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Redskins Good Luck on Injuries?

Redskins Good Luck on Injuries?

The Redskins announced that kicker John Hall will be placed on injured reserve with a torn quadricep, ending the kickers season. From a Washington Times article: "'You can't imagine [a kicker] having three different injuries,' (Joe) Gibbs lamented.

Hall, who missed just one game in his previous seven seasons with the New York Jets and the Redskins, actually suffered four injuries this year: a strained right hamstring in the opener against Tampa Bay, a strained left hamstring the next week, a pulled groin in practice Oct. 14 and the quadricep last Sunday against Philadelphia. "


Injuries have been cited as a big reason for the team's 4-9 record, but it's my impression that the Redskins haven't suffered substantially more injuries than the average NFL team. Let's look at the projected starters who have lost significant time this season:

  • Jon Jansen--Lost for the season before the first snap was taken. Certainly the biggest loss in terms of time and talent. His replacement Ray Brown has been a great story--the oldest player ever to hold down a regular offensive line position--but his level is play isn't nearly up to Jansen's.
  • Michael Barrow--He finally was placed on injured reserve a few weeks ago after being inactive the whole year. Obviously we don't know what he might have done on the field for the defense, but it's hard to imagine that he would have played significantly better than his replacement, Antonio Pierce.
  • Lavar Arrington--Arrington has missed 10 games with a knee injury. Like Barrow, his injury wasn't supposed to keep him out for this long. Unlike Barrow, he is not on IR and might be active this Sunday, although he will not start; Lemar Marshall will keep his starting job. Like Brown, Marshall has been adequate but there is a considerable dropoff from the level of play from the player he's filling in for.
  • Matt Bowen--He went on IR with a knee injury suffered against Baltimore in the fifth game of the season. Bowen was starting to thrive in Gregg Williams' blitzing, gambling defense. Again, his replacement, Ryan Clark, has been adequate.
  • Phillip Daniels--After coming back from missing several games with a groin injury, Daniels broke his hand against the Giants and is gone for the year. Daniels replacements have been many, including Ryan Boschett and Demetric Evans. All of them, including Daniels, have been adequate, no more, no less.

You can put Hall and kick returner Chad Morton, who went on injured reserve with a knee injury after the Oct. 31 game against Green Bay, onto the list of starters who missed significant time. And then Randy Thomas for a game here, Cornelius Griffin for one there, Shawn Springs for the upcoming game. But that's it.

You'll notice that of the major injuries all but Jansen's happened on the defensive side of the ball. That defense has been the strength of the team all year. It's hard to imagine that the unit would have played significantly better with the missing parts in place. It's been the offense that has struggled.

If you look around the league I don't see how you can call that a rash of injuries. The Giants have 14 players, including all but one of their starting defensive linemen and their number three and four wide receiver, on IR. Carolina lost Steve Smith and Stephen Davis, their top wideout and running back, in the early going. The Eagles lost Correll Buckhalter and others during the preseason and played most of their game against Washington without three of their four starting defensive linemen. New England is so ravaged at defensive back that one of its wide receivers, Troy Brown, is tied for the team lead in interceptions.

There have been some looking-towards-next-year articles written by beat writers over the last few weeks that have said that one reason to expect improvement in 2005 is because the horrible luck the Redskins have had in the injury department is bound to get better. To be sure, there are many reasons for optimism for the future, but the Redskins should expect to deal with the same level of injury issues that they did this year since it was about average in terms of number and impact.

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Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 23, four days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 10
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 31
—Training camp starts (7/27) 95
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 140

In search of someone, anyone, to stop the run

One of the areas the Redskins needed to improve last year was their rushing defense on first down. In 2015, they gave up 5.0 yards per carry on first down. That was the worst performance in the league. It’s pretty tough to play defense when a handoff makes it second and five. The Saints, who had a historically bad defense that year, were second, fiving up 4.8 yards a pop.

