July 23, 2017

An early look at the Washington Redskins’ in-house free agent options

When the Washington Redskins season came to a sudden end at the hands of the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon, heartbreak fell over the DMV. The reality is that the Redskins were a much improved football team and no longer the laughing stock of the league. With Scot McCloughan at the helm, Redskins fans should feel confident about the stability of the franchise for the first time in years.

Knowing McCloughan’s work ethic of always evaluating talent, he will get right to work on offseason moves, starting with resigning key pieces before Free Agency begins on March 15 at 4 p.m. Here is a list of all 21 of the Washington Redskins 2016 free agents and determining who must be back or who the franchise could afford to let walk. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins: Week 11 Monday Wrap Up After Another Mistake Filled Road Letdown

After Andre Roberts returned a kickoff for a touchdown to tie the game at 14, the Washington Redskins gave up 30 points unanswered on their way to an embarrassing loss to the undefeated Carolina Panthers. On Monday, head coach Jay Gruden addressed some of the many points of concerns about the loss.

A recap of the injuries suffered on Sunday are headlined by a left knee patella contusion for Trent Williams and reaggravation of Alfred Morris‘s rib injury from the Saints game. Both are considered day-to-day and Gruden hopes both to be available in a divisional matchup against the Giants on Sunday. Jordan Reed also was dealing with an MCL sprain, but returned to the game. CB DeShazor Everett suffered a hamstring sprain and would be a loss for the team on special teams as a gunner.

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Washington Redskins: Week 10 Thursday Press Conference Wrap Up

After Thursday’s practice that saw no one sit out for the first time this year, head coach Jay Gruden and defensive coordinator Joe Barry addressed the media.

When asked about the possible lack of production opposite of Ryan Kerrigan, Gruden partially avoided the question by explaining that they are always looking for more from Trent Murphy and Preston Smith. Gruden elaborated that both young players are a “work in progress” that have a “ways to go”. Barry added that both have had “some good, some bad”. Washington would have loved to have the talent of Junior Galette, who continues to “rehab his butt off” at the Redskins facilities, according to Gruden.

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Washington Redskins: Week 9 Monday Press Conference Wrap Up

In the first practice coming off a bye week filled with self-scouting as well as preparing for the defending champion New England Patriots, Jay Gruden addressed the media for the first time in nearly a week.

With regards to injuries, which Gruden is not bound to discuss until Wednesday, Bashaud Breeland (hamstring) did not participate although he was rehabbing on a side field. Breeland described his hamstring strain as grade two and does not know if he will play Sunday even though he is on the “up and up“.

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Washington Redskins: G Shawn Lauvao and CB Justin Rodgers Placed on Injured Reserve

REDSKINS CONTINUE TO LOSE KEY PIECES TO STARTING LINEUP, SEASON OVER FOR LAUVAO AND RODGERS 

The Washington Redskins have placed guard Shawn Lauvao (ankle) and reserve cornerback Justin Rodgers (foot) on the season ending injured reserve list today. In corresponding moves, the Redskins have promoted converted receiver CB Quinton Dunbar and signed ILB Mason Foster to the 53 man roster. Foster was part of the group of linebackers Washington worked out yesterday. To replace Dunbar on the practice squad will be this year’s seventh round pick center Austin Reiter.

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Washington Redskins: With hope of relevance in weakened division, Skins fall flat against Giants

Going into this season, there was probably less hope for the Washington Redskins than ever before in recent history. Robert Griffin III did not look the greatest, suffered a concussion, and was subsequently benched. Two weeks into the season, the Eagles and Giants were both 0-2 and the Cowboys were without their three best offensive players from last season (Romo, Bryant, and Murray). The Redskins had a chance to build momentum after an impressive 24-10 win over the St. Louis Rams, but instead came out slow and never recovered on their way to a 32-21 loss to the New York Giants.

