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Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:12 am

In Final Preseason Tuneup , Redskins Fall To Ravens 30-20 In their final contest prior the 2018 regular season, the Redskins fell to 1-3 on the preseason in a 30-20 decision to their regional rival, the Baltimore Ravens.In a game that featured virtually none of the presumptive starters for either team, all of the players were seemingly making their respective cases for a spot on the opening day roster. The Redskins have had a logjam at a number of positions including running back, defensive back, linebacker, and wide receiver.Several of the Mason/Brennan nominees saw significant playing time on both sides of the ball in what for several of them could very well be their last chance to suit up for the Redskins.With Chris Thompson and Adrian Peterson all but secured on the opening day 53-man roster, tonight’s game was an opportunity for Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine, Kapri Bibbs, De’Veon Smith and Byron Marshall (who did not suit up due to injury) to vie for what could be just one or two open tailback spots. Kelley led the way with 49 yards on 11 carries, and saw the majority of snaps in the first half. Smith chipped in with 7 rushes for 42 yards, while Perine finished with 30 yards on 7 attempts.One of the more late-breaking competitions this preseason came between Kevin Hogan and new addition Connor Jessop, who joined the squad following Colt McCoy’s early departure against Denver. Hogan played the entire game and posted a stat line of 22-for-38, 272 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Both young quarterbacks have strong local ties and would certainly be intriguing options should the Redskins opt to keep three quarterbacks.A footnote in the quarterback department: Robert Griffin III similarly worked to earn himself a roster spot in Baltimore alongside Joe Flacco and rookie phenom and fellow former Heisman winner Lamar Jackson. The former Redskins’ rookie did not play in the contest , raising the question of whether he has already done enough to earn his spot on the team. Meanwhile Jackson finished the evening with 109 yards passing and 25 yards on the ground including a touchdown.On defense, Zach Vigil and Shaun Dion-Hamilton both had impressive showings as they sought to earn spots in what is likely a contest with Martrell Spaight and Josh Harvey-Clemons. Dion-Hamilton was the statistical leader in the group against the Ravens, racking up seven tackles including one for a loss.Last week against the Broncos the defensive secondary struggled mightily, allowing long plays through the air and struggling to make open field tackles. This was a troubling trend that extended into their game tonight. Against the Ravens Troy Apke ended up with just one solo tackle, while Greg Stroman may have done enough in coverage to outpace Quin Blanding, Danny Johnson, and Kenny Ladler.Now that the preseason games are in the books it’s time for the front office to make some challenging decisions for who stays and who goes. While they won’t ever openly admit to having your opinions affect their decisions, we certainly want to know what your final thoughts are as we prepare to put a bow on the 2018 preseason.Which player do you think helped himself out the most in stating his case against Baltimore? Conversely, who hurt himself the most with a lackluster performance? If you were calling the shots, who would be the 53rd man to receive a locker on day one? Also, after seeing Hogan’s complete performance tonight, did he do enough to convince the Redskins to keep three quarterbacks? Throw what you know in the comments below! The future is now in D.C. Unfortunately, the Washington Redskins need help both immediately and for the foreseeable future. What are some pressing needs for this team to remain competitive and where can help come from for the future?Quarterback - Yet again, Alex Smith finds himself as a placeholder for a younger, franchise quarterback. The only question is, how long will the team have to wait to get that player? Alex is most likely here for a minimum of two more seasons after the conclusion of 2018 , so that could mean the 2020 NFL draft will be the time the team looks to draft their future signal caller. This would allow Alex to mentor that new quarterback for a season before he is relieved of his duties. Any way you slice it, Alex is not the future of this team. Running Back - The injury to second round pick Derrius Guice handicapped the Skins before the season even started. Thankfully, Adrian Peterson has come in and picked up the slack. Unfortunately, AP is not the long-term answer at the position. Although Guice has never taken a regular season snap, the team believes he’s the long-term answer to the running back issues that have plagued the franchise for years. How effectively he recovers from knee surgery will be worth watching this spring. Wide Receiver - This is arguably the Redskins biggest concern on offense, and