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Need to Know: Was tumultuous week a distraction for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Was tumultuous week a distraction for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 3, the day the Washington Redskins host the San Diego Chargers.

Potential distractions abound but players should have no excuse

It was one of those weeks at Redskins Park.

It started with a loss to the Broncos that may have been closer than the 45-21 final would indicate but there were plenty of issues. Denver scored 38 unanswered points in the second half so there was plenty for the defense to be concerned about. But Robert Griffin III couldn’t get untracked, posting the worst passer rating of his career, so it wasn’t all on the defensive side of the ball.

In the locker room after the game Pierre Garçon lamented the state of the Redskins’ passing game saying, “If you suck at passing, you suck at passing.” He said that he wasn’t blaming Griffin exclusively but certainly some luster has come off of last year’s rookie of the year.

Then on Monday, Brandon Meriweather returned from his one-game suspension and said that he was going to have to start hitting offensive players lower, possibly risking torn ACLs. For good measure, he took a shot a Bears receiver Brandon Marshall, bringing up a previous domestic violence incident.

The trade deadline came and went on Tuesday and little-used tight end Fred Davis was still a Redskin. That promoted an odd session with the media on Wednesday in which he admitted that he has “nodded off” during meetings but he still thought he may have been made inactive in the last two games due to a clause in his contract that pays him $500,000 if he is on the game-day active list 12 times during the season.

On Thursday, Post columnist Sally Jenkins published a piece that took some unveiled shots at Griffin, calling him “an unteachable know it all” who has “the owner on speed dial” and is “calling all the shots” on the Redskins. Although Jenkins lives in New York and is rarely around Redskins Park, she does have connections in the organization so it would be a mistake to dismiss the column out of hand.

Going on sort of in the background all week was a war of words between former Redskins tight end and current radio talker Chris Cooley and ex-Redskins defensive tackle and current, well, nothing really, Albert Haynesworth. In the exchange, Haynesworth took a shot at Mike Shanahan, calling him, among other things, “conniving”. That prompted a response by Shanahan, who said that Haynesworth had the triple crown of issues: “lazy, lack of passion and a lot of times a lack of character.”

That drew a good laugh from many in the media and fans who remember the bad old days when Haynesworth was lying down on the field while the Eagles’ Mike Vick was scrambling circles around the defense. But it was one more layer of potential distraction in a week that was full of them.

It didn’t seem like the players who weren’t directly involved in the various incidents paid much attention to them. Players in the locker room were asked about what Meriweather said about going for the knees and about the topic of the emphasis on high hits in general. That’s part of the game. But if players were asked to respond to “suck at passing”, Davis nodding off, Griffin as an “unteachable know it all”, or Cooley and Shanahan vs. Haynesworth it was very limited and not enough to be an issue.

If the Redskins do lose to the Chargers it will be because Griffin still isn’t quite sharp enough to break through San Diego’s bend-but-don’t-break defense or because Philip Rivers is playing out of his mind or due to some other on-field factor. It won’t be because of some things that distracted the fans and media but didn’t have much of an effect on the players who will line up today.

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In case you missed it

Sunday 10.27

Monday 10.28

Tuesday 10.29

Wednesday 10.30

Thursday 10.31

Friday 11.01

Saturday 11.02

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Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway. 

Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.

For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board. 

On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call. 

From Campbell:

The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”

Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.

The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

The Redskins may or may not have one of the most polarizing members of the 2017 draft class on their draft board. But they do believe that character counts.

Scott Campbell, the Redskins’ director of college scouting, would not say if  Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who is seen on video striking a woman and knocking her to the floor in an incident that occurred in July of 2014, is on the team’s board.

“We don't announce who's on and off the board for strategic reasons,” said Campbell on Monday at the team’s pre-draft news conference, saying that it’s the team’s policy.

He added that incidents like the one that Mixon was a part of do come into consideration.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

“Character is very important to me, it's very important to the Redskins,” said Campbell.

He explained that early in the scouting process, character issues are not taken into account.

“What I always told the scouts and how I was trained 30 years ago when I started is when you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don't factor in the character, you don't grade character, you grade talent,” said Campbell, who has been with the Redskins organization for 16 years. “You don't throw away somebody early who may have some redeeming quality or a part of the story you didn't know about.”

It’s later on that the scouts gather information on such incidents as problems with the law, failed drug tests, and other quarters of character.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often 

“Our scouts do a great job getting a lot of information,” said Campbell. “Some of the incidents you brought up happened after the season, at the combine, and just a few days ago. All those things are factored into an evaluation as they are gathered.”

With that information at hand, they start the process of elimination, deciding who fits and who doesn’t.

“When it comes close to the draft, you start weeding out all that, getting more information, deciding, OK, that guy's not our kind of guy, that guy's not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted but good luck to them,” said Campbell.

It seems like much more of a gut feel type of process than anything rigid. There is not much of a clue there as to whether or not the team will consider bringing Mixon aboard, who is inarguably one of the most talented running backs in the draft. The upside is that Mixon could provide a jolt to the team’s offense. The downside would be an immediate public relations hit. The team also must consider what will happen if Mixon were to run afoul of the NFL’s domestic abuse policy in the future, which calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense with penalties getting progressively worse if problems persist.

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.