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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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Need to Know: Betting on the Redskins' playoff race outcomes

Need to Know: Betting on the Redskins' playoff race outcomes

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 3, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Arizona Cardinals.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No availability

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 8; Panthers @ Redskins 16; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), DE Anthony Lanier (leg)
Questionable: G Brandon Scherff (ankle), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), Bashaud Breeland (ankle), LS Nick Sundberg (back)
Final injury report

Redskins vs. Cardinals
FOX, Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Dick Stockton and Chris Spielman
Line: Cardinals -2.5

Resetting the playoff odds

The Redskins start their stretch drive to the playoffs tomorrow. The will play five games in 29 days. After that, they will have either earned the right to keep playing or will they go home.

Let’s get out the imaginary $100 in casino chips and look at the various possibilities of the finish to the season and spread out the chips based on how likely each scenario is. As always, you are welcome to jump into the comments if you agree or disagree.

Win NFC East, $0—This might be worth a buck or two but this place doesn’t have any chips smaller than $5 and it’s not worth investing even that much in the chance of this happening. The scenario would have to be the Redskins winning out, the Cowboys losing out, and the Giants losing at least two more games. I’d put something on the first scenario and a few chips on the last one but no way is Dallas going 0-4. Keeping my chips in my pocket on this one.

Wild card as No. 5 seed, $40—To do this the Redskins would have to stay ahead of the wild card contenders behind them (see next scenario) and make up a game and a half on the Giants. They play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins would have to make up one game between now and then and they could then determine their status on January 1 at FedEx Field. The Giants go to Pittsburgh on Sunday and host Dallas a week after that so we will see how that looks in a couple of weeks. As of now, the No. 6 seed would go to Detroit for the first round of the playoffs while the No. 5 would play the Falcons in Atlanta. That, of course, is subject to change.

Wild card as No. 6 seed, $35—I think getting the five seed is slightly more likely than getting the six since I think the Giants are a mirage. But even if New York keeps it going, the Redskins can clinch a spot by running the table in their last five games. That would make them 11-4-1 and no other wild card contender could catch them. If they win four of five, only the Bucs can catch them and it would take a 5-0 finish for Tampa Bay. Winning three of five still gives them a good shot at getting in although at that point you are also opening the door for the Vikings, Saints, Packers, and Eagles to catch fire and jump ahead of them.

Out of playoffs, $25—I might be putting a little too much here but it’s the NFL and it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that the Redskins could finish 2-3 and miss out altogether. Their margin for error is slim and an injury here and a bad break there could have them on the outside looking in.

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When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon just filled out his ballot for the annual NFL Top 100 Players list.

Let's just say it's pretty one-dimensional. 

Straight like that

A photo posted by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

As you can see, the form asks guys to rank who they consider the top 20 players in the league. But instead of naming 20 different players, Garcon voted for the same player 20 times. Talk about stuffing the ballot box. 

No surprise, but he's hyping his quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

Cousins is having a career year with the Redskins. His stock has soared over the last three weeks especially. Take a look at his numbers in that span: 84 completions on 116 attempts for 1,086 yards (72 percent), eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

Those efforts earned the Michigan State product NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors. And more importantly, Cousins has the Redskins in favorable position to make the playoffs for the second year in a row.

So far this season, Garcon has caught 52 passes from Cousins for 636 yards and two scores. 

MORE REDSKINS: Reed out, 7 other Redskins questionable