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Flashback Friday—Skins stars debut vs. Browns

Flashback Friday—Skins stars debut vs. Browns


During the offseason leading up to the 1964 season, the Washington Redskins were quite busy adding high-caliber talent to the team. How good? Hall of Fame good.

That year, the Redskins drafted wide receiver Charley Taylor and safety Paul Krause and traded for quarterback Sonny Jurgensen and linebacker Sam Huff. Taylor retired as the leading all-time receiver and Krause, who was traded to the Vikings in 1968 in one of the dumbest deals ever, retired as the all-time leader in interceptions (he still holds the mark with 81). Jurgensen led the league in passing several times and Huff, while no longer the dominant force he was with the Giants, was still a very effective middle linebacker.

They all eventually made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So did Bobby Mitchell, who already was one the team.

The quartet made their debut on September 13, 1964 in the season opener against the Cleveland Browns. As you can see in the game account below, the Redskins lost.

I don't know if Elias has anything quite like this game on its radar screen. I know it's unique in Redskins history and I have a feeling that very few other teams have had four future Hall of Fame players make their team debuts in a single game. And if any other team did, they probably did not already have a future Canton enshrinee on the team.

September 13, 1964


DC Stadium


DC Stadium—The Redskins built a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, but lost it in a barrage of ill-timed turnovers as the Browns wore down their opponents and got the win.

The Redskins new-look offense, led by quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, acquired via a trade with the Eagles, and running back Charley Taylor, the team's first-round draft pick out of Arizona, began to click late in the first. From the Washington 12, Jurgensen threw to Pat Richter for 11 yards, the Taylor carried three times for a total of 25. With the defense looking for the rookie, Jurgensen then turned his attention to the Skins' established star, Bobby Mitchell. The flanker ran a slant and took Jurgensen's pass for 13 yards down to the three. Taylor got thrown for a loss from there and the Redskins had to settle for Jim Martin's 12-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

Safety Paul Krause, the Redskins' second-round pick, paid dividends nearly as quickly as Taylor did. He drew a bead on a Frank Ryan pass, leapt in front of the intended receiver, intercepted the pass and returned it 18 yards to the Cleveland 16. Not to be outdone, Taylor converted the turnover, taking a weak side pitch from Jurgensen, finding daylight, and fending off safety Larry Benz to score a touchdown to make it 10-0.

The Washington defense stuffed Jim Brown on the next series and Cleveland had to punt. The rookie magic ended as first-year returner Ozzie Clay fumbled Gary Collins' boot, giving the Browns the ball at the Washington 24. The miscue swung the momentum to the Browns instantly and, as it turned out, inexorably.

Two plays after the punt, Krause displayed the nature of rookies as he, in his words, "simply got mixed up" and blew his coverage on Collins. Dave Brady of the Post said Collins "was so wide open that the nearest person to him was a spectator sitting directly above in the overhanging second deck of DC Stadium." The Browns missed the point after but were undaunted as they drove 70 yards to Jim Brown's one-yard touchdown run to take a 13-10 halftime lead.

In his Redskins debut, middle linebacker Sam Huff got an interception to kill a Cleveland threat inside the Washington 10, but Mitchell quickly gave it back with a fumble that Walter Beach recovered at the Redskin 34. Soon after that, it was Brown scoring from the one again, and the Browns were beginning to pull away. Their cause was greatly aided when Jurgensen fumbled it away at the Cleveland four, short-circuiting a comeback bid.

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QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

Quarterbacks will come off the board in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night. That much is certain. Where those quarterbacks come off the board, however, matters much more for the Redskins. 

Mitchell Trubisky will be the first passer off the board, and depending on the information, he could be drafted as high as the first overall pick, and will certainly go early.

Trubisky, though, seems like the only certainty of a QB going early. Questions plague guys like Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. Those guys could all go in the first half of the draft, but they could all slide into the 20s as well. 

