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Patience

Patience

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

It’s situation normal among the Redskins faithful, which means a state of near hysterical overreaction. The complainers are saying that coaches, including Joe Gibbs, need to be fired and that players such as Robert Royal should be cut immediately. The lack of a first-round pick to tank games for is a particular irritant to many. The franchise is doomed, doomed. A period of incompetence of Cardinal-like proportions is inevitable. Those who don’t normally complain are, of course, complaining about the complainers.

That’s what three straight close, gut-wrenching losses will do to the high-strung Redskins Nation. Patience is not a virtue under such dire circumstances. Punishment for those deemed responsible for the losses must be swift and extreme.

Patience, of course, is exactly what’s called for here.

Progress is being made. Let’s take a walk down memory lane all the way back to 2004. After 11 games, the Redskins were 3-8. They were coming off of a three-game losing streak. The losses were to Cincinnati at home by 17-10 and to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on the road by 28-6 and 16-7 respectively. None of those games were as close as the final score indicated.

In fact, there is this mythology floating around that the Redskins lost close ones last year, they are losing them this year, ergo there has been no progress. That’s just silly. It is true that seven of their 10 losses last year were by seven points or less. However, you can’t tell me that the Giants game at the Meadowlands, a six-point loss, was the same as yesterday’s game, also a six-point loss. They lost to Dallas by three at home but in the end it would have taken a miracle for them to win. It would have taken just a few first downs for them to beat Oakland in that three-point defeat.

Of those seven “close” losses, only two were truly competitive at the end. Only in those last two close losses, vs. Philadelphia at FedEx and at Dallas, did the Redskins have either a possession deep in the opponents’ territory with a chance to win in the late going (as they did against the Eagles) or a late lead that was snatched away (as was the case in Texas Stadium).

OK, losses are losses and it’s not a great situation if you have to compare the quality of one variety of loss to another. So let’s talk wins. The Redskins have won four close games this year. It’s not unreasonable to predict that, given their upcoming schedule, the Redskins will improve their win total from last year by at least two games, perhaps even three. That’s progress in wins as well as in the “quality” of the losses.

The point here is not to say that being critical of the performance of players or questioning the plays called by a coach, even those of Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, is out of line. It is done in this space on a regular basis. What the doubters need to keep in mind, however, is that Gibbs is constantly evolving. He’s not going to huff, “What we do works!” and that is that. He will examine the way he is doing things and if it’s not working he will change it. If a particular player isn’t producing, Gibbs will put him in situations where he can be successful.

Those who would cut multiple players and/or fire coaches need to learn the virtues of sticking to a plan. Suppose your lawn was a mess and you worked on it and worked on it until it looked pretty good except for this one patch of crabgrass that just wouldn’t go away. Would you bring in a bulldozer and dig up the whole yard to try to get rid of the one problem area? Or do you stick with what you’ve been doing and, since it’s gotten you this far, have confidence that it will be able to take you the rest of way?

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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.