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The 2016 Redskins will have to win with offense

The 2016 Redskins will have to win with offense

Although we are only a week into the new league year it is already apparent that the 2016 Redskins are going to have to win games based on how well their offense plays. The way things are going now their defense is not going to be much better than it was in 2015.

To be sure, the Redskins’ defense wasn’t awful in 2015, just on the lower end of mediocre. Although they were 28th in yards allowed they were 17th in points allowed. The number crunchers at Football Outsiders had them ranked 21st in DVOA.

The big picture view of the defense was that they gave up a lot of yards but they did well taking the ball away, ranking seventh with 27. They were pretty good on third downs (12th) and there was a bend but don’t break element with them as they were 13th in red zone defense and 12th in goal to go defense.

Again, that’s not great but it’s not all bad. And “we’re not dominant but not dreadful” will probably be the theme for the Redskins’ 2016 defense as well. It’s hard to see where great improvements will come from.

On the defensive line, while moving on from Jason Hatcher was the right thing to do in terms of the cap and looking towards the future, he did generate heat on the quarterback (48 pressures, one behind Ryan Kerrigan for the team lead). He will not be easily replaced. It looks like a draft pick will play nose tackle and another inexperienced player or two will be playing key snaps on the line. By sometime in 2017 this group could gel into a pretty good unit. Things might not be pretty in 2016.

Moving back to the linebackers, there is an opportunity to improve there now that Junior Galette has re-signed if he regains his explosiveness after suffering a torn Achilles last August. It’s safe to assume that Preston Smith will be consistent from beginning to end so his production should be higher. Perhaps Ryan Kerrigan will be better after he dealt with a knee injury.

So there is some reason to think that the pass rush will improve. However, the secondary is likely to remain suspect. At cornerback, Bashaud Breeland could get better in his third year. But Chris Culliver is coming off of a knee injury that he suffered in late November. The Redskins brought back Will Blackmon, which is good news but at the age of 31 he’s not suddenly going to morph into a lockdown corner. Quinton Dunbar is an interesting prospect but expectations should be low; he has been playing cornerback for less than a year.

Safety is likely to be the same weak spot it has been for almost 10 years in Washington. DeAngelo Hall could improve there after getting a full offseason at the position but his ability to stay healthy is in question. Injury issues have plagued Duke Ihenacho as well and the health of Kyshoen Jarrett is in question after he suffered possible nerve injury in the regular season finale. They added David Bruton, a nice addition but someone who is is a 29-year-old career backup. Barring a miracle safety will remain a vulnerable area.

Certainly they will add more defensive talent in the draft and they will pick up some more veterans. But unless they get very, very lucky they aren’t going to get the kind of players who can instantly transform the defense into a true top-10 unit.

It will again be up to the offense to put points up to win games. The Redskins were 10th in the league in scoring last year and they would like to improve that a few notches. That’s why they kept DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, with their combined cap hits of about $19 million. The choice to stick with the receivers shows what they want to do this year. The could have released one or both of them and they could have gotten in the chase for Olivier Vernon or Malik Jackson or other defenders who got huge paydays. But they know they will need to score points and they have made sure that they allocated their resources so that they will be able to continue to do so.

But defense wins championships, right? Yes, but Scot McCloughan would rather build up a top-notch defense via the draft instead of trying to do it in the free agent market. While he does that he wants to keep the team relevant and competitive by maintaining an effective offensive attack.

So expect to see another season where the Redskins will have to score at least somewhere in the mid twenties every week to have a chance of winning. That’s not where they want to be but it’s the best option for right now while they build for the future.

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2017 Fantasy Football: Top 175 players

2017 Fantasy Football: Top 175 players

With NFL teams starting training camps in preparation for the 2017 season, seemed like a good time to break out an updated rankings list for the upcoming fantasy football season. This list is straight to the point. The top 175 players in order. Cardinals running back David Johnson starts things off with all kinds of running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and defenses in between before we reach Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski.

  • There’s a top tier with four players. That’s contingent on Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott avoiding suspension. From the sound of things, that might fall under the category of dreaming. The dynamic Johnson is the top overall option, but the Pittsburgh pair of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown have their backers.

 

  • Jordan Reed came in fourth among tight ends even before Wednesday's news that the Redskins playmaker would open camp on the PUP list. That was due partly to fears over injuries, though admittedly more concussion than big toe pain. Therefore no need for any changes at least not down. Should Reed return soon, there's an outside chance he passes Travis Kelce and Greg Olsen as the No. 2 option at the position behind Rob Gronkowski, but this early injury reminder won't help squash fears of using a third or fourth pick on him.

 

  • Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette (27) is the first rookie listed. Second? Cincinnati RB Joe Mixon (36). The Bengals have something of a crowded backfield, but the next person who tells me they're not impressed by what Mixon does on the field will be the first. 

 

  • Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (40) is the first member of the Redskins on the list. Scan down another 41 picks for the first Baltimore player. Also a good reminder that Danny Woodhead (81) is on the Ravens.

