, CHI
 
9.  Austin Hooper, ATL
 
10.  O.J. Howard, TB
 
11.  Kyle Rudolph, MIN
 
12.  Greg Olsen, CAR
 
13.  Ricky Seals-Jones, ARI
 
14.  C.J. Uzomah, CIN
 
15.  Evan Engram, NYG
 
16.  Cameron Brate, TB
 
17.  Geoff Swaim, DAL
 
18.  Benjamin Watson, NO
 
19.  Charles Clay, BUF
 
20.  Dallas Goedert, PHI
 
21.  Vernon Davis, WAS
 
22.  Gerald Everett, LAR
 
23.  Jeff Heuerman, DEN
 
24.  Hayden Hurst, BAL
 
25.  Mike Gesicki, MIA

Defenses

1.  Jacksonville Jaguars, JAC
 
2.  Los Angeles Rams, LAR
 
3.  Indianapolis Colts, IND
 
4.  Minnesota Vikings, MIN
 
5.  Denver Broncos, DEN
 
6.  Los Angeles Rams, LAR
 
7.  Houston Texans, HOU
 
8.  Philadelphia Eagles, PHI
 
9.  Arizona Cardinals, ARI
 
10.  Buffalo Bills, BUF
 
11.  New England Patriots, NE
 
12.  Washington Redskins, WAS
 
13.  Baltimore Ravens, BAL
 
14.  Dallas Cowboys, DAL
 
15.  Detroit Lions, DET
 
16.  Cleveland Browns, CLE
 
17.  Chicago Bears, CHI
 
18.  New York Jets, NYJ
 
19.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers, TB
 
20.  Atlanta Falcons, ATL

Kickers

1.  Harrison Butker, KC
 
2.  Stephen Gostkowski, NE
 
3.  Justin Tucker, BAL
 
4.  Adam Vinatieri, IND
 
5.  Wil Lutz, NO
 
6.  Jake Elliott, PHI
 
7.  Dan Bailey, MIN
 
8.  Matt Prater, DET
 
9.  Greg Zuerlein, LAR
 
10.  Randy Bullock, CIN
 
11.  Josh Lambo, JAC
 
12.  Graham Gano, CAR
 
13.  Chandler Catanzaro, TB
 
14.  Cody Parkey, CHI
 
15.  Brandon McManus, DEN
 
16.  Dustin Hopkins, WAS
 
17.  Aldrick Rosas, NYG
 
18.  Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU
 
19.  Brett Maher, DAL
 
20.  Robbie Gould, SF

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Why the Redskins-Cowboys matchup isn't just another game

Why the Redskins-Cowboys matchup isn't just another game

When the Dallas Cowboys come to town on Sunday in Week 7 to face off against the Redskins, anyone who has spent anytime with a Washington fan knows it's not just another game.

In a Facebook Live on Friday, NBC Sports Washington analyst and former Washington Redskin Brian Mitchell explained why it wasn't just another game for fans or players.

If it was just another game, the community and the town wouldn't act like it does. If it was just another game when you beat the Cowboys and you ride around, you wouldn't see that everyone seems to be a lot happier.

Over the course of his ten-year career with the Redskins, Mitchell faced off against the Cowboys 20 times. 

When you lose to them, it's like people lost their best friend. It wouldn't be that way if it was just another game. And no, you don't go out there and prepare differently. But you know it has more meaning than just winning. It has meaning that goes to the older generation that will always have issues with the Cowboys. It's all that stuff. It's having bragging rights. 

Watch the Facebook Live video here.

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