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Need to Know: Are yardage stats for losers like Haslett says?

Need to Know: Are yardage stats for losers like Haslett says?

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 15, four days before the start of the NFL Combine.

Nickel coverage

Earlier this week, Jim Haslett told ESPN 980 that he didn’t pay much attention to the number of yards his defense gave up. “That’s kind of for losers,” he said. Let’s put that to the test by taking a look back through Redskins history. Here are the five (plus three) Redskins teams who have ranked the highest in yards given up since the NFL merger and how those teams fared during the season.

1974, ranked 2nd—George Allen’s team went 10-4 and lost to the Rams I the first round of the playoffs. The defense featured Pro Bowl seasons by Hall of Famers Chris Hanburger and Ken Houston and a part-time farewell season for Deacon Jones.

1985, ranked 3rd—Under Joe Gibbs, this team wen 10-6 and missed the playoffs on tiebreakers. No Redskins defenders made the Pro Bowl even through Charles Mann (14.5) and Dexter Manley (15) combined for 29.5 sacks. Darrell Green was also in his prime.

1991, ranked 3rd—I’m sure I don’t have to tell you much about this team, probably the best in Redskins history. Green and Mann were among the eight Redskins Pro Bowlers. To be sure, it wasn’t all about the defensive yardage stat. They led the league in yards gained, turnover ratio, point differential and yardage differential.

2004, ranked 3rd—In the first year of Gibbs 2.0 the Redskins went 6-10 and finished well out of the playoffs. Gregg Williams was in charge of the defense and his unit got the job done in spite of having only one member selected to the Pro Bowl, linebacker Marcus Washington.

The Redskins of 1971 (lost first round of playoffs), 1972 (lost Super bowl), 1982 (won Super Bowl), 2000 (8-8, no playoffs), 2008 (8-8, no playoffs), all finished ranked 4th in the NFL in yards given up. The three teams that made the playoffs finished ninth or better in turnover ratio; the two 8-8 teams finished 16th and 17th in that category.

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Timeline

—It’s been 48 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 204 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Combine 4; NFL Free agency starts 24; Offseason workouts start 51; NFL Draft 82

In case you missed it

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Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway. 

Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.

For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board. 

On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call. 

From Campbell:

The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”

Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.

The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

The Redskins may or may not have one of the most polarizing members of the 2017 draft class on their draft board. But they do believe that character counts.

Scott Campbell, the Redskins’ director of college scouting, would not say if  Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who is seen on video striking a woman and knocking her to the floor in an incident that occurred in July of 2014, is on the team’s board.

“We don't announce who's on and off the board for strategic reasons,” said Campbell on Monday at the team’s pre-draft news conference, saying that it’s the team’s policy.

He added that incidents like the one that Mixon was a part of do come into consideration.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

“Character is very important to me, it's very important to the Redskins,” said Campbell.

He explained that early in the scouting process, character issues are not taken into account.

“What I always told the scouts and how I was trained 30 years ago when I started is when you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don't factor in the character, you don't grade character, you grade talent,” said Campbell, who has been with the Redskins organization for 16 years. “You don't throw away somebody early who may have some redeeming quality or a part of the story you didn't know about.”

It’s later on that the scouts gather information on such incidents as problems with the law, failed drug tests, and other quarters of character.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often 

“Our scouts do a great job getting a lot of information,” said Campbell. “Some of the incidents you brought up happened after the season, at the combine, and just a few days ago. All those things are factored into an evaluation as they are gathered.”

With that information at hand, they start the process of elimination, deciding who fits and who doesn’t.

“When it comes close to the draft, you start weeding out all that, getting more information, deciding, OK, that guy's not our kind of guy, that guy's not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted but good luck to them,” said Campbell.

It seems like much more of a gut feel type of process than anything rigid. There is not much of a clue there as to whether or not the team will consider bringing Mixon aboard, who is inarguably one of the most talented running backs in the draft. The upside is that Mixon could provide a jolt to the team’s offense. The downside would be an immediate public relations hit. The team also must consider what will happen if Mixon were to run afoul of the NFL’s domestic abuse policy in the future, which calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense with penalties getting progressively worse if problems persist.

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.