The statistical-minded folks over at the football website ProFootballFocus are always coming up with new formulas to help quantify what's taking place on the gridiron and in the fantasy football world. The latest newfangled equation from PFF writer Bryan Fontaine is named for a former Redskins wide receiver - and indicates a potential breakout season for one of the current options (here's a hint - the tall one)The "Lloyd Factor" named after Brandon Lloyd, came to be after the receiver in 2010 went from NFL afterthought to dominant force. After totaling59 receptions between 2006 (his first season in Washington) and 2009, Lloyd exploded for 77-148-11 with the Broncos. What accounted for the dramatic turnaround? Redskins nation surely ponderedthat question after watching his two uber-frustrating seasons in Washington.Obviously, on a basic level, Lloyd simply had tons more targets. That helps.What Fontaine sought to uncover was whether Lloyd's breakout campaign couldhave been predicted. The answer, yes, along with those authored by the likes of Stevie Johnson and Lance Moore. The essence of the discovery: forgettotal stats, but rather focus on per play production."What is more important is how efficient a wide receiver is on a per play basis and if they can make the most of a limited number of targets. With the benefit of our exclusive data, we can go beyond the box score to see detailed snap data and identify players who were targeted frequently when on the field and produced fantasy points when given the opportunity."Which brings us to one Leonard Hankerson, the Redskins third round pick in 2011. During his rookie campaign the 6-foot-2 targetstruggled, sat and eventually wound up injured, missing the bulk ofthe final two months. In between there were two rather glorious weeks as Hankerson appeared proficient and at times dominant, including his eight receptions for 106 yards outing against the Dolphins. It's those two weeks that caught the attention of Fontainte's "Lloyd Factor"."After seeing just 12 snaps in Weeks 7 and 8 combined, Hankerson played in 91 of the total snaps in Weeks 9 and 10 before a hip injury ended his rookie season. Hankerson was impressive in his two starts, totaling 12 receptions on 15 targets for 140 yards. He now faces a crowded depth chart with the additions of Josh Morgan and Pierre Garcon and a resurgent Santana Moss. Garcon is projected as one starter (93 at RWR the last three years with Colts), with an open competition for the other spot. There is a good chance Hankerson could win the other spot at split end as a featured player. He has the size, speed and hands to be a No. 1 wide receiver in time."If a breakout season for Hankerson is truly in the cards, Lloyd's tangential contribution would be his most significant involving the Redskins. Better late than never.
While starring for the Redskins from 2004-2010, Clinton Portis was a beloved player renowned for his toughness on the field and humor off of it.
But a Sports Illustrated story published Wednesday shows how different the post-football Portis was from the one who made a name for himself in the Burgundy and Gold.
After retiring from the NFL, Portis ran into severe money trouble when he trusted his money with people he wishes he hadn't, according to SI's Brian Burnsed. The running back filed for bankruptcy in 2015, and the financial issues he encountered pushed him to the brink of committing a serious crime.
"On a handful of late nights and early mornings in 2013 he lurked in his car near a Washington, D.C.–area office building, pistol at his side, and waited for one of several men who had managed a large chunk of the $43.1 million he earned with his 2,230 carries over nine NFL seasons," Burnsed writes.
“It wasn’t no beat up,” Portis told the writer. “It was kill.”
He never did follow through on the revenge he wanted, thanks in large part to a friend and therapist who forced him to consider how killing someone would affect his family and all he had worked for in his life. If he had found the person he was targeting, however, he's honest about what would've happened.
“We’d probably be doing this interview from prison,” Portis, who stopped participating in the story after two interviews, said.
Another notable part from the story is that the 35-year-old is experiencing memory lapses and often gets lost while driving, but is afraid to be tested because he's "really scared" of what those tests would find. Overall, though, Portis is in a better place now than he was a few years ago.
"Life is so much clearer after coming out of that storm," he said.
True or false: The Redskins will carry four tight ends on their roster this year.
Rich Tandler: True
The Redskins added a tight end to a roster that had four experienced players at the position already on it. But, make no mistake, fifth-round selection Jeremy Sprinkle was not a “luxury” pick.
Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis are both stone cold locks to make the roster. They are the pass catchers who are expected to combine for perhaps 1,500 yards and at least a dozen touchdowns.
The third tight end could be Niles Paul, a veteran who has battled injuries the last two years. He appears to be healthy and if he stays that way he can play tight end, be the fullback on the six or eight snaps per game the Redskins use one, and be a strong contributor on special teams.
Sprinkle can fill a role that those three can’t—blocking tight end. Jay Gruden had to put tackle Ty Nsekhe on the field when they needed a three-tight end set. That made the job of the defense easier with essentially four eligible receivers to deal with.
With a well-defined role for each player, it would make perfect sense for the Redskins to carry four tight ends on the 53-man roster rather than the customary three. Of course, if they carry four at tight end they have to go with one fewer player elsewhere. They will find a spot.
Running back seems to be the logical place to go for that spot. If they keep, say, Mack Brown as the fourth running back, you then have a player without a defined role. He’s the backup to the backup to the backup. Sure, he can do special teams, but not as well as Paul.
Perhaps if you want to keep Brown you let go of Paul with his recent injury history and his $2.2 million cap number in mind. Or you can let Sprinkle get some seasoning on the practice squad.
But I think that the Redskins drafted Sprinkle with the plan to keep four tight ends. If they are going to go with their best, most versatile 53 that is what they will do.
JP Finlay: False
Man, this is tough. If you asked me this in May, I thought Niles Paul would be caught in a roster crunch. After watching the guys on the field through OTAs and minicamp, this decision becomes much harder.
Paul played well in those sessions, showed no rust from the injuries and impressed regardless what quarterback he was paired up with. Sprinkle looked like a rookie with a lot to learn, and while he's really big, he still seemed like his upper body could fill out in the NFL.
In a vacuum it's easy to say the Redskins should keep four tight ends. Like Tandler laid out above, Reed and Davis are roster locks. Paul can help in a ton of spots, and Sprinkle should evolve into the blocking tight end for the jumbo set.
But NFL rosters aren't made in vacuums. To keep a fourth tight end, the Redskins will have to make a cut, and Tandler suggested Mack Brown could be the guy. I don't see that happening. Jay Gruden and Randy Jordan speak glowingly about Brown.
This will be a fun roster spot to watch, but in June, before any injuries or the competition of training camp, I think the Redskins keep Reed, Davis and Paul. Then they really, really hope they can sneak the rookie Sprinkle to their practice squad.
Washington has not kept three healthy tight ends on their roster in the last few seasons, and if that trend continues, Sprinkle would make the NFL roster before the end of the year. Keeping four tight ends just isn't a luxury the Redskins have, especially keeping three quarterbacks like they're expected to do.