April 24, 2017

Washington Redskins fall apart after good first quarter once Aaron Rodgers and Packers return to form

REDSKINS TAKE SECOND-HALF LEAD, BUT PACKERS PROVE TOO MUCH TO HANDLE

(Photo by: @NFL)

(Photo by: @NFL)

The Washington Redskins were looking for their first playoff victory in a decade when Sean Taylor helped Joe Gibbs and company knock of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Unfortunately, their demise was foreshadowed by points left on the field in the first quarter as the Redskins were up only 11-0 instead of 16-0.

From that point on, Aaron Rodgers returned to his reigning MVP form and shredded the Redskins defense with an assist from his run game. Green Bay finished the game outscoring the Redskins 35-7. Washington dropped their fourth straight playoff game, 35-18, and will head into the offseason. Though disappointing now, the franchise is in good hands with General Manager Scot McCloughan.

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Washington Redskins: Drought against AFC East and back-to-back wins is over as Skins top Bills

COUSINS THROWS 4 TD PASSES, RUNS FOR ONE TO LEAD REDSKINS TO .500

skinsIn the last regular season game at FedEx Field, where the Washington Redskins boast a 5-2 record going in, the Buffalo Bills stood in their way to keep pace in the woeful NFC East. With the easiest remaining schedule in the division, the Skins were still looking for back-to-back victories for the first time since Week 8 of last season. A clinic by quarterback Kirk Cousins, with a career high five total touchdowns, allowed the Redskins to continue their success against the Ryan brothers. Despite a couple of big plays by Buffalo in the second half, Washington dominated the Bills for their first victory over an AFC East team since 2007, 35-17.

It has been customary for Alfred Morris to start the game on offense, which continued today. Two yards on his first three rushes looked to stall Washington’s opening drive, but Cousins delivered a beautiful ball in between the corner and safety to DeSean Jackson on a double move for a 28-yard game. Sean McVay started to exploit the Bills run defense with play-action and bootlegs that netted 35 yards on three plays with a great second effort by Alfred Morris sprinkled in. Faced with a goal-to-go situation, Cousins fired to Jordan Reed who ripped the ball away from former Redskin Bacarri Rambo for a touchdown.

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Washington Redskins continue trend of primetime nightmares by fumbling away division against Cowboys

DESEAN JACKSON BUNGLES LATE PUNT RETURN, SCORES MINUTES LATER — ALL TO NO AVAIL

Mark Tenally/Associated Press

Mark Tenally/Associated Press

Last week’s victory over the New York Giants to take control of the NFC East showed that the Washington Redskins are indeed contenders, not just pretenders. However, with the Philadelphia Eagles returning to form with the return of Sam Bradford, the magnitude of a prime time matchup against the archrival Dallas Cowboys grew.

In their last 22 games in night games, Washington is a dismal 4-18, though they were victorious last year in Dallas under the lights. After the team’s traded  field goals, an action-packed final two minutes ended in the Redskins doom.

Dan Bailey hit a 54-yard field goal with 9 seconds to go and the Cowboys further muddled the mess that is the NFC East with a 19-16 win over the Redskins.  [Read more…]

Washington Redskins: Bye Week Tuesday Press Conference Wrap Up

On the last day of practice before the Washington Redskins will take some time off during the bye week, Jay Gruden addressed the media on what will be transpiring behind closed doors.

With regards to injury, Gruden did not want to “project and guess” of who would be available against the patriots but did admit he has “high hopes for the majority of them”. Gruden’s main message to his players was to “get their bodies healthy” both physically and mentally. Although some may see it is unfair during their time off, I think Gruden was correct to ask the team to “tune in” to New England’s matchup against the Dolphins Thursday night as another step to be “mentally ready to go”.

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Washington Redskins: Monday Wrap Up After 24-10 Victory over Rams

The big news from Jay Gruden today had nothing to do with the Washington Redskins impressive 24-10 victory over the St. Louis Rams yesterday. Instead, it had to do with the Redskins waiving former second round pick David Amerson just over two years removed from being the team’s top draft selection in 2013. Although this seems like a big deal because it is the highest drafted player the Redskins have ever released, his ineffectiveness has been clear throughout his rookie and sophomore season before finally being given the boot with the position more than stable than when he arrived.

On a more pleasant note, Gruden also talked to the media about the positives of yesterday and also gave an injury update for Thursday’s game against the Giants, which is fast approaching.

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Washington Redskins: 2015 Outlook for Defense

We have looked at the Washington Redskins offense last week. This week we looked specifically at the defensive line, linebackers, and secondary of the burgundy and gold. Now it’s time to look at the defense as a whole, a unit that last year looked worse than a college team under the helm of Jim Haslett. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry might have gone 0-16 in the same role with the Lions, but there is almost no where but up for him to take the Redskins defense.

