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Notes on the News

Notes on the News

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

After a lull following the burst of free agent signings a couple of weeks ago, there have been a few Redskins-related news stories. There wasn’t enough there on any of them to warrant a story, but now that we have a small collection of things built up, here goes:

  • The Redskins sign backup offensive line help—The Redskins came to terms with offensive linemen Tyson Walter and Mike Pucillo, adding depth to that unit. With Ray Brown’s retirement and the cutting of Cory Raymer, there was no experienced depth. Walter and Pucillo have similar resumes; both are entering their fifth NFL season and each has spent some time as a starter. Walter was Dallas’ starting center for eight games in 2002 and Pucillo was Buffalo’s starter at guard for 12 games in 2003. They are both 6-4 and over 300 pounds. Neither is expected to challenge for a starting job. Their former teams did not make much of an effort to retain their services. Joe Gibbs thinks that Joe Bugel can take the two big bodies and make serviceable backups out of them.
  • Washington will open the season on Monday night hosting Minnesota—The NFL released some of its opening weekend schedule and the Redskins will be kicking off ESPN’s coverage of Monday night football with a game at FedEx Field against Minnesota. A couple of guys who know that stadium well, Brad Johnson and Fred Smoot, will be returning wearing purple. The Redskins will be hoping that Andre Carter will head an unfriendly welcome-home committee for Johnson and that Smoot will have his head turned around a few times by trying to figure out who among Santana Moss, Brandon Lloyd, and Antwaan Randle El he should cover. The early opening Bold Prediction: Lloyd and Randle El both score touchdowns and the Redskins roll 31-10.
  • Washington will get a seventh-round compensatory pick in the upcoming draft—The Redskins were awarded the 250th overall pick in the upcoming draft as compensation for losing Smoot and Antonio Pierce as unrestricted free agents. These picks are awarded based on a formula that is kept super double secret by the NFL. It’s based on the net value of the contracts the free agents you lose sign minus the contracts that you use to acquire UFA’s. They can’t trade the pick, which has to be a disappointment to Gibbs and company, who have a propensity for doing so.
  • Derrick Dockery signs his contract tender—The Redskins starting left guard took himself off of the restricted free agent market by signing the Redskins tender offer. That means that Dockery will be back for the 2006 season. After that, though, he will become an unrestricted free agent unless the Redskins can sign him to a long-term deal. The good news is that he is the only starter that is not under a contract that runs thorough at least 2007.
  • Sean Taylor shows up at offseason workouts—The Redskins safety apparently changed his mind after his attorney said on Sunday that he would not be there for the OTA’s. Redskins.com treated the change of heart as a reporting error, leading its story on Taylor’s presence at Redskins Park by saying, “Contrary to a report published in Monday's Washington Post, safety Sean Taylor was in attendance for the start of voluntary off-season workouts at Redskins Park on Monday.” Come on, guys. The Post was accurately reporting a statement from Taylor’s own lawyer, who today said that they decided that his legal case could be prepared with Taylor just being there on weekends. That would be kind of like if the Post reported that the Redskins were trailing at halftime and then the team calling the paper’s report inaccurate because the team came back to win the game.
  • Jason Campbell and Shawn Springs were at the Verizon Center on Sunday—OK, that’s a cheap way of working in the story of the year in sports and a story that has transcended sports, the presence on my alma mater, George Mason University, in the NCAA Final Four. I’ll admit right off the bat that I couldn’t have named a single player on the team prior to the start of the NCAA tourney, so I’m not going to get into any of this “we” stuff. I’ll also have to admit that I thought the Patriots were cooked after that reverse layup that hung on the rim until after the final buzzer fell in the basket, sending the game into overtime. Virtually everyone but Jim Larranaga and the dozen or so guys on the team thought so, too. But the Patriots continued to play loose and composed basketball, just like they had for every one of the 160 minutes leading up to that final five minutes. And they hit five of six shots in overtime and survived the second buzzer-beater attempt for the win. There will be no bold predictions here as to how George Mason will fare in Indianapolis. I will, however, ask the simple question: Why not the Patriots?

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book chronicles every game the Redskins played from the day they came to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. You can get details and information on how to order at http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan spoke to CBS Sports' Pete Prisco about the loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl and how the Falcons will rebound in 2017. 

In the process, he took a shot at former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's play-calling and put some of the blame on his style of coaching for the disastrous fourth quarter.

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan said. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

Those are some harsh words from Ryan and not exactly a ringing endorsement of Kyle Shanahan. This loss will surely haunt him should he never get back to another Super Bowl.

"There's always going to be a little sting," Ryan said. "You never lose that. Hopefully we've got four Super Bowl victories after this one, but that doesn't mean we won't still be like, 'Damn, let's talk about the other one we should've had."

Redskins fans may be able to relate to Matt Ryan's pain as some were vocal about Kyle Shanahan's play-calling during his time in Washington. Maybe Kirk Cousins takes notice of Ryan's comments as well before he considers San Francisco next off-season.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS STATEMENT WAS A MISTAKE, BUT WON'T HAVE IMPACT ON THE FIELD

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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

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Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

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