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Arrington Blowing off Steam

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Arrington Blowing off Steam

Arrington didn't seem to be too angry about being
forced to play against San Francisco in December

There's a certain danger in examining the words of a 26 year old man who wears his emotions on his sleeve. It's especially dangerous when that player has just had knee surgery for the second time in seven months. But as the whole thing has created quite an uproar so let's parse some of his statements as quoted in the Washington Post:
Why is it that nobody is really speaking about how hard and the sacrifices I put forth to try to get back out there? They're so quick to talk about what we do wrong.The first part is just silly. Is Joe Gibbs supposed to call a press conference to praise Arrington to do what he gets paid millions to do, spend the offseason getting prepared to play in the fall? And the second part is just wrong, at least in public. This coaching staff does not criticize the players to the press.
To me it kind of [stinks]; it [stinks], because it's not like I have a relationship built with [the coaches] anyway, because they're new and then I get hurt and every year it's always someone new [as a head coach]. This sounds almost hysterical. First of all, maybe there would not have been so many new coaches had Arrington done what previous coaches had asked him to do. Arrington wouldn't play within the defensive scheme as Kurt Schottenheimer wanted him to do and he gave a lot of resistance to playing from a three-point stance as Marvin Lewis wanted him to do. Actions such as that help keep the coaching revolving door turning.

On top of that, wasn't Arrington one of the players who didn't return phone calls to Gibbs when the coach was rehired back in January of '04? Certainly, his enthusiasm for the return of the legendary coach was very limited. Last time I checked it takes two to build a relationship.
Does that mean it's right the way it's being handled? . . . It makes you wonder, man, what's their agenda?Their agenda is to win football games, not to coddle players and massage their egos.

When asked if he'd discussed his feelings about the situation with Gibbs, Arrington said:
I don't really care, to be honest. I just care about getting healthy and trying to be able to play. I don't really care what anybody thinks at this pointIn other words, no, I'm blasting away with both barrels publicly without talking to the coach first.
I'm taking as much time as I need, and if that means they're upset and want to get rid of me, then so be it. But I'm not coming back before my knee is better. I tried it their way, and it got me on crutches again. Now I'm going to try it the way that Dr. Andrews and the rest of the medical staff want me to do, and that's the bottom line.
Now this is a pretty serious charge here. Arrington is saying that the Redskins forced him to do things against the advice of his doctor and that they would get rid of him if he didn't go along. It would naive to think that such things don't happen, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Here are Arrington's own words from Redskins.com on December 8:
I felt pretty good out there," he said. "I still have to get a little more comfortable out there. I fee relatively new right now, as funny as that may sound. . .Guys are still fighting and continuing to get things done--I want to be a part of it. I don't want sit back and watch when I'm healthy. So if I'm healthy and I'm not on Injured Reserve, I'd like an opportunity to go out there and play. That's the way I feel.So, that's the way he felt then. Yesterday, it was this:
I worked my [butt] off to get back on the field and for what? Three [late-season] games? There wasn't no playoffs on the line. There wasn't no Super Bowls, and I still worked my [butt] off to play in those three games.
If Arrington is waiting for a brass band to lead the ticker tape parade to celebrate him busting his [butt] so that he can perform the job he gets paid millions of dollars to do, he will be sorely disappointed.

For his part, Gibbs said the following:
Being the guy he is and the competitor he is, he wanted to play, But I told him, long-term, what's important to us is you, your health. Not just you as a player, but as a person.Certainly, Gibbs is putting the best face on this from the team's point of view. If the NFL was truly concerned about the long-term health of its players it probably would have to shut down entirely as virtually nobody who plays for any length of time escapes without some degree of long-term damage to his body. Still, at least as far as last December is concerned, it does appear that Arrington was feeling well and quite eager to take the field.

Lost in the he said, he said exchange between Gibbs and Arrington is the important aspect of the story, the fact that Arrington had the surgery. Unanswered here is a key question: was the procedure necessary because he played in December or because he pushed himself too hard trying to rehab in time for minicamp or was it because there was some stuff in there that wasn't found in the initial operation? This is the information that really matters, but we don't get that.

There is danger in making too much out of this. In the halls of Redskins Park, a couple of reporters happen upon Arrington, who is on crutches and feeling very down. In answer to a question like "How's it going, LaVar?", the reporters get a notebook full.

This doesn't mean, however, that all is well at Redskins Park. There certainly is some hangover from the only constant being change in coaches, staff, and players. The long-term effects of that chaos might take a lot longer to work their way out than many of us thought.

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The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

Every NFL training camp is different, but there are a few consistent things you can count on happening at each one each year.

At some point, for example, a star will say that he's "just excited to hit a guy wearing a different colored jersey" after about a week of practicing against his teammates. Also on the list: a coach will tell reporters that his defense plans on being more aggressive and hopes to create more turnovers in the regular season.

One of the more pleasant camp traditions, meanwhile, is that undrafted rookie who goes from stand-in to stand out and makes the team by impressing in drills and preseason contests.

