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Need to Know: Morris' workload getting lighter

Need to Know: Morris' workload getting lighter

DENVER--Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 28, six days before the Washington Redskins host the San Diego Chargers.

Nickel coverage

Five notes from the Redskins’ 45-21 loss to the Broncos

1. The Redskins’ defense forced four turnovers, all of them charged to Peyton Manning (three interceptions, one lost fumble). The Redskins have now forced a turnover in 11 straight regular season games, the team’s longest streak since Weeks 7-17 in 2005. This is their first four takeaway game since 2010, when they forced six against the Bears. The scored 14 points off of the takeaways, pushing their total for the season to 55.

2. One of those takeways was a pick six by DeAngelo Hall. The pick-six was Hall’s fifth in his career and his second of the season, a new career high. He got another interception in the fourth quarter

3. Robert Griffin III posted a passer rating of 48.4 for the game (15-39, 132 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT). That was by far the worst if his career. His previous low came two weeks ago in Dallas when his rating was 58.3. In 2012 his worst rating came in Week 17 against the Cowboys when it was 66.9.

4. The Redskins drove 95 yards in 16 plays for a touchdown in the second quarter. By yardage it was the longest scoring drive since Mike Shanahan arrived in Washington. In fact, it was the longest scoring drive since a 95-yarder on October 29, 2008 against the Lions. That was the second month of the Jim Zorn era.

5. Alfred Morris rushed for 66 yards on nine carries in the first half. The 66 first-half yards were his most of the season and his most since Week 17 at Dallas last season (92). Morris carried eight times in the second half. He now has 108 rushing attempts on the season putting him on pace for 262 carries. Last year he had 335 carries.

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Timeline

—Days until: Chargers @ Redskins 6; Redskins @ Vikings 14; Redskins @ Eagles 20

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Mike Shanahan news conference 3:00, telecast on Comcast SportsNet.

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Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 24, 36 days before the NFL franchise tag deadline.

Timeline

Days until:

NFL free agency starts 44
—NFL Draft 93
First Sunday of 2017 season 229

Gruden's fate rests on Manusky, McCloughan

In his press conference the day after the Redskins lost to the Giants to end their season, Jay Gruden talked about the decision-making process that would unfold if there were changes in the coaching staff.

“Ultimately I would think it is my call – our call,” he said. “Bruce [Allen] will have some input, Dan [Snyder] will have some input, Scot [McCloughan] will have some input, but from a staff standpoint, I like to think I have a lot of pull on that one.”

That doesn’t make it sound like he was completely free to replace the fired Joe Barry and new Rams head coach Sean McVay with whomever he chose. Others could make suggestions and have input and possibly veto power.

The decision to make Greg Manusky the defensive coordinator likely was influenced by and/or had the approval of, McCloughan. Manusky ran the defense in San Francisco when McCloughan was the GM there. McCloughan was instrumental in getting Manusky to come to the Redskins to coach the outside linebackers a year ago, after he was fired as the Colts’ defensive coordinator.

Related: Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Greg Manusky

Having McCloughan’s approval for the hire provides Gruden with some degree of security. If it doesn’t work out, if the Redskins upgrade the talent on defense and still don’t get better results, the heat will be on McCloughan as well as Gruden.

Still, Gruden will be the one in the spotlight this season. When the annual media lists of coaches on the hot season in 2017 come out, Gruden is sure to be atop many of them. It’s simple math, really. In Gruden’s three seasons the team has gone 4-12, 9-7, and 8-7-1. A return to double-digit loss territory would be a regression and there would be legitimate concern over whether Gruden is the guy who can make progress and then maintain it and build on it.

Did Gruden get his first pick for the job? Probably not. It seems that Gus Bradley was the favorite, having built the aggressive Seattle defense and having ties with McCloughan from there and with Gruden and Allen from Tampa Bay. But he decided to head west and take over the Chargers’ defense, perhaps wondering about Gruden’s job security. If Bradley didn’t top the list, then Gruden’s top choice probably was Cincinnati defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. But he is under contract and the Bengals denied permission for him to talk about making a lateral move.

More Redskins: Redskins stay in house

Wade Phillips decided to go to the Rams, who have decidedly better defensive personnel than the Redskins, before he had a chance to meet with Washington. We’re not sure how seriously Gruden pursued Phillips but it’s possible that he would have taken him over Manusky if he had the chance. That means that Manusky was at best Plan C or Plan D.

But that’s water under the bridge. Gruden’s fate now lies in the hands of Manusky and in the hands of McCloughan, who must set out to get the new defensive coordinator a significant talent upgrade. If Gruden gets a better defense and can maintain a top offensive attack (given Kirk Cousins’ contract status, he needs McCloughan’s help there, too) and the Redskins can take the next step he should be expecting to start serious extension talks in 2018.

If the Redskins spin their wheels and end up around .500 again or if they regress and post double-digit losses like they did for five out of six years from 2009-2014 they could be cleaning house and starting over again. That wouldn’t be a good scenario for anyone. The organization is counting on Manusky, who was Plan C, and McCloughan to help Gruden get things on track.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

On Monday morning, the Redskins made several new coaching hires official, including Jim Tomsula as the new defensive line coach.

Tomsula was out of football in 2016 after serving as the 49ers head coach for the 2015 season in which the team finished 5-11.

Despite struggling as a head coach, Tomsula gained an odd, if not heavy cult following. It made little sense considering he has the look and demeanor of someone who was put on this earth to coach football and coach football only. But through the glories of the internet came this:

The Jimmy Tomsula rap song.

RELATED: MOST IMPORTANT REDSKINS' FREE AGENTS

It's just a demo, and I suppose the full version could be out there somewhere since this song is over a year old. But there's something hypnotizing about 60 consecutive seconds of "Open up my shirt like im Jimmy Tom-Sula."

How long before we begin hearing this song at FedEx Field on Sundays?