After getting off to solid starts the first two weeks of the season with 10-0 leads, the Redskins decided to flip the script early. On the first drive of the game, Jordan Reed was penalized for pass interference, which Jay Gruden did not agree with, that not only negated a big play but stalled the drive into a punt attempt. I say attempt because the Redskins poor special teams reared its ugly head again as practice squad addition Terrance Plummer got blown up by running back Rashad Jennings leading to a block and safety.

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Washington Redskins: Week 1 Friday Press Conference Wrap Up

For the last time before the Washington Redskins host the Miami Dolphins at FedEx Field, Jay Gruden spoke to the media and for the first time since early on in training camp second year offensive coordinator Sean McVay discussed expectations for the offense.

The breaking news came from team president Bruce Allen prior to Gruden’s media availability when he told WTOP radio that Robert Griffin III received written clearance from the league neurologist last night, three weeks removed from the concussion he suffered at the hands of the Detroit Lions pass rush. Gruden reiterated this news by telling the media that “Robert finally got cleared” and saying he will be listed as probable for Sunday’s game because he was still able to participate in non-contact practice, although not with the second unit. When asked about Colt McCoy‘s previous status as the backup quarterback, Gruden said that decision will be made when the team has to submit their 46-man active roster shortly before the game.

Although being demoted might bring on the worst feeling for a professional football player, Gruden has reiterated the feelings of others when saying Griffin has responded well to the situation and has not shown any frustration he may be feeling inside. McVay put it that Griffin “handled himself very maturely”, a credit to his character when faced with a “tough situation”. A full hour after practice concluded, Griffin was still putting in the work by running through drills with a team staffer.

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Washington Redskins: Updated Unofficial Depth Chart prior to Preseason Bout with Ravens

The Washington Redskins have made some changes to their unofficial depth chart heading into the “dress rehearsal” preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday. You can see the full depth chart below as the cuts to the 53 man roster have to be finalized by September 5th. In bold we have denoted those who are locks to make the roster, while those names that are italicized are individuals who we expect to round out the 53 man roster.

With 46 locks, we predict that Rashad Ross (WR6), Ty Nsekhe (RT2), Je’Ron Hamm (TE3), Kedric Golston (DE4), Frank Kearse (DE5), Houston Bates (OLB5), Martrell Spaight (MLB4), and Justin Rodgers (CB5*) to be on the 53 man roster starting week 1. Although there are 8 players listed to possible make the team leading to 53 man players, CB Baushad Breeland will not count towards the Week 1 53 man roster while serving his one game suspension. It is possible that Justin Rodgers could be gone come Week 2 when Breeland returns unless he can convince the coaching staff to keep him on the roster at the expense of someone else.

Need to Know Changes from Previous Depth Chart:

  • With the season ending injuries to Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen, the Washington Redskins acquired TE Derek Carrier from the San Francisco 49ers for a 5th round draft pick in 2016. Je’Ron Hamm currently seems to be slightly ahead of Chase Dixon and Devin Mahina in the competition for the third tight end roster spot. Ernst Brun and D.J. Williams who were recently signed seem to be long shots to make the team.
  • After the Redskins lost another special teams standout in Adam Hayward, it was Terrance Plummer and not 5th round draft pick Martrell Spaight given the MLB4 spot on the depth chart. Though it is still expected for Spaight to make the team, fully expect that all borderline competitions to possible be determined by the impact said individuals can make on special teams.
  • Chris Thompson, who is expected to make the team as the third string running back, has now leapfrogged Andre Roberts into the starting kickoff return role. There have been only one chance for the Redskins to return a kickoff during the preseason due to touchbacks, so this position is not set in stone.