it’s been this way for quite some time. The inability to draft and develop a true number one target has plagued this team for decades. The Redskins have had some luck in the free agency market, but that approach can prove to be very costly and carries a ton of risk. Josh Doctson has the makings of a first round bust, and newly signed speedster Paul Richardson is injured yet again. Jamison Crowder is a pending free agent, and with his recent injuries, the coaches may look to move on. If the team doesn’t address this deficiency in the offseason, they will find it hard to compete in the NFC.Guard - Left guard has been a concern for the last five years. Unfortunately, the front office has continued to turn to veteran Shawn Lauvao, despite a rash of injuries that have hampered his play. The time has come for the Redskins to invest a higher draft pick at the position to compliment young studs Brandon Scherff and Chase Roullier. The band-aid on the open wound has got to stop!EDGE - An impact edge rusher is a must in the NFL. The Redskins have been fortunate to have iron-man Ryan Kerrigan manning one side for years, but the situation opposite him has been a mixed bag. Preston Smith is set to become a free agent in the spring, and the team may be better off going to the draft, yet again , in search of his replacement. We do have Ryan Anderson, but he is best used in a reserve role moving forward due to his limited impact as a pass rusher. Linebacker - I have said linebacker is a concern on this team since London Fletcher retired. I like and respect the play of Mason Foster, but he’s a limited athlete, and struggles in coverage. Zach Brown is a tremendous athlete, who can play sideline-to-sideline, but the 29 year old is often replaced in sub-packages for better coverage options. It would be great if the team could draft a young, three-down linebacker who can become the leader of the defense. It would be even better if the defense would switch to a 4-3 base. If this move was made, it’s possible Shaun Dion-Hamilton could slide into the MIKE, with Josh Harvey-Clemons as the WILL and Brown as our SAM. Cornerback - Josh Norman is one of the highest paid corners in the NFL, but his recent play on the field has not come close to matching his exorbitant salary. It’s time for the Redskins to draft his eventual replacement, and the 2019 NFL Draft should hold a few interesting prospects. Quinton Dunbar has preformed nicely opposite Norman, but questions still remain about nickle corner. This team has more holes than fans may have thought heading into the season. The recent rash of injuries has magnified these deficiencies more than most want to admit. This begs the question - where should the Redskins turn for help?The most logical answer for immediate help is the 2019 NFL Draft. The Redskins will most likely hold four picks in the top 100, and with any luck, all four could be relied on heavily in 2019...and beyond. I’m going to assume for a moment that we win the NFC East this year with a 9-7 record, but are bounced in the first round of the playoffs. This should put us picking somewhere around 22nd.2019 NFL Draft:Round 1:Montez SweatEDGEMiss St.6’6” 250Round 2:Paris CampbellWROhio St.6’1” 208Round 3:Iman MarshallCBUSC6’0” 200Round 3:Chris LindstromOGBC6’3” 310Where has help already come from?Make no mistake, the 2018 NFL Draft was very solid for the Redskins. We have seen first round pick Daron Payne be a major force along the defensive line. Combine his emergence with the presence of second year stud Jonathan Allen and third year pro Matt Ioannidis (who is having the most productive year of the trio) , and you have a great young core to build around. Don’t forget about rookie Time Settle too!I’ve already mentioned Guice, and although his injury was devastating for the team, we can almost look at 2019 as his rookie year. If his impact in our offense is anything like the brief glimpse we got of him in the preseason, we should be set at the position for years to come. Geron Christian has looked poor in limited action this season, but we should expect massive growth from him this offseason. Will he become a competent swing tackle - only time will tell. The other question is the recent addition of guard Jonathan Cooper. The former first round pick played well for the Cowboys last season, but was not re-signed after he was injured in the teams last game of 2017. Cooper has talent, and he’s only 28, so if he can put together a nice showing over the next eight games, he could factor into the team’s plans next season and beyond. Arguably the biggest acquisition happened during the season at the trade deadline when the Redskins acquired Pro Bowl free safety HaHa Clinton-Dix from the Packers in exchange for a fourth round pick. A true free safety has long been a need for this team, and with Clinton-Dix manning the back end, that need could finally come to an end. The Skins should lock him up to a contract extension before free agency hits.

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