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Need to Know: Kyle says he had 'zero involvement' in Redskins QB decision

Need to Know: Kyle says he had 'zero involvement' in Redskins QB decision

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 13, two days before the Washington Redskins visit the Atlanta Falcons.

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Five notes and quotes from yesterday at Redskins Park:

1. Jordan Reed missed practice again with a concussion. He has already missed three games. It would be a shame for him to miss out on the live game snaps for what would be the last six games of the season but perhaps it’s time to put him on injured reserve. It’s 2013 and we now know that a persistent concussion like this certainly is something that you don’t want to mess with.

2. Mike Shanahan was asked if what happens at Redskins Park was impacted by what he sees on TV every night. “I don’t get a chance to watch TV during the season,” he said. That may be true, but don’t think for a second that he isn’t told virtually everything relevant that is said about the team in the media. He gets a report on it every morning from the PR staff. He may not have to wade through the commercials or click on the websites but he knows what the media buzz is.

3. Kyle Shanahan was asked if he had any input into the quarterback change. “I got zero involvement on that,” he said. “I actually game planned for both all Tuesday. It’s a little frustrating game planning for both, but I was told the final decision on Wednesday morning and been rolling with it.” I find it hard to believe that the father did not ask the son his opinion on a decision that would have such an impact on the son. Maybe Kyle didn’t have veto power over the decisions, but “zero involvement” is hard to swallow.

4. Here is another line I just don’t buy from Kyle. “Everybody’s responsible when a guy gets hit,” he said when asked if Robert Griffin III was largely responsible for him getting hit so much. “You can’t, I say this every week, but you can’t ever put a sack on just one guy. It’s not all on Robert. It’s not all on the O-line. It’s on everybody.” But putting a sack on one guy is exactly what coaches do when they grade film. If Polumbus misses a block and his man sacks the QB, it’s on Polumbus. If Griffin stands there in the pocket for 4.5 seconds, it’s on Griffin. If you don’t want to point the finger at one guy in public, fine. Just don’t think that your audience is naïve.

5. Jim Haslett doesn’t think any of his players have checked out but he said that he’s looking for signs and he’ll take action if he sees it. “Guys not hustling to the ball, guys not flying around, not doing what you’re supposed to do. I’ll promise you that, John, if that happens they’re not going to be playing the next week.”

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Stat of the day

—Jordan Reed is second on the team to Pierre Garçon in receptions with 46. If he is shut down for the rest of the season due to his concussion he will have missed the last six games but he likely will still finish the year as the team’s second-leading receiver. Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson are tied for third with 30 each. Hankerson is on injured reserve and Moss is unlikely to catch 16 more passes this year (he is averaging 2.3 per game).

Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Falcons 2; Cowboys @ Redskins 9; Start of NFL free agency 88

—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; Mike Shanahan news conference and player availability after practice (approx. 1:30)

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Shanahan on what he expects from Cousins

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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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