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Need to Know: Fame and fortune coming for Redskins' Kerrigan?

Need to Know: Fame and fortune coming for Redskins' Kerrigan?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 12, 79 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

It appears that Ryan Kerrigan will become a very rich man at some point soon. His camp and the Redskins are progressing in contract extension talks. A new contract likely would pay Kerrigan in the neighborhood of $10 million per year over several seasons. There's the fortune, will fame follow?

First, let’s talk about “household names”. If you take the term literally there are very few of them in the NFL. If you knocked at the door of a randomly selected house in America and started naming football players, the recognition would probably stop at Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and maybe a few others. Robert Griffin III likely has a high degree of name recognition because of his performance his rookie year and due to the fact that much of what he has said and done since gets coverage on cable news, social media, and on pop culture type media outlets.

That may sound odd to NFL fans but keep in mind that according to the TV ratings over half of the people in America don’t even watch the Super Bowl.

But I think what you’re aiming at is something more like, say, J.J. Watt and Adrian Peterson, players who are on the tips of the tongues of even casual NFL fans. I don’t believe that is a status that Kerrigan, Robinson, or anyone else on the Redskins besides Griffin can attain.

For one thing, you have to be a really, really good player to be well known among people who are fans of the other 31 NFL team. You have to be an All-Pro, or at least get some votes. Kerrigan had 13.5 sacks last year. Justin Houston led the NFL with 22. That’s a long way away from earning All-Pro votes.

Watt, who, as noted, is a household name, had 20.5 sacks last year. It was the second 20-sack season of his four-year career. Last year was the first time that Kerrigan, who came into the league the same year as Watt, had double-digit sacks.

This isn’t to disparage Kerrigan at all. He’s a very good player. But he’s not nearly good enough to overcome the other issue with Kerrigan, Robinson, or anyone else on the team becoming a household name—the team’s record.

There are very few household names on losing teams. Going back a ways, Walter Payton managed to be very well known despite the fact that the Bears were pretty bad until the tail end of his career. The flip side of the coin is someone like Russell Wilson, who probably would be fairly anonymous if not for consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

If Kerrigan gets better players around him he could become more of a household name. He could get more sacks, which is the main metric for defenders becoming well known. And the team would be better, at least in theory, so his chances at fame would increase that way.

Robinson? I wouldn’t get too excited after one season as a starter. He has a chance at being pretty good, maybe making a Pro Bowl or two at some point down the road. But I don’t see him being good enough to be considered a household name.

Timeline

—It’s been 135 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 124 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 36; Redskins training camp starts 79; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 135

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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Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 23, four days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 10
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 31
—Training camp starts (7/27) 95
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 140

In search of someone, anyone, to stop the run

One of the areas the Redskins needed to improve last year was their rushing defense on first down. In 2015, they gave up 5.0 yards per carry on first down. That was the worst performance in the league. It’s pretty tough to play defense when a handoff makes it second and five. The Saints, who had a historically bad defense that year, were second, fiving up 4.8 yards a pop.

Well, it was no better for the Redskins defense in 2016. Again, they gave up 5.0 yards per carry on first down, again the worst performance in the league.  Remember, this is on first down, when teams are most likely to run.

The Redskins’ problems on third down were well known. They were dead last in the league allowing first downs on 46.6 percent of third-down attempts. For context, an average performance on third down is allowing about 38 percent and the best teams are around 35 percent.

That doesn’t tell the whole story, however. The Redskins weren’t very good at getting teams to third down. They allowed first downs on 33.8 percent of their opponents’ second-down plays. That put them in the bottom third of the league. Again, you don’t have to look too hard to connect the dots to link that back to the five yards per rushing play on first down. Second and five is a piece of cake most of the time.

You don’t need an advanced degree in statistical analysis to figure out that the Redskins defense isn’t going to get much better if they can’t stop teams from running the ball on first down.

It’s easy to point to the defensive line, which has not been very good, and say that the problem is there. That certainly has something to do with it. But the Redskins didn’t have a very good D-line in 2014 and they allowed 4.1 yards per first-down rushing attempt, a performance that was right at the league average.

The factor that was common in 2015 and 2016 and was different in 2014 was the defensive coordinator. It’s possible that opposing teams found a flaw to exploit in Joe Barry’s scheme that wasn’t there in Jim Haslett’s (which surely had flaws in other places).

But X’s and O’s can only get you so far. The Redskins will be looking to take a defensive lineman early and perhaps use an additional pick or two at the position later in the draft. While getting one who can rush the passer would be a plus, they need a run stuffer who can take snaps on first down and bottle up the ground game.

The focus in the draft will be on the first-round pick but, as has been discussed here many times, that pick is unlikely to be a defensive lineman. There isn’t likely to be one at 17 who would represent good value. That could mean that the Redskins’ second- or third-round pick, perhaps an interior lineman like Caleb Brantley of Florida, Larry Ogunjobi of Charlotte, or Montravius Adams of Auburn, is just as important to the team’s success as the first-round pick.

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.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 22, five days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 20
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 32
—Training camp starts (7/27) 96
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 141

The Redskins week that was

Redskins full 2017 schedule released—Even with the Caps and Wizards in full playoff mode, the DMV stops to take a look and see when the Redskins will be playing. The Thanksgiving game was surprising. It’s another working day but I worked at various places since I was 14 and last year was the first time I’ve had to work on Thanksgiving so I can’t complain too much about working two in a row. It’s a small price to pay for having the best job in the world.

Don't count out any RB for Redskins at 17—Yeah, I know that NFL teams aren’t supposed to take running backs in the first round any more. But that is one of those trends that comes and goes. In 2013 and 2014 there were no RBs taken in the first. Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott in the last couple of years began to shift the thinking. If the Redskins think that Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffrey can help them win games more than any other player on the board they should pull the trigger.

Rise of Patrick Mahomes could bring big payoff for Redskins—It seems likely that quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky will be taken before the Redskins pick at No. 17 goes on the clock. That means that two players in whom the Redskins might be interested will be available, pushed back by the quarter backs. Could Mahomes, out of Texas Tech, push a third player back to Washington. The buzz is that a team might grab him in the first half of the first round.

The Redskins' five best salary cap bargains for 2017—When I started pulling the numbers for this post I thought I’d find more key players with salaries of under $1 million. I only found three and one of them is the kicker. This means that they don’t have very many late-round or undrafted players who are contributing a lot of value. They need more out of players like Anthony Lanier, Matt Ioannidis and Maurice Harris. That is how a team thrives in the salary cap era. A couple of Saturday picks could make or break this draft.

Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often—There are a lot of ways the first 16 picks of this draft can work out. It seems almost certain that everyone’s favorite first-round pick, a stud defensive lineman, won’t be a realistic option on the board. This could send things in an odd direction for the Redskins. It’s fun to do a mock and I’ll do one or two more prior to draft day but there are too many variables to think that it has a high degree of accuracy. 

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.

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