October 19, 2019

Washington Redskins Week Two of OTAs Observations

Week two of organized team activities began for the Washington Redskins this week which allowed for a slightly clearer image of how next season is shaping up through press conferences with head coach Jay Gruden and defensive coordinator Joe Barry. Unlike last week when Robert Griffin III was the main topic of discussion, more light was shed on the updating of injury concerns and the early evaluation of the younger talent.

The biggest takeaway from Barry’s first press conference as a member of the organization has to be how optimistic and complimentary he was about all of the tools he has around him to succeed. In his short time on the field in Ashburn, Barry has been enthusiastic and willed his players to be more aggressive, which was eluded to last week with a focus on forcing more turnovers.

Barry had high praise for each of his position coaches under his wing, including new secondary coach and ex-Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Barry spoke about how he was lured to Washington by the rich legacy and tradition of the Redskins even though they are in a down cycle. Moreover, Barry applauded the Scot McCloughan’s mindset of bringing in not only good football players but good character and coachable individuals. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins Second Day of OTAs Observations

With the media not allowed to attend the second or third days of organized team activities, there was not as much information available to pass along with the current status of the Washington Redskins. However the few bits of information that were reported through knowledgeable sources showed the moving parts that will likely continue going into the upcoming season.

As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Caplan, the Washington Redskins will release veteran Chris Chester, last year’s starting right guard. Chester was signed in 2011 to a five-year, $20 million contract and would have been a cap hit of $4.8 million this year in his last year under contract before becoming a unrestricted free agent. Chester also had a $100k workout bonus and $400k roster bonus in his contract, which may have played into the timing of release. There will be an $800k dead cap hit, but overall the Redskins have carved out an additional $4 million to work with to possibly bring in another free agent. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins Activity on Day 3 of NFL Draft

The Washington Redskins drafted three players in the first two days of the NFL Draft: OT Brandon Scherff, OLB/DE Preston Smith, and RB Matt Jones. Scheduled to have a league high seven picks on the last day of the draft, the Redskins got things started off early.

With the sixth pick in the fourth round (105th overall) the Redskins selected WR Jamison Crowder of Duke. Crowder is a smaller receiver, standing at just 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds. He will primarily be a factor in the return game and could fight for a position as a slot receiver. Gruden mentioned that he could envision Crowder as the Redskins returner Week 1 as he is a natural punt returner, but will have to be evaluated on kickoffs.

Crowder had a solid senior season as a Blue Devil with 85 receptions for 1044 yards. Crowder’s playmaking ability is something that got Head Coach Jay Gruden excited. Scot McCloughan went against his usual motto of selecting big physical individuals and also had Crowder rated higher than a similar player from the local area in Stefon Diggs of Maryland. The most noticeable name who Crowder might push to the brink of playing time is the free agency disappointment from last year, Andre Roberts. It is also currently believed that Crowder does not necessarily take Santana Moss’s roster spot.

With the 13th pick in the fourth round (112th overall), a pick obtained through yesterday’s trade with the Seattle Seahawks, the Redskins drafted G Arie Kouandjio out of the Alabama powerhouse. Kouandjio is another big guy 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, but was only projected to be fifth/sixth round pick. Kouandjio is not the most athletic or versatile player. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan will have his work cut out for him the raw talent, but there should be some intense battle at right guard between Chris Chester, Morgan Moses, Spencer Long and now Kouandjio.

With the 5th pick in the fifth round (141st overall), the Redskins selected LB Martrell Spaight out of the University of Arkansas. Although he may have poor measurables and stands at just 6′ tall and 236 pounds, Spaight is an attacking playmaker and has the potential to help out on a much maligned special teams. Spaight played “Will” Linebacker in his most recent season and recorded a team high 128 tackles. Spaight will likely take a back seat to the likes of Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley.

Instead of making a selection at the 167th overall pick, the Redskins traded that pick to the New Orleans Saints in return for the 187th overall pick and the Saint’s sixth round pick in 2016.

