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Redskins fan questions: Rak, O-line, the draft and more

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Redskins fan questions: Rak, O-line, the draft and more

Haven't done this in a while, answering your questions from Twitter and Facebook. Let's jump right into it.
@Rich_TandlerCSN Will the Redskins address the secondary or WR corps with their first pick? #RedskinsTalk

— Eli Nachmany (@PFF_EliNachmany) February 12, 2014
It's too early to even make an intelligent guess. Those certainly are positions of need. But it's better the fill immediate needs in free agency. If you wait until the draft you could end up on the clock without someone who represents good value at your positions of need. Bottom line, I could see them going any position with that 34th overall pick except QB, RB, TE, and, if they do have Brian Orakpo back in the fold, outside linebacker.

I think all scenarios are in play. I wrote yesterday that they might want to jump up into the end of the first round to get an extra year of team control for the their top pick. I could also see them moving back and getting additional picks. When you have 20 unrestricted free agents you are going to have roster spots to fill and it's better to fill the bottom of the roster with draft picks than with journeyman veterans. So they could grab some extra picks as well.
@Rich_TandlerCSN #RedskinsTalk Rak healthy in '13 and the defense was horrible. He wasn't part of '12 run. Why so critical we sign him?

— Brandon Moore (@habimaki88) February 12, 2014
I'm trying to recall what was so great about that 2012 defense. Was it the No. 28 ranking in yards (18th this year)? The 32 sacks (36 last year)? Not to say that the '13 unit was clearly superior but it is a stretch to say that the '12 run had much to do with the defense. It was all about a healthy rookie QB named RG3 and a rookie running back named Alfred Morris. And even that team wasn't that good. They were the 4th seed and one and done in the playoffs. If that's the ceiling of what you want then I suppose you could stick with Rob Jackson at outside LB. I would think that most Redskins fans want better than that, something like 12 or 13 wins and a first-round bye. Players like Orakpo help you get there so that is why they need to bring him back.

I also wonder about the retention of Chris Foerster. There may have been better options out there. But he didn't pick what he had to work with. It's remarkable that the Redskins were able to lead the NFL in rushing and in yards per play last year given the talent (and I use that word loosely) he had to work with. It wasn't Foerster's call to leave Tom Compton, Adam Gettis, and Josh LeRibeus on the bench after the season was lost. That was Mike Shanahan's call all the way. One good thing about retaining Foerster is that he's been on the practice field and in meeting rooms with the three 2012 draft picks and he should have a good handle on if they have to potential to contribute this year.
#RedskinsTalk will Chase Minnifield get an opportunity for a significant role on the team next year?

— James Eye (@Jaeye18) February 12, 2014
Let's throw Bacarri Rambo into here since they are in similar situations. Remember last year when Niles Paul was talking about the team not having enough players who were enthusiastic about playing on special teams? Minnifield and Rambo didn't show much enthusiasm for special teams. They both could have been active every week if they had balled out on special teams. When you're a sixth-round pick or an undrafted free agent that's how you earn snaps on defense. To answer the question, the amount of opportunity that Minnifield gets will be in direct proportion to the ability, effort, and enthusiasm he gives to special teams.

I get that concern but it's not really an apples to apples comparison. It's not as though Bruce Allen and/or Doug Williams had final say on personnel. By the time Allen got there that power mostly belonged to Jon Gruden. Taking that into consideration, the Bucs were far from a disaster when Allen/Williams were there. They had three winning records and two playoff appearances in five years (and, yes, double-digit losses in the other two years). Allen/Gruden were fired after back-to-back 9-7 seasons. Around here that would be grounds for a contract extension, not a pink slip. And firing the coach and GM wasn't necessarily the smartest move for the Bucs. That 10-6 season they had in 2010, two years after Allen was fired, has the look of a fluke. It's their only winning record since Allen/Gruden left and it's buried in three double-digit loss seasons.

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Goal to go situations another problem area for Redskins' defense

Goal to go situations another problem area for Redskins' defense

In the third quarter of the Redskins’ Week 3 game against the Giants, New York drove to a first and goal at the Washington 10. A Trent Murphy sack and two incompletions later, Josh Brown came in and kicked a field goal.

Since then, opponents have had goal to go situations 12 times. They have scored touchdowns on every one of them.

The stop against the Giants was one of just two all year. They had one against the Cowboys in Week 2. Their opponents’ goal to go success rate is 90.5 percent. That’s the second worst in the NFL.

The failures have been costly. On Sunday, the Cardinals recovered a Kirk Cousins fumble and returned it to the Washington 10. The Redskins led 13-10 at the time and coming out of that situation with the game tied would have been large. But on third and goal at the six Carson Palmer hit Michael Floyd with a touchdown pass and the Cardinals had both the lead and the momentum.

Opponents usually haven’t had to work that hard. Teams have run 21 plays in goal to go and they have 10 touchdowns.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys got to goal to go three times. A stop on any one of them would have been a boost to the Redskins and would have changed the dynamic of the game. But Dallas was three for three.

The goal to go problems are a subset of the Redskins’ problems with red zone defense in general. Opponents have scored touchdowns on 27 of 40 red zone trips, a 67.5 percent success rate that puts the Redskins 30th in the NFL.  

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NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

The NFC East was a beast for a while, but in recent weeks, the division is fading. All the teams outside of Dallas lost this weekend, and losing streaks are popping up throughout the I-95 Corridor. Here's the NFC East update:

  1. The Minnesota Vikings gave the Dallas Cowboys all they could handle last Thursday night, and yet, the Cowboys won 17-15. Dak Prescott was not impressive in Minneapolis, but Ezekiel Elliott was and the Cowboys defense did just enough to slow the Vikings terrible offense. At 11-1, Dallas has clinched a playoff berth, and with a date in New York this Sunday night, Jerry Jones' crew has a chance to avenge their only loss of the year, which came in Week 1 to the Giants.
  2. It seemed expectations met reality for the New York Giants last Sunday in Pittsburgh. Ben McAdoo's team had won six games in a row, but largely, faced poor competition. In their first tough test since the leaves started falling, Eli Manning's offense could not get going and the Giants fell to 8-4, still in possession of the first NFC Wild Card spot. Even on their win streak, the Giants didn't pass many eye tests. Beat Dallas on Sunday night and all that changes.
  3. Two weeks ago the Washington Redskins were one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Winners of two straight and with a surging Kirk Cousins, the Redskins marched to Dallas on Thanksgiving and gave the Cowboys a real test. Despite the loss, Washington still held its spot with the second NFC Wild Card. After a deflating loss in Arizona, now the 'Skins are on the outside looking in of the playoffs. Good news for Jay Gruden and company: The team can get right back in the thick of things this week in Philly, and the remaining four-game schedule looks advantageous. 
  4. While the Redskins have lost two in a row and are in danger of falling out of the playoff race, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost three in a row and look to be falling apart. Rookie QB Carson Wentz is devoid of offensive weapons to work with and the Eagles have been outscored 85-42 in their last three games. Philly can get their first NFC East win this week with the 'Skins visiting, but it will take a different effort than they've shown in the last month.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!