Surprising Non-Changes to Depth Chart:

  • After being absolutely destroyed on multiple occasions when starting at left tackle for an injured Trent Williams, inconsistent lineman Willie Smith is still listed as backing up the Silverback. Tom Compton has continued to be listed as the third string right tackle, but his newly found role as a blocking tight end makes us consider him a lock to make the roster.
  • Houston Bates has not made up any ground on Jackson Jeffcoat according to the new depth chart, but it is possible that the flashy pass rusher is making a case for a roster spot with three sacks in the first two preseason games. With the injury to Hayward, a linebacker spot opens up for the taking. Expect Bates to be required to also make a difference on special teams in order to make the team.
  • Similarly to Bates, talented OLB Junior Galette has still been listed as the third string WLB although he could possibly start Week 1 against the Dolphins barring a lack of chemistry with the team in his recent arrival and/or a possible suspension for off the field issues.

Do not take any of these rankings too seriously as much can still change up to and beyond the start of the regular season. District Sports Page will keep you updated on the latest changes in position battles that could come down to the wire.

Position First String Second String Third String Other
WR1 DeSean Jackson Ryan Grant Jamison Crowder Rashad Ross
LT Trent Williams Willie Smith Takoby Cofield
LG Shawn Lauvao Arie Kouandjio Bryce Quigley
C Kory Lichtensteiger Josh LeRibeus Austin Reiter
RG Brandon Scherff Spencer Long Tyler Larsen
RT Morgan Moses Ty Nsekhe Tom Compton
TE Jordan Reed Derek Carrier Je’Ron Hamm Chase Dixon, Devin Mahina
WR2 Pierre Garçon Andre Roberts Evan Spencer Colin Lockett, Tony Jones, Reggie Bell
QB Robert Griffin III Kirk Cousins Colt McCoy
FB Darrel Young Jordan Campbell
RB Alfred Morris Matt Jones Chris Thompson Trey Williams, Mack Brown
LDE Stephen Paea Kedric Golston Corey Crawford
NT Terrance Knighton Chris Baker Jerrell Powe Travian Robertson
RDE Jason Hatcher Ricky Jean Francois Frank Kearse Robert Thomas
SLB Trent Murphy Jackson Jeffcoat Houston Bates Dyshawn Davis
MLB Keenan Robinson Will Compton Martrell Spaight
MLB Perry Riley Jr. Terrance Plummer Alonzo Highsmith
WLB Ryan Kerrigan Preston Smith Junior Galette Sage Harold
CB DeAngelo Hall Bashaud Breeland Justin Rogers Trey Wolfe, Qunton Dunbar
CB Chris Culliver David Amerson Deshazor Everett Tajh Hasson, Bryan McCann, DreQuan Hoseky
SS Duke Ihenacho Jeron Johnson Akeem Davis DaMon Cromartie-Smith
FS Dashon Goldson Trenton Robinson Kyshoen Jarrett
P Tress Way
K Kai Forbath Ty Long
H Tress Way
LS Nick Sundberg
KR Chris Thompson Andre Roberts Jamison Crowder
PR Andre Roberts Jamison Crowder Rashad Ross

Washington Redskins: Analysis of Preseason Home Opener Win over Lions

GRIFFIN CONCUSSED AFTER HIT REPEATEDLY BEHIND WEAK LINE

Another costly preseason victory for the Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III left the game on his fourth series with a concussion and right shoulder stinger, though head coach Jay Gruden said RG3’s shoulder is “okay”. Griffin had no time all night as he was hit on six of eight drop backs, the result of using inconsistent  Willie Smith at left tackle and Brandon Scherff still just being a rookie in this league. You can see all the vicious blows Griffin took last night as well as the play he got hurt on below.

Besides Robert Griffin III, who could be out for upwards of a week and possibly not ready for Week 1 of the regular season, the Redskins also lost another special teams stud. Adam Hayward went down on kickoff coverage with a knee injury that many are reporting is a torn ACL, which would place him on the IR for the second straight year (tibia fracture). Having already lost Niles Paul last week to a dislocated and fractured ankle, the Redskins will put a premium on special teams play to round out their 53 man roster.