Well, it was no better for the Redskins defense in 2016. Again, they gave up 5.0 yards per carry on first down, again the worst performance in the league.  Remember, this is on first down, when teams are most likely to run.

The Redskins’ problems on third down were well known. They were dead last in the league allowing first downs on 46.6 percent of third-down attempts. For context, an average performance on third down is allowing about 38 percent and the best teams are around 35 percent.

That doesn’t tell the whole story, however. The Redskins weren’t very good at getting teams to third down. They allowed first downs on 33.8 percent of their opponents’ second-down plays. That put them in the bottom third of the league. Again, you don’t have to look too hard to connect the dots to link that back to the five yards per rushing play on first down. Second and five is a piece of cake most of the time.

You don’t need an advanced degree in statistical analysis to figure out that the Redskins defense isn’t going to get much better if they can’t stop teams from running the ball on first down.

It’s easy to point to the defensive line, which has not been very good, and say that the problem is there. That certainly has something to do with it. But the Redskins didn’t have a very good D-line in 2014 and they allowed 4.1 yards per first-down rushing attempt, a performance that was right at the league average.

The factor that was common in 2015 and 2016 and was different in 2014 was the defensive coordinator. It’s possible that opposing teams found a flaw to exploit in Joe Barry’s scheme that wasn’t there in Jim Haslett’s (which surely had flaws in other places).

But X’s and O’s can only get you so far. The Redskins will be looking to take a defensive lineman early and perhaps use an additional pick or two at the position later in the draft. While getting one who can rush the passer would be a plus, they need a run stuffer who can take snaps on first down and bottle up the ground game.

The focus in the draft will be on the first-round pick but, as has been discussed here many times, that pick is unlikely to be a defensive lineman. There isn’t likely to be one at 17 who would represent good value. That could mean that the Redskins’ second- or third-round pick, perhaps an interior lineman like Caleb Brantley of Florida, Larry Ogunjobi of Charlotte, or Montravius Adams of Auburn, is just as important to the team’s success as the first-round pick.

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.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 22, five days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 20
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 32
—Training camp starts (7/27) 96
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 141

The Redskins week that was

Redskins full 2017 schedule released—Even with the Caps and Wizards in full playoff mode, the DMV stops to take a look and see when the Redskins will be playing. The Thanksgiving game was surprising. It’s another working day but I worked at various places since I was 14 and last year was the first time I’ve had to work on Thanksgiving so I can’t complain too much about working two in a row. It’s a small price to pay for having the best job in the world.

Don't count out any RB for Redskins at 17—Yeah, I know that NFL teams aren’t supposed to take running backs in the first round any more. But that is one of those trends that comes and goes. In 2013 and 2014 there were no RBs taken in the first. Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott in the last couple of years began to shift the thinking. If the Redskins think that Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffrey can help them win games more than any other player on the board they should pull the trigger.

Rise of Patrick Mahomes could bring big payoff for Redskins—It seems likely that quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky will be taken before the Redskins pick at No. 17 goes on the clock. That means that two players in whom the Redskins might be interested will be available, pushed back by the quarter backs. Could Mahomes, out of Texas Tech, push a third player back to Washington. The buzz is that a team might grab him in the first half of the first round.

The Redskins' five best salary cap bargains for 2017—When I started pulling the numbers for this post I thought I’d find more key players with salaries of under $1 million. I only found three and one of them is the kicker. This means that they don’t have very many late-round or undrafted players who are contributing a lot of value. They need more out of players like Anthony Lanier, Matt Ioannidis and Maurice Harris. That is how a team thrives in the salary cap era. A couple of Saturday picks could make or break this draft.

Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often—There are a lot of ways the first 16 picks of this draft can work out. It seems almost certain that everyone’s favorite first-round pick, a stud defensive lineman, won’t be a realistic option on the board. This could send things in an odd direction for the Redskins. It’s fun to do a mock and I’ll do one or two more prior to draft day but there are too many variables to think that it has a high degree of accuracy. 

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.

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