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Move Up Makes Sense for Redskins

Move Up Makes Sense for Redskins

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

Suppose there was a vacant lot across the street from you. You look out the window one day and you see a car with those Realtor license plates parked on the street in front of the lot and a well-dressed woman and another man and woman, perhaps a married couple, are walking around the lot. They are motioning and pointing as though they are looking at an imaginary house on the lot. A week or so later, you look out the window again and there is a team of surveyors on the lot. Not too long after that a truck from the Taft Architecture Firm, LLC, is parked there. Finally, about a month later, a truck pulls up and on the back of it there is a big, yellow bulldozer.

It would be reasonable to figure that the couple you saw on the first day are having a house built on that lot. In fact, without talking to anybody involved, you could be fairly certain that that was what was planned.

With less than two weeks to go before Day One of the NFL draft, the Redskins are examining a piece of turf in the annual selection meeting. The surveyors are going over some territory that the Skins currently own no part of, with its southern border at about the 25th selection and its northern limits reaching to the 40th pick.

In an article here on WarpathInsiders.com earlier this week, I looked at who the Redskins were having in for visits and found that they were hosting some cornerbacks and outside linebackers who are projected to go anywhere from late in the first round to early in the second. CB's Antonio Cromartie and Kelly Jennings and LB's Thomas Howard and DeMeco Ryans aren't quite among the elite players in this draft, but they're almost certain to be gone when the Redskins own first selection at #53 comes up.

Just like it makes no sense to pay a crew to survey land that you have no intention of building on, it makes no sense for the Redskins to take up time and burn their limited draft visits (they get 30) on players they have have no chance of drafting.

The other indicator that the Redskins could be looking at moving up is their recent history. Both in free agency and in the draft, the team has displayed a pattern of identifying a player that it wants and then doing what it takes to get him. We saw how they wined and dined Adam Archuleta, Andre Carter, and Antwaan Randle El and made them offers that they couldn't refuse. They didn't bat an eye in sending two draft picks to San Francisco in exchange for Brandon Lloyd. In 2004 they saw Chris Cooley sitting there in the third round and dispatched their 2005 second to be able to draft him. Last year Gibbs liked what he saw in Campbell and did what it took to get him.

Is there any reason to think that if the Redskins do decide that they want one of these players that they've brought in they're not going to do whatever it takes to get him?

And, at this point, they should. If you've built your team one way you need to stick with your modus operandi. Worse even than having a bad plan is to keep on changing plans. You have to have to guts to stick with what you've been doing and see it through. This team is on the verge of having a two-year window to win a championship open up for them. Now is not the time to get a sudden rash of patience.

Being patient and letting lower-round picks develop is one way to get the job done in the NFL. You could argue that it's the best way to go about it. But the slow and steady train left the station a couple of years ago.

Or, to turn back to the house analogy, you can't build three-fourths of the house in a Tudor style and then decide you want to do the rest as a Colonial.

This Redskins team was built by identifying the players they wanted and doing whatever it took to get that player. Why should they pick now, when they are very close to being a Super Bowl contender, to be patient and let the draft come to them?

Such a move would not come without a high price. A move into the first round would cost the #53 pick and next years first-rounder. The 2007 first alone would net a pick somewhere in the middle of the second.

Of course, it has to be the right deal for the right player. Just as bad as changing your plan midstream is making a deal just for the sake of making a deal. If they stay at #53 the chances are they can get a starting-caliber player there. Rather than chancing it, though, if things fall together right the Redskins should go up and get the guy they want.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when they moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. For details and ordering information, go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com .

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Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: 5 things to know with Jordan Reed out

Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: 5 things to know with Jordan Reed out

The Redskins moved the ball well against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, but continued red zone woes again sent Washington home with a loss. While the late November schedule proved brutal for the 'Skins, playing two games in five days, now the Redskins come to Arizona for an early December game with fresh legs and ample rest. Played indoors at University of Phoenix Stadium, weather will not be a factor for the 4 p.m. EST kick, but all the action starts on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at 3 p.m. Here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Keep it moving - Kirk Cousins showed he likes to get hot in the second half of the season during 2015. The quarterback's play late last year won the 'Skins the NFC East, and while a division title is out of reach with the Cowboys already at 11 wins, Cousins again looks to be on a heater. In three games since the bye, Cousins has thrown for more than 1,000 yards to go with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. The No. 1 story for the 'Skins is Cousins, and if he keeps his hot streak going, Washington should find itself in position to win in Arizona.
  2. Missing in action - This will be the final game of a four-game suspension for left tackle Trent Williams, and the Washington offensive line has performed admirably in his absence. Arguably more important this week will be the absence of tight end Jordan Reed, who suffered a serious shoulder injury in Dallas. What's wild about Reed - he came back to play in the second half against the Cowboys - and score two touchdowns - while playing with a separated shoulder. Reed did not practice this week, and Jay Gruden said his range of motion in the shoulder is just too limited to go against the Cardinals. 
  3. Consider the source - The Redskins offense might be the most potent group in this game, but Washington would be foolish to sleep on the Cardinals. Arizona was widely considered a Super Bowl contender coming into the season, and though they are in the midst of a disappointing year at 4-6-1, a win against the Skins could get the Cards back on the playoff track. Arizona running back David Johnson is the 3rd leading rusher in the NFL with 921 yards on the ground, not to mention an additional 613 yards receiving. Gruden on Johnson, "He is probably the best all-around back there is in the National Football League right now as far as being able to move outside, be a great route runner but also run between the tackles and run outside with his speed. So it’s going to be a matchup problem." Defensively, the Redskins ranks 25th in the NFL at stopping the run. Watch out for David Johnson.
  4. Problems don't just go away - Look at just about any metric on the Redskins offense, and the results are impressive: No. 2 in yards-per-game, No. 2 in yards-per-play, No. 2 in pass yards-per-game. But for all the yards, the 'Skins don't score at a corresponding clip as they rank 9th in the NFL in points. The culprit? Red zone troubles. "There are so many good things we’re doing on offense to put a damper on what they’re doing offensively with the red zone. It’s hard to do, but it’s something that is a glaring weakness of this football team right now," Gruden said of his team. The best road to wins for the Redskins is by scoring, ideally at least 30 points, and that will require some success inside the 20s.
  5. The harder they fall - If the Arizona offense has an Achilles heel, it's their offensive line. Carson Palmer has been sacked 16 times in the Cards last four games, and the 'Skins need to focus on bringing Palmer down. Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy - who will be playing in his hometown - have been the leaders at getting sacks for Joe Barry's defense, and Preston Smith could be in line for another big game. Getting to Carson Palmer should be among the defense's top priorities, as that can slow Larry Fitzgerald and the Cards pass game.