The quarterback play was similar to last week against the Browns. There is simply too small of a sample size to evaluate Griffin, who now may be out for the foreseeable future. The small part did he did play looks awful much in part to the fact he was hit on six out of eight drop backs with only one, in which he got hurt, being his fault. For those who will bash Griffin, they will get their chance to see Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy battle it out on the practice field while RG3 is out. Both backup quarterbacks played well last night; however it all must be taken with a grain of salt as they were playing against a backup secondary who were giving up open soft spots left and right.

The running backs were one of the lone bright spot for the Washington Redskins. After only providing 24 yards of support on seven carries for Griffin, also possibly the result of a weaker offensive line, we saw explosive runs behind the backup line. Rookie Matt Jones got things started with a 24 yard rumble up the middle with a good cut to make a defender miss mid way through. Chris Thompson also had a nice run around the right side and similarly to Jones made a defender go for a slip and slide ride with a smooth cut. Finally, the speedster Trey Williams put his track like ability on display with a 38 yard run down the right sideline. Although the Redskins combined for a whopping 179 yards on the ground on 40 carries, 81 of them came from these big plays.

Again the starting defense was shaky coming out of the gates. Yes they were missing the likes of DeAngelo HallBaushad BreelandRyan Kerrigan, and Junior Galette, but fundamentally they were not getting the job done. Throughout the game the Redskins could not sustain tackles and bring the ball carrier to the ground individually. From the starters, Keenan RobinsonDavid Amerson, and Chris Culliver were all guilty of that. The nice part however was the rest of the defense’s swarming to the football to make the additional yardage gain minimal through gang tackling.

The up and down nature of the starting defense continued with the coverage in the passing game. At times Matthew Stafford, without arguably the best receiver in the game Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, was simply dissecting the gaps in the defense (similarly to how Cousins and McCoy would return the favor). The Lions quarterback had four passes, out of his eight, for double digit yard gains. In the end the Redskins defense did a decent job preventing the Lions from entering the red zone. Both drives stalled for the Lions and they settled for a 49 yard Matt Prater field goal over the course of their two drives. Jason Hatcher was a key pass rusher in stalling both drives as he twice hurried Stafford into not converting on third down.

Now lets take a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling as the Redskins continue their evaluation process to cut their roster to 53 players by Saturday, September 5th.

  • UP: Tackle Tom Compton. With all the problems on the offensive line yesterday, Compton who was used multiple times as a blocking tight end (trying to fill the void of Logan Paulsen), did an effective job. The backup lineman has the mobility to sustain blocks down field which allowed Alfred Morris to gain a 10 yard clip on the opening possession. With Brandon Scherff moving to guard, opening an extra roster spot at tackle, Compton is all but a lock for the final roster.
  • DOWN: Tackle Willie Smith. For Gruden to say Smith played “pretty good” is laughable. The tackle was playing in place of Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams who could have gone it it were a regular season game. Smith was beat repeatedly. Three times Lions defenders got clean shots on Griffin around the outside. Smith was bailed out the fourth time from the fact that Scherff got blown up quicker than he did. If Ty Nsekhe shows he is the least bit competent in being a backup tackle, the journey man Willie Smith will continue his journey right out the door.
  • UP: Punter Tress Way. Arguably the Redskins most worthy player of a Pro Bowl of All-Pro selection might just be their dynamite punter. In a special teams that has been horrendous over the years, the Redskins might have found their changer in field position for the next five years. Way led the league in gross punting average at 47.5 yards. Last night Way averaged 51 yards on four punts and helped his coverage team with directional punts that helped limit punt return yardage to a total of 13 yards.
  • DOWN: Guard Brandon Scherff. Yes he is a rookie and yes he was not the only problem on the offensive line, but the 5th overall pick was absolutely bull rushed straight back into Griffin on a drop back. If Scherff is going to worth the value of his draft pick, he MUST at least develop into a above average guard where he supposedly more suited to start his development. Scherff also had a somewhat tough time on running plays as the Redskins got no substantial runs running to the right where he anchors the line with Morgan Moses. Scherff would say postgame that the play of the offensive line is “unacceptable” and says he needs to work on “everything”.

