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Let's Beat This Horse One More Time

Let's Beat This Horse One More Time

Let’s Beat This Horse Just a Bit More

There seems to be a lot of confusion over what transpired in the wake of that game-changing penalty call on Sunday. After the touchdown, there was a brief conversation between the line judge, Bill Spyksma, the man who made the call and referee Tom White. Here is what White said over the PA in “explaining” the call: Illegal motion. The man in motion was going forward prior to the snap. It’s a five-yard pentalty, fourth down (quickly realizing that the penalty didn’t carry a loss of down) third down. That started the confusion. As I said yesterday, that was not the infraction. Clearly, James Thrash was not moving at the snap of the ball. Thrash had gone in motion from left to right and the he stopped in the slot, apparently looking to pick up a blitz. When he stopped his motion had become a shift and he was required to stop for a full second before the snap. It was clear that he did not.

The TV announcers seemed to think the call was against Chris Cooley, even though the ref had said that it was on the “man in motion” and Thrash was the only one who was moving on the play.

As if the picture needed to be any more muddled, Joe Gibbs asked who the penalty was on: "That is an absolute mystery to me," Gibbs said. "I asked for an explanation. All he [the referee] said to me was the R-back [running back]. The R-back is Clinton Portis. The R-back didn't move. Don’t know if “R-back” is zebra speak for the running back or if he thinks that’s what an end in motion called in Gibbs’ system.

A few more points before putting this one to rest:

  • I pointed this out yesterday, but it’s worth another mention. The flag came out of Spyksma’s pocket very late. It wasn’t out by the time that Portis caught Brunell’s pass. I’ve been told that it came out as late as when Portis began his celebratory takeoff from around the five yard line. I don’t know about that, but certainly it was a very, very late flag for such a call.
  • On Harris’ interception on the next play, he had a pretty good grip on Rod Garnder’s jersey at the shoulder pad as the receiver went into his cut. That allowed Harris to get position to step between Gardner and Brunell and make the killer pick.
  • All that being said, if you believe that there was some sort of payoff involved or that the line judge is an operative of the Kerry campaign, as I’ve heard some complain, I would suggest that you just stop watching the NFL. Why watch a fixed sport?
  • The thing lost in all of the controversy is this basic question: Where has that play been all year? Against a blitz, Portis getting the ball in the open field with a chance to build up some steam is a recipe for success. We should see that one again.

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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

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Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay wrap up the Redskins offseason and prepare for what will be the most intriguing and the most overplayed storylines at training camp in Richmond.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back