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Savior Fatigue

Savior Fatigue

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

I would like to apologize for the low quality my Redskins Blog Ver. 01.22.06. The piece was rambling and incoherent and it never quite made it to any point that it may have been laboring towards. That is generally what happens when I have no passion for what I’m writing about. And I find it very difficult to get worked up one way or the other over the installation of Al Saunders as el jefe of the Redskins offense.

On the positive side, it’s Joe Gibbs’ idea. Since his return two years ago, there have been two kinds of moves made by Gibbs. There were those that everyone hailed and agreed with at the time that turned out well, like drafting Sean Taylor and Carlos Rogers,. And there were those that many greeted with incredulity at the time they were made that turned out just fine, like trading Coles for Moss and giving Brunell another shot.

And Al Saunders is certainly a quality hire. His resume is impeccable. Like Gibbs, he has a reputation for sleeping at the office during the week According to Peter King of SI.com, his attention to detail is such that he won’t call the same play more than once in any four-game stretch.

By the way, King likes this move and that is one of the things that makes me ambivalent about it. I mean, all of those years of bashing everything that the Redskins did and now, all of a sudden, he’s singing Hail right along with the rest of Redskins Nation.

I suspect I know why. In a column in the Kansas City Star, Jason Whitlock was among the few in KC who didn’t bemoan the departure of Saunders:
Breaking news: Al Saunders did not invent the game of football.

This news, I’m sure, will shock many of my media brethren here in Kansas City, particularly those who earn a living hosting radio shows.

Saunders, however, did perfect the art of making insecure media members feel like they’re the next Howard Cosell. Saunders scored more points with members of the media than the Chiefs did on the football field during Saunders’ tenure as offensive coordinator.

Saunders returned every phone call, made love to every microphone put in his face.Whitlock tries to make a case that Saunders is just a glad-handing empty headset, a notion that is not supported by the facts. And there’s nothing wrong with trying hard to build good relations with the media. If that is indeed the case with Saunders, a few in the Redskins organization could learn from him. But back to King, you have to think that one of the main reasons that he’s happy about Saunders’ new job is that he’ll finally have someone at Redskins Park who will return his phone calls. Gibbs doesn’t play that game, not with King, not with anybody. King just can’t wait to write something like, “I was talking to Al Saunders on my home phone, but I had to cut him short when my cell rang and it was Mike Holmgren.”

That’s just a sidebar, of course. I really don’t care what King or Whitlock think about all of this. My lack of enthusiasm is tied into a syndrome I’ll call Savior Fatigue.

Ever since the Redskins’ fortunes went south in 1993, we have seen a constant stream of players and coaches who were supposed to be The One, the man who was supposed to be the final piece of the puzzle. We were supposed just pop Dana Stubblefield into the defensive line or have Ray Rhodes don the headset as defensive coordinator and double-digit wins and playoff runs would follow. You can even go back to Heath Shuler and Michael Westbrook or back just a few seasons to Marvin Lewis to find the causes of Savior Fatigue. I don’t think I have to go into any more agonizing detail for those reading this to know what I’m talking about.

Certainly, going back to my first point, there is a qualitative difference here in that this move was made by Gibbs, The One if there ever was one. But while he’s had the Midas touch this time around, he did trade up to draft Desmond Howard and insist that Bobby Beathard trade away a first for Gerald Riggs. Everyone goofs every once in a while.

Besides that, the Savior Fatigue syndrome is just too deep seeded for me to jump in and join in the group high fives that are currently being exchanged among the Burgundy and Gold clad faithful. Saunders may be the one who came here from Missouri, but he’s going to have to show me before I get all giddy over his presence at Redskins Park.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book chronicles every game the Redskins played from 1937 through 2001. It is available at www.RedskinsGames.com

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Need to Know: Five pre-training camp questions for Jay Gruden

Need to Know: Five pre-training camp questions for Jay Gruden

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 26, one day before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 206 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 46 days.

