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Answering your tweets: Rambo, Orakpo, and the hurry-up offense

Answering your tweets: Rambo, Orakpo, and the hurry-up offense

Lots of great questions this week, let's get started:
@Rich_TandlerCSN Rich, did we miss on Rambo or is he just getting a "sit, watch, this is what we expect of you" teaching lesson?

— Greg Barackman (@Flybear2Greg) October 3, 2013
(similar question from @kylewis09) It's a bit of a stretch for to call a sixth-round pick a "miss"; evidently Alfred Morris' success raised the bar for late-rounders considerably. I think they gave Rambo a shot at starting but he proved not to be ready. I don't think we've seen the last of him this year and certainly not for the rest of his career. Like most sixth-rounders he needs time to develop and if he can develop into being a competent starter it will be a huge hit for the Redskins. If he ends up playing special teams and playing in rotation and spot starting the rest of his career, that's about what the level of expectation for a sixth-rounder should be.
@Rich_TandlerCSN how does Aldrick Robinson go from training camp success to last on depth chart? Thanks — Steve Bailey (@scbailey1) October 3, 2013
He was last on the depth chart even in training camp. Robinson was never going to be ahead of the top four on the depth chart. But he did have a chance to earn more snaps than he's been getting. But he simply has to make that play in the end zone against the Lions. That's why he's here. A player like Robinson isn't going to get a ton of opportunities once the games start to count. The only way he can earn more snaps is to make plays when he has the opportunity. But his mistake possibly cost his team the game and he's going to have to do a lot to make up for it.
@Rich_TandlerCSN Will return of RJax & Jenkins bring new defensive looks or blitz packages?

— J.H. (@Kona302) October 3, 2013
(similar questions from @MrBoonsta, @Joe_V_, @MC_Brooks) Anyone who is looking for the return of Jarvis Jenkins and Rob Jackson to transform the defense is probably going to be disappointed. Jenkins will start if not immediately then in a week or two. But he's a marginal starter at a position that doesn't have a huge impact on a 3-4 defense to begin with. Jackson is a reserve and the two players in front of him, Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo, are two of the very few bright spots on defense. Jim Haslett will work to get Jackson on the field in some packages with the other two OLB's and maybe even rookie Brandon Jenkins to generate pass rush. But don't look for Jackson to get any regular snaps on the inside; at 6-feet-4 his height would work against him when it came to fighting off blocks.
@Rich_TandlerCSN Why not make the no huddle more prevalent to start games and avoid early deficits?

— Marshall (@MWharam7) October 3, 2013
(similar questions from @Not_Dannyy, @cpredford, @cmcochran0)

The Redskins did get a spark from the hurry-up offense, no question about it. But would they get that spark if they ran it more? Maybe, but it's no sure thing. I asked Kyle Shanahan about it after the Eagles game and he said that you don't just slap the no-huddle on top of your offense; your offense has to be tailored to it for it to work consistently. If going no-huddle was a magic potion for moving the ball than the huddle would become a thing of the past for all 32 NFL teams. It's best used as a surprise tactic on occasion. Should they pull it out more than they have? I think so. Robert Griffin III seems to be perfectly suited to running it and in the small sample size we have, it was effective.
@Rich_TandlerCSN What kind of contract will the Redskins be looking to give Brian Orakpo after this season?

— John The Faptist (@MC_Brooks) October 3, 2013
(similar questions from @DaveWillHTTR, @RTubman) It's too early to tell. If Orakpo keeps up his current pace and ends up with 12 sacks and leads the team in hits and hurries like he is now, he's probably looking at something with an $8-$10 million per year range, let's say 5 years, $48 million with $18 million guaranteed. If he falls off, he's looking at $8 million/year and down. If he blows up and posts 16 sacks and picks off a pass or two and scores a touchdown, then we're talking something in the neighborhood of Clay Matthews' $13 million/year extension. The could franchise him if they want to keep him and can't come to a deal; that would cost the Redskins something around $10 million for 2014.
@Rich_TandlerCSN wouldn't you think ahmad black is an upgrade over a gumbs or pugh? is he that much of a liability in coverage?