Everything moving forward will depend on the recovery timetable set for Griffin who has to pass the league’s strict concussion protocol before being able to do any work in practice. Head coach Jay Gruden has already come out and said he imagines Griffin to still be the starter. This might be frustrating for some who want to see Cousins or maybe even McCoy to get another shot at the starting job, but to me you cannot give up on Robert yet even though this is his third straight year with an injury.

Important Dates:

  • Face the Baltimore Ravens for the third preseason game (“dress rehearsal”) in 8 days on 8/29 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 15 days by 9/5.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 23 days.

 

Washington Redskins: Preseason Week 2 vs. Lions What to Watch For

If you think you can make generalizations about the Washington Redskins outlook for the regular season from last weeks play, you are probably wrong. The sample size is simply too small. The starters played roughly a quarter and were not 100% healthy. Robert Griffin III only threw the ball a grand total of eight times, and saying that Kirk Cousins‘s stellar play against backups and soon to be unemployed players is worthy of a starting job is preposterous.

Unfortunately we are not going to see too much more from the starters this week when they host the Lions either. Head coach Jay Gruden said the first units will likely go at least a quarter and possibly a little beyond that based on how many snaps each side gets. In short, it will be tough to evaluate the play of the starters again. Starting with the third preseason game against the Ravens, where the starters could play upwards of three quarters, we might be able to make small generalizations.

But just because there is a limited sample size to evaluate from the starters from does not mean that the second preseason game is not worth watching. Like last week, it will be a great opportunity for those further down the depth chart to showcase why they think they should be on the 53 man roster.

  • Colt McCoy orchestrating the backup offense. With all the talk that Cousins should be the starter over RG3 last week, many forgot that there is currently an open competition for the backup quarterback spot. This week it will be McCoy’s chance to light it up against backups after taking a game managing role last week to close out the win over the Browns. Cousins seems to have put himself ahead in the race and a bad showing by the Texas product could seal his fate as the third string QB.
  • The running attack as the power run scheme of Bill Callahan continues to develop. Last week we saw Alfred Morris and Matt Jones combine for three explosive runs. We saw the physicality level increase and we shall watch for more of the same. It will not show in preseason, but during the regular season that will result in the wearing down of the defensive line. We should also look for Chris Thompson to continue providing a change of pace option for the Redskins in his search to secure his third string running back spot after Silas Redd tore his ACL/MCL last week. NOTE: Redd did clear waivers and was placed on the Redskins injured reserve list joining the likes of Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen.
  • The right side of the offensive line with the combination of Brandon Scherff at guard and Morgan Moses at tackle. Last week the young duo was never put in too many tough positions and held their own against a talented Browns front seven. The more time they get together the more comfortable they should become. This week and the rest of preseason will be used to continue their development in hopes of producing an upgrade from last year.
  • Although there a handful of injuries to notable defenders for the Redskins, the starters are more or less penciled in. It will be nice to see a couple of three and outs with a turnover from the improved unit, but they will have their hands full with Calvin Johnson. It will be interesting to watch who takes on the assignment of the 6′ 5” Megatron as Chris Culliver is more of a slot corner, while DeAngelo Hall might not be able to go with a toe injury. From the front seven, the degree of pressure and effectiveness in stopping the run will be worth observing.
  • The dreaded special teams, can we see improvement? Kicker Kai Forbath has been inconsistent in practice thus far but if he continues his strong play in game time situations all will be set. The former Lou Groza award winner however HAS to try and get his kickoffs deeper in the end zone because the return coverage is still exposed constantly. For the Redskins own return options, watch of Andre Roberts, Chris Thompson, and possibly Rashad Ross get a crack at the duties while rookie Jamison Crowder is likely to sit with a hamstring injury.

Although there are key pieces of the game to watch for as detailed above, there will be little support for wild speculation even if the team executes perfectly or not at all.

Check back on Friday morning for a full analysis of the Redskins hosting of the Detroit Lions after doing battle Thursday Night with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 PM.

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