Today’s schedule: Players report to training camp for physicals and conditioning test. Jay Gruden news conference 2 p.m.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 15
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 24
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 38

Five pre-camp questions for Jay Gruden

RICHMOND—The media portion of training camp gets underway on Wednesday as Jay Gruden holds his pre-camp presser at 2 pm at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center (that’s probably the last time I’ll use the full name of the facility).

Here are some questions we will ask of Gruden as he enters his fourth season as the Redskins head coach.

Will Kirk Cousins’ contract situation be a distraction? This must be asked, even though we know that the answer will be no. Yes, Cousins handled a similar situation just fine last year. But a quarterback playing on a second franchise tag is unprecedented. Certainly, Gruden has to guard against things getting out of hand if the season starts to turn sour.

In his fourth training camp, what is he doing now that he wishes he would have done in 2014? One very visible change has been a reduction in the amount of contact that takes place on the field. Will this continue to decline or, give the issues the team had tackling last year, will it ramp up? What used to be the morning practice and afternoon walkthrough were flipped a couple of years ago. Has there been any thought to changing it back?

How has the adjustment process to having so many new coaches gone so far? The Redskins have new coordinators on both sides of the ball and several new position coaches. As happens when any group of co-workers gets added to a workplace, there is an adjustment period. In the NFL, the coaches have to get up to speed with each other in a hurry.

Will Gruden use the season-ending loss to the Giants as a motivational/learning tool or just bury it in the past? It’s a fine line between learning from past mistakes and dwelling on them. While Cousin should make sure that he doesn’t throw another late-game interception like the one he threw in that game, he can’t have it spook him to the point where he can’t pull the trigger on a pass late in a close game. How Gruden handles the 2016 finale could have a major effect on how 2017 unfolds.

After having one of the highest pass ratios in the league, will Gruden look to run the ball more often? Last year, Sean McVay called passes on 62.4 percent of the Redskins’ snaps. The Redskins drafted a fourth-round running back in Samaje Perine and they may team him with starter Rob Kelley and call to keep the ball on the ground a few more times per game.

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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Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports declared Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL. Prisco repeatedly points out that while Cousins is a good quarterback, the notion that he should be paid like one of the best passers in the league is what makes him overrated.

From Prisco:

After having six 300-yard-plus passing games in his first 11 games, including two over 400, Cousins had one in the final five games last season as the Redskins pushed for a playoff spot. He had five touchdown passes and five interceptions in those games, going 2-3 as Washington folded. It wasn't all on him, but that's the point. I don't think he's a quarterback who rises above situations when the team isn't going right. I am not going to sit here and pan him as a starter. He has proven to be that, and a pretty good one. It's just that the perception is he's much better than that, which is why he's my most overrated player in the NFL in 2017.

Here's the problem with Prisco's login: Simple market economics. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

An argument can be made Cousins is a Top 10 passer. He's certainly in the top half of the league at the position. Few, if any, would argue Cousins is a Top 5 quarterback, but his contract situation forces him to be paid like he is. Those are the exact terms of the franchise tag, even before the 20 percent increase Washington paid this season to use a second-straight tag.  

Since the Redskins lost their window to sign their single-season passing yards record holder to a team-friendly deal last year, Cousins has leverage and the advantage of inflated QB salaries on his side.

That doesn't mean Cousins is overrated. 

If the threshold for being overrated is money, then Brock Osweiler wins this thing in a landslide. After the 2016 season in Houston, Osweiler seems unlikely to ever again be considered a starting QB in the NFL. He's due to be paid $18 million this fall and his offseason trade to the Browns will go down as the first-ever salary dump in NFL history. 

Is Cousins overpaid? Probably. That's the way contracts work in pro football. 

Is Cousins overrated? Probably not. He's thrown for more than 9,000 yards and completed about 68 percent of his passes over the last two seasons. 

There just aren't enough quarterbacks to go around in the NFL, and guys who can play the position get paid handsomely. That doesn't make Cousins overrated. 

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