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Jacobs' Toe May Have Ripple Effects

Jacobs' Toe May Have Ripple Effects

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

As it turns out, Taylor Jacobs’ injured toe is considerably worse than originally thought. What was going to be a one-week layoff due to a sprained toe, injured making a cut in the scrimmage in Baltimore, is now an that may stretch the regular season.

The diagnosis is now a dislocated toe. "I haven't even started jogging yet," Jacobs said. "They told me whenever I can just walk straight the whole day without it being sore, then the next step would be to start jogging." So, he has to walk before he can run.

According to trainer Bubba Tyer, Jacobs is week to week and other members of the training staff have told the second-year receiver that his expected recovery time is 2-6 weeks. The latter estimate could have Jacobs not being in the lineup until after the Redskins’ week three bye.

All of this has implications for Jacobs personally and for the wide receiver corps as a whole. As for Jacobs himself, this has to be considered a very frustrating, if not devastating, setback. He appeared to be ready to step up and have a breakout season. His coaches and teammates had nothing but praise for how hard Jacobs worked during the offseason. Jacobs’ work had earned the team’s 2002 second-round draft pick a firm grip on the third WR slot and he seemed posed to push David Patten hard for the second starting job opposite Santana Moss. This injury is a setback to the hopes for Jacobs to have a breakout season.

This injury follows an abdominal injury that cost him half the games in his rookie season. It’s often unfair, but two significant injuries in three seasons can create whispers that a player is injury-prone, a label nobody wants to have.

Obviously, there are major effects on the wide receiver corps as a whole, with ripples extending through the entire 53-man roster. Moss and Patten on the starters. James Thrash was number four on the depth chart. Now, Thrash is a great asset to the team, but if he is lining up in the slot in a three-WR set this team is in trouble. As valuable a performer as Thrash is on special teams, he’s no better than an occasional option at receiver.

That brings the other three receivers that are considered to have a realistic chance of making the roster into the picture. Kevin Dyson and Darnerien McCants are larger, possession-type receivers while Antonio Brown has world-class speed. Dyson is knocking off rust after having missed most of the past two seasons and is rounding into form. He could be the best option to replace Jacobs as the third receiver on the depth chart. McCants could also step up into that role if he could just hold on to the ball consistently. He has had trouble doing so both in practice and during last Saturday’s preseason game against Carolina.

Brown is the wild card in all of this. He has speed, no doubt, and has been showing that he has a decent set of hands. While he’s a virtual lock to make the final roster as a kick returner, it would be risky to rely on him to play a significant role as a receiver, primarily because he has no pass receptions in 19 NFL games.

Jacobs’ status could have implications beyond the receiver corps. If his status is still cloudy as the final cutdown approaches, the coaches will have some difficult decisions to make. The team is expected to carry five wide receivers with Brown possibly being the sixth and counted as a return specialist. If it’s apparent that Jacobs will be on the inactive list until October (their first game after the bye is October 2), they may decide to keep an extra receiver on until Jacobs can come back and get into game shape.

Should that happen, of course, another player at another position would have to be released to make room. So, not only are most Redskins fans and the organization rooting for a quick return to health for Taylor Jacobs, a handful of players whose chances of making the roster are on the bubble are fervently hoping that Jacobs’ toe heals soon as well.

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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.