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TGIO--Thank God It's Over

TGIO--Thank God It's Over

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

Some day we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.

--Bruce Springsteen

He didn’t hesitate.

When a reporter asked Joe Gibbs last night if he was “relieved” that the preseason was over and that the preparation for games that count was now officially underway, there were no qualifiers from the coach. He didn’t say anything about never having too much time to evaluate players or about wanting more time to get ready. The reporter couldn’t even finish his question before Gibbs interrupted.

“Yes. Yes, certainly. . .When you ask me if I’m glad it’s over, I’d say ‘yeah’.”

He was speaking for himself, but he was also speaking on behalf of Redskins fans, players, reporters, and coaches everywhere.

Thank God it’s over. Let the real games begin.

It started off with a real downer in Clinton Portis’ shoulder injury just a few minutes into the first game, and it’s been going further into the toilet from there. A couple of days later we learned that Shawn Springs had undergone a surgical procedure on his groin (ouch!). In the first quarter of the Jets game we had the chilling sight of Cornelius Griffin on the ground grimacing with a knee injury. The fact that it turned out to be minor did little to raise spirits as the Redskins put on another mediocre showing. After that one Joe Gibbs’ words said, “concern” while his tone of voice and body language said, “pissed” during his uncharacteristically brief post-game press conference.

Instead of being greeted as a deal that would help the team, the T. J. Duckett trade was dissected and labeled by many as a panic move that was a sure sign that Portis’ shoulder was much worse than the Redskins were letting on. Then in the one supposedly semi-meaningful preseason game, the one where the starters go deep into the contest, it was no contest as the Patriots pasted the Redskins 41-0 with even stalwarts such as Jon Jansen looking shaky.

This past week we’ve had Al Saunders hauntingly bringing back Norv Turner’s notorious “what we do works” statement and Gregg Williams shrugging off the defense’s lack of effectiveness by claiming that he had done “zero” game planning. The excuse making seemed to be quite beneath two such accomplished coaches. “What we do” plus “zero” added up to another lackluster exhibition performance against the Ravens, the only positive aspect of which was the fact that it put the preseason in the rear view mirror.

We can now turn our thoughts to serious issues such as Mark Brunell’s durability, who the #2 quarterback behind him is, Portis’ shoulder, Duckett’s role in the offense, Springs’ status, Adam Archuleta’s learning curve in Williams’ defense and other such pressing matters. But let’s just take a day here to savor the end of the agony that was preseason 2006 and enjoy the fact that we no longer have to suffer through it. Those questions marks will still be there tomorrow.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when the moved to Washington for the 1937 season through 2001. For details and ordering information go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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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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