For Washington, the earlier quarterbacks get drafted the better. It seems highly unlikely the Redskins make a draft day trade of QB Kirk Cousins, limiting hardly any interest in a first-round passer.

The more passers that go before the 'Skins pick at 17 means the more high-quality players slide down the draft board. Look around the internet at lists of the best prospects available. Hardly any signal callers crack the Top 20, but the positional need at QB demands the position be overdrafted.

Though the Burgundy and Gold continue to slow-play contract talks with Cousins, he is under contract for 2017 and the team holds an option for 2018. That means Bruce Allen can sit in his draft room and potentially be a trade partner for a team that wants to land a QB, or just wait patiently and watch as they come off the board and send other desirable prospects closer to 17.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Need to Know: Redskins’ needs line up well with the strength of the draft

Need to Know: Redskins’ needs line up well with the strength of the draft

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 25, one day before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 16
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 28
—Training camp starts (7/27) 92
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 137

Wrapping up the Redskins pre-draft presser

We’ve looked at a some of what Redskins college scouting director Scott Campbell said during his pre-draft press conference on Monday, covering possible trades, who makes the final call on those trades, and how the organization handles character issues. Here are a few more bullet points from Campbell’s presser:

—Asked if the Redskins would draft to fill needs or take the best available player, Campbell gave the stock answer. “I guess as you asked the question, you kind of framed it and the way I’m going to frame the answer, and the age-old answer of ‘I’m going to take the best player available,’” he said “And if that serves your needs, that’s a bonus.” So, there you go. That said, don’t be surprised if the best players as defined by the Redskins in the first few also happen have the “bonus” of filling one the team’s top two or three needs.

—The needs could line up well because the strength of the draft as Campbell sees it coincides with side of the ball where the Redskins need the most help. “Well, I’m excited because I think it’s one of the strongest, deepest classes on the defensive side of the ball that I’ve seen,” he said. “I’ve told the guys upstairs I’m excited because we’re going to get better . . . And several different positions – sometimes it’s just maybe defensive line or outside backers or corners. Across the board on defense, I’m really excited about the class and the guys we’re going to bring in are going to help us.”

—The draft board is still used after the draft ends and the scramble for undrafted free agents starts up. “There’s going to be guys left on the bottom of that board that didn’t get drafted that we had rated as draftable,” said Campbell. “So that’s our No. 1 targets. I assign a scout to all the coaches, and really the coaches talk to the players – once the draft ends, let me be clear, it’s after the draft ends when we start making calls – the scouts are on the phone with the agent finding out what our competition is, how much.” Campbell said that money isn’t much of a factor in recruiting the undrafted players; selling opportunity is the key.

—The draft board was influenced by former GM Scot McCloughan but adjustments have been made since he was fired in early March. “Well, he certainly had influence on it because we all met as we always did the last couple of years and every team does. You meet right after the all-star games before you go to the combine and kind of get an initial ranking of how you like the guys. Of course Scot hadn’t been here since, so just like when he was here before, there’s adjustments being made to the board with the new information.”

—The 2016 draft class did not contribute a lot but does not mean that there is more pressure on the organization to do better this year. The pressure is always there regardless. “Always pressure. Every year’s pressure,” said Campbell. “I grew up in an NFL household. My dad was a coach and a player for 40 years. Pressure every year to perform, that’s what the NFL is. You’ve got to perform every year.” His father was Marion Campbell who played in the NFL for eight years and then coached for 21 seasons including stints as the head coach of the Eagles and Falcons.

—Campbell also asked for a little patience with the 2016 draft class, citing a group from a few years ago. “It takes a couple of years to develop a class,” said Campbell. “People are saying the ‘14 class had some success. Well, if I read articles and see what happened and what was said right after that draft, our grades in the mock drafts were not very good. It takes time. Morgan Moses didn’t start his first year, you know, but he’s come on to be one of the best right tackles in the league. That’s my opinion anyway. It takes time to develop. I still think with time, that class [2016] will be just fine.” I guess I buried the lede here—Campbell reads draft grades.

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.

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