If Tanard Jackson returns to practice Thursday as expected, then the competition at safety can finally begin in earnest.Jackson missed the three days of training camp with a calf muscle strain, then sat out the next three days because of a CBA-mandated acclimation period.It definitely didnt help, he said of the delay. But its a long camp; we still have a lot competition left. My opportunity will come.Jackson is expected to challenge Madieu Williams for the starting free safety job. Brandon Meriweather, meanwhile, is expected to start at strong safety, while DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty appear to be battling for backup duty.Jackson said he can play both safety positions, but acknowledged hes more comfortable playing free.The native of Silver Spring began camp on the physically unable to perform list because of the ailing calf muscle. He said he was cleared by team doctors Sunday but couldnt join practice immediately because of a provision in the CBA that prohibits contact drills and pads during a players first three days in camp.Ive been patient these past three days, he said. I didnt know about the acclimation thing in the new CBA. I guess its a good thing because it protects us.Jackson joined the Redskins in April following his release by Tampa Bay, where he missed the majority of the 2010 season after being suspended by the NFL for a second violation of the leagues substance abuse policy. He was reinstated seven games into the 2011 season but had surgery on his shoulder in January. The Bucs cut him in April when he a failed physical exam.The hard-hitting 27-year-old didnt stay unemployed long. Secondary Coach Raheem Morris Jacksons head coach in Tampa Bay quickly reached out to the safety, who, in 2009, posted career highs in tackles (71) and interceptions (5) in 12 games.In 56 career games all with the Bucs Jackson has 239 tackles, 10 interceptions and a sack.As soon as I got released, I was on the phone with Raheem and Coach Jim Haslett, in less than 30 minutes, Jackson said.But if he wants to remain with his hometown team and reward Morris faith in him hes got to make up for lost time.And quickly.I dont have to overdo it, he said. But Im anxious to get out there. Im ready to go now.
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.