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Redskins offense still gets high marks

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Redskins offense still gets high marks

Offense
Grade vs. Bengals: B
Comment: Aftera second consecutive loss, youve really got to squint in order to see a silver lining. But if you do, youll realize that the Redskins possess one of the leagues most explosive offenses.

And that, at the very least, makes Sunday afternoons in Washington much more bearable.

Robert Griffin III and the offense got off to a slow start against the suspect Bengals' defense. But after a number of astute adjustments at halftime, the unit managed to overcome a 14-point deficit on back-to-back possessions to start the third quarter, methodically covering 80 and 86 yards, respectively.

Unfortunately for the home team, Griffin was unable to author a comeback on the teams final possession, which began at the Washington 2-yard line and ended with a third-and-50-to-go after a sack, a false start and Kyle Shanahans meltdown on the sideline.

But the loss shouldnt obscure this fact: After years of mediocrity (and worse) on offense, the Redskins finally have a potent unit capable of producing points almost on demand. And, at the moment, theyre doing it without the services of the teams second most dangerous weapon behind Griffin wide receiver Pierre Garon, who's sidelined with a foot injury.

Despite Garon's absence, the Redskins lead the NFL in points scored with 99 and the offense ranks sixth in yards per game with 404.3. Last season, they surpassed 400 yards only three times and did not reach 99 points until their sixth contest.

On Sunday, Griffin led the team in rushing with 85 yards and fellow rookie Alfred Morris had 78, making him the first Redskins running back since Stephen Davis in 1999 to open the season with three straight 75-yard or better rushing performances.

The coaching staff also showed some creativity by using Brandon Banks on the option. Twice in the third quarter, Banks was on the receiving end of pitches from Griffin, the first of which he carried for 21 yards.

The 213 yards they racked up on the ground were the most in 77 regular season games.

But there are a couple of concerns going forward. After initially saying he did not believe Griffin was absorbing too many hits, Coach Mike Shanahan reversed course Monday and acknowledged as much, saying, You dont want a quarterback taking as many shots as he did Sunday, thats for sure.

Some of the shots Griffin received Sunday were the result of him carrying the ball 12 times. Others were the result of poor blocking from an offensive line that could be without both starting tackles in Tampa.

Which brings us to the other concern. Jammal Brown has been sidelined all season and its possible the Redskins could also be without Trent Williams against the Buccaneers. Williams suffered a knee injury against the Bengals and if he cant suit up, his replacement will be Jordan Black, a journeyman who was not in the NFL last season.

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Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Need to Know: Will the Redskins be interested in C Mangold, RB Murray?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 27, 2 days before the March 1 NFL franchise tag deadline.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/2) 3
—Start of NFL free agency (3/9) 10
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 49
—NFL Draft (4/27) 59
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 195

Monday morning Redskins musings as free agency approaches

1. It appears that the Raiders are going to let Latavius Murray, who rushed for over 1,800 yards combined in the last two seasons, test free agency.

I’d be surprised if the Redskins showed any interest. I’m not sure that they will be jumping into the RB free agent pool, at least not into the deep (expensive) end of it. They might draft a back to compete with Rob Kelley, Matt Jones, and Mack Brown. Chris Thompson will remain the third-down back.

2. Do you wonder why the Redskins have been reluctant to draft a safety?

Eventually, someone will need to figure out the safety position in the NFL. With all the spread offenses that safeties face in college the safeties have become more like additional corner. Also, the better defensive backs in college want to be cornerbacks because it pays better in the pros. The pool coming out is generally small to begin with and then it shrinks even further for each team due to the scheme factors that Farrar discusses. Su'a Cravens could be the solution to one safety spot for the Redskins but they continue to be in search of someone to pair with him. 

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

3. The Jets allowed C Nick Mangold to announce his own release. He was one of the best centers of the past decade; Mangold went to seven Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro twice. But I don’t see him being of interest to the Redskins. They are happy with Spencer Long and even if they weren’t, Mangold is 33 and he missed half of last season with an ankle injury. Those factors likely will make the Redskins steer clear.

4. Maybe some fans don’t care if they are getting information from the team through the media at the combine. Or at the Senior Bowl. Or anywhere. And it is the team’s option to have someone available or not during most of the offseason (a press conference prior to the draft is mandatory). But they are missing out on a chance to give their side of the story.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

5. We have another D-lineman signed as the Panthers retained DE Mario Addison.

Addison, who was with the Redskins for five games in 2012, also had six and 6.5 sacks the previous two year, not bad for a guy who has started just one game in the last three seasons. That average of just over $7 million per year sets another data point for the Redskins to use to try to retain Chris Baker. Addison is a 4-3 end while Baker is a 3-4 end so it’s not an apples to apples comparison but it will help figuring out what a reasonable contract is. Without seeing the details, it looks like Addison gave the Panthers something of a hometown discount as that’s a good price for a guy who was half a sack away from double digits.

In case you missed it

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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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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