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More on Moss to Skins Talk

More on Moss to Skins Talk

In the long history of this blog (OK, just five months), there has never been a reaction to an entry the likes of the one received to the Randy Moss trade speculation talk that appeared here last week. There have been so many comments, challenges and questions that a follow up is called for.

First of all, let me clarify my position. The original blog entry focused on one column by Dan Daly of the Times that proposed trading Lavar Arrington, a first and a second pick for Moss and then releasing Mark Brunell to help pay for the deal. There are some who proposed other deals and other ways of making it happen and how to restructure Moss’ deal to make it all fit under the cap. None of that mattered to me. Here is the official Redskins Blog position on the possibility of trading for Randy Moss:

I would not trade a warm six pack for Randy Moss.

Moss is a head case, a problem child, and a cancer.

At some point the six pack can get cold.

With that out of the way, let’s turn to some of the comments I’ve received.

The vast majority thought that trading for Moss would be a bad idea.

There is no way, no how, that Gibbs would back a deal for Moss. . .

I would rather see someone with less talent than Randy Moss who will give 100% on each play. That's the kind of players Joe Gibbs won 3 rings with, not with spoiled primma donnas who only care about themselves. . .

Moss will never be a Redskin. Gibbs wouldn't tolerate him, and at this stage, I doubt even Dan Snyder would want him. . .

As a diehard skins fan, I would be ashamed to have Moss on my team representing our franchise, and I guarantee you that it will not happen. . .

The notion that Joe Gibbs would agree to trade a star player with character for one without is far more prohibitive than the financial restrictions, IMO. . .

Ok, let's just drop all this crazy speculation that we might trade for Moss. His punk arse won't EVER have the privilege of wearing the burgundy and gold, certainly not under Gibbs' watch. You can take THAT to the bank, folks.

On the other hand, there has been some love for the idea of picking up Moss if the right deal is there:

Its a GUARANTEE that whatever team he goes to he will still produce, and if we are winning he will have nothing to complain about! . . .

Why wouldn't you want to have a playmaker on the offense that could change any team? . . .

Well, just not as many lovers as haters.

More amusing were a few Vikings fans who have piped in hoping to spur a trade of Moss. One wrote me to say that the Redskins could convert Moss’ 2005 salary to bonus and spread out the impact. When I explained that the Redskins need no part of additional cap hits in the future, he said:

You are right. I just want to see Minnesota get rid of him.It seems as though the Daly column has sparked a round of speculation in media throughout the country about the possibility of the Redskins acquiring Moss. Peter King, in a Sports Illustrated.com article speculated that there was a chance that the Redskins would franchise free agent cornerback Fred Smoot and send him and their first-round pick, number 9 overall, to Minnesota for Moss. To his credit, King said that there was only a one in 20 chance of this happening.

The New York Post and the Pioneer Press, a Twin Cities paper, both speculated that a deal that included the Skins’ first rounder and receiver Rod Gardner would work.

Mind you, neither paper nor King cited either a Vikings source or a Redskins source that said such a deal had been proposed by either side. That’s why the word “speculation” is used in both cases.

In their initial round of talks about trading Moss, it seems that the Vikings are trying to make up for one of the biggest trading mistakes that any sports team has ever made. In 1989, they gave up 5 roster players (LB Jesse Solomon, DB Issiac Holt, RB Darrin Nelson, LB David Howard, DE Alex Stewart), and 6 assorted draft picks (conditional 1st & 2nd round in '90 and '91; 1st round and conditional 3rd in '92) in exchange for Herschel Walker. They’re not asking quite that much for Moss, but the initial offers a pretty steep for a 29-year-old receiver.

They aren’t going to get it. No matter who ends up getting Moss, he won’t command a premium player and multiple high draft picks. The reason is simple—everyone knows that the Vikings want to get rid of Moss so it will soon become a buyer’s market. They will be doing well to get a high draft pick OR a good player with maybe another mid-level player or pick thrown in.

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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 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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