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Need to Know: A new mindset at Redskins Park?

Need to Know: A new mindset at Redskins Park?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, May 28, 63 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Three and out

Some Robert Griffin III notes and quotes:
“Right now I’m a 25-year-old young man who can do a lot of different things, so I’m not going to limit myself to just being a dropback passer. But if Coach Gruden and Sean McVay asked me to be a dropback passer in any given situation, my job is to make sure that I can be.”
This is the whole RG3 as a drop back passer issue in a nutshell. He has to be able to do it. Maybe not all the time, in some games maybe not even the majority of the time. But he has to be able to do it consistently and reliably if he is going to be a successful NFL quarterback. It’s what you have to do in pro football.
"Sometimes it’s not about what kind of guys you have on your team as far as the talent level, it’s about the mindset you have. So, that culture change first happens upstairs and I was blessed enough to experience that and go through that with my teammates at Baylor and I want to go through that with my teammates here with the Redskins also. So it all starts upstairs. It’s a mindset change with not accepting mediocrity."
Is there a new mindset at Redskins Park? We’ll have to see. I know that some of you hate this being brought up repeatedly but the laughter and cutting up in the locker room after the loss to Seattle and the frequent cases of players and coaches patting themselves on the back after close losses is very much a sign that many of them accept mediocrity. Sure, a change in mindset can happen but, like the mythical attacking defense that forces bushels of turnovers we hear about this time every year, I’ll believe it when I see it.
"It’s fun to be around your guys and be around your teammates because every organization, at the beginning of the year, when they come in in April, is a group of 90 guys, it’s not a team. You have to form into a team. That what we’ve been doing here and having the new guys has been awesome and I enjoy being around them, so for me it’s awesome. I love coming out and playing football. That’s what I’m paid to do and that’s what I love to do.”
I could be wrong about this but I don’t recall Griffin talking about coming together as a team much in the past. The whole “RG-Me” thing is highly overblown by some fans but talking more about the team and less about himself (even though that’s what he usually gets asked about) could do him a lot of good.
“I’ve always been dedicated to the film study, I just hadn’t been asked about it. My man Jeff over there did a great job with his article. But no, I hadn’t really been asked about that. It wasn’t very different from before. You know you have to dedicate yourself in those ways and it’s not about really standing up and talking about it and saying what you do, but he asked me a specific question and I gave him a specific answer in that setting and that’s what it was.
I don’t doubt that Griffin has watched a lot of football film in his time in the NFL. How much, and how the amount that he watches stacks up against what other NFL QB’s watch, I have no idea. As with any job, sometimes is not a matter of how much you do something (working harder) but getting more out the time you spend doing it (working smarter). Griffin may not need to watch more film, but he may need to improve on what he is looking for and how to use that information. Matt Cavanaugh has the potential to be a great help here.

Timeline

—It’s been 151 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 108 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 19; Redskins training camp starts 63; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 119

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Go home again? Redskins schedule visit with former RB Tim Hightower, per report

Go home again? Redskins schedule visit with former RB Tim Hightower, per report

The Redskins will host Tim Hightower for a visit on Wednesday, ESPN's Mike Triplett reported. Bringing Hightower in at this point represents an impressive story far beyond a mundane free agent visit.  

If his career ended today, Tim Hightower's story would already be remarkable. Hightower - a DMV native that played his college ball at the University of Richmond - played for the Redskins in the 2011 season. That season, he tore his ACL, and was limited to five games.

While torn ACL's happen frequently in the NFL, what happened next for Hightower was anything but ordinary. He missed the next three seasons with an undiagnosed infection, before incredibly returning to the NFL in 2015 with the Saints. 

His last two years in New Orleans, Hightower has been a solid contributor behind starting RB Mark Ingram. He's rushed for more than 900 yards, gained another 330 yards through the air and hit the end zone nine times in 24 games for the Saints. 

In Washington, Hightower would join a backfield of Robert Kelley, Chris Thompson, Mack Brown and Matt Jones. It will be interesting to see if Washington adds any other backs through the draft in April as well. 

Born in Waldorf, Hightower went to high school in Alexandria before playing college ball at Richmond. Playing with the 'Skins in 2011, Hightower quickly became a fan favorite, especially with his local ties. 

