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Is He Watching the Same Player I Am?

Is He Watching the Same Player I Am?

I rarely rip players here and only occasionally do I take journalists to task. Here goes with both:

In an article on ESPN.com, Len Pasquarelli presents the not-so-shocking news that Rod Gardner is on the trading block.

He has been the subject of trade rumors for the past two seasons and it appears that, for Redskins wide receiver Rod Gardner, the rumblings might finally become a reality this offseason. Several sources have apprised ESPN.com that Gardner definitely will be offered up in trade talks after a 2004 campaign in which his numbers dipped for a second consecutive season.So far, so good. Gardner’s performance has steadily declined over the past two years from a peak (1006 yards) that wasn't all that high to begin with. He's supposed to be reaching his prime in the third and fourth years of his NFL career, not sliding backwards.

Well, that's my view anyway. According to Lenny:

Gardner is an excellent No. 2 receiver and, while the Washington coaches have no complaints about his work ethic or demeanor, it seems there has been a mutual understanding that it is time for him to move on. The Redskins feel they can get a middle-round choice for Gardner, who should have a pretty decent market, given the number of franchises seeking to upgrade at the position.Excellent? Reggie Wayne is excellent. Donald Driver is excellent. Issac Bruce is excellent. I could go on through a few more excellents, some very goods, then to the OK's and adequates. Then we'd come to Rod Gardner.

And if the coaches don't have a complaint about his work ethic, fine. But there is something wrong with the consistency of effort given by a player who has a knack for making a spectacular play on one chance and then dropping the next easy one, one who has a great game and instead of that being his breakout game he absolutely disappears for weeks on end.

If the Redskins can get mid-rounder for him, great. Perhaps some team will look at the films and decide that Gardner's struggles aren't all his fault and take a flyer on him for a fifth-round pick. There may be some truth to that given the Redskins quarterback instability and Steve Spurrier's failed offensive schemes. If I was an NFL personnel guy looking to deal for him, however, I'd have to wonder why a guy who can get it done some of the time can't get it done all of the time.

As for Lenny, he would have been OK had he just let it go with the "excellent" evaluation of Gardner. However, as he is prone to do, he had to go on and show his distaste for and bias against the Redskins organization in discussing the hiring of former Jacksonville offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave as quarterbacks coach (at the time of the posting of Pasquarelli's article, the deal had not yet been confirmed; it has since been announced).

The team paid lip service this week to getting more vertical in its passing game next season. But if the Redskins hire deposed Jacksonville offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave as quarterbacks coach, which is anticipated, one has to question the resolve to stretch the field. Musgrave is a West Coast offense proponent and the chief gripe about him from Jaguars players was that he was predictable in his play-calling and rarely challenged secondaries deep.Excuse me, Len, but what exactly does Musgrave's play calling have to do with his position with the Redskins? About a half dozen guys would have to be in the hospital on game day for Musgrave to ever call a single play for the team. He will prepare the quarterbacks each week exactly as Joe Gibbs instructs him to. Now, Len, you know that but you write tripe like that anyway. Why?

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Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Jay Gruden squashes perception that Alabama defenders don't produce in NFL

Alabama dominates college football in a way few teams ever have. In the last two seasons, the Crimson Tide has lost just two games, winning one national title and narrowly missing a second.

The strength of 'Bama, year after year, is their defense. Nick Saban coaches it, Nick Saban knows it, and Nick Saban demands the best from his players. 

Oddly, however, a few recent Alabama defenders drafted to the NFL have not produced. Or at least their production did not match their draft status. 

It's not too hard to pick names that fit that perception. Rolando McClain. Terrence Cody. Dre Kirkpatrick. And at running back, Trent Richardson didn't help.

Still, the Redskins invested heavily in the Tide during the 2017 draft. Their top two picks played for Saban's defense last year, and Washington coach Jay Gruden does not buy any part of the perception that 'Bama products regress in the NFL.

"I don’t see any negative whatsoever with them going to Alabama," Gruden said late Friday night.

The 'Skins selected Jonathan Allen in the first round and Ryan Anderson in the second. Both guys started on the Tide's front seven, and both players dominated.

"They come there and they are well coached. Anytime you watch college football, and you watch other defenses, no disrespect, and then you flip on an Alabama game, it’s different," Gruden said. "The speed is different. They are well-coached, they are in their gaps, they play hard, they play physical, and that’s from Week 1 until the end. That has to appeal to you as a coach. They are using their hands, they are physical, they are chasing the ball, they are running to the ball."

The perception, right or wrong, has two main positions. The first is that the Alabama defense looks so good because it is full of five-star recruits. When everyone is good, or great, on the college level, it's hard to truly judge any singular player's game tape. The second is that Saban is so exhausting, so demanding of his players, they arrive to the NFL with too many reps.

For those around the NFL, both theories are laughable. Pro scouts know game tape. How else can they judge a future first rounder when he matches up against a walk-on? And for every alleged 'Bama bust, think about Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or Landon Collins or C.J. Mosley or Dont'a Hightower. 

Might some Tide players get overdrafted because of their success and high profile? That's a different conversation. What's certain is the Redskins are quite confident in both of their Alabama draft picks.

"We know they are both highly intelligent guys. They understand football, understand X’s and O’s and they both play very hard with a high motor and they are well-coached."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

The Redskins haven't shied away from using draft picks on players with an injury history, and that trend continued all the way to their final pick of the draft with Auburn CB Joshua Holsey.

Holsey missed parts of the 2013 and 2015 seasons at Auburn due to torn ACLs, but rebounded with a strong season in 2016. He had 30 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defended in his senior season.

RELATED: REDSKINS ROLL THE DICE ON 7TH ROUND SAFETY

He was overlooked through most of the draft process due to his injury history and was snubbed at the combine. 

The seventh round is a spot to take a flier on a guy who has some traits you like, and this certainly fits the bill with the pick of Joshua Holsey. 

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