Monday, April 13, 2015

Meaningless Mock Draft 1.0 (2015 edition)

(It's that time again.......A Mock that is Meaningless!!!!)
Let's get started shall we?
In my previous article, I discussed the many needs the Redskins would target in this year's draft. Now we need to know what GM Scot McCloughan is looking for in his players. Based on previous drafts and his own comments, he looks for players that fit the team's needs while targeting the "Best Player Available" at the position the team is drafting.

What we know so far:

1. McCloughan likes bigger OL and DL. Both Jay Gruden, McCloughan and offensive line coach Bill Callahan are looking for bigger linemen who can be physical at the point of attack and can win one-on-one battles. The goal of the 2015 Redskins and beyond is to revert back to a more power based run game. So, throw out what Mike Shanahan liked in his OL, that plan is no longer being used. Although, the Redskins may not do a lot of drafting OL early. They felt that the majority of last year's sacks fell on the QB and RB/TE positions.

2. McCloughan likes taller, more physical WRs and DBs. Think Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree. The Redskins do need more size at WR and they have been trending with drafting taller CBs as far back as 2013 (David Amerson).

3. The Redskins may draft a quarterback. It's pretty clear that the GM and the coaching staff are not sold on the three QBs currently on the roster. All three will be free agents after 2015 (unless a last minute pick up of RGIII's 2016 option) and the Redskins may look to a player to develop for the future. McCloughan did attend the pro days of Marcus Mariota and Connor Halliday, so its possible that the team could make a move given the right situation.

4. The Redskins will probably draft a running back. Alfred Morris and Chris Thompson are in their final years of their rookie contracts. Jay Gruden would like a running back who can catch passes out of the back field and pass block. This is a really deep draft class for running backs, So I would expect the Redskins to at least target somebody on day three.

5. Depth, Depth and more Depth. McCloughan has stressed depth and that the team lacks a lot of it in many key areas. Since BPA has been stressed, don't be surprised to see players drafted where you may think the team is relatively set. In particular TE, DL, ILB and CB come to mind.

6. There will be surprises. I think the Redskins will be very active during the draft. That means trades of picks and possibly even players during the draft. McCloughan is known for his drafting skills. We'll get to see him do some magic come April 30th.

Since this is the 1st Meaningless Mock, I'm going to assume no trades. In reality, I expect the Redskins to trade back at least once or twice during the draft and possibly even trade up on day three.

1st Round (#5 Overall)
Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson
The Redskins have only a few position for which they can make a choice: QB, DT/NT, WR and OLB. At this point I believe that both Leonard Williams and Marcus Mariota will be off the board. I also don't think they'll take Danny Shelton here with Knighton and Baker on the roster. Wide receiver is possible but OLB, especially a pass rushing OLB, fills a more immediate need and would be helpful with a weaker secondary.

So why Beasley? Randy Gregory is off my board based on his drug issues. We don't need another Fred Davis or Tanard Jackson on the team. Shane Ray seems better suited to be a 4-3 DE than 3-4 OLB. Dante Fowler looks like an ideal 3-4 OLB, but I wonder if he'd be another Brian Orakpo and not be the double digit sack producer that we'd like to see.

When I watch Beasley's tape, I see a player with an amazing first step that will blow through slower, less agile left tackles, but he has an ability to power through if a tackle gets his hands on him. I also like that Beasley is very good at attacking the ball while trying to make the sack. If he doesn't get the sack, he has a good chance of generating a fumble.

The biggest concerns on him are of his size/weight and ability to play the run and drop into coverage. Beasley has put on some weight and still showed explosion at The Combine. I'm not that concerned about dealing with the other aspects because he'll learn to develop into a 3-4 OLB just like Orakpo, Kerrigan and Murphy did. Also, speaking of Trent Murphy, the Redskins could use Murphy more in running downs and focus Beasley more on pass rush as a rookie.




2nd Round (# 38 Overall)
Eric Rowe, CB/FS, Utah
I feel like I'm cheating a bit since my mock is starting out much like one of Hogs Haven's most recent mocks, but both the 1st and 2nd round picks make sense. Scot McCloughan knows that the secondary is a work in progress and needs to still be fixed for the long haul. You bring in Paea and Beasley to bolster the pass rush. Culliver and Johnson are two possible long term starters. Goldson is more or less a one year stop gap. The Redskins have needed a good FS since the passing on Sean Taylor. Rowe has the height, speed and experience to play the position. He also can play as a corner if needed as well.


vs. UCLA (via Draft Breakdown)
vs. Washington State (via Draft Breakdown)


3rd Round (#69 Overall)
David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa
A very high motor running back that was converted from WR to RB. Is an excellent pass catcher out of the backfield, with a quick burst. Has experience playing read option and has shown an ability to shake off tacklers. With Alfred Morris and Chris Thompson on the final year of their rookie deals, it'll be key to have a capable RB on the roster for 2016 and beyond.




4th Round (#105 overall)
Daryl Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Morgan Moses is not a guaranteed fix at RT. Tom Compton was re-signed and will be the starter heading into training camp, but he's only signed for one year and has been inconsistent at times. Williams is a big body who can dominate in the run game and is a capable pass blocker who needs to be developed a little at the pro level.




5th Round (#141 Overall)
Andy Gallik, C, Boston College
Kory Lichtenstiger was arguably the best offensive lineman on the team last year and he's under contract through 2017. That said, the 'Skins are still looking to get bigger and need more depth at the position. Gallik isn't the biggest Center and doesn't have the most athletic skill set, but he's incredibly durable, smart and plays nasty.

Video via Draft Breakdown:



6th Round (#182 Overall)
Taiwan Jones, ILB, Michigan St.
Expect Perry Riley to be pushed for a starting spot at ILB and whether that will be from Will Compton or from somebody like Jones, there may need to be a change sooner than later at the position next to Keenan Robinson.

