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Blache coveted James in ‘05

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Blache coveted James in ‘05

About a week before the 2005 NFL Draft, I wrote the following in an article about the possibility of the Washington Redskins drafting Wisconsin defensive end Erasmus James:

Redskins' defensive coordinator Greg Blache has let it be known that he would love it if the Skins would add James to his unit. There's no question that James would be a good fit in virtually any NFL system, including that of Gregg Williams. He could have instant impact when it comes to the pass rush and would be all over the field on every play. With a rotation in place with James, Philip Daniels and Renaldo Wynn, James' durability questions would be less of an issue than they would be in a place where he was expected to play every snap.

It would be a terrific reach to take him with the #9 pick, however, if he falls to #25 that would likely mean that, players such as Marcus Spears, David Pollack and Dan Cody are gone. Would they take James, probably the most talented of the group or pass due to the health concerns? It depends on how much of a voice Greg Blache has in the draft room.

As it turned out, the Redskins did not have a shot at James in 2005. The Minnesota Vikings drafted him with the 18th pick. After a mediocre rookie season, he suffered from injuries in 2006 and 2007.

The Vikings waived him last week but they rescinded the waivers and traded him to the Redskins for a conditional seventh-round pick.

So, Blache, now the true defensive coordinator after Williams' departure, gets his shot at seeing what he can do with James. There is even less tread on the 25-year-old's tires after a knee injury in 2006. He hadn't yet fully recovered last year and he played in just six games.

As mentioned in the excerpt from the 2005 article, there were health concerns about James during his years in Wisconsin. He missed all of the 2003 season with a hip injury and a portion of the '04 campaign with an ankle problem.

It's a no-risk move for the Redskins. If James can't get healthy or otherwise can't make the team, the Redskins keep the seventh rounder.

The Redskins anticipate that James will be ready to participate fully in training camp.

He is still working off of his rookie contract, which has one more year to run at $1 million.

Since the Redskins are at the 80-player roster limit (this excludes draft picks until they sign), the will have to cut a player to make room for James.

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Angry Jay Gruden says Redskins 'not even close' to thinking about playoffs

Angry Jay Gruden says Redskins 'not even close' to thinking about playoffs

Angry is one way to describe it. 

Jay Gruden was clearly fuming with his Redskins team after a lackluster loss in Arizona. 

The Washington coach said that his team "underachieved" in the 31-23 loss and Gruden questioned if his team was properly focused early in the game. 

And it wasn't just with the media that Gruden voiced his disgust. The Skins coach let the players have it in the locker room after the game; so loud that his voice could be heard next door in the interview room. 

Generally an easy going guy – especially for an NFL head coach – Gruden's post game comments showed the coach at a level of frustration not often seen. 

Asked about his team's chances for the playoffs, Gruden wouldn't even entertain the notion. The coach said his team would focus on its next game in Philadelphia and that the Skins are "not even close" to thinking about the playoffs. 

MORE REDSKINS: Where do the Redskins go from here?

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Five observations from the Redskins' loss to the Cardinals

Five observations from the Redskins' loss to the Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—Here are my five observations on Cardinals 31, Redskins 23:

—Jay Gruden said that the Redskins “underachieved” against the Cardinals today. He was right but he didn’t go far enough. At 6-5-1, the Redskins have underachieved all year. They have left points on the field with red zone and goal to go problems. With the talent they have on offense they already should have double-digit wins instead of fighting to stay above .500.

—I’m not going to forget the defense here. They have given up 31 points two weeks in a row. One of the touchdowns today came after a turnover so the Cardinals had only 10 yards to go but they did have a chance to get away with just a field goal but they couldn’t make a third-down stop. On their first drive the Cardinals converted on third and 11 and third and 12. That set the tone for a day on which Arizona converted 10 of 16 on third down. The D helped carry the team for a while in late September and in October but the unit is fading when it needs to be getting stronger.

—Kirk Cousins probably didn’t cost himself any money in a new contract today but he sure did get off to a bad start. He misfired to a few open receivers when he had time to throw. Some of these plays may have gone down as “drops” since the receiver got both hands on them but they could have been better passes that produced yards after the catch. After he got warmed up he hit on some nice passes, especially a 59-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson early in the second half to set up their first touchdown. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the tough start.

—Back to the defense, the Cardinals came into the game with two viable offensive weapons, RB David Johnson and WR Larry Fitzgerald. The Redskins knew that if they could stop those two the Cardinals would have a tough time scoring. But both made plays, particularly Johnson, who had 175 yards of total offense and had a touchdown rushing and one receiving. Not everyone is Bill Belichick but you have to be able to scheme to take away the team’s most obvious threat.

—The Redskins have lost two straight, the Buccaneers won against the Chargers so for the first time in a few weeks the Redskins are on the outside looking into the NFC playoff picture. That’s not where they want to be and there is a pretty good chance that they can return there next week with a win over the Eagles. But they need to play to their potential.