The Redskins picked up defensive backs in back to back picks in the sixth round first grabbing SS Kyshoen Jarrett out of Virginia Tech and then going back to the University of Arkansas for CB Tevin Mitchel. Jarrett stands at just 5′ 10” and 200 pounds but has a nose for the football and physical play especially close to the line of scrimmage. Although he will be a liability of coverage, he can be developed into a better player and can contribute on special teams immediately. Mitchel is 6′ but only 183 pounds; he is athletic with solid coverage skills because of his ability to change directions fluidly. Injuries have plagued him in the past but this might be one of McCloughans sleepers to keep an eye out for for seasons to come. Jarrett and Mitchel might not push the current secondary members of Baushad Breeland, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, DaShon Goldson, or Jeron Johnson for playing time but could be developed into long term options to take over for Hall or Goldson.

Shortly after looking for defensive back gems, McCloughan and company looked at the counterpart of the position by drafting WR Evan Spencer out of the Ohio State University. Spencer has a big receivers body at 6′ 2” and 208 pounds, but was often overshadowed by Devin Smith and the power scheme he played in at Ohio St. Spencer’s brother, Cole, is a scout for the Redskins and was allowed to make the call of selectionto his brother. Spencer’s best traits include his willingness to block on the edge as well as his quick looks for the ball after coming out of breaks. Spencer has the potential to push Ryan Grant for a roster spot as no one is safe with a new general manager in town.

With most likely the last draft pick for the Washington Redskins in 2015, the team selected C Austin Reiter out of USF who stands at 6′ 3” and 296 pounds. Reiter was named to the Rimington Award Watch List, which goes to the most outstanding center, to start the college football season. Reiter is another big body that is not currently ready for playing time, but has a chance to develop through the coaching of Bill Callahan into a solid player down the line. Gruden stated that you can never have too many big guys who can move the pile.

Gruden said they considered taking more defensive linemen but thought they already had good players and addressed other needs in free agency. Although McCloughan was the lead dog in the draft process, Gruden expressed how everyone had input as everyone was fired up. Gruden also detailed how McCloughan easily adjusted to things on the fly. Gruden also acknowledged that the Redskins were drafting good people when asked about avoiding players with arrests and/or suspension. Such would explain the passing of names like Shane Ray, Dorial Green-Beckham, Randy Gregory, and La’el Collins to name a few.

Washington Redskins Select Brandon Scherff at No. 5 Overall in NFL Draft

“Coach [Jay] Gruden, he said, ‘We want you to be a Redskin. How do you feel about that? ‘I said absolutely and just talked about that. I talked to Coach [Bill] Callahan and then went on stage.” — newest Redskins lineman Brandon Scherff

With much speculation over the past three months of whom the Washington Redskins would select with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft — from Marcus Mariota to Dante Fowler to nobody at all in a trade down scenario — we now know that individual is Brandon Scherff. This is a statement pick that tells the rest of the league that Scot McCloughan is in charge and wants to create a dominant force on the line on both sides of the ball that can impose their will.

Scherff is a 6’ 5’’ 315 pound offensive lineman out of the University of Iowa and was rated as the No. 1 offensive linemen available in the draft ahead of names like Ereck Flowers and Andrus Peat. Scherff is a big, tough, nasty, and strong individual on the line to protect Robert Griffin III and block for Alfred Morris. Scherff spent all four years in college and played behind and at times replaced, when injured, Riley Reiff, who was a first round pick of the Lions in 2012.

“Then when it came to our pick, we thought that he was the best person for what we wanted, the best player available,” said head coach Jay Gruden. “If you’re talking about offensive linemen, you’re talking about a big, physical guy, and we want to bring that mentality back to this football team and it starts up front. We addressed the defensive front a little bit in free agency, and I think we had to address the offensive linemen, the offensive line room, and we did that tonight.”