Jones is a solid tackler who can fill holes and make plays. He was a former SS and WR, so he has the speed to cover TEs and RBs in the passing game.


7th Round (#222 Overall)
Connor Halliday, QB, Washington St.

Scot McCloughan has been very intrigued with Halliday during the draft process. He's gone to his pro-day (worth noting Jim Zorn was coaching Halliday at that pro-day) and the word is that the Redskins are going to have Halliday visit Redskins Park soon.

A 7th round pick for a QB isn't much as Halliday will be a project. But if McCloughan is this interested in a player, one has to take note and consider him to be a likely candidate for the 'Skins to target on day three of the draft.



Sorry this has taken so long to write up. Next Meaningless Mock should be up hopefully later this week.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Redskins Draft Needs

(This'll be the only football thing of interest for the next 3-4 months. Gah!!!)
So, I'm a bit behind when it comes to writing about the 'Skins: free agency, Scot McCloughan, new coaches and everything else. That's fine, by the end of May I'll have almost 2-3 months of time to catch up about all of the moves and how it will help the 2015 team (I mean it has to help right? They only won four games last season and seven games in the past two seasons).


Anyway.......

I do want to start my annual Meaningless Mock Draft, which I hope to have a seven round version 1.0 up sometime this week. But, before I do that, I need to explain what needs the Redskins have and why I think they'll address them in each round when they do make a pick. Yes, McCloughan has stressed "Best Player Available" and I do believe that he'll do that, but he's not going to draft five WRs in a row if that's the best player on the Redskins board at that time.

Needs do play a role in draft selections. It's just that the Redskins will rather take a player in the 2nd round with a second round grade over reaching for a safety they need but has a 4th round grade (perfect examples of them reaching recently is with Chad Rinehart and Josh LeRebius - OL taken in the 3rd round of each of their drafts when most draft experts had them as 6th round prospects).

That's why you may be surprised to see them take a WR, RB or QB in this draft despite many people are thinking that the team has talent and depth in those areas and that those positions are set. Trust me, they are not.

Here's a list of positions that I broke down into major, depth and minor needs. Minor needs are pretty trivial, but I'll throw it in there anyway.

Major Needs (In no particular order)

QB - The Redskins have three quarterbacks on the roster and yet there is no confirmed starter on the team beyond 2015. Even the 2015 title is up for grabs for the most part. Colt McCoy had a few moments in '14 but injury and concerns about being just a backup lead his problems. Kirk Cousins looks the part as a starter in this scheme, but turnovers and not getting over said turnovers lead to a permanent benching. RGIII has been inconsistent and pedestrian since he tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs.

Sadly, this is a horrible draft class for QBs. I don't buy the 'Skins drafting Mariota but It wouldn't surprise me if they took a QB late in the draft (day 3 rounds 4-6) to develop as a potential starter in 2016.

WR- You look at the roster and think the WR position is set. It's not at all, especially beyond 2015. Pierre Garcon is probably in his final year with the 'Skins. He already has a cap number for this season that's over nine million (9.7 million to be exact). In 2016 it'll jump to 10.2 million. DeSean Jackson had a great 2014, but he also has a high cap number (9.25 million) in 2015 and that number will remain the same in 2016 and 2017. Andre Roberts cap number for 2015 isn't bad (3.75 million) but he hasn't done much in DC so far. The number jumps to five million in 2016.

So, I'd expect the 'Skins to possibly release Garcon and probably Roberts before the 2016 season. That means the Redskins will need some young talent to fill holes. This is a very good draft class to make such moves and I'd expect them to draft at least one WR in this draft. The 1st round pick is not out of the question for a WR.

OL - If Jay Gruden could bring in a entirely new O-line, I think the fans wouldn't have a problem with it. The coaches and front office on the other hand think that overall the line isn't that bad. I see both sides of the story here and would say that the RG and RT positions at least need to be upgraded.

"But what about Morgan Moses and Spencer Long?" What about them? Moses struggled at RT last year at times and is coming off Lisfranc surgery. He may not be ready for OTAs and could possibly start training camp on the PUP list. We didn't see much of Long in 2014 and hopefully that will change. Either way, the Redskins need talent on the roster because Chris Chester really needs to go and I have no faith that Josh LeRebius will ever live up to his potential.

S - Goldson is a nice stop gap who the Redskins only have to pay for one year. His major problems are that he'll be 31 this season and is coming off two horrible years in Tampa. If he can live up to his 49er days then we'll have a decent FS in 2015. If not it's Ryan Clark 2.0 all over again. Johnson is untested and there is no guarantee that he, Phillip Thomas or anybody else on the roster is a long term starter.

Bad news for the Redskins is that this is a very weak/limited draft class for safeties. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if the Redskins drafted a safety or a corner who will convert to safety in this draft.

OLB - While I really wouldn't call this  a critical, major need, I'm putting it here because most likely the Redskins will take a OLB at #5 because that's where the best talent seems to be at that spot. Yes, the Redskins would be fine with Murphy and Kerrigan, but they'd like to find that that elite pass rusher (15 sacks/season) they hoped Brian Orakpo would be but never became.

This is why the 'Skins could trade back...... they can still get a pretty good pass rusher later in the draft because this class is deep with 3-4 OLB talent.

Depth

RB - Alfred Morris is just a running back. He's not a pass catcher and while he can pass block decently, teams don't worry about him going out for passes because he's a poor route runner and has bad hands. Chris Thompson has injury concerns and struggles with pass blocking. Silas Redd runs like Morris but is better with passes although he's rather untested.

This is a good draft to target a RB. With Morris' contract coming up and a very deep class, don't be surprised to see the Redskins look for a future starter in this class.

TE - The 'Skins re-signed Niles Paul but there are some major concerns at the TE position. The 'Skins could use a really good blocking TE that can occasionally catch and stay healthy. Jordan Reed can't stay healthy or block. Paul is a Jack of all Trades who can catch, run, block and play special teams pretty well or at least at an average level. Logan Paulsen is inconsistent in his blocking and is probably being overpaid as the #3 TE.

