Friday was Dezmon Briscoes 23 birthday. It was also cutdown day around the NFL, and the Redskins wide receiver wasnt certain he had done enough in the preseason to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.Everybody kept asking me what I wanted for a present, Briscoe said. I really didnt want anything. I told them, Just pray for me. The only thing I really wanted for my birthday was to make the team.On Friday morning, his cell phone rang. It was Paul Kelly, the teams director of football operations.He said, Coach wants to see you, Briscoe said. I was like, Um Then he was like, Calm down. Its not one of them calls. It was a good feeling.Briscoe said his talk with Shanahan was more of the personal one. But Shanahan was also very clear when the conversation turned to on-field expectations, he added.He just wanted to get to know me, said Briscoe, who was claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay on July 28 after the Buccaneers released him for reportedly failing a conditioning test. He didnt really know me as a person. He just wanted us to get to know each other a little better.Shanahan also said he wants me to come in and keep doing what Im doing, he continued. Keep making plays, catch every ball that comes my way, contribute anyway I can, whether its scout team or getting reps on offense.Added Shanahan: I felt very good about my conversation with him.Still, Briscoe didnt allow himself to relax until the 9 p.m. deadline for submitting rosters had passed. At 7:30, Briscoe tweeted, I hour 30 minutes A second call from Kelly never came. The team released Anthony Amrstrong instead to create a spot for him.No call is a good call, said Briscoe, who tweeted HTTR just after the deadline. I just basically showed up Saturday and had a locker.It was the end of a stressful week for Briscoe, who sounded downtrodden after the Redskins preseason finale against the Buccaneers. He had expected to see ample playing time but didnt enter the game until the second half and was hardly used, leading him to believe he wasnt in the teams plans.I was on the edge because I didnt play special teams, he explained.As it turned out, the 6 foot 2, 210 pound third year professional out of Kansas had already shown Shanahan enough. In three preseason games, Briscoe had hauled in six passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.Briscoe is a little bit bigger guy, Shanahan said. A very physical receiver, whereas Anthony is more of that X guy where hes got that great speed, very similar to Pierre Garon, Aldrick Robinson and even Brandon Banks. So we thought we were a little deeper at that X position than we were at that Z position, so thats why we went in that direction.So after an anxious birthday, Briscoe got the present he wanted. But he said Monday that he also knows this is not the time to celebrate, not for a player listed on the third string behind Garon, Morgan, Leonard Hankerson and Santana Moss.Just dont slack off, Briscoe said. Everything can easily get taken away. Dont take it for granted. Just go out there and contribute any way that I can.
Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 18, 99 days before the NFL draft.
—NFL franchise tag deadline 43
—NFL free agency starts 51
—First Sunday of 2017 season 236
The coordinator search and more
—Did the Redskins underachieve this year? I know that a metric like Football Outsiders' DVOA is not the final word in the quality of a team but looking at it year after year it usually does work out that the teams with the better numbers in DVOA usually win more games than those with worse numbers. The Redskins finished 2016 eighth in DVOA. Considering that 12 teams make the playoffs, that could be considered a playoff quality team. Yet 15 teams finished with a better record than they did. I’m sure there are some holes in the formula for the stat but just looking at that it sure appears that the Redskins did leave some wins out on the field.
—John Keim is reporting that the Redskins are prepared to switch to a 4-3 defense if that is what their new defensive coordinator prefers. They have been in the 3-4 since Mike Shanahan arrived in 2010. Whether it is because of the scheme or lack of draft and free agent resources spent on the line and at safety, the defense hasn’t been very good. As Keim notes, they will need to make some personnel changes if they do change but with a full load of draft picks and $62 million in cap space this may be the time to do it.
—I expected the angst that was all over Twitter when word of the Rob Ryan interview got out. But it’s pretty dumb to get all worked up over an interview (with all due respect to readers here who may have been upset). It’s not a hiring. Look, somehow or another Ryan managed to stay employed as an NFL defensive coordinator for 12 straight seasons. I don’t know how to research it without going through some very time consuming and tedious steps but I’d be willing to bet that only about a few dozen men in the history of the league have been able to remain a defensive coordinator for that many season in a row. The organization can learn something from sitting down and talking to him for a few hours.
—I understand that we want things to talk about in a relatively slow time. But I just don’t see why there is fear out there over the possibility that Kyle Shanahan will get hired as the coach of the 49ers and somehow steal Kirk Cousins away to be his quarterback. The Redskins can maintain his rights via the franchise tag. They could tag Cousins and trade him to the 49ers but there would be a heavy price in terms of draft picks. But while it’s possible, it’s unlikely. The chances are very, very good that Cousins will be in a Redskins uniform this year via either the tag or a long-term deal.
Tandler on Twitter
Interesting fact I learned about Tarver: He earned his bachelor’s in biochemistry from Santa Clara while coaching at another local college.— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) January 17, 2017
That doesn’t mean he will be a good defense coordinator. But it does mean that he’s smarter than me.— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) January 17, 2017
In case you missed it
- #RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Picking Redskins coordinators
- JP & Tandler select Redskins Offensive Player of the Year
- Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver
- An early look at 1st-round draft possibilities for the Redskins
As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced.