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Gruden points to 'issues with the back end' on defense

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Gruden points to 'issues with the back end' on defense

The Redskins could be in for some major changes in their defensive secondary.

When Jay Gruden was asked about the Redskins’ defensive alignment, he said, “I love the 3-4.” He added that he didn’t like going up against it as an offensive coordinator. Gruden held that position for the Bengals when they played the Redskins in Week 3 of the 2012 season.

“I know that when we played against the Washington Redskins, I know it’s very difficult to run against them,” said Gruden. “There were some issues with the back end here and there but there is a core foundation in place.”

The Redskins did a good job against the run during that game, holding Gruden’s team to 93 yards on 28 carries (3.3 yards/carry). To say that there were “issues” in the secondary that day, however, is an understatement.

Andy Dalton torched the Redskins, going 19 of 27 for 328 yards and three touchdowns. That comes out to a completion percentage of 70.4, an average of 12.1 yards per attempt and a passer rating of 132.9.

Dalton wasn’t the only Bengal who threw a pass on that day. On the Bengals’ first play from scrimmage Mohammed Sanu launched a 73-yard touchdown pass to A. J. Green. That particular play may have been more on the scheme than on the execution by the players but the record book shows a total of 385 net passing yards given up by the defense on the day.

Four members of the secondary played all but one of the 62 defensive snaps against the Bengals. Two of them were not here last year, safeties DeJon Gomes and Madieu Williams. Cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson were both starters in 2013 but both will be free agents in March.

Richard Crawford was the nickel back, seeing his first substantial NFL action. He played 24 snaps. Cedric Griffin, Reed Doughty, and Crezdon Butler all played one or two snaps.

So if Gruden has a bad impression of the secondary based on that game—and you have to think that is the imprint that is foremost in his mind—Hall, Wilson, and Crawford had better have some film that impresses Gruden or they cold find themselves looking for other employment for the 2014 season.

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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.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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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.