DL/NT - Most of this position was set during free agency with the signings of Knighton, Paea, and Jean-Francois. However, Jason Hatcher may be a cap casualty in 2016 and Knighton is no guarantee to be back either. Drafting 1-2 players for depth  or to be future starters may not be a bad idea.

CB - The team has three young players in Culliver, Breeland and Amerson but have question marks beyond that. Tracy Porter may not even make it to training camp. DeAngelo Hall is coming off of injury and is in the final years of his career (probably, may become a S).

ILB - Will Compton should be pushing Perry Riley for the starting ILB position next to Keenan Robinson but the team could use more depth at the position and find another good special teams player in the process.

Minor

K - Kai Forbath has been good at FGs under 50 yards. The problem comes back to his kickoffs which he seems to be unable to get to the back of the end zone. While I don't think the 'Skins should waste a draft pick on a kicker, it would be prudent to either bring back someone like Zac Hocker (2014 'Skins draft pick that was cut) or a UDFA to push Forbath for the starting role.

Forbath will also be a unrestricted free agent in 2016, so it would be a good idea to lock down this position.

Hopefully, I will have MMD 1.0 up either for Monday night or Tuesday.
Feel free to leave a comment if you agree or disagree with the article.
Special thanks to OTC.com for cap numbers on the Redskins players.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Man Cave Returns!!!!!!

 Despite ESPN 980/Red Zebra pulling The Man Cave almost two weeks ago, the station has announced that it will premier next week after all on Monday morning to compete against The Sports Junkies. This can mean only one thing......


Seriously, this whole story has been a joke and yes, I have to blame Dan Snyder for it. I know the story about the hoax when a fake caller posed as ESPN's President John Skipper and threatened a lawsuit if 980 pulled Mike and Mike for The Man Cave and how this led to the suspension/cancellation of the show. According to the Deadspin article (via the original WaPo article) it was Bruce Allen that discovered the hoax after placing a call to the real Skipper and finding out he never called and never threatened a law suit.

Still.....does this not feel like the drama that has typically come from the Redskins? Over the past 15+ years Snyder has been the principle owner of the Redskins, we've seen a lot of stories like this that involves off the field issues with the media and the Redskins. With Scot McCloughan running the show with football operations, maybe the silly dramas tied to the team will finally end.

I probably won't even listen to The Man Cave on a regular basis. I usually don't listen to sports talk in the morning (for a variety of reasons including either being asleep or working) and if I do it's usually Steve Czaban on Yahoo! sports.

It still feel like a dick move on how 980 pulled the show at the last moment whether the Redskins brass were involved or not. If anything, Bruce Allen and Redskins officials know about being given bad news at the last moment and I would think would want to not be a part of doing something similar.

It was just a few years ago that Roger Goodell (led by Giants owner John Mara and Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie) hit the 'Skins with a 36 million dollar cap penalty the day before the start of free agency for over cap spending in a "uncapped year" (The spirit of the rules and all as John Mara so eloquently derped it out to the media.....). Nobody is a better master of dick moves than the NFL and Goodell.

Editor's Note: Below is the original article I planned on writing but never posted because I am such a slacker. When the news came of The Man Cave coming back to 980, I figured I needed to write a new article which is what you just read above.



I've got a ton of stuff to write about the Redskins. A new GM, new coaches, new players, the draft -stuff  that I should have already written about weeks earlier. But, I've been a bit busy and since I've been doing the blog more on a part-time/hiatus basis. The good news is that you'll be seeing that stuff coming up soon (hopefully).

Before I get to 'Skins news though, I figure I'd throw in my two cents on a ESPN 980 topic that's been making its rounds in the Twitterverse and on DCRTV.com (the site that first broke the news) and even in The Post.

The cancellation of ESPN 980's The Man Cave. Practically a day (or days) before it was due to air in place of national ESPN show Mike and Mike, The Man Cave was pulled with no real explanation despite the station doing publicity of the show on the airwaves and on the ESPN 980 site. The premise of The Man Cave was to counter 106.7's local show The Sports Junkies with two known local entities: comedian/host of Redskins Late Night Chris Paul and Ex-WaPo columnist Jason Reid.

The hope was that there would be a nice counterbalance when it came to the Redskins with Paul being a total homer for the team and Reid being a typical basher of the organization as tends to be the status quo at The Post. So we wouldn't have Redskins Nation (sickening sweet pro-Redskins) or Redskins Showtime when Mike Wise was on the show (*vomits in mouth slightly*).

So would the show have been good? Not sure. I actually liked Reid when he was a beat writer (I actually told him that at the 2010 training camp). But when he became a columnist.....meh. The only thing I remember during his tenure as a columnist was this line:


I like Chris Paul, so who knows......

What has made this such a big story is that ESPN 980 is owned by Dan Snyder. Unless you live under a rock, you know that there has been an ongoing feud between the Redskins brass and WaPo's editors/writers for awhile ever since Synder became the Redskins main owner.

Monday, March 9, 2015

What Should Be The Price For #5 (Eagles Trade)?


(How much is Mariota truly worth to the Eagles? Source: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
There's been a lot of talk by Redskins fans and the local media about an article written by coffee aficionado and MMQB writer Peter King which suggests that the Eagles will target QB Marcus Mariota (one of Chip Kelly's most successful quarterbacks from his Oregon coaching days) in the 2015 draft and would swap 1st round picks with the Redskins in order to make that move.

King suggests that if the Eagles give the Redskins their 1st and 2nd round picks in 2015 along with their 1st and 4th round picks that the trade would easily be made. However, is that really enough compensation to the Redskins for possibly giving the Eagles their franchise quarterback for the next 10 or more years?

Today, I'm going to look at the math of this potential trades and what the Redskins should be looking for if this move is possible. If you're interested, I did the math of the RGIII trade evaluating the value of the trade each year (2012 version is here) to get a feel and explanation of what I'm doing.

