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Will an emphasis on work ethic take some players off the Redskins' draft board?

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Will an emphasis on work ethic take some players off the Redskins' draft board?

It appears that the Redskins are putting a greater emphasis on intangibles when they are putting together their draft board and that might remove some prospects from consideration.

“What we’re looking for is people who love football and want to play football and want to win with the Washington Redskins,” said Bruce Allen during the team’s pre-draft press conference on Tuesday.

“You find out what a guy’s work ethic is and how important football is to him,” added Director of Player Personnel Scott Campbell. “As opposed to a guy that doesn’t love the weight room, is late, doesn’t work, is overweight, never in shape when the season starts – those are flags to you on how important football is to that player.”

The Redskins perhaps sent a signal that they are serious about character issues a few hours after the press conference when they waived Tanard Jackson right after the safety came off of a two-season suspension for violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. They certainly could have used someone with Jackson’s talent at the thin safety position but it’s possible that they had doubts about “how important football is to that player”.

There are some players in the draft pool who have been linked to the Redskins who might not survive the new emphasis on character and desire. Notre Dame defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt reported out of shape prior to his 2013 junior season, a red flag specifically mentioned by Campbell. There have been questions about the work ethic of Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses. The team’s scouts will certainly investigate those issues. Campbell said that they talk to “the coaches, the trainers, the strength coaches” and others to gauge work ethic and love of the game.

Some different issues have to make you wonder about some other players who seem to be fits for the Redskins. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Washington has a reputation for being a “wild child”, a reputation bolstered by a 2013 one-car accident that led to a DUI conviction. That certainly will show up in the grade the Redskins give him. Jace Amaro, another tight end out of Texas Tech, has March 2012 arrest for credit card fraud and an incident where he was ejected from the Red Raiders’ 2012 bowl game after throwing a punch.

Before taking the likes of Tuitt, Moses, Amaro, and Seferian-Jenkins off of the Redskins’ draft board remember that the intangibles are just part of the equation. “The grade that a player has on him, his final grade, takes into consideration all of his physical talents and the desire that we feel that he has to play,” said Allen.

So it sounds like players with great talent can overcome some off-field issues. But perhaps not as easily as they have been able to in the past.

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3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:

  1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
  2. Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
  3. Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the Manusky hire?

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