Numbers & Notes:

  • DeSean Jackson's 67-yard reception in Dallas was a season long and his longest since a 77-yard touchdown vs. Buffalo in Week 15 of the 2015 season.
  • Kirk Cousins' 3,540 passing yards in 2016 now rank 10th-most in a single season in team history, and he still has five games left to play.
  • The Redskins offense ranks first in the NFL in percentage of fewest 3-and-out drives at 9.5 percent.
  • If Pierre Garçon can gain 137 receiving yards on Sunday, he will pass Michael Westbrook for 10th-most career receiving yards in team history.
  • With nine sacks, Ryan Kerrigan is one sack away from becoming the fifth member of the Redskins (Dexter Manley, 4; Charles Mann, 4; Andre Carter, 2; Brian Orakpo, 2) to post multiple 10-sack seasons since the NFL adopted sacks as an official statistic in 1982.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN 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!

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Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

As the Cowboys take their long week off after consecutive Thursday games the Redskins, Giants, Eagles, and other wild card contenders are in action. Here is Tandler’s weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL.

—The Giants are on a six-game winning streak and while that’s not easy to do against any level of competition it needs to be pointed out that their slate was squishy-soft with the last five wins coming against teams that currently have losing records. Now things get real with a trip to play the Steelers and a home date against the Cowboys. I’m not really sure how good the Giants are but if they split these two games I’ll be more impressed with them than I am now.

—The 5-6 Eagles travel to play the Bengals, who are just about out of contention for a sixth straight playoff appearance at 3-7-1. In fact, the Eagles might be just about out of it, too. Their big problem is 3-6 conference record, which puts them behind several other wild card contenders in this tiebreaker. It’s important because that is the second tiebreaker behind head to head. It’s better for the Redskins if the Bengals win but it probably won’t matter much. The consensus in Philadelphia seems to be that the Eagles are a rebuilding team that got off to a hot start, kindling some unrealistic hopes and expectations for the rest of 2016.

—The team is the hottest pursuit of the Redskins is the Buccaneers, who travel to San Diego to play a game that starts at the same time as Washington-Arizona. The Chargers are 5-6 but they are buried in last in the tough AFC West. This game is a coin flip. Redskins fans should root for the Chargers. If the Bucs lose, the Redskins would still hold the second wild card at the end of the day even if they should lose to the Cardinals.

—The 5-6 Saints are on the fringes of the wild card picture. They host the Lions, who are leading the NFC North by a game and a half over the Vikings and two games over the Packers. It’s probably best if the Lions win, which would just about eliminate the Saints. Still, there is a scenario where the Lions go into a minor tailspin, lose the division to either the Packers or Vikings but have a good enough record to take the second wild card. So like with most games within the NFC until the dust settles some more, there is some upside and some downside no matter which team wins.

—That scenario where the Lions fade from the division lead become a whole lot less likely if the Texans can go to Green Bay and beat the Packers. This is an interconference game so it’s an easy call to pull for Houston.

—Seattle, with a three-game lead in the NFC West, hosts the Panthers, who are on the outer fringe of the wild card race at 4-7. Another loss likely would ensure that Carolina won’t be able to defend its NFC title. This isn’t a pivotal game but probably better if the Seahawks win to end it for the wounded but potentially dangerous Panthers.

—My one loss last week was the Seahawks giving 5.5 on the road to the Bucs. I won with the Saints over the Rams and the Falcons over the Cardinals. This week I’m giving the Seahawks another go, giving 7 to the Panthers, and I’m taking the Patriots -13.5 against the Rams (the loss of Gronk doesn’t do much to equalize these teams) and the Saints giving 6 to the Lions.

MORE REDSKINS: Betting on the Redskins' playoff chances