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Brunell Right on Target

Brunell Right on Target


Mark Brunell was super sharp in Saturday’s scrimmage against the Ravens. He had zip on the ball, he had touch, and he appeared to know the offense as though he’d been playing in it for 10 years. Receivers were catching balls in perfect stride, having just to open their hands a bit to let the ball glide into their palms.

Insert the proper caveats here about they’re just seven on seven drills, it’s early, and so on. Just like there would be no rational reason to get suicidal had Brunell looked bad (although there are some who would have to be talked down from a ledge had he thrown three picks), there’s no grounds to get all giddy over a few well-thrown darts in early August.

That doesn’t mean, however, that such a performance is meaningless for one simple reason. It’s much easier to stay sharp than it is to get sharp. Since the importance of everything a quarterback does is magnified, the significance of him performing well from the get-go increases exponentially. If he’s throwing to the wrong spots and misfiring even when he goes to the right place, nobody else can get in the flow of things. Everyone’s progress stalls until the quarterback gets it together.

We’ve seen this pattern year after year as the Redskins have had either a change at the starting QB spot from the previous camp or a competition for the job every year since 2001. They haven’t had anyone who had started as many as 15 games the previous season return as the starter since Brad Johnson in 2000. Since that year they have started seven different quarterbacks with about a dozen different changes at the position involved. This lack of continuity has led to the offense always looking ragged in the preseason and, frequently, during the regular season.

Another reason why Brunell’s excellent play is a good sign is that it may allow him to rest more prior to the season opener. Remember last year he was the second team quarterback all the way though camp, never getting a day off, going in to the preseason games with the scrubs, and so on. He’s less likely to wear down as the season wears on.

While teams like the Colts and Chiefs would scoff at calling a string of 17 straight starts (counting postseason) continuity at quarterback, it’s a better situation than the Redskins have been in during the past several years. If Brunell can seize the day and erase the team’s one major question mark, the Redskins season could well end with an exclamation point.

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Redskins plan to interview Rob Ryan for defensive coordinator, per report

Redskins plan to interview Rob Ryan for defensive coordinator, per report

Plenty of Redskins fans wanted the team to interview Rex Ryan for defensive coordinator.

Well, a report shows they aren't talking to Rex, but instead, his brother Rob, according to Albert Breer of MMQB

Rex Ryan's track record as a defensive coordinator is very impressive.

Rob Ryan's track record as a defensive coordinator is, uh, less impressive. 

In 12 seasons as a coordinator, first in Oakland and then with Cleveland, Dallas and New Orleans, Rob Ryan has two Top 5 finishes in yards allowed. He also has finished 31st out of 32 teams in the league in yards allowed three times.

Below is a chart from Pro Football Reference showing his defensive ranks from 2004 when he became coordinator in Oakland all the way through his last job as a coordinator in New Orleans in 2015.

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The results aren't pretty.

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It should be noted that in 2016, Rob Ryan served as assistant head coach in Buffalo on his brother Rex's staff.

That team's defense finished 19th in yards allowed. 

Gus Bradley and Mike Pettine have interviewed with the Redskins for their vacant defensive coordinator opening.

Washington is also reported to have reached out to Wade Phillips, who took the same position with the Rams, and Steve Wilks, who took the same position with the Carolina Panthers. Internally, outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky also seems to be under some consideration for the position, and a report last week linked former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula with the Washington defense.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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Award Tour: Tandler & JP name Redskins' Defensive Player of the Year

Award Tour: Tandler & JP name Redskins' Defensive Player of the Year

With the 2017 offseason about to kick into high gear, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler are going to take one last look at 2016 in the coming days.

That’s right, it’s time to hand out awards for Coach of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year.

We’ve picked our top coaches and the Special Teams POY. Today we select the Defensive Player of the Year.

Tandler: This is tough because there were no real standouts on a mediocre unit. Ryan Kerrigan was the only defensive representitive to the Pro Bowl and had 11 sacks but his impact plays were few. You could make a case for Chris Baker, who was the only consistently effective player on the defensive line.

The pick here is Josh Norman.

He also was invisible for long stretches for good reasons. The only quarterback to throw his way more than seven times in the last half of the season was the Bears’ Matt Barkley and Norman made him pay with two interceptions. A Norman pick set up the clincher in the Browns game and he forced a fumble that put the Packers game beyond even an Aaron Rodgers miracle.

Outside of that, he set the tone during the week, staying out a minimum of 30 minutes after every practice, working on his craft.

If the defense can get two or three more players just like Norman they’ll be fine.

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Finlay: Norman is a strong pick, but since Tandler stole that selection from me, I will go with Kerrigan.

I've heard the lack of impact plays argument, and don't agree. His strip-sack to end the Eagles game, a win the reeling Redskins desperately needed, was probably a Top 5 defensive play this season. Without that sack, Philly had all the momentum and a chance to knock the 'Skins out of playoff contention. He also played through a number of injuries, starting every game for the sixth straight season.

Baker's name deserves recognition, as does Trent Murphy. The best part of Murphy's eight sack breakout campaign: Excellence is expected of Norman and Kerrigan. With Kerrigan, the expectations are so high that 11 sacks is almost dismissed by some fans and media. Murphy emerged as a viable sack threat for Washington this season, something that he can build upon next year. 

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Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!