Tier 1

1.  David Johnson, ARI RB
 
2.  Le'Veon Bell, PIT RB
 
3.  Ezekiel Elliott, DAL RB
 
4.  Antonio Brown, PIT WR
 
Tier 2

5.  Julio Jones, ATL WR
 
6.  Odell Beckham Jr., NYG WR
 
7.  LeSean McCoy, BUF RB
 
8.  Melvin Gordon, LAC RB
 
9.  Jordy Nelson, GB WR
 
10.  A.J. Green, CIN WR
 
11.  Mike Evans, TB WR
 
Tier 3

12.  Jay Ajayi, MIA RB
 
13.  Jordan Howard, CHI RB
 
14.  Devonta Freeman, ATL RB
 
15.  DeMarco Murray, TEN RB
 
16.  T.Y. Hilton, IND WR
 
17.  Michael Thomas, NO WR
 
18.  Amari Cooper, OAK WR
 
19.  Todd Gurley, LAR RB
 
20.  Rob Gronkowski, NE TE
 
21.  Dez Bryant, DAL WR
 
Tier 4

22.  Doug Baldwin, SEA WR
 
23.  Isaiah Crowell, CLE RB
 
24.  Marshawn Lynch, OAK RB
 
25.  Lamar Miller, HOU RB
 
26.  Brandin Cooks, NE WR
 
27.  Leonard Fournette, JAC RB
 
28.  Demaryius Thomas, DEN WR
 
29.  DeAndre Hopkins, HOU WR
 
30.  Sammy Watkins, BUF WR
 
Tier 5

31.  Carlos Hyde, SF RB
 
32.  Alshon Jeffery, PHI WR
 
33.  Allen Robinson, JAC WR
 
34.  Davante Adams, GB WR
 
35.  Michael Crabtree, OAK WR
 
36.  Joe Mixon, CIN RB
 
37.  Emmanuel Sanders, DEN WR
 
38.  Aaron Rodgers, GB QB
 
39.  Mark Ingram, NO RB
 
40.  Terrelle Pryor, WAS WR
 
41.  Golden Tate, DET WR
 
42.  Travis Kelce, KC TE
 
43.  Christian McCaffrey, CAR RB
 
44.  Ty Montgomery, GB RB
 
45.  Martavis Bryant, PIT WR
 
46.  Eddie Lacy, SEA RB
 
47.  Keenan Allen, LAC WR
 
48.  Jarvis Landry, MIA WR
 
49.  Tom Brady, NE QB
 
50.  Bilal Powell, NYJ RB
 
51.  Greg Olsen, CAR TE
 
52.  Jordan Reed, WAS TE
 
53.  Frank Gore, IND RB
 
54.  Larry Fitzgerald, ARI WR
 
55.  Dalvin Cook, MIN RB
 
56.  Mike Gillislee, NE RB
 
57.  Drew Brees, NO QB
 
58.  Tevin Coleman, ATL RB
 
59.  Andrew Luck, IND QB
 
60.  Tyreek Hill, KC WR
 
61.  Spencer Ware, KC RB
 
62.  Donte Moncrief, IND WR
 
63.  Willie Snead, NO WR
 
64.  Kelvin Benjamin, CAR WR
 
65.  C.J. Anderson, DEN RB
 
66.  Brandon Marshall, NYG WR
 
67.  Julian Edelman, NE WR
 
68.  Jamison Crowder, WAS WR
 
69.  LeGarrette Blount, PHI RB
 
70.  DeSean Jackson, TB WR
 
71.  Paul Perkins, NYG RB
 
72.  Stefon Diggs, MIN WR
 
73.  Ameer Abdullah, DET RB
 
74.  Matt Ryan, ATL QB
 
75.  Adrian Peterson, NO RB
 
76.  Russell Wilson, SEA QB
 
77.  Jimmy Graham, SEA TE
 
78.  Devante Parker, MIA WR
 
79.  Pierre Garcon, SF WR
 
80.  John Brown, ARI WR
 
81.  Danny Woodhead, BAL RB
 
82.  Kenny Britt, CLE WR
 
83.  Eric Decker, TEN WR
 
84.  Cam Newton, CAR QB
 
85.  Jameis Winston, TB QB
 
86.  Adam Thielen, MIN WR
 
87.  Matt Forte, NYJ RB
 
88.  Delanie Walker, TEN TE
 
89.  Kyle Rudolph, MIN TE
 
90.  Kirk Cousins, WAS QB
 
91.  Jonathan Stewart, CAR RB
 
92.  Kareem Hunt, KC RB
 
93.  Tyler Eifert, CIN TE
 
94.  Randall Cobb, GB WR
 
95.  Jeremy Maclin, BAL WR
 
96.  Quincy Enunwa, NYJ WR
 
97.  Marcus Mariota, TEN QB
 
98.  Doug Martin, TB RB
 
99.  Matthew Stafford, DET QB
 
100.  Theo Riddick, DET RB
 
101.  Mike Wallace, BAL WR
 
102.  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT QB
 
103.  Marvin Jones, DET WR
 
104.  Tyrod Taylor, BUF QB
 
105.  Robert Kelley, WAS RB
 
106.  Ted Ginn, NO WR
 
107.  Samaje Perine, WAS RB
 
108.  Tyrell Williams, LAC WR
 
109.  Cameron Meredith, CHI WR
 
110.  Derek Carr, OAK QB
 
111.  Derrick Henry, TEN RB
 
112.  Duke Johnson, CLE RB
 
113.  Corey Davis, TEN WR
 
114.  Philip Rivers, LAC QB
 
115.  Corey Coleman, CLE WR
 
116.  Jordan Matthews, PHI WR
 
117.  Dak Prescott, DAL QB
 
118.  Eric Ebron, DET TE
 
