Sunday, May 1, 2016

Quick Thoughts on The Redskins Draft

(If you blinked, you may have missed this. Great job NFL Network! Photo: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via)
Here are some quick thoughts about the Redskins 2016 draft. This is more about the Redskins philosophy/strategy than actual player write ups. I want to watch some games of the players, take some notes and do a long write up about them before I go into great detail.

I will say that I thought the Redskins got some very good talent in this draft, even if we don't see an immediate impact in 2016.

So here are some quick thoughts on the Redskins, the 2016 and 2017 draft and the coverage of this team.

1. Casual Fans Will Not Like The 2016 Draft Choices Compared To The 2015 Class

This is no slight to the players drafted recently, if anything it shows how talent depleted the team was before Scot came on as team GM. In 2015, with the Redskins drafting so high, Brandon Scherff needed to be a day 1 starter. In fact, the Redskins could have used him to start either at guard or tackle. Preston Smith was called into play sooner than later with the injury to Junior Gallette. Matt Jones was used frequently because Alfred Morris struggled with pass catching in a scheme that requires the RB to be better pass catchers than pass blockers. Jamison Crowder outplayed an injured and ineffective Andre Roberts and helped fill in for an injured Desean Jackson. Jarrett and Dunbar (UDFA) stepped up into significant roles with multiple injuries and suspensions to the starting secondary.

So, more or less, the 2015 class had to be more ready step up than what may be expected of the 2016 class.

I expect that we'll see a lot of Josh Doctson and Su'a Cravens early because they bring skill sets and versatility that currently isn't on the roster. The other players however, barring injury, will have a bit more time to develop.

Also, fans will be upset that the Redskins didn't address the DL and C positions early or at all. This was a deep draft for both positions and fans wanted to see upgrades. The irony to this is that it may be likely that the Redskins didn't see these positions as critical issues and went for the BPA over need. The Redskins did have issues in the secondary and did address those needs by drafting a CB and a hybrid S/OLB.

They did finally address DL depth by drafting Matt Ioannidis in the 5th round, but Ioannidis will likely joining the depth chart as the #2 NT and probably on the 3rd rotation as a DE/DT.

So why do I like this draft class? Simple, the Redskins looked at future needs along with some lingering current ones and tried to address them.

Doctson: Has the height and vertical to be a factor in the Red Zone now. Remember the Redskins O was at it's weakest once it got inside the 20. Will be at worst the #2 WR (probably #1) starting 2017 as it is likely that at least Garcon or Jackson or both won't be back.

Cravens: Can be a factor on special teams now as well as in various sub packages. Could be a future starting SS who will be moved all over the field.

Fuller: May not have high 2016 impact as the 'Skins will be very cautious with his knee. Has the potential to be the starting nickel back in future and have the 'Skins need to rely less on Culliver.

Ioannidis: Provides depth now. Maybe a future starter or significant depth player to replace aging veterans.

Sudefeld: Developmental prospect, has 1-2 year before he has to prove anything.

Daniels: Immediate impact on special teams. May eventually push for playing time and will allow Perry Riley to leave without having to pay a big contract extension.

Marshall: Could help special teams now, may develop to be a player who pushes Matt Jones for starting time.

So as you can tell the Redskins tried to address some issues with Red Zone, nickel/dime passing issues and special teams in this draft. The long term hope is that 2-3 of these players turn into starters with at least a few more being significant contributors in the next couple of years.

2. Scot Likes 2017 Draft Class

GM Scot McCloughan loves to accumulate picks. He told the media he would love to get 12 players out of the 2016 draft. In the end he drafted 7 players this year and traded back multiple times to accumulate 3 more picks for the 2017 draft. So why didn't McCloughan stay with 2016?

Well, without knowing who offered up deals it is hard to tell who were potential trade partners and whether or not anything was offered now vs. future years.

It is rumored (via Rich Tandler) that the Redskins were trying to work a major deal in the 1st round to trade back and accumulate multiple picks, but the trade fell through and the Redskins didn't want to lose Doctson, so they traded back one spot and picked up a 2017 6th round pick from the Texans.

This trend continued with a trade back with the Saints for a 2017 5th rounder and the Jets for a 2017 4th rounder.

After talking to a few people and doing some reading, the early word is that the 2017 class has a higher level of talent coming out than the 2016 class.

McCloughan and his scouts seem to be ahead of the curve when it comes to future years, so it seems that Scot is prepping for a potentially big 2017 while still getting seven players this year.

3. The Experts Like The 2016 Draft

The next few days you'll be hearing and reading about the great drafts of the Jaguars, Bears, Ravens and a few other teams. You probably won't hear too much about the Redskins. That said almost every draftnik and draft expert has given the Redskins high praise. I tend to have seen B- to A grades. Kiper seemed to put it best as he mentioned that McCloughan found talent almost a round higher than they were supposed to go. John Keim also applauded McCloughan to sticking to his philosophy of Best Player Available and sticking to his board.

