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Need to Know: Broncos' WR Welker, TE Thomas big concerns for Redskins

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Need to Know: Broncos' WR Welker, TE Thomas big concerns for Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 23, four days before the Washington Redskins travel to Denver to play the Broncos.

Nickel coverage

Five things you need to know about the Redskins-Broncos matchup:

1. The Redskins defense is geared to stop the run and that won’t change against the Peyton Manning led Broncos. Denver is 16th in the league in rushing offense averaging 108 yards per game. They have rushed for over 100 yards as a team in five of their seven games. The two times they failed to reach 100 on the ground were their opener against the Ravens, a 49-27 win, and their last game, a 39-33 loss to the Colts.

2. Wes Welker is death by a thousand paper cuts. He isn’t going to make the big play on you—he averages 10.8 yards per catch and his long reception this year is just 33 yards. DeAngelo Hall covered Welker when he was with the Patriots so he will probably draw that assignment again. It will be an interesting battle, especially on third down.

3. Welker is a big concern but I think the guy with the capability to drive the Redskins crazy is tight end Julius Thomas. The 2011 fourth-round pick is tied with Welker for the team lead (and the NFL lead) in touchdown receptions with eight. It seems like every time I see the Broncos he’s making a key catch. Tight ends haven’t really killed the Redskins so far this year but then again they haven’t faced many really good ones. Thomas, I think, is one of the good ones.

4. Denver does have a defense but it’s hard to gauge how good it really is. The numbers get skewed when teams are forced into shootouts. They are last in the league in passing yards allowed but only two teams get thrown against more often. Still, they are allowing 8.2 yards per attempt, 28th in the league. You’d expect the rushing yards against them to be low due to teams passing so often and they are with the Broncos ranking fourth in the league. But they are second in the NFL in yards per attempt at 3.3 so they’re doing a good job of defending the few runs that are called against them.

5. It’s tough to write much about Manning that hasn’t already been written. He gets flack, some of it fair, some of it not, for his lack of postseason success. But that doesn’t matter right now given that it’s October, not January. The Redskins will have their hands full with him on Sunday.

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Stat of the day

—  The 134 receiving yards post by Jordan Reed were 25 more than Chris Cooley’s career high of 109.

Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Broncos 4; Chargers @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Vikings 15

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Practice 1:00 (media can observe for first 30 minutes); Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan news conferences after practices after practice (approx. 3:15) streamed live on CSNwashington.com                   

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

Related: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

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Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.