119.  Martellus Bennett, GB TE
 
120.  Darren Sproles, PHI RB
 
121.  Hunter Henry, LAC TE
 
122.  Jack Doyle, IND TE
 
123.  Jamaal Charles, DEN RB
 
124.  C.J. Prosise, SEA RB
 
125.  Rishard Matthews, TEN WR
 
126.  Terrance West, BAL RB
 
127.  Kenny Stills, MIA WR
 
128.  James White, NE RB
 
129.  Eli Manning, NYG QB
 
130.  Andy Dalton, CIN QB
 
131.  Zach Ertz, PHI TE
 
132.  Chris Thompson, WAS RB
 
133.  Sterling Shepard, NYG WR
 
134.  Giovani Bernard, CIN RB
 
135.  Shane Vereen, NYG RB
 
136.  Latavius Murray, MIN RB
 
137.  Josh Doctson, WAS WR
 
138.  Kevin White, CHI WR
 
139.  Coby Fleener, NO TE
 
140.  Will Fuller, HOU WR
 
141.  Jason Witten, DAL TE
 
142.  Marqise Lee, JAC WR
 
143.  Taylor Gabriel, ATL WR
 
144.  Robert Woods, LAR WR
 
145.  Carson Palmer, ARI QB
 
146.  Carson Wentz, PHI QB
 
147.  Blake Bortles, JAC QB
 
148.  Tavon Austin, LAR WR
 
149.  Tyler Lockett, SEA WR
 
150.  Cole Beasley, DAL WR

151.  Ryan Tannehill, MIA QB
 
152.  Cameron Brate, TB TE
 
153.  Jeremy Hill, CIN RB
 
154.  Breshad Perriman, BAL WR
 
155.  Jamaal Williams, GB RB
 
156.  J.J. Nelson, ARI WR
 
157.  Allen Hurns, JAC WR
 
158.  Joe Flacco, BAL QB
 
159.  Alvin Kamara, NO RB
 
160.  Austin Hooper, ATL TE
 
161.  Sam Bradford, MIN QB
 
162.  Julius Thomas, MIA TE
 
163.  Denver Broncos, DEN DST
 
164.  Mohamed Sanu, ATL WR
 
165.  Houston Texans, HOU DST
 
166.  Antonio Gates, LAC TE
 
167.  Kansas City Chiefs, KC DST
 
168.  C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU TE
 
169.  Minnesota Vikings, MIN DST
 
170.  Zay Jones, BUF WR
 
171.  Seattle Seahawks, SEA DST
 
172.  Rex Burkhead, NE RB
 
173.  DeAndre Washington, OAK RB
 
174.  Charles Sims, TB RB
 
175.  Stephen Gostkowski, NE K

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Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

RICHMOND - Jordan Reed will start Redskins training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. 

The team's PR informed the media that Reed is experiencing pain and soreness in one of his big toes. The move to PUP was characterized as precautionary and they want to ensure that issues don't linger into the regular season. 

DeAngelo Hall, Houston Bates, and practice squadder Kendal Thompson will join Reed on the PUP list. 

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER

For Reed, an integral part of the Redskins offense, there is a long history of injuries. In 2016, he missed time with a separated shoulder and a concussion.

Before Redskins fans freak out, remember Reed took part in minicamp and looked dominant. The PUP list also allows the Redskins to activate Reed once he's capable of practicing. 

Reed did not take part in voluntary OTAs with the Redskins in May, but was a full participant with the team at June's minicamp. 

Asked about injured players taking part in practice during Wednesday's press conference, head coach Jay Gruden opened up:

I think the injured guys are injured guys. We’re never going to change how we treat them. It’s the trainers’ job to tell us when they can go. I’m not going to keep a guy out of practice just because I think he might be injured. It’s up to the trainers and up to that player to let me know whether they can go or not. But like you said, we do have a luxury of having 88 or 87 healthy bodies where we can practice and function without somebody who is injured. That’s the trainers’ job​.

Expect much more on this development.

UPDATE: