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Ticket rage

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Ticket rage

The Washington Post obviously is very anxious to create a buzz about their multi-part series about issues within the Redskins ticket office. When I awoke this morning there I had an email in my box giving the outline of the initial installment of the series and a link to the story.

In the first few paragraphs we were led to believe that the throng of Steeler fans that were in full throat at last year's Monday night game happened due to the fact that the Redskins sold general admission tickets directly to brokers. Later in the story, we find out that 443 tickets to that game were sold to brokers. That's not good, but it certainly doesn't account for Steeler Nation disrupting the Redskins' offensive play calling. Many, many more tickets than that were sold to Steeler fans. I think that there were 443 of them tailgating in the spaces immediately adjacent to mine in the Green Lot.

But, hey, good bit of investigation there, WaPo, for uncovering that broker deal. Oh, wait, you didn't uncover it? The Redskins themselves did? And they stopped it? And the disciplined the employees involved? All by themselves?

Like I said, what happened clearly was wrong. Apparently, anxious to sell some club seats, some in the ticket office packaged up some premium seats with some lower-bowl general admission seats. The former are available to anyone who calls up the ticket office and want them, the latter are supposed to go to people on the season ticket waiting list (or to upper deck ticket holders as an upgrade with the vacated nosebleeds to people on the list).

The Redskins uncovered all of this last spring and disciplined the associates involved in an unspecified manner.

This is wrong on many levels but it also was a violation of team policy. Judging from Twitter and some message boards there is some inclination out there to go after Dan Snyder with torches and pitchforks. There is no reason to think that Snyder had anything to do with this. Are you going to go after Snyder if the beer guy short changes you?

Tomorrow's story in the Post will deal with something with which Snyder probably is more familiar. In order to get the premium seats you have to sign a contract. You can't buy them for just a year. The contracts are for from six to 10 years. Since 2005, according to the Post, the Redskins have filed 137 lawsuits in an attempt to prevent premium ticket holders (club seats and suites) from breaking their contracts.

The angle, of course, is that the mean old Redskins are picking on individuals and struggling companies by forcing them to honor contracts that they signed. Certainly one would think that the Redskins could grant some leeway in these tough economic times. And it's possible that they do. According to a statement that they sent out this afternoon in anticipation of the Post's coming story, they first attempt to negotiate a compromise with the party wanting to break the deal. For every lawsuit filed they say "dozens" of successful negotiations have resulted in companies and individuals being able to get out of their agreements.

I hope that the Post story on Thursday offers up some key bits of information about these lawsuits. Among the things I would need to know before either condemning the Redskins or taking up for them are:

  • What do other NFL teams do in such situations? I'm sure that the Redskins aren't the only team with such issues. What do Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft do when someone wants out of a premium seat deal?
  • This would require a legal opinion but I'd like to find out if what happens to future cases if you give someone a pass. In the story there is an account of one club ticket holder who wanted to get out a few years early and was sued by the team. If the team had just let this guy go, would that establish a precedent that would make it difficult for them to go after, say, a corporation with five years and a million dollars left on a deal for a suite?
  • Was that one club seat holder offered a compromise? What were the terms of the compromise offered?

I guess when someone wants to break a contract with the Washington Post corporation they are perfectly free to do so.

I also suppose that I'm going to be called a Snyder apologist by some. Sorry, but there is plenty to dislike about Snyder without piling on with stuff like this. I'd rather have all of the facts before I make a judgement.

Update: TV station USA 9 reports that on his radio show, LaVar Arrington has said that Snyder "had to know" about the ticket sales because he is a "tyrant". Now let's see, Arrington is an unbiased source since he has no ax to grind with Snyder, right?

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Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 23, four days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 10
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 31
—Training camp starts (7/27) 95
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 140

In search of someone, anyone, to stop the run

One of the areas the Redskins needed to improve last year was their rushing defense on first down. In 2015, they gave up a league-worse 5.0 yards per carry on first down. That was the worst performance in the league. It’s pretty tough to play defense when a handoff makes it second and five. The Saints, who had a historically bad defense that year, were second, fiving up 4.8 yards a pop.

