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Need to Know: Will the Redskins tackle better in 2014?

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins tackle better in 2014?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 14, 10 days before the Redskins start training camp.

Three and out

—The Redskins’ top six tacklers last year were inside linebackers Perry Riley and London Fletcher, cornerbacks Josh Wilson and DeAngelo Hall, and safeties Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty. Those same six also led the team in missed tackles (per Pro Football Focus). Wilson, Doughty, and Fletcher are gone as of this year; will the team miss fewer tackles? Doughty, who missed 13 tackles last year, will be replaced by Ryan Clark, who also missed 13 with the Steelers last year so that could be a wash. We don’t have a track record on Keenan Robinson, the solid favorite to win Fletcher’s old Mike linebacker job, so we really don’t know how that will work out. David Amerson will take Wilson’s spot; here is where the Redskins have a shot at improvement. Wilson played 982 snaps and missed 16 tackles, one miss every 61 snaps. Amerson missed seven tackles in 694 snaps, a miss every 99 snaps.

—If you want to put Alfred Morris’ decline in yardage from over 1,613 yards in 2012 to 1,275 last year under the microscope, you really don’t have to look past his first down carries. If you look at Morris’ 2012 season, he could have been a very valuable runner based on his first-down carries alone. He carried 202 times on first for 1,037 yards (a 5.13 average) and 10 touchdowns. Last year, his production fell to 164 attempts for 747 yards (4.55 average) and five touchdowns.

— While the numbers go on Morris’ stat sheet, anyone who watched the games last year knows that he was hardly to blame for many of the issues. Frequently, Morris couldn’t get going due to predicable play calling and/or suspect blocking. He gained one, zero, or negative yards on 48 of his first-down carries. If you take out the zero-yard and negative plays his average would jump to 6.0 yards per carry. The takeaway here is that if they can give Morris a fighting chance to get moving forward they can find themselves in second and four a lot more often than they face second and 12.

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Timeline

—It’s been 197 days since the Redskins played a game; in 55 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 24; Final cuts 47; Home opener Jaguars @ Redskins 63

Open Mic: Is RG3 back to his old form?

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In case you missed it

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Jamison Crowder's touchdown dance was better than his touchdown

Jamison Crowder's touchdown dance was better than his touchdown

Among all the darkness and depression that has followed after the Redskins' 31-23 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, one bright, shining light has emerged: Jamison Crowder's touchdown celebration.

Late in the third quarter, the second-year wideout was on the receiving end of a 26-yard Kirk Cousins strike, which put his team in the lead on the game's scoreboard by three. However, it's what he did post-catch that put his team in the lead by a far larger margin on the swagboard.

Feast your eyes on this dance, and if you've already seen it, feast your eyes on it again. And again. And AGAIN:

Do you see how much Juju he put on that beat? And did you catch how he gave the ref a little somethin'-somethin' right at the end of the sequence? Calling that flawless would be an insult to Crowder.

Apparently, Jay Gruden was heard screaming at his players in the locker room as they were processing the matchup's result Sunday night. Is it possible he was just loudly complimenting Crowder's moves?

MORE REDSKINS: BARRY, COUSINS BOTH COOL OFF IN OUR REPORT CARD

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Redskins report card vs. Cardinals: Cousins cools off

Redskins report card vs. Cardinals: Cousins cools off

Here is my report card on various aspects of the Redskins 31-23 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. I didn't cover everything, feel free to hit on what I missed in the comments.

A

Week after week Pierre Garçon just leaves it out on the field. All he does is produce.

It’s getting to the point where you can say the same thing about Jamison Crowder.

B

After he struggled against the Cowboys, Rob Kelley was his normal self against the Cardinals. For Kelley, "normal" means getting a couple of yards more than the play was blocked for and popping off a few runs of 10-plus yards. It looks like Matt Jones will continue to be inactive and Mack Brown will continue to look for his first NFL carry. 

This may be a little high for Jay Gruden but I liked that he got angry after the game. He could be heard ripping into his players through closed doors after the game. If a coach does that after every loss the players will tune him out eventually. This was the right time for Gruden to play that card. His game strategy was OK but I might have gone for a touchdown from the one yard line in the first half instead of having Dustin Hopkins kick his second 20-yard field goal in ad many games. 

C

All hot streaks come to an end at some point and Kirk Cousins' run of putting up elite performance on a weekly basis ended on Sunday. Yes, he was under some degree of pressure on many of his dropbacks but even when he had time he just wasn't sharp. He did have some top-drawer passes like the 59-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson that set up the Redskins' first touchdown. But for every one of those, a couple of other throws missed the mark.

D

If you read much of what I write you probably know that I am much more apt to point the finger at the players for defensive problems than the coaches. But on Sunday the Cardinals were a step ahead of Joe Barry's defensive calls all day long, especially on plays involving David Johnson. Arizona had scored over 30 points just twice this season before Sunday.

The offense was bad on third down situations, converting just five of 11. The defense was worse as the Cardinals moved the chains on 10 of 16. And don’t forget that one other Arizona third-down try in the fourth quarter got them close enough to go for it on fourth down and they just about sealed up the game on David Johnson’s run. Just not a good day on either side.