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Comings and goings in Ashburn

Comings and goings in Ashburn

After going for six weeks with no roster moves, the Washington Redskins made three of them on Tuesday. Here's who's in, who's out, and what it means.

Punter Ryan Plackemeier in, punter Durant Brooks out—The Redskins were as patient as they could be with Brooks but they just couldn't afford to wait for him to develop into a consistent punter. The last straw was a 26-yard punt from the end zone that allowed the Rams to kick a field goal without needing to gain as much as a first down. Those three points in a game the Redskins lost by two, obviously, were critical. Plackemeier punted pretty well for two seasons in Seattle before getting the ax after a poor performance in the Seahawks' opener this year. He signed a two-year deal so if he does well he'll be around next season.

Analysis: It's hard to get very excited about this as there is no guarantee that Plackemeier will represent an immediate upgrade. Still, the odds are that he'll be more consistent than Brooks, who was waived-injured. That means that the Redskins could put him on injured reserve, giving him a shot at competing for the job next year.

Safety Reed Doughty out, safety Mike Green in—Since opening day, Doughty has gone from starter to reserve to injured reserve. His back may need surgery to correct a nerve problem. Green is a seasoned veteran, having spent six years with the Chicago Bears before spending the last two seasons in Seattle.

Analysis: The Redskins were extraordinarily inexperienced at the safety position with Doughty, in his third year, being the sage veteran of the bunch. Chris Horton has been a great playmaker but he also has needed to ride the bench from time to time due to mental errors. Fellow rookie Kareem Moore had brain lock and didn't blitz on the 43-yard pass the Rams completed to set up their game-winning field goal. Green played under Greg Blache in Chicago so he should be able to pick things up pretty quickly and fill in during the times that Moore and Horton need mental time outs.

Safety Justin Hamilton out, running back Shaun Alexander in—Ladell Betts, on the shelf with knee and hamstring injuries, replaces Hamilton on the weekly inactive list for at least three or four weeks. Former Seahawk Alexander will get Betts' carries.

Analysis: Alexander's performance has dropped off dramatically since he gained 1,880 yards and scored 28 touchdowns for Seattle in 2005. Not coincidentally, it says here, he signed an eight-year, $62 million contract after that MVP season. Since the ink dried on that deal he has not been the same runner; he's been leaning into the line rather than slamming into it and tiptoeing rather than running with authority. If now, after spending a couple of humbling months on the street, he is concerned about his legacy he could be a valuable asset. If he's still fat and happy about the size of his bank account he'll be a downgrade and the Redskins will be counting the days until Betts can return.

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Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway. 

Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.

For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board. 

On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call. 

From Campbell:

The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”

Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.

The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.


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Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

The Redskins may or may not have one of the most polarizing members of the 2017 draft class on their draft board. But they do believe that character counts.

Scott Campbell, the Redskins’ director of college scouting, would not say if  Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who is seen on video striking a woman and knocking her to the floor in an incident that occurred in July of 2014, is on the team’s board.

“We don't announce who's on and off the board for strategic reasons,” said Campbell on Monday at the team’s pre-draft news conference, saying that it’s the team’s policy.

He added that incidents like the one that Mixon was a part of do come into consideration.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

“Character is very important to me, it's very important to the Redskins,” said Campbell.

He explained that early in the scouting process, character issues are not taken into account.

“What I always told the scouts and how I was trained 30 years ago when I started is when you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don't factor in the character, you don't grade character, you grade talent,” said Campbell, who has been with the Redskins organization for 16 years. “You don't throw away somebody early who may have some redeeming quality or a part of the story you didn't know about.”

It’s later on that the scouts gather information on such incidents as problems with the law, failed drug tests, and other quarters of character.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often 

“Our scouts do a great job getting a lot of information,” said Campbell. “Some of the incidents you brought up happened after the season, at the combine, and just a few days ago. All those things are factored into an evaluation as they are gathered.”

With that information at hand, they start the process of elimination, deciding who fits and who doesn’t.

“When it comes close to the draft, you start weeding out all that, getting more information, deciding, OK, that guy's not our kind of guy, that guy's not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted but good luck to them,” said Campbell.

It seems like much more of a gut feel type of process than anything rigid. There is not much of a clue there as to whether or not the team will consider bringing Mixon aboard, who is inarguably one of the most talented running backs in the draft. The upside is that Mixon could provide a jolt to the team’s offense. The downside would be an immediate public relations hit. The team also must consider what will happen if Mixon were to run afoul of the NFL’s domestic abuse policy in the future, which calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense with penalties getting progressively worse if problems persist.

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.