As usual, I analyze these trades using the standard Trade Value Chart, which is used by many/most of the GMs in the league to determine value for picks.

Trading With The Eagles

You have to understand a few things before I can even start breaking down this type of trade. This trade is going to be a bit tricky to determine value and compensation for multiple reasons. The first reason is because of what type of player is being traded. This isn't a move up to get a top tier WR,  (a move the Falcons made in 2011 to get Julio Jones) it's for a quarterback. If Mariota somehow falls to five, there will be some teams looking to get him (who exactly is still an unknown at this point) so, you'd likely expect to see a higher price tag to make this trade possible.

Second, is that the Redskins would be making a trade with a NFC East rival. A trade that could give the Eagles superiority in the division for at least a decade with a franchise quarterback in a quarterback driven league. The Redskins would need to expect significant compensation if they are willing to give the Eagles this type of opportunity.

The Math

The Redskins #5 overall pick is worth 1,700 points according to the TVC

The Eagles #20 overall pick is worth 850 points according to the TVC.

In order for the trade to happen the Eagles would have to give up enough picks to at least equal the 1,700 point value for the #5 spot. Ideally, you want to use this equation to determine each side's value in a trade and to have the end result as close to zero as possible (zero resulting in an equal value trade for both sides).

Here's the typical equation you'd use to value a trade:

Draft Pick(s) received (total TVC points) - Draft Pick(s) Given (total TVC Points) = x (0, + or -  TVC pts)

Peter King's Scenario:

Eagles trade #20 overall - 1st round - (850 points),  #52 overall - 2nd round - (380 points), 2016 1st round* (approximately valued 380 points), 2016 4th round* (approximately 32.2 points)
* Future picks are devalued one round for each year teams have to wait before they can use them.

Total value given = 1642.2 points; End value = + 57.8 points

This is a great trade....... for the Eagles. Despite the Redskins getting three additional players out of this move, the value is not there to make the trade with a divisional rival. A perfect example of trading within the division is with the Donovan McNabb trade in 2010. There is no way the Eagles would have gotten nearly what they did had they traded him to a team outside of the division. The Redskins should expect no less if the Eagles want to trade with them for Mariota.

Chris Cooley Scenario:
Former Redskin/ESPN 980 host Chris Cooley tweeted out this question yesterday to the fans:






















I wouldn't. My reasoning again is that the Redskins aren't getting compensated enough to do the deal. At this point, it's clear that Chip Kelly would rather go in another direction than to start Nick Foles. Maybe the "Mariota to Philly" story is just a smokescreen or a fan/media made rumor, but it sure did seem that Kelly would have rather stuck with Mark Sanchez than Foles in 2014.

So why do the Eagles a favor and take a guy Kelly doesn't want off his hands?

Also, I just don't see a tremendous value in Foles. I don't think he's an ideal fit for Jay Gruden's scheme and I think if the Eagles tried to trade him, they'd only get a 3rd round pick (maybe a 2nd at best) for him on the open market.

My Scenario:
So if I was Scot McCloughan, what would I want from the Eagles to make this trade go down? After doing some number crunching I think this would provide pretty fair compensation that slightly favors the Redskins but is understandable based on the situation.

Eagles trade #20 overall (850 points), #52 overall (380 points), #116 overall - 4th round - (62 points), 2016 1st round pick (approximately 380 points) and a conditional 2016 3rd round pick (62 points).

That totals 1734 points.

I would make the 3rd become a 2nd if Mariota wins RotY, makes the Pro Bowl or if the Eagles win a playoff game.

That would change the overall total to 1842 but, if Mariota is that good, giving up a 2nd in 2016 instead of a 3rd shouldn't be a big deal for Philly. If this deal goes down, the Redskins should get at least 2-3 immediate starters and a total for five good players. Chip Kelly gets his guy and we can find out if a nearly all Oregon team can win at the NFL level as Eagles.

Those are my thoughts on the potential trade. What's yours? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Final Thoughts on the Haslett Firing

(So much for that "Unleashed Season" eh?)
The word is that the Redskins will have a couple more interviews for the defensive coordinator position this week. They have also indicated that they would like to have a new coach in place by the end of the week. So, I have decided to finally sit down and write up some final thoughts on Jim Haslett and his tenure in Washington. I'm also going to throw a few questions out there about this past year and the future of the Redskins defense and why Haslett remained DC after Shanahan was fired. You probably aren't going to like my answers to these questions.

Before I start writing about Haz himself, we need to get something out of the way. Jim Haslett WAS NOT fired by the Redskins. Maybe both sides did agree to "part-ways" in some mutually agreeable PC sort of way, but the fact of the matter was that Haslett's contract (he was extended in 2012 for two years) was up and either the Redskins or Haslett himself decided to move on from the current situation. Haslett was a lame duck coach in 2014 and usually that doesn't bode well for the team or unit when that coach is in charge.

So why did the Redskins/Jay Gruden retain Haslett for his final year? If they liked him enough to be the DC in year one of the Gruden era, why didn't they extend him? If they didn't trust him to be a long term solution, why retain him?

You're probably not going to like these possibilities

Most likely either because of money or convenience or maybe a little of both.

Jay Gruden is a offensive minded head coach and former offensive coordinator. It's clear that defense isn't his top priority and that he would delegate those duties to someone who is defensive minded while he gets his playbook together and tries to find a way to help RGIII succeed. The Redskins had Haslett paid (coaches contracts are usually guaranteed unlike their players which aren't) for through 2014 and he had the continuity so maybe both Gruden and Bruce Allen figured the might as well leave it to him. Plus, Gruden had a past working relationship with Haslett, so they both could work together. Thus, the team and Haslett mentioned how 2014 would allow Haslett's scheme to finally be unleashed after being held back by Mike Shanahan's meddling as a way to explain why they kept Haslett around.

Here's my problem. We've seen this before and pretty recently with the Redskins. Remember way back to 2008? The Redskins had hired a new 1st year head coach in Jim Zorn. Instead of having Zorn hand pick his new staff, Vinny Cerrato and the front office convinced Zorn to keep the coaches still under contract from the Gibbs 2.0 tenure. We saw the end result of the Zorn era, a mishmash of ideas and schemes that gave the team no identity and lead to Zorn's firing after two seasons.

It makes me wonder if Gruden will eventually share the same fate but maybe things can change since it is supposed to be Gruden's final say on who becomes his new DC and whatever coaching staff moves he decides to make.

As for Haz, what can I say. There was talk of the so-called unleashed 2014 and how Brian Orakpo would finally have a break out season. Instead, the defense floundered. Orakpo and other free agents that Haslett requested from the team were busts or injured. The defense still couldn't generate a consistent pass rush. Turnovers were nowhere to be found and opposing quarterbacks generally looked like they belonged in the Hall of Fame when they faced the 'Skins. Coverages were blown frequently and even when the coaches tried to simplify the plays, players were still out of place leaving opposing receivers wide open.

There are some good things to mention. The Redskins, on occasion, could stop the run well. Ryan Kerrigan, Keenan Robinson and Bashaud Breeland had a good season so the team has a few players whom they can build around for the future.

In the end, Haslett's defense only seemed to be successful when he ran zero blitzes (ie. sending everyone to attack the quarterback with only man coverage on the receivers with no other help) against the opposition. However, with the exception of Dallas, many teams were able to figure out how to combat his exotic blitzes and beat the team with the pass. Haslett's firing was really past due and luckily the team didn't have any more years on his contract or maybe we'd all be on Twitter still calling for his head.

Now comes the next big question who should come in and run this team? Should the team continue with a base 3-4 or move to a 4-3? Does this base scheme even matter since teams run multiple schemes nowadays? I just hope somebody can come in and find some answers, because we've been searching for them on defense for quite awhile and couldn't find a solution for 4 and a half of the past five seasons.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary From IIWII


To the readers, friends and followers of IIWII,

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the writers and staff here at IIWII. I know we got our Christmas present early when our lowly Redskins beat a seemingly "playoff-bound" Eagles team and knocked them out of said playoffs, but I hope your Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice or whatever you celebrate (or don't celebrate - I think I covered all of my PC bases here) is a good and enjoyable one.

Also, we here at IIWII celebrated our 6th anniversary on the 22nd. So six years of mostly Redskins coverage (and assorted other fun/goofy things I like to share) for you the fans. I wanted to take a second to thank some of those who have helped IIWII over the years and also keep this blog ad free (I have not made a single penny on this site - but if you'd like to give me money, drop me a line) and running.



First, to my wife who has supported and tolerated my endeavors for the past six years. I have spent countless hours watching games, game tape, football shows, the draft, reading articles and writing articles and I haven't driven her crazy yet by my football madness. I would also like to thank former writer Dan W. (aka Steeler Hater Dan)  for his help early on the site.  C.P. (aka @TattooedScorpio) has been a great deal of help on the site filling in to write game breakdowns and all things going on with the Burgundy and Gold. Seriously, if you are a blog/website reading this article that could pay this guy for his work, please hire him.

Also, some quick shout outs to my friends @Billfishead and @SabreAce33 both of whom have given me tons of ideas to write about the team over the years during our debates/tailgates. Shout out to the crew at SonofWashingon.com and HailBlog.com.

Thanks to the Washington Redskins for not going after this blog despite the occasional rant (usually deserved) about the state of the franchise. Thanks to the 'Skins players whom have been nice enough to occasional pose for pictures and/or sign stuff or talk on Twitter etc. over the years. The good that NFL players do is always undervalued by many in the media.

Finally, thanks to all of the readers of the site. There have been a few times over the years I have thought about shutting down IIWII, but some great comments by fans and seeing a few "constant readers" pop on the site keeps me going. I'm hoping to have some cool things come back to the site in 2015 - including draft coverage, film breakdowns and other whatnot.

Have a great holiday and thanks again for reading,
FedEx Al

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

With The 5th Pick of the 2015 Draft, The Redskins Select......Who Cares!!!!!!

(Since Snyder has become owner, only one thing hasn't changed -failure. Photo: Howard Smith/USA Today)

I'll actually write about where the Redskins stand when it comes to the draft and what are the possibilities of them getting close to the #1 overall pick in the next few days. However, right now I need to make something quite clear if things remain the same with the current status quo.

It won't matter.

That's right. The draft and all the hopes that comes with the vaunted 1st round pick will mean NOTHING!!!!

Why?  It's simple.

There are significant flaws within this organization. From the front office, down to the coaches and players there are problems. But in the end I am convinced that it starts with ownership and the men in the suits making the big calls (No, I'm not talking about the coaches).

When you look at the last four 1st round draft picks (Orakpo, Williams, Kerrigan and RGIII), the Redskins have had mixed results. Also, one player will not make the difference from the Redskins going 3-13 to 9-7 or better.

The Redskins have hit rock bottom again. It's not that they lack talent, but they lack enough talent and pieces around a select few to be able to do much. There is a huge culture of losing and being okay with losing that filters through Redskins Park like the fog that exterminators use when they tent houses to kill off anything inside. Not one player or coach is big enough to wipe out that two decade long stench.

It has to start at the top.

Dan Snyder has to find the right people to run this organization. We thought he did in 2010 with Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen, but in the end it seemed that Shanahan's perceived megalomania/paranoia and Allen's focus on organizational issues (team name/alumni/past traditions/team events) took away from fixing the main problem - the product on the field.

