Quick Links

Need to Know: Callahan appreciates Redskins' O-Line history

callahan-minicamp.png

Need to Know: Callahan appreciates Redskins' O-Line history

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 7, 23 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Read and React

A couple of weeks ago I posted and discussed some quotes that Bill Callahan gave to the media during minicamp. I found a few more good ones in the interview so here is Part 2 of that Read and React:

Why did he decide to go Washington after leaving Dallas?
“There were plenty of options out there that I was fortunate to have and an opportunity to come here and be reunited with a lot of the guys I’ve worked with. I thought it was just a great situation to come to and be in.”
I’m sure the money in Washington was very good but he was a hot commodity and he would have been paid well no matter where he went. But coaches have a tendency to gravitate towards other coaches they know. Callahan had worked with Matt Cavanaugh in New York and had coached RB coach Randy Jordan with the Raiders. In addition, Bruce Allen was the Raiders GM when Callahan was the coach there. We all snicker about the crony network but the bottom line is that if a coach is going to spend very long hours with others in a high-pressure situation he often will choose to do it with coaches he already knows.

How is the revamped right side of the line shaping up?
“Preliminarily we’re looking at a lot of combinations. Spencer and Brandon are on that right side. Certainly Compton has experience on that side. We’re lacking Moses not being in the lineup right now so we’ve got some options and some other players that we’re looking at as well. As time goes on I think it will all be settled in training camp when the get the pads on. Once we get out of these pajamas we’re going to start getting into contact and we’ll figure it out better.”
I found this interesting because of the mention of Morgan Moses. Since he was out for all of the offseason work with that Lisfranc injury we don’t know where they intend to put him. Most assumed that Callahan was referring to Moses as a backup right tackle, which could push Compton off of the 53-man roster. But was he talking about a potential backup right guard? There has been talk of converting Moses to guard, although it has mostly been fan and media chatter to this point. Also, the pajamas line drew a laugh. I get the feeling that most coaches hate the no-pads aspect of minicamp. It probably creates more questions that it answers.

Why did he put up a picture of the Hogs in his office at Redskins Park?
"I had the opportunity to be around Raleigh McKenzie about 20 years ago when I was in Philadelphia. Just learning about the history of the Hogs and, of course, having been exposed to the Redskins as a college coach way back in the early 80’s when the Redskins were rolling pretty good. I had a chance to go to Carlisle and watch them practice in training camp several times. I’ve always admired what Joe Bugel has done. He had a great reputation then as he does now. He’s been kind of a mentor in a lot of ways, watching his film and watching what he’s done with the players over the years. We’re trying to emulate that and live up to the tradition and the standards that they’ve established."
McKenzie was not an original Hog--he's not in the famed picture of the group in top hat and tails--but he was a very good one. He was drafted in 1985 and started for two Super Bowl champs. Philadelphia was one of several stops for him in his post-Redskins career and Callahan was the offensive line coach. You don’t find many coaches who are interested in those who were there before them, it’s refreshing to see Callahan show such respect for Bugel and the history of an organization he just joined.

On what they look at when drafting top talent:
"The type of player we bring in is important to the cohesiveness and chemistry of the group. It’s great to have a top-round draft choice but that’s not discluding the fact that you are going to have younger players from lower rounds just as good if not better than. So we’ve seen that dynamic as well."
He’s happy that the team spent the No. 5 overall pick on a player who is in his position group, no doubt. Just like he was happy in Dallas when the had three No. 1 picks on the offensive line. But he wanted to make it clear that he values all of the players that he’s in charge of and that the character of the players selected is very important. On a side note, I’ve been told that this is an improper use of the word “discluding”, which may or may not be a real word. But his meaning was clear, the opposite of “including”. If you want to take it up with him, feel free.

Timeline

—Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson was born on this date in 1989.

—It’s been 191 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 68 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 23; Preseason opener @ Browns 37; final cuts 60

Like Real Redskins on Facebook!

In case you missed it

Quick Links

True or false: The Redskins will carry four tight ends on the roster

True or false: The Redskins will carry four tight ends on the roster

True or false: The Redskins will carry four tight ends on their roster this year.

Rich Tandler: True

The Redskins added a tight end to a roster that had four experienced players at the position already on it. But, make no mistake, fifth-round selection Jeremy Sprinkle was not a “luxury” pick.

Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis are both stone cold locks to make the roster. They are the pass catchers who are expected to combine for perhaps 1,500 yards and at least a dozen touchdowns.

The third tight end could be Niles Paul, a veteran who has battled injuries the last two years. He appears to be healthy and if he stays that way he can play tight end, be the fullback on the six or eight snaps per game the Redskins use one, and be a strong contributor on special teams.

MORE REDSKINS: TRESS WAY HIT A BYSTANDER WHILE GOLFING, BUT GRUDEN ISN'T SURPRISED

Sprinkle can fill a role that those three can’t—blocking tight end. Jay Gruden had to put tackle Ty Nsekhe on the field when they needed a three-tight end set. That made the job of the defense easier with essentially four eligible receivers to deal with.

With a well-defined role for each player, it would make perfect sense for the Redskins to carry four tight ends on the 53-man roster rather than the customary three. Of course, if they carry four at tight end they have to go with one fewer player elsewhere. They will find a spot.

Running back seems to be the logical place to go for that spot. If they keep, say, Mack Brown as the fourth running back, you then have a player without a defined role. He’s the backup to the backup to the backup. Sure, he can do special teams, but not as well as Paul.

