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Three and Out: Training Camp Week 1

Three and Out: Training Camp Week 1

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

After a week of dropping a few pounds in the heat and
humidity at Redskins Park—pounds that those of you who know me know were ones I
can well afford to lose—here are my three random observations of Week 1 of
Training Camp 2005.

  1. I don’t know if Lemar Marshall if big enough to make it at middle
    linebacker, but it’s sure easy to root for him to do so. The other day he
    has his jersey and pads off and was talking to a group of reporters and,
    looking from 15 yards away, I thought, “Who is this receiver all these
    guys are talking to?” He not tiny, mind you, but standing there in his
    sweat-soaked Under Armor shirt, he just didn’t have the look that one
    associates with the likes of classic MLB’s like Butkus or Singletary. In
    talking to him, though, he seems to have the mental side of it down.
    Marshall has a quiet, intense personality like those of his new teammate
    David Patten and, going back a little further, Art Monk. Since Gregg
    Williams’ scheme doesn’t place as much importance on the size of the Mike
    man, emphasizing instead smarts and toughness, Marshall’s lack of stature
    and bulk doesn’t preclude success for him. As Marshall said, “It's not
    about your weight, it's about your heart."
  2. Kevin Dyson, the touchdown scorer on the Music City Miracle and the near-TD
    scorer on the last play of the Titans’ Super Bowl loss to the Rams, is
    also easy to root for but he is struggling on the practice field. He’s an
    engaging guy, quick with a smile and always willing to talk. On the field,
    however, he looks like what he is, a guy who hasn’t played much in the
    past two seasons (he missed most of 2003 with an injury and all of 2004
    after getting cut in camp). His movements are not fluid, he seems to be
    out of synch with the quarterbacks and his hands haven’t impressed. The
    good thing for Dyson is that his primary competition for the last roster
    spot at receiver is Darnerien McCants, who has had a severe case of the
    dropsies himself. The bad news for both of those players is that the
    performance of those two has opened the door for receivers like Jimmy
    Farris and Jamin Elliott to move up there and steal that last spot.
  3. Patrick Ramsey has been unimpressive. Not great, not terrible, just
    unimpressive. Don’t project that assessment beyond the first week of camp,
    it’s just for right now. It is based mostly on the longer throws, which
    are supposed to be both Ramsey’s strength as a quarterback and the new
    focus of the offense this year. Bombs tend to rely less on “chemistry”
    between the QB and his receiver than do shorter routes when the
    quarterback has to throw the ball before the pass catcher cuts. Ramsey
    seems to do fine on the deeper passes in pitch and catch stuff, where
    there is no defender on the receiver. The ball has a nice trajectory and
    the receiver doesn’t have to break his stride to run under the ball. When
    a defender gets involved, however, it’s a different story. The receiver
    has to adjust, the defender is able to make a play, or, most frequently,
    the ball is overthrown beyond the reach of anyone. It’s not like this
    happens all the time, but enough so that it’s disturbing. Nothing to
    portend doom and gloom here, mind you. It’s just something to look for
    when the start playing against guys in different-colored uniforms.

OUT!!

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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

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

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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