The Redskins need to do some of the following things:

First, the whole franchise mentality of marketing a bad product HAS TO END. Instead of hyping the next big drafted player, next big coach or next big free agent signing, the Redskins need to focus on The Redskins. Matter of fact, quit trying to market the next big splash in order to sell jerseys or season ticket packages. Don't you understand that if the team is good and winning, the fans will come and buy a ton of Redskins themed merchandise? That's how we roll as fans when it comes to this team. If we support you when you suck, imagine how much we'll support you when you're good.

We've learned over the years that neither Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, Clinton Portis, Albert Haynesworth, Jason Taylor, Mike Shanahan or Robert Griffin III can be the savior of this franchise. So quit trying to sell this to the fans.

Second, the leaks have to stop. I know that the team can't control every Tweet, Facebook post and media comment, but the leaks from inside the organization HAVE TO STOP. The old slogan "no press is bad press" does not apply to the Redskins. If the team is more focused on texting Adam Schefter, Jay Glazer or Diana Russini scoops than focusing on winning, this team will remain mediocre for the next twenty years. Not even Dallas has as much issues with leaks and Jerry Jones craves media attention as much as possible.

Third, the organization MUST have a football minded general manager in order to succeed. Some fans are calling for Bruce Allen's head, but if he stays as the Team President (which I can live with, Allen is still well respected in NFL circles and has mended some major fences with alumni and fans) the team needs to have a football minded GM calling the shots on coaching decisions and player personnel. This would allow Allen to fight the battles of the team name controversy and continue to promote charitable events like the criticized Harvest Fest.

The new GM would make up his (or her) mind on Jay Gruden's future as the head coach (and his staff) and would make a final decision on whether the team needs to continue with RGIII or to cut bait and move on. If Jay stays, then it would be up to that GM to work with Jay to give the team an identity and to find the players to achieve that goal. If not, then the GM needs to find his coach that would most likely have a plan and the GM would help execute that plan.

At this point, the Redskins do have AJ Smith in the building as a consultant and making him GM may not be a bad move. Smith should have a general idea of the team's current issues and possibly be able fix them with the support of the team president and owner. There are other options around the league and adding fresh blood to this stagnant organization may not be a bad idea but it could turn on that GM from the fans/media very quickly if things don't start off well.

Finally, there needs to be emphasis that the team is working to build the fan's trust once again. Fans have lived under the "good ol' days" of the 80's for over twenty years. There is a generation of Redskins fans who don't know and frankly don't care about what happened before they were born with this team. They're tired of hearing of glorious Super Bowl victories from their fathers and grandfathers when they've seen nothing but mostly crap over the last twenty years.

For the Redskins, it's time to stop staring at the three Lombardi trophies they've earned and start to focus how to get that fourth trophy. To re-build a once great franchise that has gotten old with the decay of arrogance and has crumpled to dust must be the top priority before you can build the roster with free agency money or newly drafted youth.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Garcon and Griffin III Give Back on Veterans Day (TMZ Exclusive)

TMZ SPORTS EXCLUSIVE: Pierre Garcon -- GIVING FREE PIZZA TO MILITARY ... With Help from RG3


  From TMZSports.com 

 by TMZ Staff

It's Veteran's Day ... and NFL star Pierre Garcon is giving back in a pretty awesome way -- WITH FREE PIZZA!!!

The Washington Redskins wide receiver is offering free slices to military vets at the SpinFire Pizza restaurant he owns in Ashburn, Virginia.

We're told several of Pierre's teammates are at the restaurant RIGHT NOW taking pics with fans and hanging with military vets ... including Robert Griffin III.

Pretty cool, right?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

State Of The Redskins (Offense)

It's amazing to me how some analyst and fans are doubting the offensive effectiveness of Jay Gruden. In nine games he's had three different quarterbacks, an inconsistent line and players getting used to a new offense. I say at least give him a whole season before the questions start about Jay Gruden's coaching ability and job security.
Via redskins.com

   Hail Redskins Nation!!!!! The bye week is upon us and once again we sit 3-6 after nine games. This season so far has been a crazy rollercoaster ride like no other. I wrote about The State Of The Defense before the season ending injury to Brian Orakpo. Now it's time to talk about the offense that now has it's starting quarterback back under center. After the bad loss to the Vikings there was some criticism of Robert Griffin III. I feel was kind of crazy being that it was his first game back after six weeks rehabbing his dislocated ankle. RGIII did some good and some bad but to put the loss on him
Via redskins.com
squarely is unfair and unjustified. I've stated before this is a team game and the team lost not one player. The team is bigger then one individual. This team is still trying to identify itself and what type of team they are going to be. Most would think by week nine that should already been decided and established. With injuries, inconsistent play and the coach still trying to find the best players to be on the field for this struggling team it hasn't. At the beginning of the season we all knew that the addition of DeSean Jackson would help this offense become more dangerous and explosive. But he alone would not  be able to mask the other short comings of this offense. The inconsistency of the offensive line has been the biggest hurdles to overcome and looks like Coach Gruden is starting to figure out who are the right players that can help this team win.

Now that Tom Compton has taken over for Tyler Polumbus at right tackle, it seems to me that either guard position should be the next position to see if it's time for a backup to get a shot at improving an inconsistent line.
Via realredskins.com

    The offensive line has been inconsistent all season but with the new addition of third year Tom Compton to the starting lineup maybe just what the line needed. Some talent, youth and the possibility of one of our young lineman finally developing are all good signs for a team trying to improve. Now I think Shawn Lavauo and Chris Chester should be feeling some heat during the bye week. It maybe time for Josh LeRibeus to get a start to see if he is the answer to help sure up the interior of the line. The interior is where most teams have been most of the constant pressure. The converted center Kory Lichtensteiger has been a pleasant surprise. He has given quality
Via pinterest.com
snaps to all three QB's, made mostly the correct line calls and hasn't missed a snap all season. I personally didn't think he would be this effective but the word was he was a better center then guard. The leader of that line Trent Williams has been fighting through some nagging injuries but has not missed a game due to any of them. I believe that is the biggest reason for his sometimes inconsistent play. Trent will still be a pro bowler for the third consecutive year. With this team looking for a spark after the bye week I see it's no better time then now to see if some of our young interior lineman are ready to step up and show they're worthy of those draft picks. Haven't really heard too much about rookie Spencer Long besides he's raw but steadily improving. If either one of the young guards can get some experience this season it can help this team on the field and on the bottom line. Both Chester and Lavauo have cap numbers of four million each in 2015. That's too expensive to be backups and haven't played well enough to be starters in 2015. Through these last seven games I believe they will find out what they truly have on the line and know who will be returning next season. With RGIII back under center it may help fix some of the issues with the line. If Griffin can develop better pocket presence and a better balance of when to hold the ball and when to get rid of it. By doing those things he can help make this line, offense and team better gong forward.



