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Fan questions, Part 2: Murphy, who ran the Redskins' draft and, of course, Tanard

Fan questions, Part 2: Murphy, who ran the Redskins' draft and, of course, Tanard

I got a lot of great questions this week so I did two parts. Part one ran yesterday, let's get right in to today's batch of questions.
@Rich_TandlerCSN #RedskinsTalk what are the chances of Cousins taking RGIII's position it he has a bad weeks 1-4?

— My name is My name (@UncleJ77) May 14, 2014
I would put them at pretty close to zero. Unless Griffin is really, really bad--say 2 TD's, 10 INT's, and the Redskins are an ugly 0-4 bad--Gruden is going to stick with the quarterback the franchise gave up so much to acquire. I don't anticipate that happening at all but Griffin gets at least two seasons to establish himself before the team even thinks about other alternatives.
@Rich_TandlerCSN #RedskinsTalk Can Seastrunk return kicks and/or Punts? Does he have experience with either?

— mlk2106 (@UncleJesseHair) May 14, 2014
I checked his Baylor stats and he has one kickoff return for 13 yards so it sounds like a squib kick accidentally landed in his hands. Still, it would not surprise me to see him lining up to field some kickoffs and some punts during rookie camp this weekend. They will at least give him a shot at it and see how it works out.
@Rich_TandlerCSN ..what kind of impact will tenard jackson make if he is NFL ready by pre season and there after..? Can he upgrade secondary

— christopher (@massageking69) May 14, 2014
I am not at all bullish on Jackson's chances of having an impact. In my recent early projection for the 53-man roster I don't have him making the team. This, after all, is a player who has played in all of 12 games since Jim Zorn's last year as coach of the Redskins. But I'm very prepared to be wrong on him, maybe he can successfully come back and contribute.
@Rich_TandlerCSN sounded like JG and RG3 had a fair amount of say in the draft. But supposed to be BA's show. Your take? #RedskinsTalk

— Adam (@HailToOldDC) May 14, 2014
I'm not so sure it's accurate to say that Griffin had "say" in the draft. Gruden did mention some texts from him in connection with Seastrunk but he doesn't say if they came in before or after the pick. In any case, a few texts lobbying for your friend is hardly "say". And, yes, Gruden had influence. But Allen had the final say. We haven't heard of there being any disagreements in the draft room so perhaps who had the last word was a moot point. If you've done you draft preparation properly all decisions should have been made in advance.
@Rich_TandlerCSN Do you think Trent Murphy will play any ILB? #RedskinsTalk

— AJ (@AJ_bus) May 14, 2014
He might line up inside in some nickel pass rush packages but he won't line up alongside Perry Riley if that's what you're asking. It's a very tough position to learn and I don't think they'll heap that onto his plate along with needing to learn the pass rush responsibilities. As far as the future, I'll put it into the never say never category. I don't think it's in the plans right now but maybe if they're sitting here a year from now without a permanent solution at the position they might consider moving Murphy inside.
@Rich_TandlerCSN @CSNRedskins What role if any will Brandon Jenkins have this year? Especially now with Murphy?? #RedskinsTalk

— RMA_VA (@ICEMANVA) May 14, 2014
That is something that will have to be sorted out over the next weeks and months. If he is going to have a role, he first has to become an active participant on special teams. He was not very enthusiastic about special teams last year and that led to him being healthy but inactive for 11 of 16 games last year. If he becomes good on kicking teams he'll be active and he'll get a chance to earn a role on defense. But the first step is special teams.
@Rich_TandlerCSN is it crazy for me to think that the skins new UDFA WR Hoffman might be on the roster come week 1?

— Warpath (@WarpathDC) May 14, 2014
Crazy? No. Irrationally optimistic? Perhaps. Yes, the guy is 6-4 and he does hold all of the BYU career receiving records and that's a school with a history of filling the mountain air with footballs. But there are serious questions about his durability; he missed time with a torn labrum, torn rib cartilage, and hamstring while with the Cougars. And he's not very physical, he'll have to learn to get off the line in the NFL. Right now I'd put him on the practice squad but we'll see what he looks like over the next few months.
@Rich_TandlerCSN Do you think that the nickel setup we saw in preseason last yr might be a precursor to how they use Murphy? #RedskinTalk

— drscoundrels (@drscoundrels) May 14, 2014
I think that's what they have in mind, lining up Kerrigan with his hand in the dirt and having Orakpo and Murphy rush from a two-point stance. A lot will depend on how fast Murphy can get up to speed and execute what's required of him. I don't think we'll see much of it during the preseason. That had the feel of Shanahan throwing Haslett a bone. If they're serious about using it, we won't see it much until Sept. 7.

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Enemy Intel: Yes, Redskins fans, you need to root for the Cowboys again

Enemy Intel: Yes, Redskins fans, you need to root for the Cowboys again

Here is my weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL:

Before we get going, let’s line up the NFL wild card contenders by current seed and their remaining four games.