Perhaps if you want to keep Brown you let go of Paul with his recent injury history and his $2.2 million cap number in mind. Or you can let Sprinkle get some seasoning on the practice squad.

But I think that the Redskins drafted Sprinkle with the plan to keep four tight ends. If they are going to go with their best, most versatile 53 that is what they will do.

JP Finlay: False

Man, this is tough. If you asked me this in May, I thought Niles Paul would be caught in a roster crunch. After watching the guys on the field through OTAs and minicamp, this decision becomes much harder. 

Paul played well in those sessions, showed no rust from the injuries and impressed regardless what quarterback he was paired up with. Sprinkle looked like a rookie with a lot to learn, and while he's really big, he still seemed like his upper body could fill out in the NFL. 

In a vacuum it's easy to say the Redskins should keep four tight ends. Like Tandler laid out above, Reed and Davis are roster locks. Paul can help in a ton of spots, and Sprinkle should evolve into the blocking tight end for the jumbo set. 

But NFL rosters aren't made in vacuums. To keep a fourth tight end, the Redskins will have to make a cut, and Tandler suggested Mack Brown could be the guy. I don't see that happening. Jay Gruden and Randy Jordan speak glowingly about Brown. 

This will be a fun roster spot to watch, but in June, before any injuries or the competition of training camp, I think the Redskins keep Reed, Davis and Paul. Then they really, really hope they can sneak the rookie Sprinkle to their practice squad.

Washington has not kept three healthy tight ends on their roster in the last few seasons, and if that trend continues, Sprinkle would make the NFL roster before the end of the year. Keeping four tight ends just isn't a luxury the Redskins have, especially keeping three quarterbacks like they're expected to do. 

Tandler-Finlay True or False series: Leading rusher | Leading receiver

Quick Links

Standouts and scrubs: Looking at Bruce Allen's track record with quarterbacks

Standouts and scrubs: Looking at Bruce Allen's track record with quarterbacks

Much can be learned looking to the past, at least that's what thousands of college students hear every fall when they sit down for History 101. Assuming the premise is true, perhaps something can be learned from looking back at Bruce Allen's tenure across the NFL and the quarterbacks that started for those teams. 

A refresher: Allen worked with the Raiders and Bucs before coming to the Redskins. Allen started with the Raiders in 1995, and worked his way up through the front office, earning the NFL's Executive of the Year award in 2002. He left the Raiders to work with Jon Gruden in Tampa in 2004, after the pair experienced much success together with the Raiders. Tampa fired Allen in 2008, and he came to work with the Redskins in 2010. 

His tenure with the Raiders showcased the best QB find in his file: Rich Gannon. Before coming to Oakland, Gannon earned the journeyman title, starting 58 games over 11 seasons for the Chiefs, Vikings and, yes, the Redskins.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

Once Gannon and Gruden worked together, everything clicked. The Raiders started winning games and Gannon started to pile up impressive offensive stats. He was the quarterback when Oakland lost the infamous 'Tuck Rule' playoff game against New England, and won an NFL MVP award in 2002 while guiding the Raiders to the Super Bowl (which they lost to a Jon Gruden coached Tampa team). 

Gannon was a find, undoubtedly. Beyond that, Allen's resume on quarterbacks gets pretty ugly.

In fact, Kirk Cousins would probably rank as the second best QB of all Bruce Allen teams. In Tampa, the quarterback position was a revolving door, and included luminaries (sarcasm font) like Chris Simms, Brian Griese and Bruce Gradkowski. The Bucs added Jeff Garcia in 2007, and he had some success, but was 37 years old at that point. 

Once he got to Washington, the Redskins trotted out a collection of subpar passers like a past-his-prime Donovan McNabb, a-never-actually-good John Beck and Rex Grossman. Rex needs no introduction. 

In 2012, the Redskins quarterback fortunes changed. The team made a very aggressive trade to draft Robert Griffin III. RG3 was supposed to be the franchise savior, and for much of his rookie season, that plan seemed to be working. 

Injuries and infighting ruined Griffin's time with the Redskins, and opened the door for 2012 fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins to emerge. 

RELATED: TRESS WAY HIT A GIRL WHILE GOLFING, BUT JAY GRUDEN ISN'T SURPRISED

Now, in 2017, Cousins has twice broken the Redskins single season passing yards record and cemented himself as a quality NFL starter. His long-term future with the organization remains uncertain, as Cousins will play this season on a one-year contract and the prospect of a multi-year contract seems slim. 

It's hard to draw too many conclusions looking the quarterbacks throughout Allen's tenure. Before Gannon in Oakland, the Raiders tried a variety of other journeyman QBs (Jeff Hostetler, Jeff George). One could argue they got lucky with Gannon, or that the organization brought out his best tools. Either way it's a positive grade.

In Tampa, the results look much worse. On paper, it seemed the Bucs tried to get cheap, available quarterbacks and make them work, believing strongly in their offensive system. It didn't work. 

In Washington, particularly during the Grossman/Beck season, it seemed the Redskins tried a similar approach. That ended in 2012 with the trade for RG3. The Redskins paid up big time, in the form of draft picks. 

Now it's arguable that a deal with Cousins can even be reached, but if that does happen, it will be because the Redskins pay up. Recent history doesn't suggest it, but this situation has never presented itself either. Cousins is a fourth-round pick that emerged after a few volatile seasons to establish himself as a Top 15 NFL starter.

There's no lesson for that in the history books. 

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!