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Rock bolsters Skins’ stability

Rock bolsters Skins’ stability

Today, for the first time in almost a week, Dan Snyder dusted off the checkbook and signed a player. It was the Redskins' second signing of the free agency period and, like the first one, backup quarterback Todd Collins, the player wore the burgundy and gold last season.

In fact, Rock Cartwright has been a Redskin for his entire six-year career. He was the last player the team selected in the 2002 draft (7th round). At 5-7 he had to fight to get noticed and establish a niche on the team.

His carries from scrimmage are few and far between, 146 in his career, just seven in the past two seasons combined.

But he's found a place on special teams, playing on most of them and getting his hands on the ball regularly as the kickoff returner. Usually fielding the ball and going straight ahead, trying to find a seam, Cartwright averaged 25.8 yards per return, ninth-best in the NFL.

According to Vinny Cerrato, the contract is for three years, about $3 million with a $300,000 signing. It had been reported that Cartwright was seeking $2 million in guaranteed money in a new deal. While the exact amount in guarantees beyond the $300,000 is not known, but it's certainly far less than $2 million.

In keeping Cartwright, the team takes one more step towards maintaining some semblance of continuity. That seemed to be impossible in mid-January after it was announced that Gregg Williams would not replace Joe Gibbs as head coach and that Al Saunders would be gone as well.

And, certainly, it's not exactly going to be business as usual in Ashburn this year as neophyte Jim Zorn replaces Hall of Fame member Gibbs as head coach and the well-regarded Saunders as kingpin of the offense.

Every NFL team, though, undergoes some transformation from January to September. The retention of reserves Collins and Cartwright to go along with the 22 starters who are under contract for 2008 means that what has been a tight locker room will remain largely unchanged.

 

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Award Tour: JP & Tandler select Redskins Offensive Player of the Year

Award Tour: JP & Tandler select Redskins Offensive Player of the Year

With the 2017 offseason about to kick into high gear, Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler are going to take one last look at 2016 in the coming days. That’s right, it’s time to hand out awards for Coach of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year.

We’ve picked our top coaches and the Special Teams. and defensive POY’s. Today we select the Offensive Player of the Year.

Tandler: I don’t see any need to overthink this. The Redskins set a team record for total offensive yards in a season and it was mostly due to the play of Kirk Cousins. He shattered his own team records in nearly every major passing stat. He was a steady hand as the line underwent some turmoil with the suspension of Trent Williams and injury situations. His primary running backs were a fumble-prone second-year player and an undrafted rookie. The team’s best pass catcher, tight end Jordan Reed, missed four games with injuries and he was obviously hampered by a shoulder injury in a few others. Cousins did slump towards the end of the season and the interception he threw late in the season finale killed off the Redskins’ playoff chances. But he was the one primarily responsible for the team posting winning record in consecutive seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: I kinda wanted to overthink this but Tandler yelled at me. DeSean Jackson was arguably the Redskins best threat, and Pierre Garçon was the most dependable player on the team. Jordan Reed showed how great he can be, but injuries limited his performance. In the end, the award goes to Kirk Cousins. It has to. The guy nearly threw for 5,000 yards and he broke his own passing record that he set last season. What happens before the March 1 franchise deadline not withstanding, Cousins was the 'Skins best offensive player in 2016.

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