The two biggest acquisitions of the off season DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts were bout here to help this team, offense, and young quarterback improve. The results have been mixed so far but with the stretch run will truly show what this team can and will be going forward.
Via usatoday.com
 
   After the 2013 season in which Pierre Garcon led the league in receptions, this offense desperately needed some additional weapons to help balance the attack. By signing Pro Bowler DeSean Jackson and solid slot receiver Andre Roberts they now have bolstered a position of prior weakness. Although Pierre's numbers and targets are down and the word is he's getting frustrated, but as a unit they are one of the leagues best. I don't think it's a bad thing if it's true because he's a competitor and we are 3-6. Now if the team was winning and he had an issue then that would be more concerning. As the
Via redskins.com
saying goes "Winning cures all" and if they can string some wins together all that noise will go away. Plus with all the additional talent around him now you would have to expect his numbers to drop and that's not even including the tight ends. The tight ends in Jay Gruden's offense are very important and get a lot of targets which also takes targets away from wide receivers. The emergence of Niles Paul during Jordan Reed's absence has added more depth and diversity to this offense. Now that RGIII is back under center we can truly see what this offense can do, the way it was designed to run from the start of the season. Now adding Leonard Hankerson from the PUP list to the mix is going to take more targets from everyone of the skill position players. Which will not be an issue if the team starts winning, look effective and consistent doing so. With veterans like Santana Moss and Aldrick Robinson being healthy scratches during this season it shows you the depth of this corp. The problem with having all this talent is trying to get everyone enough touches and finding a good feel of everyone's strengths and weaknesses that can help this team win. Coming off of this bye I expect to see this offense step it up and to become the explosive offense that they've shown flashes of during this inconsistent season.
 


Alfred Morris may not be having his normal (two record breaking seasons get expectations unbelievable)stellar season but his numbers are still top 10 in most categories. The question is with RGIII coming back, will that open up better rushing lanes for this workhorse running back.
Via washingtonpost.com



   Third year running back Alfred Morris isn't having his normal tackle breaking, forward falling, ground and pound seasons but it's not as bad as some think. Although his yards, yards per carry and yards after contact are all down this season it doesn't mean he is becoming ineffective. It's a product of three starting QB's in nine weeks, some bad line play and the fact that teams know the offense is based on the run. With the offense learning to run a new offense opposing defenses knew that they would lean on their running game. It has been one of the best the since RGIII and Alfred Morris have came to town in 2012. By knowing the young quarterback would be doing more thinking in the pocket trying to learn a new offense and to play the position in a way he never has before. Most
Via nflmocks.com
defenses have decided to run blitz and send pressure right up the gut to try and rattle the young play maker. By doing this they have effectively slowed the offense as a whole and the once reliable running game. Now that the true threat of the zone read and pistol formations (RGIII) is back in play you will now see Alfred get going. The two best performances of the year for Morris were in Houston week 1 (91 yards) and last week in Minnesota (92 yards). The common factor in those games RGIII started and finished both. The third down back Roy Helu Jr. is showing his effectiveness as a all around back in this offense. He has a 5.1 avg, excelled at catching the ball and is the best pass protector in the backfield(I miss Clinton Portis pass blocking skills) but just doesn't have that game breaking, game changing score from anywhere speed. That's where Chris Thompson will hopefully come in soon. He's been on the practice squad all season to see if he could stay healthy and contribute but that has yet to happen. Silas Redd has got some limited playing time but hasn't been able to make a bigger impact.  With improve line play, better blocking by the WR's /TE's , better decisions by the running backs, and more consistent playcalling by sticking with the run. I don't see any reason why this running game can't get back into the Top 5 in the league by the end of this season.



   With Tampa Bay (1-8) coming to town this should be a week where the team should be able to show its dominance. Not overlooking the Bucs but this shouldn't even be a game, similar to the Jacksonville game. Now I know a 3-6 team can't afford to think that way but if they want to shut up the critics and please the fan base its what needs to happen. This game will be a telling sign of what this team is and going to be. If this game is a nail biter or even close in the fourth quarter I believe that is a telling sign as to if this team is closer to 3-6 or 7-2 like Gruden stated in his press conference yesterday. With the added pressure from the media and their "sources" I believe this team will come out focused and ready to handle their business. Now the question is can they play like that consistently for the rest of this season and beyond. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or on Facebook under Porter III. As always #HTTR4LIFE #BeatDa Bucs #RedskinsTweetTeam















Monday, November 3, 2014

Week Nine: Thoughts and Observations of the Redskins Vs Vikings Game

Robert Griffin III and DeSean Jackson congratulate each other on the first of hopefully many TD's from this duo. This was one of the bright spots for the offense that left a lot to be desired on the field.
Via realredskin.com


