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Need to Know: Redskins' restructure money already spent

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Need to Know: Redskins' restructure money already spent

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, September 5, four days before the Redskins open up their season against the Eagles at FedEx Field.

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1. Pierre Garçon says that he is 100 percent healthy after missing six games last year with a toe injury and having surgery to repair a torn labrum during the offseason. It is typical for athletes to say they are “fine” when dealing with an injury when they are anything but. In this case, however, it seems that the athlete is accurate in his self-assessment. Garçon took a few days off during training camp but no more than most other veteran players. He didn’t play a whole lot in preseason but neither did Alfred Morris. Certainly something could happen along the way but for right now it looks like all systems are go for the player who helps the Redskins’ offense go.

2. The Redskins restructured the contracts of Stephen Bowen, Adam Carriker, and Barry Cofield in recent days to create some cap room. But don’t get excited about the prospects of them going after a free agent. As Bruce Allen indicated during training camp, the Redskins are restructuring deals just to be able to stay under the salary cap. During the offseason only the top 51 contracts count towards the cap. Once the season starts, the contracts of all 53 active players plus players on PUP and injured reserve and the practice squad count towards. The Redskins had some trimming to do to get in compliance with the cap and to give themselves some cushion during the season. In short, the savings from the restructures are already spent.

3. I predicted yesterday that the conversation on RG3 would turn the corner from “concerns” and other such controversies to playing in games. And what transpired during Griffin’s Wednesday press conference was in line with that. There were 19 questions asked and only two of them had to do with what has transpired since Thursday, when Dr. James Andrews cleared Griffin to play against the Eagles, i. e. the “concerns”. To be sure, many of the others dealt with returning from the injury but those would be there even if there had been total radio silence on the rehab from Redskins Park. We’re not out of the woods on the knee talk yet but we’re getting there.

4. There is injury report today even though you have probably read that most of the other teams around the league had to issue one. That’s because when a team has a Monday night game the reports go out Thursday-Saturday instead of Wednesday-Friday. The only real concern this week seems to be Brandon Meriweather, who has a pulled groin in addition to his still-recovering knee.

5. Even though Griffin has been a spectator for much of the offseason, he remains the leader of the team. He was asked if he gave the rookies any advice. After joking that people were treating him like he was a five- or seven-year veteran, he got serious.

“For the rookies, you know, I talked to the guys on our team like Chris Thompson playing running back, you are here for a reason and you’ve got to believe it. Your coaches believe in you. That’s why they drafted you. That’s why you made the team. So if you step on that field and don’t feel like you don’t belong, then it will come out and you’ll play like you don’t belong. But if you go out on that field and play like you belong and trust in yourself and trust your preparation, then you have nothing to worry about.”


Stat of the day

—Of the 53 players who are on the Redskins’ roster, 11 are new to the organization since the end of last season. A total of 17 were not on the opening 53-man roster in 2012.

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Timeline

—Redskins quarterback Billy Kilmer was born on this day in 1939

—It’s been 239 days since the last Redskins game; there are four days until the next one

—Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Packers 10; Lions @ Redskins 17

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Jim Haslett press conference 12:00; practice 1:00; Kyle Shanahan and Mike Shanahan press conferences after practice (approx. 3:00)

Tandler looks at the Eagles

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Fumbles not bouncing the Redskins' way this year

Fumbles not bouncing the Redskins' way this year

As Kirk Cousins likes to say, each season is its own entity. Sometimes things that went well for you in one 16-game stretch in one year won’t got well during a 16-game stretch in subsequent years. And that is the case with the Redskins and recovering opponents’ fumbles.

In 2015 the Redskins were scooping up loose balls all over the place. Opponents put it on the carpet 36 times and the Redskins recovered a league-leading 16 of them. Doing the math, they recovered the ball 44.4 percent of the time.

This year, with the same defensive coordinator and many of the same players on defense, it’s a different story. Through 12 games, the Redskins have forced 18 fumbles and recovered seven. Projecting it out over a 16-game season, they are on pace to force 24 fumbles and recover 9, a 37.5 percent recovery rate.

However, the decrease in the rate of fumble recoveries has not hurt the Redskins as much as you might think. This year they are on pace score about as many points after fumbles as they did last year.

In 2015 they started the average drive following a fumble recovery at their own 46. They drove for two touchdowns and three field goals. The Redskins returned one fumble for a touchdown so they got a total of 30 points off of fumbles.

This year they started at their own 36 on average and they have scored two touchdowns and two field goals on drives and they have no fumble returns for touchdowns. With 20 points through 12 games, they are on pace to score 27 points because of recovering fumbles.

One thing that must be noted here is that the effect of recovering fumbles goes beyond just scoring points after doing so. Even if the offense goes three and out after a fumble recovery the other team’s drive got stopped and after the punt field position gets flipped.

Also, timing is everything. The fumble that went out of the end zone following the Ravens’ interception in Week 5 saved seven points in a six-point Redskins win. Josh Norman’s forced fumble in the fourth quarter against the Packers didn’t have quite the same impact as the one in the Ravens game but it did help them wrap up an important win.

And we are looking at a small sample size so the projections could change in a major way. If the Redskins recover two fumbles on Sunday and turn them into 10 points they would be closer to last year’s pace for recoveries and ahead of 2015 for points off of fumble recoveries.

In any case, that the Redskins are recovering fewer fumbles this year than last should not be surprising. As the stat guys like to say, fumble recoveries aren’t “sticky” from year to year. Teams that recover a lot of fumbles one year don’t tend to repeat it year after year. There is a lot of luck involved; nowhere is the bounce of the oblong ball more decisive than when hits the ground.