Redskins are holding on to the ball this year

rg3tackled.jpg

Redskins are holding on to the ball this year

The Redskins have become much better at a very important aspect of football—holding on to the football.

Last year they turned the ball over 35 times. As is usually the case with most teams, the quarterback position was responsible for the lion’s share of the giveaways. Rex Grossman threw 20 interceptions in 13 games while John Beck was picked off four times in three-plus games. Grossman lost five fumbles for a total of 25 turnovers while Beck lost one for a total of five.

The rest of the team managed to hold on to the ball pretty well. Roy Helu Jr. lost two fumbles while Jabar Gaffney, Terrence Austin, and Fred Davis lost one each.

The turnovers did not come in bunches, they were spread out over the season. The Redskins tied a record by having at least one turnover in every game they played.

(I had a Twitter exchange with @redskinfootpaul. He said it felt like there was a turnover every half. I checked the records and found that he wasn’t quite right. Of the 32 halves of football the Redskins played in 2011, they went turnover free in seven of them.)

This year it is a different story. Through 10 games, the Redskins have nine giveaways. On their current pace they will finish he year with 14 or 15 turnovers.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III is responsible for most of the turnovers. He has thrown three interceptions and lost two fumbles. The other giveaways came on two Kirk Cousins interceptions and lost fumbles by Alfred Morris and Santana Moss.

A good chunk of the Redskins’ turnovers this year came in one half. Four came in the second half of the game against the Giants.

They have had five turnover-free games, including the last three in a row. 

Toughness, versatility the keys to Redskins’ 2016 draft class.

grudendraftrefframe_1.jpg

Toughness, versatility the keys to Redskins’ 2016 draft class.

The Redskins added seven players in the draft class of 2016 and many of them share some common traits.

“I'm very excited about these guys, really,” Jay Gruden said to the media after the draft was over. “I think the theme is we got some football players. We got some versatile guys who can do a lot of different things. Tough guys, who love the game of football. We're excited about them, they all bring great attitude to this organization. They're going to play hard and they're good people.”

Gruden seems to be particularly impressed with a pair of defensive players, fifth-round lineman Matt Ioannidis out of Temple and inside linebacker Steven Daniels, a seventh-round pick out of Boston College.

“Steven Daniels is very tough,” said Gruden. “When he hits you, he thumps you.”

Like Daniels, Ioannidis was the captain of the defensive unit. Gruden said that he loved his relentless play and said that “he’s a tough guy.”

Ioannidis and Su’a Cravens, the team’s second-round pick out of USC, will both play a number of roles on defense. Ioannidis could add 15-20 pounds (he is listed at 299) and play nose tackle or he could play all along the line. Cravens is a dime linebacker but he could play outside linebacker and strong safety in other situations as well.

Gruden said that the Redskins were able to emphasize toughness and versatility because they weren’t buttonholed into being forced to draft particular positions because they didn’t have anyone there.

“We didn't have a lot of glaring needs, like 'oh, my gosh we're totally incompetent at this position,’” he said. “I felt really good about the depth on our footbal team already, now that the draft is about adding a lot of good football players and adding guys that are tough.”

The team used toughness and other factors as tiebreakers when selecting among players.

“When you're in the draft and it's close between a couple of different guys, the toughness, maybe the special teams factor, the versatility, being a captain, all that stuff factors into it,” said Gruden. “You're always going to err on the side of tough, loves football.”

Josh Norman quickly acclimates to D.C. - attends White House Correspondents Dinner

2016-04-25t17-21-20.617z-1280x720.jpg

Josh Norman quickly acclimates to D.C. - attends White House Correspondents Dinner

Just a week into his Redskins tenure, new CB Josh Norman is enjoying the D.C. life, attending in the White House Correspondent's Dinner. 

@jno24's welcome to DC, the White House Corespondent Dinner! #whcd #RedSkins #HTTR #DC

A photo posted by Jeanine Juliano (@jeanine_juliano) on

Norman came to the 'Skins with much fanfare; an unusual release from a franchise tag in Carolina made him a free agent and Washington swooped in quickly. Norman signed a massive five-year, $75 million contract, and is expected to start at cornerback this fall opposite Bashaud Breeland.

Just hours before donning his tuxedo and heading downtown, Norman was spotted at FedEx Field meeting Redskins rookies Josh Doctson, Su'a Cravens and Kendall Fuller.

It's been a busy day for Norman, and depending what you hear about #NerdProm, the night is just getting started.

Redskins' last pick in draft is speedy Georgia running back

grudendraftrefframe_1.jpg

Redskins' last pick in draft is speedy Georgia running back

It took them their entire draft but the Redskins finally got a running back on their roster. They took Keith Marshall of Georgia with their seventh-round pick (No. 242 overall).

Marshall, 5-11 and 219 pounds, was supposed to be the Bulldogs’ next great back, but due to injuries and the emergence of Nick Chubb he never really got the chance.

He is the fastest player in the draft, if you go by his combine 40 times. He ran 4.31 in Indianapolis, the fastest time recorded this year.

Marshall will line up behind Matt Jones and probably Chris Thompson on the Redskins’ running back depth chart. He will get a chance to earn snaps on third down and possibly as a rotational back teaming with Jones.