At times during Mondays practice, rookie Alfred Morris said he couldnt hear a word quarterback Robert Griffin III was saying in the huddle.Which, of course, was by design.Coach Mike Shanahan moved practice inside the Redskins practice bubble, then cranked the volume to ear-splitting levels in an effort to simulate the crowd noise his team will encounter during Sundays regular season opener at the Superdome in New Orleans.I couldnt really hear Robert or his cadence and Im right next to him, Morris said. I just have to key the ball. Its definitely going to help us in New Orleans.It was common practice in previous seasons for Redskins coaches to have speakers lining the teams outdoor practice fields in Ashburn. It was loud. But nothing like what the players coped with this week inside the bubble, which opened earlier this year. The music could be heard clearly from across a parking lot.The Redskins first two games, in fact, will be played indoors. On Sept. 16, they visit the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.It wasreallyloud in there the other day, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. Its good advance preparation for both games.St. Louis will be loud. New Orleans, though, could be defeaning. The city loves their Saints, and after a tumultuous offseason in which the NFL cracked down hard on the team for the bounty scandal, all 72,000 fans who pack the downtown arena figure to be bit more boisterous than usual.As a lot of people have said before, the best sound from an away crowd is when they go silent, when you put touchdowns on them, offensive guard Kory Lichtensteiger said.Asked if practicing in the bubble has helped, Lichtensteiger cracked, As far as me not being able to hear? Yeah. A lot of times the only thing I can question is the music choice that Shanahan is putting on.
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.
The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”
Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.
Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.
More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities
Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.
For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro
2012 Raiders (4-12)
Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston
It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.
2013 Raiders (4-12)
Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson
They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.
2014 Raiders (3-13)
Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson
Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.