Similarly to our outlook for the offense, we will go through each unit projecting their grades for the regular season and then develop a projected Week 1 Depth Chart (which will NOT included the suspended Baushad Breeland).

  • Defensive Line: B+. The Redskins might not have any flashy stars like J.J. Watt that we can become enamored with in the trenches, but they have quietly put together a strong group of veterans that get the job done. Ricky Jean-Francois, Stephen Paea, and Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton should help solidify a unit that struggled doing anything in non-blitz situations. As long as they accomplish occupying more blockers than they are rushing from the line, that play will be a success. Penetration and giving linebackers open lanes to the ball carrier would be a bonus that would put them is company with some of the best lines in the league, but we must temper expectations to start.
  • Linebackers: B. The lone addition to the unit was Junior Galette and as long as he stays on the field by avoiding off the field issues, he will be an important asset for the team. The unit is quite strong at OLB with Trent Murphy and rookie Preston Smith looking accomplished enough to fill in sparingly, but the there are still concerns for the linebackers in coverage. If they can keep the number of times they are exposed in the pass game to a minimum and play strong run defense while also pressuring the quarterback, it will be another unit for the Redskins that GM Scot McCloughan has upgraded.
  • Secondary: C+. It is simply too soon to tell how the defensive backs will look come the regular season and how much of an improvement they will be over last year’s dreadful unit. DeAngelo Hall might start slowing down at the age of 31 after coming off two torn Achilles injuries. Possibly three new starters to fill out the unit could lead to communication problems as many have been unable to stay on the field due to nagging injuries already. The secondary may improve as the season goes along after recovering Breeland and see a chemistry build, but right now it is too soon to say the unit will be anything but average.

Projected Defensive Week 1 Lineup:

  • LDE: Stephen Paea, Frank Kearse, Kedric Golston
  • NT: Terrance Knighton, Chris Baker
  • RDE: Jason Hatcher, Ricky Jean-Francois
  • WLB: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
  • MLB: Perry Riley, Adam Hayward
  • MLB: Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Martrell Spaight
  • SLB: Junior Galette, Trent Murphy (could be flip-flopped if Galette has not quite gotten comfortable yet)
  • CB: DeAngelo Hall, Justin Rodgers (Rodgers could be cut from the roster when Breeland returns)
  • CB: Chris Culliver, David Amerson
  • SS: Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson (with Johnson’s lengthy hamstring injury, Ihenacho will probably begin the season as the starter)
  • FS: DaShon Goldson, Trenton Robinson, Kyshoen Jarrett

Bottom line: If the defensive line is effective in occupying blockers allowing the linebackers to stop the run and put pressure on the quarterback without all out blitzes, the secondary will benefit by having less time to be exposed.

Washington Redskins 2015 Season Position Outlooks: Defensive Line

After taking a look at the Washington Redskins positional outlooks on the offensive side of the ball last week, DSP takes a look at the defensive side of the ball starting none other than the defensive line in the Redskins 3-4 system.

When General Manager Scot McCloughan came to town, he made it clear that he wants big nasty physical guys playing for him. That starts with beefing up the guys in the trenches, the ones battling at the line of scrimmage: the linemen. McCloughan made one noticeable addition to the offensive line with the drafting of 6′ 5” 319 pound Brandon Scherff as well as letting wore-down veterans Chris Chester and Tyler Polumbus to move on. However, on the defensive line McCloughan loaded up with quality veterans while, similarly to the offensive side, removing the past their prime players like Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen.

So lets meet the new Redskins on the defensive line:

  • Ricky Jean-Francois signed a three year $9 million deal with the Redskins this offseason as McCloughan’s first noticeable addition to the team via free agency. Francois was a gem of a draft pick by McCloughan in the seventh round of the 2009 Draft while in San Francisco and after getting cut by the Colts, McCloughan scooped up one of his earlier prizes for pennies on the dollar. Francois will likely be a backup defensive end but will see plenty of playing time in the rotation that head coach Jay Gruden hinted to recently to keep the older linemen fresh.
  • Stephen Paea inked a four year $21 million deal with the Redskins and is probably the biggest prize for Washington this year. The former Bear was simply an individual that McCloughan had his eye on when he was originally drafted in 2011 as an athlete with incredible strength. After starting no games in his rookie season, Paea was the Bears starting defensive tackle for 83% of their games in the past three years. The former Oregon State Beaver is coming off of a career year with 6 sacks, 24 tackles, 3 passes defended, and 2 forced fumbles.
  • Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton agreed to a one year $4 million deal with Washington towards the end of free agency which may end up being one of the biggest steals of the year. Pot Roast might not be the flashiest players but at 340 pounds he demands a double team and is one of the elite run stoppers in the NFL. Knighton will not fill up the stat sheet because be is neutralized with double teams, but it allows others around him to make a play on a free run or stunt that the former Bronco created.

With the likes of Coefield, Bowen, and also former second round pick Jarvis Jenkins gone, the familiar faces that remain include last year’s prized free agent signing Jason Hatcher, Knighton’s buddy Chris “Swaggy” Baker, long time Redskins veteran Kedric Golston, and well traveled Frank Kearse.

One can expect Hatcher to join Knighton and Paea as the starters on the line with Francois and Baker getting lots of playing time as well. Although Golston and Kearse will both see consistent playing time, they will likely be the least used of the seven big bodies

After getting next to no pressure on opposing quarterbacks last year without blitzing, McCloughan has done an impressive job retooling one of the many weaknesses from last year. You will probably not see too much of an improvement from the line based on statistics. But if one sees a noticeable increase in the number of sacks from the rest of the defense, a decrease in the yards allowed per rush, and the observation of more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, you can thank the defensive line.

Projected Week 1 Depth Chart:

  • RDE: Jason Hatcher, Frank Kearse
  • NT: Terrance Knighton, Chris Baker
  • LDE: Stephen Paea, Ricky Jean-Francois, Kedric Golston

Be sure to check back in tomorrow for an outlook on what can be expected out of the linebacking core highlighted by recently extended OLB Ryan Kerrigan.

Washington Redskins: 2015 Training Camp Day 2 Observations- Galette signed, Breeland suspended/hurt, and more

Although today was the second day of training camp, the headlines came from the Redskins signing ex-Saint Junior Galette to a one year deal as well as the suspension and later injury of/to Baushad Breeland all within hours.

Galette’s agent Alvin Keels has said that the deal will be for the league minimum and that the ex-Saint is looking to show he is grateful for the second chance without worrying about the money. At such a low price for a talent that would be tied for the team high in sacks over the past two years (22 with his new bookend Ryan Kerrigan), the deal was hard to pass up after he passed his physical which showed a healthy pectoral muscle that he previously injured. Galette could still could be suspended for his domestic violence allegations. Ian Rapoport reports that the Redskins believe strongly in their already established character on the defensive unit that they can bring in a player with some red flags and still make things work. If this comes to fruition, the Redskins should have no difficulties causing havoc on opposing quarterbacks throughout next season. Galette came out to a side field and did some casual running and cutting.

Another story on the defense stems back to when nearly a year ago, Baushad Breeland was cited for marijuana possession on the campus of VCU. Now the NFL has decided to spite the Redskins and Breeland with a one game suspension handed down to last year’s breakout rookie. Although Breeland will miss the season opener against the Dolphins in a bit over a month, the Redskins should a competent starting duo of DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver at corner back.

Things went from bad to worse for Breeland later in the day in practice when he lined up against speedster DeSean Jackson. After both players sprinted down field to start the route, Jackson cut quickly back towards the line of scrimmage where Breeland lost his footing and fell with his right leg folding up under neath him. The dreaded cart was used to escort the corner off the field, which had fans fearing for the worse. CSN’s Tarik El-Bashir has reported that Hall and David Amerson have been told that the injury might not be as bad as it looked. Hall also added that it’s not an ACL tear according to initial reports but nothing is conclusive yet. You can see full footage of the injury courtesy of NBC4. UPDATE: According to ESPN’s John Keim, Breeland will miss 4-6 weeks with an MCL injury in his knee which could put him in jeopardy for playing Week 2 vs. St. Louis Rams.

In a press conference with the media after the morning walk through, Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton was quite complimentary of the defensive line unit the group calls “Capital Punishment”. Knighton said, “what I think makes us unique is everyone brings something different to the group.” Knighton will likely see playing time along side Stephen Paea, Ricky Jean Francois, Jason Hatcher, Chris Baker, and others. Knighton commented that his style of play includes “taking on blocks, shedding blocks, and being disruptive in my own way”. The former Bronco also stated that the offensive line unit has a “good group”. Let’s not get out of hand on predicting playoffs, but it is safe to say that the team is greatly upgraded the talent on their team.

Practice Notes and Evaluations

  • Kickoff Duties: Niles Paul, Jamison Crowder, Andre Roberts, and Chris Thompson are the notables with others not expected to make the roster sprinkled in. It could be a toss up with the incumbent Roberts possibly being pushed by 4th rounder Crowder or possibly third string running back Thompson.
  • Players are still running laps or doing push ups after committing a false start or dropping interceptions. Yesterday Brandon Scherff faced the penalty while today rookie T out of Duke Takoby Cofield completed the punishment.
  • Griffin is still using his mobility to scramble out of the pocket. Today he has had completions to Jackson and Crowder on otherwise potentially negative plays.
  • Kirk Cousins had a relatively poor game yesterday but responded with better play today.

For more updates about Redskins training camp come back and visit District Sports Page.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps is officially ongoing and will last until Sunday, August 16th. See a full schedule of the Redskins training camp practices here.
  • Travel to Cleveland for first preseason matchup against the Browns on Thursday, August 13 in 13 days.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 44 days.

Redskins Continue to Improve Defense, Trade for S Goldson

The Washington Redskins are in full overhaul mode on the defensive side of the ball. GM Scot McCloughan has already reunited with former draft pick Ricky Jean-Francois, Jeron Johnson, and Chris Culliver and has now done the same with his former fourth round pick S Dashon Goldson. Goldson, along with a 7th round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, was sent to Washington for a 6th round pick also in the 2016 NFL Draft going to Tampa Bay. Based on Goldson’s recent tweet about admiring Sean Taylor and how he plans to bring winning football to Washington, it is without a doubt that he will fit right in with the fans and team.

Although the deal looks great on paper as the Redskins are getting a plug-in starter for nearly nothing, it is the money behind the deal, worth more than the draft picks that the Redskins are giving up. Goldson signed a 5-year, $41.25-million contract with the Bucs as a FA in 2013. Four million of his $7.5-million ’15 salary is guaranteed. Goldson will be 31 in Week 2 this season and was scheduled to make $8 million. The Redskins methodically negotiated a deal such that the Buccaneers will pay the $4 million fully guaranteed under Dashon Goldson’s contract for 2015 despite trade to Washington. As a result, the Redskins will take a $4 million cap charge for because of Goldson’s $3.5 million salary and $500K workout.

Although this seems to be an upgrade over the injury prone Brandon Merriweather, the Redskins look to again have just a one year place holder at safety with Goldson. Goldson is scheduled to make $8 and $7.25 million dollars during the 2016 and 2017 season and with the belief that his best years are behind him, the Redskins could easily cut ties with the two time Pro Bowler before next season.

Goldson has had 50+ tackle seasons in each of the past six seasons between the 49ers and Buccaneers, but he has only had a single interception in the past two seasons in Tampa Bay compared to the 14 he had in his last four seasons in San Francisco. Goldson’s skill set lies in his ability to make big plays as an enforcer which provided a spark to the 49ers defense, but caused him to often be out of position in Tampa Bay. Goldson, like Merriweather, has the tendency to be over aggressive and connect on helmet-to-helmet hits. His big hits were curtailed in 2014 as he started to whiff on more tackles.

Goldson, a true free safety, fills one of the remaining gaping holes in a Redskins team that struggled greatly last season. Having already signed Chris Culliver and Jeron Johnson to play in the secondary to go along with the emerging Baushad Breeland, the Redskins may have a set secondary for this season. Goldson is potentially the sixth different starter the Redskins have added on defense this offseason including Jean-Francois, Stephen Paea, Terrance Knighton, Culliver, and Johnson. Throw in retained solid players like Ryan Kerrigan and Breeland, and the Redskins are bound to perform better defensively.

Redskins Continue to Beef Up on the Defensive Line

After Scot McCloughan reunited with former draft pick Ricky Jean-Francois and signed former Chicago Stephen Paea, the Redskins have added a third defensive linemen, Terrence Knighton. Knighton, also known as Pot Roast, signed a bargain of a deal at one-year, $4 million. Knighton, like Jean-Francois, has finished his sixth season in the NFL. After being drafted by the Jaguars, Knighton played the past two years for Denver.

Knighton has had a consistent NFL campaign with a career 12.5 sacks, 10 pass deflections, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions. Although, one might think there is too much repetition between the three free agency signings to start the 2015 NFL season, there cannot be enough quality linemen that have made a living shedding multiple blockers.

Knighton has mainly played nose tackle under Jack Del Rio’s 3-4 defensive scheme and could be in a solid role to split time at that position with his recruiter and friend Chris Baker. Along with the “prized” free agency addition last year of Jason Hatcher, the revamped defensive line looks poised to cause more havoc without blitzing next year. Moreover, the signing of Knighton might mean the Redskins will not resign Jarvis Jenkins, who is currently an unrestricted free agent after being drafted in the second round four years ago.

Although the Washington Redskins have many needs, they needed to start from the inside out with their lines of both sides of the ball. On the defensive side they have made vast improvements by getting rid of Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen while adding the younger and better bodies of Jean-Francois, Paea, and Knighton. Knighton might not be considered a three-down player, but smart moves likes these with McCloughan at the helm will help the Redskins regain respect in the league.

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