Can the Redskins and Robert Griffin III survive and even thrive if Tyler Polumbus ends up playing right tackle instead of the ailing Jammal Brown?Many Redskins fans and analysts are cringing at the thought of the journeyman lineman taking over a key spot on the offensive line. They fear that Griffin will not get a chance to succeed, as he will spend most of the season running for his life.But are people saying this because they have really examined what he has done? Or is it because Polumbus was signed off of the street by the Redskins in the middle of last year and they really havent heard of him?Lets take an objective look at what Polumbus has done on the field the last couple of years and what the offenses of the teams he was playing for were able to do when he was in the lineup at tackle.2011Polumbus started three games at right tackle for the Redskins last year and one at left guard. Were only going to look at his games at tackle here.He started at right tackle and played every snap against New England at FedEx Field, and at the Giants and Eagles. According to the folks at Pro Football Focus, in those three games he gave up no sacks, three QB hits, and 10 QB hurries. Two of the hits and six of the hurries came against the Eagles, where he was lined up against Jason Babin most of the game.Earlier in the season, Brown started and played every snap against the Giants and Eagles. He gave up a total of one sack, three hits, and four hurries in those two games, a total of eight pressures. Against those two opponents Polumbus gave up no sacks, three hits and eight hurries, a total of 11 pressures.How did the Redskins offense do when Polumbus played? Lets take a look, with the caveat that we are dealing with a small sample size of three games.In the three games with Polumbus at right tackle, the Redskins averaged 141 yards per game rushing; in the other 13 games, they averaged 92. With Polumbus, the Redskins gave up 1.3 sacks per game; without him the averaged was 2.8.Again, take into account the small sample size, especially the fact that the Patriots defensive was one of the worst in the league last year (although they were in the middle of the pack in the two areas were looking at, 14th in sacks and 17th in rushing yards allowed). But the Redskins offense did not come apart at the seams when Polumbus was playing right tackle.2010We have a larger sample size to look at during Polumbus 2010 season in Seattle. He played six games at left tackle and one at right tackle. Polumbus also started three games at left guard including two playoff games but, again, were going to disregard those games and focus on his play at tackle.In his seven games at tackle, Polumbus gave up five sacks, four hits, and 11 hurries. Two of the sacks and five of the hurries came in one game, when Seattle visited the Rams and Polumbus was matched up against defensive end Chris Long.When he was at left tackle, he was filling in for rookie Russell Okung, the sixth overall pick in the draft. In the nine regular season games where Okung played all of the snaps (he started one game but left after being in for nine plays), he gave up four sacks, five hits, and 14 hurries.We do have a better sample size to work with when it comes to the teams performance while Polumbus was in the lineup as he started almost half of their regular season games.Seattles rushing performance was virtually the same with our without Polumbus at tackle, with an average of 88 yards per game with him and 89 without him. On average, however, the Seahawks pass protection was considerably leaker. They have up an average of 3.4 sacks per game with Polumbus at tackle and that dropped to 1.2 per game without him.The with Polumbus average was pushed up by a bad two-week stretch. They gave up five sacks to the Cardinals in Week 7 and the Raiders sacked Matt Hasselbeck eight times the next game. Individually, Pro Football Focus charged Polumbus with one sack in each of those games.Can they survive?Based on this limited look, it appears that an offense can function with Tyler Polumbus at tackle. Given his struggles against top ends like Long and Babin, the coaches should consider giving him some help when he is lined up against the better right-side pass rushers. But the rushing game seems to function reasonably well with Polumbus in the lineup rather than the more heralded Brown and Okung.Again, this is a small sample size but it seems to be a more systematic way of looking at it than the Tyler Polumbus is at right tackle, the offense is doomed level of analysis that we have been getting.
Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 24, 13 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.
—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 5
—NFL Combine (3/2) 6
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 52
—NFL Draft (4/27) 62
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 198
Friday quick hitters
What about Baker? I’m not sure what the Redskins’ thinking is regarding Chris Baker. As with all their other free agents the Redskins haven’t been in communication with Baker’s camp, waiting for the chance to scope out the market at the combine next week. I think that Baker’s fate will depend on cost. If they can get in for around $7 million or less, he stays. If the bidding pushes his deal up much higher than that I think he’s gone.
