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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Browns—An end to red zone woes?

Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Browns—An end to red zone woes?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 2, seven days before the Washington Redskins go up the road to play the Ravens in Baltimore.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Browns @ Redskins, 1 p.m., CBS

Days until: Redskins @ Ravens 7; Eagles @ Redskins 14; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 28

Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Browns

—Is this the game that the red zone woes start to fade away? The Browns are 24th in the red zone defensively. And at some point the Redskins are bound to revert to the norm. Washington has scored touchdowns on 21.4 percent of its trips to the red zone this year. Over each of the past three seasons the teams with the worst red zone conversion percentages for the NFL season had rates between 36 and 43 percent. You have to figure the Redskins will get at least to that level, which means that a streak of red zone success is inevitable at some point.

—There is a lot of talk about the need to stop Terrelle Pryor but the Redskins had better not sleep on tight end Gary Barnidge. Last year he made the Pro Bowl with 79 receptions for 1043 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s off to a slow start this year with just nine receptions for 103 yards but they still need to keep a close eye on him.

—I’ve said a few time this week that if Arie Kouandjio, after coming in as a fourth-round pick and spending two offseason programs, two training camps, and many hours in practices and meetings under Bill Callahan's tutelage, can’t handle a game or two at guard the drafting and coaching involved need to be questioned. They have to start Kouandjio. And if it turns out he can’t handle it the Redskins could always shift back to the alignment they had in the second half last week with Trent Williams at left guard and Ty Nsekhe at left tackle. But that is only a “break glass in case of emergency” option. I think that Kouandjio will be fine and Williams will stay in place and Nsekhe will be on the bench.

—The Browns have given up 109 rushing yards per game this year, around the NFL average of 104 per game. They have been tested a bit with the Eagles rushing 34 times against them and the Ravens and Dolphins 26 and 25 times, respectively. The point here is that some are automatically assuming that the Redskins should get their running game going because they are playing an 0-3 team. Cleveland’s rushing defense may be too good for the Redskins to go out and take what they want on the ground, especially with their modified offensive line. The Redskins' ideal game plan would be to build a lead through the air and spend the last 20 minutes of the game chewing up clock and yards on the ground. But that's their formula nearly every game and it rarely seems to work out that way.

—In 2008 a Rams team that was 1-4 and would go 2-14 came to FedEx Field to play a 4-1 Redskins team. The Redskins were in control and driving for a second quarter score when a Jason Campbell pass was batted into the air. The ball fell into the arms of Washington guard Pete Kendall, who instinctively caught it. As he tried to get a few yards the ball was knocked out of his arms and Rams safety O.J. Atogwe scooped it up and went 75 yards for a touchdown. The Redskins never were able to recover and they lost the game. Something like that would have to happen for the Redskins to lose to the Browns today. Barring a fluke the Redskins should make it to the red zone like they have been but they should cash in when they get there.

Redskins 28, Browns 10

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Redskins plan to interview Rob Ryan for defensive coordinator, per report

Redskins plan to interview Rob Ryan for defensive coordinator, per report

Plenty of Redskins fans wanted the team to interview Rex Ryan for defensive coordinator.

Well, a report shows they aren't talking to Rex, but instead, his brother Rob, according to Albert Breer of MMQB

Rex Ryan's track record as a defensive coordinator is very impressive.

Rob Ryan's track record as a defensive coordinator is, uh, less impressive. 

In 12 seasons as a coordinator, first in Oakland and then with Cleveland, Dallas and New Orleans, Rob Ryan has two Top 5 finishes in yards allowed. He also has finished 31st out of 32 teams in the league in yards allowed three times.

Below is a chart from Pro Football Reference showing his defensive ranks from 2004 when he became coordinator in Oakland all the way through his last job as a coordinator in New Orleans in 2015.

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The results aren't pretty.

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It should be noted that in 2016, Rob Ryan served as assistant head coach in Buffalo on his brother Rex's staff.

That team's defense finished 19th in yards allowed. 

Gus Bradley and Mike Pettine have interviewed with the Redskins for their vacant defensive coordinator opening.

Washington is also reported to have reached out to Wade Phillips, who took the same position with the Rams, and Steve Wilks, who took the same position with the Carolina Panthers. Internally, outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky also seems to be under some consideration for the position, and a report last week linked former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula with the Washington defense.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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Award Tour: Tandler & JP name Redskins' Defensive Player of the Year

Award Tour: Tandler & JP name Redskins' Defensive Player of the Year

With the 2017 offseason about to kick into high gear, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler are going to take one last look at 2016 in the coming days.

That’s right, it’s time to hand out awards for Coach of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year.

We’ve picked our top coaches and the Special Teams POY. Today we select the Defensive Player of the Year.

Tandler: This is tough because there were no real standouts on a mediocre unit. Ryan Kerrigan was the only defensive representitive to the Pro Bowl and had 11 sacks but his impact plays were few. You could make a case for Chris Baker, who was the only consistently effective player on the defensive line.

The pick here is Josh Norman.

He also was invisible for long stretches for good reasons. The only quarterback to throw his way more than seven times in the last half of the season was the Bears’ Matt Barkley and Norman made him pay with two interceptions. A Norman pick set up the clincher in the Browns game and he forced a fumble that put the Packers game beyond even an Aaron Rodgers miracle.

Outside of that, he set the tone during the week, staying out a minimum of 30 minutes after every practice, working on his craft.

If the defense can get two or three more players just like Norman they’ll be fine.

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Finlay: Norman is a strong pick, but since Tandler stole that selection from me, I will go with Kerrigan.

I've heard the lack of impact plays argument, and don't agree. His strip-sack to end the Eagles game, a win the reeling Redskins desperately needed, was probably a Top 5 defensive play this season. Without that sack, Philly had all the momentum and a chance to knock the 'Skins out of playoff contention. He also played through a number of injuries, starting every game for the sixth straight season.

Baker's name deserves recognition, as does Trent Murphy. The best part of Murphy's eight sack breakout campaign: Excellence is expected of Norman and Kerrigan. With Kerrigan, the expectations are so high that 11 sacks is almost dismissed by some fans and media. Murphy emerged as a viable sack threat for Washington this season, something that he can build upon next year. 

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Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!