Moreover, the acquisition of Bill Callahan as the Redskins offensive line coach most definitely had an impact in the decision as McCloughan somewhat hinted at in his press conference on Monday. It is now believed that Scherff will transition into Washington’s starting right tackle which was a much maligned position for the club last season. As a result, the Redskins offensive line could read Trent Williams, Shaun Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Morgan Moses (possibly replacing Chris Chester, and Brandon Scherff.

Gruden went out of his way to praise Scherff’s toughness. “When you have a guy that’s this tough on film and it just echoes every time you watch him play, every play that he plays, you see the toughness and you’re like, ‘Man, we could use a little bit more toughness.’ Not to say we weren’t tough last year. We had some guys that competed and played very, very hard, no doubt about it, but when you add another guy of his caliber, his size, his strength, his tenacity, that only makes your football team better. It’s going to help our defensive line, it’s going to help our offensive line, it’s going to help our running game, obviously, and it’s going to help our passing game.”

In what might be a shocker to some with defensive lineman Leonard Williams still on the board — Mel Kiper’s No. 1 rated prospect — McCloughan pulled the first major shocker of the draft by drafting an offensive tackle. What makes this move even more shocking is that there were highly reported rumors that if Williams was available, the Redskins said to him that they would draft him.

When talking on ESPN980 Radio, Scherff said he did not talk to the Washington Redskins much except at the NFL Combine. Scherff says that his best trait is his foot work, while he needs to work on his pass protection the most. The Iowa big man also shared his confidence in playing all five positions on the offensive line because of his versatility which Jay Gruden talked about in his first round press conference. However, Gruden has stated he will be plugged in day one at right tackle.

“Either way wherever they want me to play, I’ll do my best and I’ll jump right in and try to get that spot,” Scherff said in his post-draft media call.

Gruden shed light that they might have looked more for a non-defensive lineman because of their free agency acquisitions, which would explain why they passed on Leonard Williams. The head coach also said that they had the phone ringing a little but said when your guy is there you have to take him. It is possible that Scherff was the second player on the Redskins board behind Dante Fowler.

As a chain reaction of moves, the New York Giants, who desperately needed a left tackle, had their hand forced and drafted Ereck Flowers out of the University of Miami. This is definitely a stretch pick because of questions of what position Flowers will finally settle into, as well as if he has enough time to be polished into a NFL offensive line from his current state of raw talent.

McCloughan started to build up the San Francisco 49ers at the offensive line position leading to the building of an eventual playoff contender. He is starting to follow the same blue print with the Washington Redskins. It will be interesting to see who will fall to the Redskins at the 38th overall pick tomorrow. Redskins fans who may be hesitant on this move should still have faith in McCloughan going into the later rounds because of his excellent track record of finding that diamond in the rough.

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins season finale loss against the Dallas Cowboys

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 44-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, ending the season at 4-12:

1. Robert Griffin’s performance gets worse as the game goes on.

Griffin’s stats are inflated by big gains after the catch on screen plays, but Griffin did nothing to fuel the offense or put the defense in bad situations. Griffin took another sack that helped stall a drive, although Chris Chester being pushed into your face cannot help in reading progressions down the field. Griffin was also not helped by his receivers when Roy Helu and Niles Paul dropped catchable balls and Jordan Reed didn’t run the necessary depth on a route on fourth down. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins 2014 Season Preview Part IV: Offensive Line

All this week leading up to the Washington Redskins 2014 season opener against the Houston Texans on Sept. 7, District Sports Page is taking an in-depth look at the players that will make up the 53-man roster to start the season in a position-by-position breakdown.

In Part I, Neal Dalal took a look at the Quarterback position.
In Part II, Eric Hobeck examined the situation at running back.
In Part III, Joe Mercer previewed the wide receiver corps.

Here now is Part IV, a look at the men responsible for protecting Robert Griffin III, the offensive line. [Read more…]

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