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Redskins Ponder WR Options

Redskins Ponder WR Options

During his one-hour appearance on WJFK radio on Wednesday, Joe Gibbs gave a few hints as to what the team’s strategy will be for the free agent signing period that starts next month and for the April College draft.

The clearest statement he made was:

We would like to solve everything that we could on our football team in free agency

The team would then enter the draft with the idea of being able to “free wheel it” and take the best available player rather than drafting for need.

His other concrete comment was that the team would not be interested in free agent receiver Plaxico Burress and Carolina receiver Mushin Muhammad.

With (Muhammad) and Plaxico, what you're talking about is big bucks.

Clearly, since the team has announced that it is seeking to trade Rod Gardner, receiver would have to be considered a need. With Muhammad and Burress apparently out of the picture, who does that leave? Perhaps David Patten could be persuaded to leave the Patriots and give the Redskins a solid, blue-collar performer who could be had for a blue-collar price.

Beyond that, the other options at the moment are inconsistent and overpriced, like Jerry Porter, or has-beens like Joey Galloway or never-were’s like Tai Streets. There are certain to be a few cap casualties at the position, but the likes of Az-Zahir Hakim and David Terrell make that potential list of choices sound like the proverbial waiver wire from hell.

And the competition for this limited talent will be fierce. Just look in the Skins’ own division; Philly certainly should be looking to upgrade from Alan “Alligator Arms” Pinkston and Freddie “The Mouth” Mitchell, the Giants are happy with their receiver corps and you have to think that Bill Parcells isn’t happy with his group of Quincy Morgan, Keyshawn, and Ms. Terry Glenn.

Should nothing fall into place in free agency, the other option is to be not-so free wheeling in the draft and nab either Michigan’s Braylon Edwards or USC’s Mike Williams with the ninth overall pick. That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad way to go but remember that receivers rarely contribute consistently until their third year.

Speaking of receivers in their third season, it’s possible that the team will give Taylor Jacobs the opportunity to win the starting job. He showed some promise last year after losing most of his rookie season to a freak abdominal injury.

In fact, the Redskins just may need to give Jacobs a shot and either draft a receiver late or go for someone who is a second- or third-tier free agent. After all, since 2001 the Redskins have invested two firsts (drafting Gardner and compensation for Laveranues Coles) and a second (Jacobs) in the position. You can’t go on spending that many high draft picks and, in the case of Coles, large chunks of cap money on one position and expect to be in a position to win.

True, all three of those receivers were brought in by previous coaching staffs. But that shouldn’t matter to Joe Gibbs. You would think that a man who could adjust his offense so that Alvin Garrett could replace the injured Art Monk as a starter in and catch three touchdown passes in one playoff game and another one in the Super Bowl could figure out a way to get the ball in Taylor Jacobs’ hands several dozen times next year.

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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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