McCloughan’s status: It’s not exactly news that Scot McCloughan doesn’t have the full powers that many NFL GMs have. He has always been more of a super scout, in charge of stocking the roster. He is not frozen out when it comes to contracts and financial matters but they never have been his strong suit and they are best left to Bruce Allen and, particularly, Eric Schaffer.
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Anything new? So, was there much new in Jerry Brewer’s column in the Post yesterday? Given that the power structure has been in place for over two years now, it doesn’t appear that there was. Brewer essentially said it himself: “McCloughan isn’t necessarily losing power as much as he is having his lack of power revealed.” So during this past two years, while the team improved from 4-12 to playoff contention, things have been how they are now. Let me be clear, there were some disturbing insights in Brewer’s article such as the team’s lack of a response to a request for comment on Chris Cooley’s on-air musing about McCloughan’s alcohol consumption. But on how things work on the organizational chart at Redskins Park it’s been the same.
Who wants Kirk? We are at a point where the popular perception among the fans and media is that Allen is the one who will run Kirk Cousins out of town, either this year or next, while McCloughan and Jay Gruden are begging for him to stay. The narrative is that Allen is the bad buy and McCloughan is the good guy because that’s the way fans and some in the media perceive it. But I would pump the brakes on the notion that McCloughan is willing to pay whatever it takes to keep Cousins around. We haven’t heard from him this year but last year he said on multiple occasions that while he was interested in keeping Cousins around for the long haul the team needs to be careful not to give up too much of the salary cap to one player. That doesn’t sound like he’s all in on giving Cousins a blank check.
More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?
Cousins is right to go for the money: Some fans in my Twitter timeline are calling for Cousins to take less money from the Redskins to help Allen and McCloughan pay other players. That’s not happening, nor should it. Jim Trotter of ESPN referred to Cousins as a “mercenary” and he meant it in a positive way. What he is doing is using the NFL system to maximize his earnings potential. Look around at what has been happening around the NFL over the last few weeks, with players getting dumped when they are no longer of use to their teams—and instances of players getting cut will increase exponentially soon—and you should understand why there’s not anything wrong with a player getting as much money as he can while he can. If you add in the short careers they have and the risk that they might spend the last 40-plus years of your life having trouble getting out of bed every morning or suffering from worse problems and you still don't get it, I can't help you. Cousins should get as much money as he can and it's the job of the team that voluntarily pays him that to figure out how to make it work around him.
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In case you missed it
- Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa
- Questions emerge if McCoy can produce similar results at less cost than Cou...
- The Cam Newton/Kirk Cousins debate is ridiculous
- DT McDowell could fit Redskins but there are plenty of questions
- Will the Redskins bring back Baker?
- Redskins free agency needs—Offense
Plenty of teams will line up for the services of soon to be free agent DeSean Jackson, but Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston made clear he wants D-Jax with the Bucs.
"You better believe we want DeSean here," Winston told the the Tampa Bay Times. "I think he would be a great asset to our team. Me growing up an Eagles fan, seeing what he did for the Eagles and back in his Cal days and even with the Redskins, I would love to have DeSean."
Jackson has been clear he looks forward to the free agent process. He's only hit the open market once, and that was under inauspicious terms. The Eagles released Jackson well past the start of free agency in 2014, and the Redskins moved quickly to sign the speedster.
In three seasons with the 'Skins, Jackson has been a solid teammate and strong player. In 37 starts for the Burgundy and Gold, Jackson has more than 2,700 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.
With elite speed and arguably the NFL's best ball tracker, Jackson makes sense for a lot of teams. Tampa, in particular, could use a deep threat to play alongside Mike Evans. Teamed with Winston, who has a strong arm and loves to go deep, the Bucs offense would be formidable.
That does not mean Tampa is a sure thing.
While ESPN's Josina Anderson reported the Bucs could be a "possible destination" for Jackson, Philadelphia has long been rumored to want him back. His old coach Andy Reid is in Kansas City. Former 'Skins offensive coordinator Sean McVay is now running the show in LA. For a player like Jackson, just about any potential destination could make sense.
Like it almost always is in NFL free agency, guaranteed money will be a major factor in DeSean's decision. At 30 year's old and with a game reliant on speed and quickness, this could be the last big contract of Jackson's career. Odds are he will land a big deal, and the team with the biggest bag of cash may prove the most tempting.
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