But while there will be plenty of time in the coming weeks for trying to figure out who'll do that for the Redskins in 2017, let's instead look back at a handful of the players who've already accomplished that in the past with Washington. Here are the seven best undrafted free agents the franchise has unearthed since 2010.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER WITH KEY STATS FOR KIRK COUSINS IN 2017

Logan Paulsen (2010)

No one will ever mistake Logan Paulsen's film for Rob Gronkowski's, but the former UCLA Bruin held down the third tight end spot for the Redskins from 2010-2014.

His two best years came in 2012 and 2013, where he posted 25 and 28 catches respectively, scored four total times and was on the receiving end of this magical fourth-down pass from Robert Griffin III against the Giants, a play that might've just been the peak of Griffin's rookie year. Now 30, Paulsen is reuniting with Kyle Shanahan out in San Francisco, continuing to exceed expectations and extending what's been a fruitful NFL career.

Will Compton (2013)

Will Compton's made a steady climb up Washington's roster since entering the league as a free agent linebacker out of Nebraska.

He was cut in his first season back in 2013 but latched onto the practice squad. He eventually debuted near the end of 2013, though, and made the 53-man squad the next go-round. 2015 was when he first started playing regularly, then last year he started 15 contests while also serving as a captain.

In 2017, he'll have to compete with Zach Brown and Mason Foster for a starting gig, but he figures to play plenty no matter the outcome and he's one of Jay Gruden's most trusted defenders. Not bad for a guy who has admitted he "wasn't confident" as a rookie:

Houston Bates (2015)

Special teams often is the avenue a college free agent has to take to make a roster, and Houston Bates is an example of one who's been there, done that. He's appeared in 24 games for the Redskins in his first two NFL campaigns and will look to recover from a torn ACL he suffered last December so he can add to that total in year three.

Before that injury, he was Washington's most active special teams player with 292 snaps in 14 contests.

Quinton Dunbar (2015)

Quinton Dunbar has not only overcome being an undrafted free agent; the former Florida Gator has also made the successful transition from wide receiver to cornerback, too.

Like his classmate Bates, Dunbar has participated often in 2015 and 2016, and like Paulsen, his biggest moments have come against the Giants. As a first-year pro, he picked off Eli Manning in the end zone to the delight of a raucous FedExField crowd, and as a sophomore, he helped complete a risky fake punt and also notched another (absolutely insane) INT in New York:

Rob Kelley (2016)

This offseason, Jay Gruden joked that Rob Kelley has worked his way up from "ninth-string" to starter. He laughed as he said it, but it may not have been that big of an exaggeration.

Kelley never rushed for more than 420 yards at Tulane, but he ripped off 704 last year for the 'Skins. Now he's the top option in a talented backfield, and while Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson are nipping at his heels for carries, Gruden has repeatedly said how much he loves Kelley. He'll be fed plenty in 2017.

Anthony Lanier (2016)

Anthony Lanier's on this list not for what he's done, but for what he's projected to do. Gruden uses not one but two really's to describe how excited he is about Lanier, and a couple of months of working with assistant Jim Tomsula might be all the lineman needs to make the jump from a project to a problem. 

Maurice Harris (2016)

Last on the list is a receiver who displayed sure hands and a knack for converting third downs in limited action last year. Maurice Harris now looks like he'll be an early option off the bench in Gruden's offense and should see the field far more often than he did in the second half of 2016.

You may not be fully sold on Harris, but it sounds like his teammates are, so don't be surprised if he breaks out and develops into another option for Kirk Cousins:

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP

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Need to Know: Redskins by the numbers—First-down rushing, forcing fumbles

Need to Know: Redskins by the numbers—First-down rushing, forcing fumbles

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 23, four days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 203 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 49 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 18
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 27
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 41

The Redskins by the numbers

5.01—The average yards per carry against the Redskins on first down last year.

I have noted this before but I took a closer look and it’s even worse. In 2016, four running backs—Isaiah Crowell of the Browns, DeAngelo Williams of the Steelers, Jordan Howard of the Bears, and Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys—gained over 100 yards against Washington on first down alone. It took Elliott two games to get there but the other three made it in one. If the Redskins don’t get this fixed (this is the second year in a row they have been last in the league here) their defense won’t get much better.

3.85—The Redskins average offensive gain per carry on first down.

This is not a very good performance here — the average is 20th in the NFL. But it does represent a significant improvement from 2015, when they were last in the NFL at 3.3 yards per carry. One difference was negative plays. Two years ago, they had 63 first-down plays go for no gain or a loss of yards. Last year they had 48 such plays. Rob Kelley, who was fourth-best in the league as a rookie last year at gaining yardage after being contacted behind the line, can claim a lot of credit.

8—The number of opponents’ fumbles the Redskins recovered this year.

A total of 17 other teams recovered more fumbles than the Redskins did last year and their recoveries were exactly half of what they were in 2015, when they had 16, the most in the league. It wasn’t surprising that their recoveries fell. The numbers crunchers say that fumble recoveries aren’t “sticky,” meaning that there tends to be a lot of variance for each team each year. And that makes sense as a lot of recovering fumbles is the bounce of the ball.

But it should be noted that the Redskins forced just 22 fumbles last year after forcing 36 in 2015. You have to get the ball on the ground to recover it and the Redskins could do a better job of forcing fumbles in 2017

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.

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