— Bill Lancaster (@bigbillnocmd) October 3, 2013
(similar questions on acquiring players from @danielleclaud, @Volsman 22, @Rockylee85)

I'll admit that I'm not that familiar with the play of former Bucs safety Black. I do think that the fact that the 0-4 Bucs cut him says something. So does the fact that he has over 100 snaps from this year on tape and no team in a league where safety play is generally pretty bad decided to claim him. Perhaps he would be an upgrade but I have very rarely seen the waiver wire as a solution to in-season problems. The Redskins did bring in 18 street free agents to try out but they were merely collecting data in case someone gets injured and a need arises. As they did last year, they will attempt to pull out of their issues with the players who for the most part have been with them through OTAs, minicamp, and training camp. Rarely are solutions found on the street.

That's all I have room for here. If I didn't hit your question here I'll try to answer on Twitter.

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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

It's been a confusing stretch for Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead. 

The charges against the Bealeton, Virginia native have now been dropped, after it was determined by Prince William County Police that Whitehead is not the man accused of shoplifting at a convenience store in Woodbridge, Virginia on June 22.

Here's the full statement released Tuesday:

Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017 arrest of an individual named “Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.”, the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys.

The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr. Officers then checked this information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database.

The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided. At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identify was falsely provided to police during the investigation.

The police department is currently seeking the identity of the man involved in the incident. Since the identifying information provided by the arrestee during the investigation was apparently false, the police department is working with the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to clear Mr. Whitehead from this investigation. The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Cowboys hadn't officially released Whitehead on Monday, despite reports to the contrary. 

 

Although it's looking like he still may be looking for a new home.

 

 

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Redskins 2017 training camp preview—defense

Redskins 2017 training camp preview—defense

RICHMOND— The Redskins will assemble here tomorrow to get ready for the 2017 season. There are plenty of position competitions and other storylines. Here is a look at what we at CSN will be paying attention to. The key points on offense were published earlier; here’s a look at the defense.

Rebuilding the line

In a way, the situation on the D-line is similar to the one at wide receiver in that free agency and a release has created some holes. Chris Baker, the team’s best defensive lineman last year, left for Tampa Bay as a free agent and Ricky Jean Francois, arguably the second-best DL last year, was cut.

This is not all bad news. The wide receivers were one of the strengths of the team. The D-line was one of the weak spots so perhaps doing some major renovating there is just what the unit needs.

RELATED: Redskins 53-man roster projection, defense

The big move was one they really hadn’t planned on. Defensive end Jonathan Allen was projected by many to be a top-10 draft pick. But he slipped right into the Redskins’ lap with the 17th pick. He gets to work on Thursday and the sooner he can get up to NFL speed the better. They also signed two free agents in Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain and they re-signed Ziggy Hood. As with Allen, their roles will be determined over the course of the next few weeks of practice and during the preseason games.

Nobody knows who is going to end up playing nose tackle. It could be McGee, Hood, former first-round pick Phil Taylor or one of the 2016 practice squad members, Joey Mbu or A. J. Francis. The fact that there is no obvious candidate is troubling and perhaps a sign that the line will show only marginal improvement this year.

Starters at ILB

The Redskins got an upgrade here late in free agency with the signing of Zach Brown, who was last seen playing in the Pro Bowl for the Bills. How he fits in with incumbent starters Will Compton and Mason Foster remains to be seen. All three are likely to earn substantial playing time and who plays in what situation will be sorted out here in Richmond.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, 11-20

Adjustments at safety

The Redskins could be set at safety for the next several seasons. Or they could be scrambling to make adjustments by midseason. Su’a Cravens moves to strong safety from outside linebacker. He may be a step slower than the ideal for his position and he needs to make up for it by being, as he likes to say, assignment perfect. The Redskins signed D. J. Swearinger, who has been a strong safety for most of his career, to play free safety.

When the dust settles, they could be the best safety tandem the Redskins have had in years. Or they could be showing the effects of trying to put square pegs into round holes.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.