    Hail Redskins Nation!!!!! I know plenty of fans are pretty upset after this loss to the Vikings and I can understand that. But as the saying goes "Any Given Sunday any team can be beat" and that's exactly what happened. The game started off well for the Redskins and returning quarterback Robert Griffin III but with how well the defense started out the team should've scored more points. The offense once again showed its inconsistent play by only scoring 10 points in the first half where the team as a whole dominated. That is until a bad play call and throw gave Minnesota some life that they took into the second half. Some fans are blaming RGIII, some blaming the coaches, and some even blaming the curse of the Redskins name (which is really funny to me). The first two are correct. Fans have to understand that football is as much a mental sport as it is a physical sport. The only way a team gets better is by playing as a team on Sunday's. Practice helps you run your plays, watching tape helps you perfect your technique and plays but your team only gets better by playing the game. RGIII only has 10 quarters under
RGIII showed flashes of good and bad. Hopefully the more the
plays the more good we see and less bad.
Via redskins.com
Jay Gruden's offense and some people are already proclaiming RGIII isn't the answer for this franchise at QB. Some saying he should've waited until the Tampa Bay game after the bye week but if Peyton Manning or Tom Brady were ready wouldn't you start them?   He's been on the bench for six weeks and has to get the rust off at some point. Also you have to take into account the decision about exercising the fifth year option on the young quarterback has yet to have been made. If the team does that will give him a nice raise to around 12-15 million in 2016. So seeing the young Qb in eight games rather then seven makes sense to me. Unfortunately the play on the field isn't the only factors in these decisions going forward for this franchise.
                                          
    This game came down to adjustments at the half and Coach Zimmer and Coach Turner basically out coached and it was nothing they could do about it. Norv Turner had a great game plan to combat the pressure the defense was going to try and get. In the first half the defense dictated the game by getting pressure and blitzing but Norv Turner adjusted unlike Dallas last week. By them adjusting it did not allow Haslett to blitz consistently because of the formations and schemes Turner was using. When the Redskins lined up to blitz the Vikings went max protect in some occasions. That's when the offense goes with two TE's that stay in to block most of the time, a running back and just two wide
Teddy Bridgewater did just enough to buy enough time to
take advantage of the miscues of the secondary.
Via redskins.com
receivers to run routes. By Norv doing this and having the receivers run crossing and drag routes it makes it easier for the WR's to get seperation. The young Teddy Bridgewater bought enough time with his feet to hit the open man and hurt the defense when they did blitz. Not to mention without Brian Orakpo in the lineup it really hurts the not having him on the field. People complain about his sack numbers or lack there of but his presence on the field makes a major impact for this defense. Now with Orakpo out now teams can double team Jason Hatcher and/or Ryan Kerrigan and unfortunately the defense doesn't have a dominate rusher after those two.

   The second major adjustment that hurt the Redskins was Minnesota using misdirection in their formations. The Vikings would line up in a unbalanced line, which is when you have extra lineman in to block and whatever side he lines up on is considered unbalanced. By doing this the defense tends to slant or shift to that side because it's usually a tell as to which side the ball is going. Minnesota added a twist by lining up unbalanced and running to the opposite or weak side of the formation. In doing that it gave the Vikings the match-up advantage by scheme. Just like how the Cover 0 blitz lines up one more rusher then blockers on the line. It's similar but it's one on one match up which in a running situation the offensive lineman have the advantage. With limited rushers to get constant pressure it makes Haslett's job much harder. Why do you think he blitzed 60% of the game last week? He knew he wouldn't be able to get good constant pressure with out blitzing but last week the Cowboys played right into the defense's hands. I've said on several occasions, this defense needs a playmaker/ballhawk. Maybe in this upcoming draft with a first round pick for the first time in two years this team can address that need.

    Now to talk about this now you see me now you don't offense. I also mentioned that Jay Gruden got out coached. With him and Coach Zimmer both working in Cincinnati the prior three years
Once colleagues and  coordinators on the same staff and now
coaching adversaries trying tom find a way to win a game.
Via redskins.com 
as offensive and defensive coordinators, I feel Zimmer had the advantage in this match up. Defense can always disguise and cause chaos from different looks where as the offense can only do but so much to disguise what they want to do. They both knew each others tendencies but I believe Zimmer had a little something extra to confuse the offense which helped the outcome. To me the first mistake that started the downfall was after the Redskins defense made a huge stop on fourth down with just over a minute left before half. On your own 40 yard line with that much time on the clock why would you call a pass play? Last week one of the keys to the teams success was that on first downs they ran almost 80% of the time which helped key the victory. Not that Jay gets all the blame. The quarterback gets blame for throwing a INT in that game situation. If the Redskins go down and score a FG or TD it could've been a nail in the coffin of the Vikings hopes for a victory. But instead a bad throw and turnover gave the Vikings the momentum they needed and were desperately seeking. This was one of Alfred Morris better performances of this season but I believe he had plenty more in the tank to put this game away. There was real balance with 29 passes to 28 rushes but it's not always about what the playcall is but when you call the play also. We became more pass happy in the second half again even thought Morris and Roy Helu Jr. kept the chains moving. This is Gruden's first season and best believe he is learning plenty on the job but it's also a working process. The same can be said for Robert Griffin III. He's learning on the job and I feel progressing.
Looks like another pro bowl campaign for DeSean Jackson.
Via redskins.com


   The emergence of DeSean Jackson as a deep treat for this team that hasn't had one since the early 90's has been unbelievable. His statistics so far this season are stunning. His ball tracking skills are the best I've seen and looks like maybe another pro bowl season. At the midway point of the season he has 36 receptions for 784 yards and four touchdowns. The more in tuned he and the young quarterback can get the better it is for this offense and team as a whole. It's not just about the deep ball for this team. With the likes of Jordan Reed and Pierre Garcon the short and intermediate routes can also produce big plays. The key is now that all the pieces are healthy and on the field they have to stay that way. With the bye week here now this team can evaluate where they are and where they wanna get to by the end of the season. Everyone should be back in the lineup and rotation so should be an interesting final seven games. I've said 8-8 would be a good season and if they can make it there that would be a strong statement going into Jay Gruden's second season. You can follow on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or on Facebook @ Porter III. As always #HTTR and keep a look out for my next article. State Of The Redskins Offense Edition. #RedskinsTweetTeam