Giants (8-4): Cowboys, Lions, @Eagles, @Redskins
Bucs (7-5): Saints, @Cowboys, @Saints, Panthers
Redskins (6-5-1): @Eagles, Panthers, @Bears, Giants
Vikings (6-6): @Jaguars, Colts, @Packers, Bears
Packers (6-6): Seahawks, @Bears, Vikings, @Lions
Cardinals (5-6-1): @Dolphins, Saints, @Seahawks, @Rams
Saints (5-7): @Bucs, @Cardinals, Bucs, @Falcons
Eagles (5-7): Redskins, @Ravens, Giants, Cowboys

—The Redskins can knock the Eagles out of any practical chance of making the playoffs with a win on Sunday. An Eagles loss would mean they could finish no better than 8-8 and that is highly unlikely to get it done this year.

—For a second straight week, Redskins fans need to root for Cowboys to win. Or for their opponent to lose. Some wanted to make that distinction last week when Cowboys played the Vikings and the optimal outcome for the Redskins was a Dallas win. However you want to look at it, a Giants loss to Dallas could move the Redskins to within a half game of the No. 5 seed.

MORE REDSKINS: Assessing the four remainig opponents

—There should be no hesitation about pulling for the Saints to beat the Bucs. A Washington win and a Tampa Bay loss puts the Redskins back into playoff position with the No. 6 seed. The Bucs are 2.5-point favorites at home. They are the hot team, coming in with four straight wins while New Orleans has lost three of four. The Saints are on the fringe of contention but Redskins fans need to pull for the teams ahead of Washington in the standings.

—The Redskins can’t look for much help when it comes to the team immediately behind them in the standings. The Vikings visit the Jaguars, who are locked in to yet another season of double-digit losses. You might be tempted to look for the home underdog to put up a fight and they might. But Blake Bortles has thrown three pick sixes this year and the Vikings have returned two interceptions for TDs this year. Look for such a play to be decisive and for the Vikings to remain tight with Washington in the standings.

—The other team a half game behind the Redskins is the Packers. They host the Seahawks in what could be very snowy conditions in Green Bay. Seattle is a three-point favorite but if the weather gets crazy anything could happen. Redskins fans need to root for the Seahawks, for obvious reasons.

RELATED: Three Redskins out on Sunday, Reed questionable

—The Cardinals creeped back into contention with their win over the Redskins. That win and the fact that they have a tie on their ledger means that the Redskins do not want to finish with the same record as Arizona. This is one of the few situations where a tiebreaker would matter. It’s an easy call to pull for them to fall to the AFC Dolphins.

—I went 2-1 last week, winning with the Patriots over the Rams and the Seahawks over the Panthers. I have four NFL picks this week, all of them road favorites: the Redskins -1 on the road over the Eagles, the Cowboys -3 at the Giants, the Falcons -6 over the Rams in L.A., and the Seahawks giving three to the Packers.

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Need to Know: Assessing the Redskins' four remaining opponents

Need to Know: Assessing the Redskins' four remaining opponents

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 10, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No media availability

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 9; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 14; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 22

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Around Redskins Park

The Redskins have four games remaining on their schedule. Three wins would give them a record of 9-6-1 and a very good shot at the playoffs. Four will almost certainly get them a ticket to keep playing; two wins or fewer will have them needing a whole lot of help to make the postseason

Let’s take a look at the Redskins’ remaining four opponents and revisit the confidence level on the Redskins’ chances of beating each one of them. (I first did this exercise a few weeks ago).

@Eagles, 5-7, weighted DVOA via Football Outsiders, 15.3% (ranked 5th)
The Eagles looked like playoff contenders for about half of the season but they have taken a tumble back to earth, losing five of their last six. Right now the Redskins are the better team, although their long injury list is an area for concern. The Eagles appear to be in some degree of disarray after their coach accused some unnamed players of giving less than full effort. Confidence that the Redskins will win: High

Panthers, 4-8, DVOA -7.5% (25th)
They won’t be able to defend their NFC championship much longer. By the time this game comes around they could be either eliminated or on the verge of being mathematically out of the playoffs. Their problems are numerous including big issues at cornerback (too bad they didn’t have a guy who could have helped franchise tagged) and an offensive line that has been injury-wracked all year. Still, Cam Newton is a scary quarterback and he still has tight end Greg Olsen and receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Ted Ginn Jr. If the Redskins get into a shootout they could be in trouble. Confidence: Moderately high

@Bears, 3-9, DVOA -3.0%, (24th)
Matt Barkley is the Bears’ third starting QB this season and in most statistical categories he’s the worst of the three. The Bears have been hit by injuries as hard as any NFL team with multiple starters on injured reserve. They probably would have struggled even with those players healthy; without them they are one of the five worst teams in the NFL. The one thing to beware of is the late December weather in Chicago, which could randomize the outcome to an extent. Confidence: Very high

Giants, 8-4, DVOA 5.0%, (12th)
The new players on the Giants’ defense were just starting to gel when end Jason Pierre-Paul’s season ended after sports hernia surgery. Their defense, with the No. 7 DVOA (-9.6%), won’t collapse but it won’t be as strong. Eli Manning’s stats are down a tick from last year but as long as he has Odell Beckham to throw to the Giants won’t be totally stymied on offense. This one is hard to get a good feel for this far out, not knowing what might be at stake for either team. Confidence: Moderate

For comparison purposes, the 6-5-1 Redskins have a DVOA of 9.8% (10th)

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