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Justin Tryon, Nickelback?

Justin Tryon, Nickelback?

Justin Tryon may play a key role in 2009

About a week or so before training camp started, I dashed off the following few paragraphs about Washington Redskins cornerback Justin Tryon. I didn't publish it immediately because I'd just posted a bunch of articles and it got buried. Here it is, below the fold:

My next candidate for 2009 camp phenom is cornerback Justin Tryon. I'll wait until the laughter subsides and then I'll continue.

Tryon was an anti-phenom in 2008. He left scorch marks wherever he went whether it was on the practice field or in preseason games. The stories in the press were far from complimentary. The fan base was willing to chip in and get him on the first plane out of town. When he made the final roster conspiracy theories abounded, the buzz being that he only made it because the front office had ordered that all of the draft picks make the final 53.

But for whatever reason he stuck and, when Shawn Springs was out with various injuries, he played a lot of dime and some nickel. In 14 games he made just four tackles. You didn't hear of him much. And, for a rookie cornerback, that's a good thing.

He's phenom material because he has speed and he has confidence. If he can get his hands on a ball he'll be able to do things with it. SportsCenter highlight kinds of things. Having a year under his belt will increase his confidence. Tryon will make some plays and get noticed.

We'll probably be seeing Tryon past August. With Springs gone he has a shot at being the regular dime back. That may or may not prove to be a disaster.
I found it a few days ago and I immediately wished that I had posted it before camp. By all accounts, Tryon is having a great camp. He's staying on the field, which is more than can be said for about a dozen and a half of his teammates. On top of that he received some help from one of the best cornerbacks in NFL history. Darrell Green didn't just give Tryon a few pointers; he spend six weeks with him, working with him in both Florida and Virginia.

After the teaching sessions, Tryon drew some high praise from someone who knows a thing or two about solid cornerback play.
"I'm gonna say that Justin Tryon, if he's given the chance, he's a starter in 2009, 2010 or whenever the opportunity comes," said Green "He is definitely qualified to be a starter in the National Football League. I'm putting my reputation on that after being with him for six weeks, seeing what I've seen from him. Hopefully he'll have his chance and be a Redskin for a long time."
Even before Green gave one of the most ringing endorsements I've ever heard from any former player Tryon was a player on the move. It was thought that third-round selection Kevin Barnes would push him for the No. 4 cornerback position. That hasn't happened and it's not only because of Barnes' health and performance issues. If Tryon isn't the dime back it will be because he has beaten out Fred Smoot for the nickel position.

While Tryon still have to get it done on the field to calm the skeptics, Green's endorsement makes one less to break out in a cold sweat at the thought of Tryon covering the slot receiver on a regular basis.

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Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 23, four days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 10
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 31
—Training camp starts (7/27) 95
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 140

In search of someone, anyone, to stop the run

One of the areas the Redskins needed to improve last year was their rushing defense on first down. In 2015, they gave up a league-worse 5.0 yards per carry on first down. That was the worst performance in the league. It’s pretty tough to play defense when a handoff makes it second and five. The Saints, who had a historically bad defense that year, were second, fiving up 4.8 yards a pop.

Well, it was no better for the Redskins defense in 2016. Again, they gave up 5.0 yards per carry on first down, again the worst performance in the league.  Remember, this is on first down, when teams are most likely to run.

The Redskins’ problems on third down were well known. They were dead last in the league allowing first downs on 46.6 percent of third-down attempts. For context, an average performance on third down is allowing about 38 percent and the best teams are around 35 percent.

That doesn’t tell the whole story, however. The Redskins weren’t very good at getting teams to third down. They allowed first downs on 33.8 percent of their opponents’ second-down plays. That put them in the bottom third of the league. Again, you don’t have to look too hard to connect the dots to link that back to the five yards per rushing play on first down. Second and five is a piece of cake most of the time.

You don’t need an advanced degree in statistical analysis to figure out that the Redskins defense isn’t going to get much better if they can’t stop teams from running the ball on first down.

It’s easy to point to the defensive line, which has not been very good, and say that the problem is there. That certainly has something to do with it. But the Redskins didn’t have a very good D-line in 2014 and they allowed 4.1 yards per first-down rushing attempt, a performance that was right at the league average.

The factor that was common in 2015 and 2016 and was different in 2014 was the defensive coordinator. It’s possible that opposing teams found a flaw to exploit in Joe Barry’s scheme that wasn’t there in Jim Haslett’s (which surely had flaws in other places).

But X’s and O’s can only get you so far. The Redskins will be looking to take a defensive lineman early and perhaps use an additional pick or two at the position later in the draft. While getting one who can rush the passer would be a plus, they need a run stuffer who can take snaps on first down and bottle up the ground game.

The focus in the draft will be on the first-round pick but, as has been discussed here many times, that pick is unlikely to be a defensive lineman. There isn’t likely to be one at 17 who would represent good value. That could mean that the Redskins’ second- or third-round pick, perhaps an interior lineman like Caleb Brantley of Florida, Larry Ogunjobi of Charlotte, or Montravius Adams of Auburn, is just as important to the team’s success as the first-round pick.

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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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 22, five days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 20
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 32
—Training camp starts (7/27) 96
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 141

The Redskins week that was

Redskins full 2017 schedule released—Even with the Caps and Wizards in full playoff mode, the DMV stops to take a look and see when the Redskins will be playing. The Thanksgiving game was surprising. It’s another working day but I worked at various places since I was 14 and last year was the first time I’ve had to work on Thanksgiving so I can’t complain too much about working two in a row. It’s a small price to pay for having the best job in the world.

Don't count out any RB for Redskins at 17—Yeah, I know that NFL teams aren’t supposed to take running backs in the first round any more. But that is one of those trends that comes and goes. In 2013 and 2014 there were no RBs taken in the first. Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott in the last couple of years began to shift the thinking. If the Redskins think that Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffrey can help them win games more than any other player on the board they should pull the trigger.

Rise of Patrick Mahomes could bring big payoff for Redskins—It seems likely that quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky will be taken before the Redskins pick at No. 17 goes on the clock. That means that two players in whom the Redskins might be interested will be available, pushed back by the quarter backs. Could Mahomes, out of Texas Tech, push a third player back to Washington. The buzz is that a team might grab him in the first half of the first round.

The Redskins' five best salary cap bargains for 2017—When I started pulling the numbers for this post I thought I’d find more key players with salaries of under $1 million. I only found three and one of them is the kicker. This means that they don’t have very many late-round or undrafted players who are contributing a lot of value. They need more out of players like Anthony Lanier, Matt Ioannidis and Maurice Harris. That is how a team thrives in the salary cap era. A couple of Saturday picks could make or break this draft.

Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often—There are a lot of ways the first 16 picks of this draft can work out. It seems almost certain that everyone’s favorite first-round pick, a stud defensive lineman, won’t be a realistic option on the board. This could send things in an odd direction for the Redskins. It’s fun to do a mock and I’ll do one or two more prior to draft day but there are too many variables to think that it has a high degree of accuracy. 

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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