The Redskins run game has not been particularly strong for a few seasons, and questions remain if the current stable of runners will be enough to improve. Hightower doesn't necesarily equal a significant talent boost, but perhaps coaches and front office staff are looking at the group.

Be aware, however, this could be nothing more than a visit. Triplett reported it remains possible Hightower returns to the Saints. He also visited the 49ers last week, and new San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan was running the 'Skins offense in 2011 when the team originally acquired Hightower.

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Redskins draft countdown: WR Isaiah Ford could be a mid-round catch

Redskins draft countdown: WR Isaiah Ford could be a mid-round catch

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 36 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players the Redskins will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how they might fit in Washington.

Isaiah Ford

Wide receiver
Virginia Tech

Height: 6-1
Weight: 194
40-yard dash: 4.61

Projected draft round: 3-4

What they’re saying

Ford looks the part of a speed merchant with a tight-skinned, athletic frame, including long limbs. He glides off the line of scrimmage, accelerating fluidly to force defenders to respect his ability to go deep and shows very good balance to sink his hips, as well as burst out of his breaks to create separation. Ford shows the initial quickness and lateral agility to avoid defenders in press coverage, occasionally mixing in a hesitation move to get opponents off-balance. He is willing to run across the middle and cut back inside on quick screens, showing the toughness to absorb big hits and still hang on to the ball. Ford was asked to play outside as well as in the slot

Rob Rang, CBS Sports

How he fits the Redskins: The top of the Redskins’ depth chart at wide receiver looks good with Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder and Terrelle Pryor. But depth is a concern, especially with Doctson’s durability a question mark. On top of that, Pryor is there on a one-year contract so there must be some succession planning at the position.

Ford was a very productive receiver at Virginia Tech, the first player in school history to surpass 1,000 yards receiving in a season. He has the knack for making the sensational catch and he isn’t afraid to go across the middle.

At 6-1 he has the height that seems to be the trend on the Redskins’ wide receiver corps lately. Ford could be a good mid-round pick for the team to develop in 2017 and be ready to be a full contributor in 2018.

Film review: vs. Tennessee, vs. Pitt

Ford is not afraid to run slants over the middle and is willing to cut back to the center of the field after catching bubble screens.

His run blocking ranged from unimpressive to bad with the caveat that it’s hard to evaluate on the TV camera angles. This is an area that can be improved with NFL coaching. Adding a few pounds to his 194-lb. frame could help, too. It also sometimes appears that he could use more bulk to help him use his height when fighting for a ball.

The good and the bad of Ford was on display in the span of a few minutes during the Pitt game. He made a spectacular catch on a tipped ball that bounced off of both him and the defensive back (view here) while they were on the ground. Ford had the awareness to scoop the ball off the chest of the defender and secure it to make the catch. A little while later he was in a great position to made a catch for a first down but he bobbled the ball as he was falling out of bounds (view here) and the pass was incomplete.

In the games I reviewed Ford showed a good knack to make back shoulder catches, something the Redskins don’t seem to like to try. But the ability is there if they draft him and want to try it.

Potential issues: Ford looks skinny, almost fragile, at 194 pounds. If he does add weight he needs to do so without losing much speed. He ran a 4.61 in the 40 at the combine. Against college defensive backs he looks fast enough but that will be a different story in the NFL.

Bottom line: The Redskins can’t go into the season with a very green Maurice Harris and a very pedestrian Ryan Grant as their backup wide receivers. They need a player who can provide depth in 2017 and be able to step up to have a legitimate shot at starting in 2018.

There will be several prospects in the third- and fourth- round range who could be the guy. If the Redskins think that Ford can add a few pounds without sacrificing speed and brush up on his run blocking a bit, they could take a serious look at him.

In his own words:

On how the coaching change from Frank Beamer to Justin Fuente helped him:

I think it simplified everything for us. It limited the amount of routes that I ran - slants, outs, fades and posts; my first two years, I was running digs, post curls, comebacks, things like that - that was fine. I'm comfortable doing both. The route-running was never a problem for me because I feel that's what I do best. Being able to play primarily 'X' last year, winning those 50-50 balls and running those routes, it helped me.

Previously in Redskins draft countdown:

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.