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Need to Know: Redskins 2015 regular season superlatives

Need to Know: Redskins 2015 regular season superlatives

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 5, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers in a wild card playoff game.

Redskins 2015 regular season superlatives

Before we dive head first into the playoffs let’s take a look back at the 2015 season. As you know, most major sports awards are decided after the end of the regular season but before the playoffs start. Let’s pass out a little Redskins hardware here based on the 2015 regular season.

Offensive player of the year: Kirk Cousins—The hotter he has gotten over the past couple of months, the better the team has played. His most impressive stat this year was his 69.8 percent completion rate. It was the seventh best season a quarterback has had in that stat category ever. Honorable mentions: Jordan Reed, Trent Williams

Offensive newcomer of the year: Brandon Scherff—He was every bit as good as advertised. If he keep improving over the next year or two nobody will care that the Redskins used the fifth overall pick on a guard. He missed two snaps all year, one against the Bears and one against the Cowboys on Monday night. Honorable mention: Jamison Crowder

Defensive player of the year: Chris Baker—There were a lot of ways to go here on a defense that didn’t have any real stars and was in constant turmoil due to injuries. But Baker was steady throughout, getting six sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, and setting an infectious attitude on the defense. Honorable mention: Bashaud Breeland

Defensive newcomer of the year: Will Blackmon—He wasn’t even on the team in Week 1 but he turned out to be invaluable to the secondary. Blackmon started 10 games and played some nickel. His presence allowed the team to move DeAngelo Hall to safety. Blackmon put on one of his best performances on Sunday. In the second half he picked off a pass with the Cowboys in a goal to go situation. Later he poked the ball out of Darren McFadden’s arm as he was about to score a TD. The ball bounced out of the end zone and the Redskins took over after the touchback. Honorable mention: Preston Smith, Kyshoen Jarrett.

Special teams player and newcomer of the year: Dustin Hopkins—Another player who wasn’t on the Week 1 roster. They wanted a kicker who could pound the ball into the end zone consistently and they found one in Hopkins. He booted 65 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks and he was No. 8 in the league in net kickoff distance. Hopkins was solid on field goals as well, converting on 25 of 28 with two of his misses coming from 50-plus yards, kicks they likely would even have attempted before signing Hopkins. Honorable mention: Tress Way

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Timeline

Today’s schedule: Player meetings, no media availability

Days until: Redskins vs. Packers in wild card playoff game 5; Super Bowl 50 33

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Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy underwent surgery this offseason to repair a broken bone in his foot, per a source with knowledge of the situation. Murphy has completely healed and is a full participant at training camp. 

The injury came late in the 2016 season and he played the Redskins final game of the season with the broken foot. He was listed on the injury report for that game as limited with a foot injury. He was not listed on the Week 16 injury report against the Bears.

Hit with a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs this offseason, Murphy won't suit up for the Redskins until Week 6. He will be forced to miss the first four games, and then the Redskins have a bye in Week 5. 

Murphy had a breakout season in 2016, finishing the year with nine sacks and 47 tackles. A second round pick in 2014, Murphy had a combined six sacks in the two seasons prior. Last offseason, Murphy was tasked with gaining weight for a position switch to defensive end. After he gained the weight, outside linebacker Junior Galette was lost for the season, and Murphy was moved back to outside linebacker. 

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

 

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Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

RICHMOND—The Redskins offense is dealing with some challenges on the field. Their top two wide receivers from last year left as free agents and replacements Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have little game experience with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Tight end Jordan Reed (toe) was a surprise entry on the PUP list. Running back Rob Kelley needs to prepare to get ready to carry the load for 16 games.

There is one other change the team must deal with. Sean McVay, the team’s offensive coordinator, left in January to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. He had been calling the plays for the past two years. That duty will now fall on head coach Jay Gruden.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Play calling is not new to Gruden. He did it from 2011-2013 for the Bengals when he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Gruden also made the play calls in 2014, his first season as the Redskins head coach.

Still, he wants to make sure that he’s ready to retake the play caller’s headset. The method he will use is to throw away the script.

“I think early on we’re going to have scripted practices, and once we get going, get our main core of plays in there, I think we’ll have a lot of unscripted practices where I can call plays,” he said. “So I think that’s the most important thing, the unscripted practice. Whether it’s two -minute, whether it’s drives down the field, whether it’s third downs, all that good stuff, do a lot of unscripted work, red zone and go from there, but I feel pretty comfortable already.”

That certainly makes sense. Games are not scripted and the successful play callers who can adjust to the ebb and flow of the game. You can’t duplicate the dynamic but you can come close in 11 on 11 work on the practice field.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Another key to making this work will be trusting his defensive and special teams coaches. If Gruden can’t delegate to them he will be getting pulled in too many directions on game days.

“How well I handle that will be how successful I will probably be as a coordinator calling plays and as a coach,” he said. “I feel good about the staff that I have around me. Coach [Greg] Manusky and Jim Tomsula and Torrian Gray on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t think I have to worry so much about that, Ben Kotwica, Bret Munsey on the special teams. The big thing is I have got to be involved in the football game, make sure I’m ready for the red flag tosses and all that good stuff, but for the most part I have confidence in the defense and special team coaches and players.”

We will see how well it works out. As a rookie coach he occasionally seemed to be overwhelmed by all that he had piled on his plate (the situation was complicated by his curious decision not to hire a quarterbacks coach). But now, with three years under his belt and an exponentially better understanding of what is involved in coaching an NFL game, there should be more confidence that he can handle it.

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.