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Fan questions: How do you stop the Cowboys?

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Fan questions: How do you stop the Cowboys?

This week I got your questions not only from Twitter but also from the Real Redskins Facebook page (go there to Like it) for the first time. Since the Facebook aspect is new we'll start from there.

Well, Troy, nothing has been covered in the media because nothing is happening. What many fans don't seem to realize is that Jackson is on his third strike in the NFL's substance abuse process. He served suspensions of four games and then one year while he was with the Bucs. His current suspension is indefinite. Jackson was eligible to apply for reinstatement after a year but the NFL is under no obligation to reinstate him or even hear his case. So there is no news and there won't be until the league decides that he has been out long enough to get the message. A year apparently didn't do it last time so maybe they figure he needs to sit out longer this time. When something happens, you'll hear about it. But there is no point in the media "reporting" that nothing is new on a regular basis.
@Rich_TandlerCSN if the #Redskins face a Dallas team like the one who just played Denver, How will they be able to stop them? #RedskinsTalk

— Don (@don1964a) October 7, 2013
The simple answer is they won't be able to stop the Cowboys if they play like they did Sunday. But it's not certain that they will play like that. I went over a lot of the reasons in my post yesterday but the simplest way to look at it is that a week ago Sunday the Dallas offense put up 14 points against a Chargers defense that is ranked 27th. The Cowboys are not exactly a model of consistency and it remains to be seen if they can put up two stellar performances in a row.

The key against Romo is to mix things up. Last year they brought anywhere from three to seven rushers after him. There will be plenty of blitz packages and times they drop eight back into coverage in either a zone or a single high safety look. It will very by down, distance, game situation and Jim Haslett's gut feeling.
@Rich_TandlerCSN Are the Skins secondary woes primarily the culprit of poor CB play or safety play? #RedskinsTalk

— Derek Childress (@Poker_Donkey) October 7, 2013
If I had to pick one factor, I'd say that the secondary woes are due to poor tackling. That issue appears to affect primarily the safeties but that's only because they usually make more tackle attempts. It's across the board. I think it's something that will work its way out, the sooner the better. But to get back to your question, I don't think the corners are markedly less talented than the safeties or vice versa. The whole secondary just needs to get its act together when it comes to getting the guy with the ball to the ground.

Sometimes it takes the rest of the media world a while to catch up to what's being written here so I'm used to that (pardon the humble brag). But the fact of the matter with Griffin is that we just don't know. It would surprise me if he didn't continue to improve from week to week. Whether or not he will make a "leap" like Peterson, who went from averaging 97 yards per game in the first half of the season to averaging 165 in the last eight games remains to be seen. The media can't watch practice so we have no way of knowing how he is doing during the week. We find out during the games just like everyone else. My gut is that we'll see more steady progress. I don't see him all of a sudden breaking out this Sunday and playing like he did in Dallas on Thanksgiving. I do think he'll play better than he did against Oakland and that could be good enough to win.

It's hard to tell how much the brace is really affecting Griffin. My guess is that it hampers him some but not nearly as much as many think it does. Remember Griffin wore one his junior year at Baylor and it didn't affect him much then. He was asked in training camp if he would wear it all year and he said he would. That's all we have to go on.

This sounds a lot like a call to "fire Haz, go back to the 4-3" as a solution to the Redskins' defensive woes. I don't know if you were around for the decade of the 90's and early 00's when the team went through a parade of defensive coordinators and regular scheme changes. The result was a consistently bad defense that held the team back. The revolving door ended when Gregg Williams arrived in 2004 and they had a top 10 defense three out of his four years. Maybe they can find another Williams, maybe they can't. Perhaps there is a better option out there than Haslett but there are no sure things. Change for the sake of change rarely yields good results. The same applies to the defensive alignment. Personally, I would not look forward to another two years of acquiring the right personnel for a new alignment and going through the adjustment pains when the existing scheme will work fine if executed properly.

That's it for today. You don't have to wait for a call for questions to ask me something; hit me up anytime on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN or on the Real Redskins Facebook page.

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

Related: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.