Quick Links

Need to Know: How many new starters on the Redskins' offensive line?

screenshot-2015-05-09-18-28-27.png

Need to Know: How many new starters on the Redskins' offensive line?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 10, 81 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's Sunday so I'm going to empty out the mailbag and answer some that don't require long answers. Let's get started with the Quick Hits:

 

Although I wouldn’t expect the Redskins to discuss their Plan B at quarterback should they not renew Griffin’s contract I have to think that it has been discussed internally. And if they decide to withdraw Griffin’s option and not negotiate another deal with him, it’s back on the QB carousel. I’d have to think that after taking a quick breather after the 2015 draft the personnel department will start work on 2016 draft–eligible quarterbacks like Cardale Jones of Ohio State and Connor Cook of Michigan State. They will look at potential free agents but that list usually resembles the proverbial waiver wire from hell. In short, if they need a quarterback they will have to keep on trying until they find one.

There’s no question about Culliver; his contract and his ability have him locked into a starting job, possibly following the opposition’s No. 1 receiver from side to side. Breeland was good enough last year to warrant having the first crack at the other starting job. DeAngelo Hall is not going to get cut but you can’t rule out him starting the season on the PUP list (yes, we’ve seen him do a backflip but backpedaling and cutting are a different deal). I have heard that Amerson realizes that he needs to take preparation more seriously so he could be the nickel corner. I’m not sure where Tracy Porter and Tevin Mitchel fit in, we’ll have to see how it plays out in the preseason.

I got a similar question from @deseanparker20, his centering on Phillip Thomas so we’ll combine them there with a quick look at the safety spot. As of right now Jeron Johnson and Dashon Goldson are the starting strong and free safeties, respectively. If Thomas is going to challenge for a spot it will be at strong. He got a few starts last year after Brandon Meriweather’s season ended early with an injury. Thomas was spotty at best and they brought in Johnson as a free agent. Certainly Thomas should have a shot at the job. Johnson signed a relatively modest deal, appropriate for a player with one career start in four years in the league. It is unclear who will back up Goldson and there doesn’t appear to be a succession plan in place for the 31-year-old whose salary balloons to $7 million next year. We will see if Goldson’s eventual replacement surfaces this year or if it will wait until 2016.

I suppose anything is possible, James, but an 80 percent turnover of the starters on the offensive line doesn’t seem very likely. Trent Williams and Shawn Lauvao are locked in on the left side. Yes, Lauvao wasn’t very good for a good chunk of last year but he did get better as the year went on and power blocking is more suited to his strengths. It’s likely that Kory Lichtensteiger is safe even though he’s not an ideal fit in the revamped scheme. On the right side, one change is certain, as Brandon Scherff will start at right tackle. Although I’m not ruling out the possibility that Chris Chester holds on to his right guard job, I think the chances are pretty good that Spencer Long can push past him on the depth chart. So, the chances are that there will be two new starters not four. As they say, James, half a loaf is better than none.

Timeline

—It’s been 133 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 126 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 38; Redskins training camp starts 81; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 137

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.

Like Real Redskins on Facebook!

Follow Real Redskins on Instagram @RichTandler

In case you missed it

Quick Links

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.

In case you missed it

Quick Links

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.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it