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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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Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: 5 things to know with Jordan Reed out

Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: 5 things to know with Jordan Reed out

The Redskins moved the ball well against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, but continued red zone woes again sent Washington home with a loss. While the late November schedule proved brutal for the 'Skins, playing two games in five days, now the Redskins come to Arizona for an early December game with fresh legs and ample rest. Played indoors at University of Phoenix Stadium, weather will not be a factor for the 4 p.m. EST kick, but all the action starts on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at 3 p.m. Here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Keep it moving - Kirk Cousins showed he likes to get hot in the second half of the season during 2015. The quarterback's play late last year won the 'Skins the NFC East, and while a division title is out of reach with the Cowboys already at 11 wins, Cousins again looks to be on a heater. In three games since the bye, Cousins has thrown for more than 1,000 yards to go with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. The No. 1 story for the 'Skins is Cousins, and if he keeps his hot streak going, Washington should find itself in position to win in Arizona.
  2. Missing in action - This will be the final game of a four-game suspension for left tackle Trent Williams, and the Washington offensive line has performed admirably in his absence. Arguably more important this week will be the absence of tight end Jordan Reed, who suffered a serious shoulder injury in Dallas. What's wild about Reed - he came back to play in the second half against the Cowboys - and score two touchdowns - while playing with a separated shoulder. Reed did not practice this week, and Jay Gruden said his range of motion in the shoulder is just too limited to go against the Cardinals. 
  3. Consider the source - The Redskins offense might be the most potent group in this game, but Washington would be foolish to sleep on the Cardinals. Arizona was widely considered a Super Bowl contender coming into the season, and though they are in the midst of a disappointing year at 4-6-1, a win against the Skins could get the Cards back on the playoff track. Arizona running back David Johnson is the 3rd leading rusher in the NFL with 921 yards on the ground, not to mention an additional 613 yards receiving. Gruden on Johnson, "He is probably the best all-around back there is in the National Football League right now as far as being able to move outside, be a great route runner but also run between the tackles and run outside with his speed. So it’s going to be a matchup problem." Defensively, the Redskins ranks 25th in the NFL at stopping the run. Watch out for David Johnson.
  4. Problems don't just go away - Look at just about any metric on the Redskins offense, and the results are impressive: No. 2 in yards-per-game, No. 2 in yards-per-play, No. 2 in pass yards-per-game. But for all the yards, the 'Skins don't score at a corresponding clip as they rank 9th in the NFL in points. The culprit? Red zone troubles. "There are so many good things we’re doing on offense to put a damper on what they’re doing offensively with the red zone. It’s hard to do, but it’s something that is a glaring weakness of this football team right now," Gruden said of his team. The best road to wins for the Redskins is by scoring, ideally at least 30 points, and that will require some success inside the 20s.
  5. The harder they fall - If the Arizona offense has an Achilles heel, it's their offensive line. Carson Palmer has been sacked 16 times in the Cards last four games, and the 'Skins need to focus on bringing Palmer down. Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy - who will be playing in his hometown - have been the leaders at getting sacks for Joe Barry's defense, and Preston Smith could be in line for another big game. Getting to Carson Palmer should be among the defense's top priorities, as that can slow Larry Fitzgerald and the Cards pass game.

Numbers & Notes:

  • DeSean Jackson's 67-yard reception in Dallas was a season long and his longest since a 77-yard touchdown vs. Buffalo in Week 15 of the 2015 season.
  • Kirk Cousins' 3,540 passing yards in 2016 now rank 10th-most in a single season in team history, and he still has five games left to play.
  • The Redskins offense ranks first in the NFL in percentage of fewest 3-and-out drives at 9.5 percent.
  • If Pierre Garçon can gain 137 receiving yards on Sunday, he will pass Michael Westbrook for 10th-most career receiving yards in team history.
  • With nine sacks, Ryan Kerrigan is one sack away from becoming the fifth member of the Redskins (Dexter Manley, 4; Charles Mann, 4; Andre Carter, 2; Brian Orakpo, 2) to post multiple 10-sack seasons since the NFL adopted sacks as an official statistic in 1982.

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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Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

As the Cowboys take their long week off after consecutive Thursday games the Redskins, Giants, Eagles, and other wild card contenders are in action. Here is Tandler’s weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL.

—The Giants are on a six-game winning streak and while that’s not easy to do against any level of competition it needs to be pointed out that their slate was squishy-soft with the last five wins coming against teams that currently have losing records. Now things get real with a trip to play the Steelers and a home date against the Cowboys. I’m not really sure how good the Giants are but if they split these two games I’ll be more impressed with them than I am now.

—The 5-6 Eagles travel to play the Bengals, who are just about out of contention for a sixth straight playoff appearance at 3-7-1. In fact, the Eagles might be just about out of it, too. Their big problem is 3-6 conference record, which puts them behind several other wild card contenders in this tiebreaker. It’s important because that is the second tiebreaker behind head to head. It’s better for the Redskins if the Bengals win but it probably won’t matter much. The consensus in Philadelphia seems to be that the Eagles are a rebuilding team that got off to a hot start, kindling some unrealistic hopes and expectations for the rest of 2016.

—The team is the hottest pursuit of the Redskins is the Buccaneers, who travel to San Diego to play a game that starts at the same time as Washington-Arizona. The Chargers are 5-6 but they are buried in last in the tough AFC West. This game is a coin flip. Redskins fans should root for the Chargers. If the Bucs lose, the Redskins would still hold the second wild card at the end of the day even if they should lose to the Cardinals.

—The 5-6 Saints are on the fringes of the wild card picture. They host the Lions, who are leading the NFC North by a game and a half over the Vikings and two games over the Packers. It’s probably best if the Lions win, which would just about eliminate the Saints. Still, there is a scenario where the Lions go into a minor tailspin, lose the division to either the Packers or Vikings but have a good enough record to take the second wild card. So like with most games within the NFC until the dust settles some more, there is some upside and some downside no matter which team wins.

—That scenario where the Lions fade from the division lead become a whole lot less likely if the Texans can go to Green Bay and beat the Packers. This is an interconference game so it’s an easy call to pull for Houston.

—Seattle, with a three-game lead in the NFC West, hosts the Panthers, who are on the outer fringe of the wild card race at 4-7. Another loss likely would ensure that Carolina won’t be able to defend its NFC title. This isn’t a pivotal game but probably better if the Seahawks win to end it for the wounded but potentially dangerous Panthers.

—My one loss last week was the Seahawks giving 5.5 on the road to the Bucs. I won with the Saints over the Rams and the Falcons over the Cardinals. This week I’m giving the Seahawks another go, giving 7 to the Panthers, and I’m taking the Patriots -13.5 against the Rams (the loss of Gronk doesn’t do much to equalize these teams) and the Saints giving 6 to the Lions.

MORE REDSKINS: Betting on the Redskins' playoff chances