Well, it was no better for the Redskins defense in 2016. Again, they gave up 5.0 yards per carry on first down, again the worst performance in the league.  Remember, this is on first down, when teams are most likely to run.

The Redskins’ problems on third down were well known. They were dead last in the league allowing first downs on 46.6 percent of third-down attempts. For context, an average performance on third down is allowing about 38 percent and the best teams are around 35 percent.

That doesn’t tell the whole story, however. The Redskins weren’t very good at getting teams to third down. They allowed first downs on 33.8 percent of their opponents’ second-down plays. That put them in the bottom third of the league. Again, you don’t have to look too hard to connect the dots to link that back to the five yards per rushing play on first down. Second and five is a piece of cake most of the time.

You don’t need an advanced degree in statistical analysis to figure out that the Redskins defense isn’t going to get much better if they can’t stop teams from running the ball on first down.

It’s easy to point to the defensive line, which has not been very good, and say that the problem is there. That certainly has something to do with it. But the Redskins didn’t have a very good D-line in 2014 and they allowed 4.1 yards per first-down rushing attempt, a performance that was right at the league average.

The factor that was common in 2015 and 2016 and was different in 2014 was the defensive coordinator. It’s possible that opposing teams found a flaw to exploit in Joe Barry’s scheme that wasn’t there in Jim Haslett’s (which surely had flaws in other places).

But X’s and O’s can only get you so far. The Redskins will be looking to take a defensive lineman early and perhaps use an additional pick or two at the position later in the draft. While getting one who can rush the passer would be a plus, they need a run stuffer who can take snaps on first down and bottle up the ground game.

The focus in the draft will be on the first-round pick but, as has been discussed here many times, that pick is unlikely to be a defensive lineman. There isn’t likely to be one at 17 who would represent good value. That could mean that the Redskins’ second- or third-round pick, perhaps an interior lineman like Caleb Brantley of Florida, Larry Ogunjobi of Charlotte, or Montravius Adams of Auburn, is just as important to the team’s success as the first-round pick.

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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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 22, five days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 20
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 32
—Training camp starts (7/27) 96
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 141

The Redskins week that was

Redskins full 2017 schedule released—Even with the Caps and Wizards in full playoff mode, the DMV stops to take a look and see when the Redskins will be playing. The Thanksgiving game was surprising. It’s another working day but I worked at various places since I was 14 and last year was the first time I’ve had to work on Thanksgiving so I can’t complain too much about working two in a row. It’s a small price to pay for having the best job in the world.

Don't count out any RB for Redskins at 17—Yeah, I know that NFL teams aren’t supposed to take running backs in the first round any more. But that is one of those trends that comes and goes. In 2013 and 2014 there were no RBs taken in the first. Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott in the last couple of years began to shift the thinking. If the Redskins think that Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffrey can help them win games more than any other player on the board they should pull the trigger.

Rise of Patrick Mahomes could bring big payoff for Redskins—It seems likely that quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky will be taken before the Redskins pick at No. 17 goes on the clock. That means that two players in whom the Redskins might be interested will be available, pushed back by the quarter backs. Could Mahomes, out of Texas Tech, push a third player back to Washington. The buzz is that a team might grab him in the first half of the first round.

The Redskins' five best salary cap bargains for 2017—When I started pulling the numbers for this post I thought I’d find more key players with salaries of under $1 million. I only found three and one of them is the kicker. This means that they don’t have very many late-round or undrafted players who are contributing a lot of value. They need more out of players like Anthony Lanier, Matt Ioannidis and Maurice Harris. That is how a team thrives in the salary cap era. A couple of Saturday picks could make or break this draft.

Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often—There are a lot of ways the first 16 picks of this draft can work out. It seems almost certain that everyone’s favorite first-round pick, a stud defensive lineman, won’t be a realistic option on the board. This could send things in an odd direction for the Redskins. It’s fun to do a mock and I’ll do one or two more prior to draft day but there are too many variables to think that it has a high degree of accuracy. 

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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