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Media Madness

Media Madness

Media Madness

It must be March; the national media is at it again, foaming at the mouth over the Redskins’ foray into free agency.

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
The national media’s template for coverage—to use the term loosely—of the Redskins’ ability to get far enough under the salary cap to make some high-profile free-agent acquisitions was, for the most part, typical Dan Snyder bashing. There was one talking point, however, that crossed the line from stupid to flat out outrageous.

First, the garden variety, pedestrian stupidity. Ahh, where to begin. Len Pasquarelli is always a good place to start. From ESPN.com:
So, either Washington contracts manager Eric Schaffer is a genius or Snyder has found a way to circumvent the cap. Seems it must be the former, since none of the legion of the team officials who keep wondering privately how the Redskins are able to add players -- and who complain to the media about Washington's laxity in turning in contracts to the league -- apparently has the gumption to raise the issue with the NFL Management Council.

After paying a backhanded compliment to Schaffer, Pasquarelli implies that the only reason that the NFL hasn’t smacked the Redskins for salary cap violation penalties is because nobody has complained loudly enough. Excuse me, Len, but does anyone have to complain for the league to enforce the rules? Does another team official have to do that little “throw the flag” motion that NFL receivers do to try to elicit a pass interference call to get Paul Tagliabue to enforce the terms of the CBA? I don’t know the inner working of the NFL, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the league doesn’t have to wait for someone to a call toll-free hotline (1-800-CAP-HELL) for it to take action against cap cheaters. If the Redskins weren’t clean, they would have been hit by the league.

Len babbles on:
In each of the last two springs, Snyder has vowed publicly that the roster he has assembled will represent the Redskins' team for three years. Then the inevitable occurs. Washington doesn't win a Super Bowl, the roster is blown up and Snyder goes back to the vault for another free-agent spending spree.
Horse hockey. First of all, Snyder does not assemble the roster, Joe Gibbs does. Snyder has publicly vowed nothing about the roster in any way, shape or form in the past two springs. The only comment that Snyder has made about the roster since January of 2004 is something along the lines of, “Whatever Joe Gibbs wants is what he gets.”

And did I sleep through a roster explosion last spring or something? The Redskins drafted a corner (Rogers) to replace one who departed via free agency, got a free agent center (Rabach) to replace one who was woefully inadequate, traded away a disgruntled receiver for a better one (Moss), and signed a free agent WR (Patten). That hardly qualifies as a mushroom cloud over Ashburn.

The other prime Snyder basher, Peter King, did an interview on WFAN radio in New York. The host asked him how the Redskins were able to get under the cap. King’s response:
Here’s how they did it this year. They got rid of, basically, depending on how you count them, four or five starters. They purged those guys.
Purged them? How Stalin-esque! What, does he know about a gulag hidden under Redskins Park or something?

Style aside, let’s examine the substance here. Depending on how you count them. Hmmm. Let’s see, LaVar Arrington, starter. Walt Harris, starter when someone was injured. Matt Bowen, not a starter. Cory Raymer, not a starter. Brandon Noble, entire season on injured reserve. Ditto Tom Tupa.

The only way King is counting five starters is by just flat out making them up.

That’s just a small sampling of the ridiculous stuff out there. However, perhaps frustrated because they don’t seem to have fazed Snyder yet, both King and Pasquarelli stoop to new lows when they attack the integrity of Snyder and, indeed, of the entire organization. They’re playing their outrageous tune from the same sheet of music. First, Lenny (an ESPN Insider article):

Several NFL teams had claimed that the Redskins could not mathematically get under the salary cap if it was set in the $94 million range, which it initially was (at $94.5 million), and that Washington needed a cap level in the $98 million range to be in compliance with the spending limit. And, presto, suddenly the team gained $4.4 million in cap relief (you do the math on the difference between $98 million and $94 million) when Arrington forfeited the deferred bonus money.

While no one was publicly willing to charge the Redskins with attempting to circumvent the cap, there were plenty of whispers that owner Dan Snyder had conspired to get the money to Arrington by surreptitious means.
“‘Plenty of whispers’ that I, Len Pasquarelli, decided to turn into shouts by broadcasting them all over the Internet,” Lenny thinks but fails to write. There’s absolutely zero evidence that anything like Dan Snyder taking a briefcase full of cash and passing it to LaVar in the dead of the night in an underground parking garage in Silver Spring ever happened. The lack of evidence, however, doesn’t prevent King from calling for an investigation:
I think just for the sake of insuring trust in the salary cap from some skeptical front offices, the league needs to make sure LaVar Arrington is really going to forego the $4 million in guaranteed money to get his freedom now. Not saying it didn't happen, but I am saying with all the money the Redskins have to spare and how convenient it was that the team could find this money after months of hand-wringing over the Arrington deal, the league needs to double check that the accounting of this is clean.
A dog may have been kicked in Peter King’s neighborhood. We don’t know this for sure but, because so many of us think that Peter King is the kind of guy who goes around kicking dogs, there needs to be an investigation to see if he committed cruelty to animals. Not saying that it happened, you know, just double check to make sure he’s clean.

The Washington Redskins certainly are fair game for criticism. One playoff appearance in six years does not vindicate their way of doing things. However, it is reasonable to expect responsible criticism from publications such as ESPN and Sports Illustrated. Their writers should not be making things up out of thin air and making reckless, irresponsible accusations. Peter King and Len Pasquarelli are acting like a couple of message board trolls, and in the process they are dragging down the credibility of the organizations that they work for.

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Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan spoke to CBS Sports' Pete Prisco about the loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl and how the Falcons will rebound in 2017. 

In the process, he took a shot at former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's play-calling and put some of the blame on his style of coaching for the disastrous fourth quarter.

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan said. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

Those are some harsh words from Ryan and not exactly a ringing endorsement of Kyle Shanahan. This loss will surely haunt him should he never get back to another Super Bowl.

"There's always going to be a little sting," Ryan said. "You never lose that. Hopefully we've got four Super Bowl victories after this one, but that doesn't mean we won't still be like, 'Damn, let's talk about the other one we should've had."

Redskins fans may be able to relate to Matt Ryan's pain as some were vocal about Kyle Shanahan's play-calling during his time in Washington. Maybe Kirk Cousins takes notice of Ryan's comments as well before he considers San Francisco next off-season.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS STATEMENT WAS A MISTAKE, BUT WON'T HAVE IMPACT ON THE FIELD

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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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