4.  The Redskins Salary Cap Likes The 2016 Draft

Pretty simple, there are some veterans on the team that cost the Redskins some cap room. This draft just gave the team the opportunity to release the pricier players to open up some cap room for 2016 and beyond.

Andre Roberts, Perry Riley, Chris Culliver may be three in particular that the 'Skins could release and save close to $15 million on the cap. That opens up room for Kirk Cousins and Jordan Reed extensions. It also helps future years when Chris Baker and Baushad Breeland will need new deals.

5. Redskins Draft Coverage Was Pretty Lousy

Would somebody explain to me what the NFL Network was doing with the 'Skins on Thursday? I generally watch NFLN over ESPN coverage because I like Rich Eisen and if they let Mike Mayock talk, he's a master of X's and O's.

What happened Thursday annoyed the living hell out of me and I'd like to know why. First, when the Redskins came up to pick at #21, the NFL Network went to commercial. Okay, I thought, that happens from time to time and while I'd rather have them talk about my team, I can deal and understand the need for commercials. The Redskins then traded that pick to Houston. So they announce Will Fuller as the pick. Mayock slobbers all over this guy because he announces Notre Dame games and Deion gives him an interview.

Great.

Now the Redskins are on the clock......here we go. What is Rich, Mooch, Mike, Charles and the rest going to say about my team???

Nothing. Cut to commercial.

Okay, now I'm starting to get annoyed. The Redskins have picked.
Josh Doctson announced, NFLN shows one dinky clip of him making a great catch. Mayock sounds kind of lukewarm talking about him.

Onto Minnesota pick. No Deion interview, we barely get to see a shot of him holding a jersey.
Minnesota picks....Laquon Treadwell!!!!!!
Huge package of highlight film, announcer booth is rocking. Then we get Treadwell coming out with his daughter for a five minute interview with Deion. How cute.

What the hell just happened? Doctson wasn't interviewed by ESPN so what gives NFL Network?

So I switched to ESPN on Day 2-3. Now it tended that every time the 'Skins came up to pick, The Worldwide Leader also went to commercial. That said, at least Kiper, McShay, Riddick and Wingo talked about my team and the players drafted to my team.

Until I get an actual answer about the NFL Network, I'll be watching ESPN coverage.

So what did you think of the draft and it's coverage of the Redskins. Please let me know in the comments. Also, am I going overboard about Thursday night's coverage by the NFL Network?
I will be doing write ups on the players drafted and the UDFAs so keep reading.

You can follow me on Twitter @IIWIISkinsBlog and check out our never updated Facebook page as well. Thanks for reading and HTTR.

Washington Redskins Draft Recap 2016

Scot McClougahan's second draft with the Redskins will be a critical and crucial one if the team is truly building a perennial winner. The big signing oh Josh Norman was a good sign he is taking the team in the right direction.
Via Redskins.com


  Hail RedskinsNation!!!! Another off season has slowly crept by and it's draft time again. But before we get to the draft I'd like to announce that thanks to my writing, my great followers, readers on Facebook and Twitter and the TruRadio Network I have been blessed with a Two hour online radio sports talk show. The Show is called Sports On The Hill Podcast and it's on the TruRadio Network on Monday's.(If you click on the highlighted link, you can hear our show from last week and talk about the Josh Norman signing 20 mins into the show) The time of the show varies from week to week depending on the Capitals playoff run. My co-host Robbie Gross and I talk about all pro teams of the city. Capitals, Nationals, Wizards, Untied and of course Redskins. I appreciate all the support and kind words over these past three seasons to help launch me into one of my dream careers. I will still continue to write on a weekly basis just gonna have to make it my "Five Observations Of The Game" instead of my usual 10 after each Redskins game. Be sure to go like the page on Facebook and go follow on Twitter @SportsOTHP. Okay now back to the real news....the Redskins draft and the stellar job Scot McCloughan has done.

Via stripehype.com
 Going into the 2016 draft Scot had already said he wanted to add more picks, which he did by securing three draft picks for 2017. By trading down one spot with Houston they gained a fourth round pick in 2017. Some fans question the logic of drafting Josh Doctson WR out of TCU with the 22nd pick. With Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson being free agents at the end of the season it's a wise pick. One of if not the best WR's coming out of college is sitting there, why not take him. He is coming off a wrist injury but said that he's 100% ready to learn and do whatever the coach wants him to do. At 6ft 3, 205 lbs he's gonna be a problem to guard in the redzone. Plus with 4.50 speed he's gonna be an additional deep threat this team could use and a additional target for Kirk Cousins.

Via rantsports.com
 For the teams second round pick they draft a S/LB Su'a Cravens out of USC. This pick is a boom or bust pick. With his size 6ft 1, he's not quite big enough to play LB full time and with 4.69 speed, he's not fast enough to play safety full time either. He will put on some weight during training camp n OTA's so who knows how big he can/will get. After watching his tape he seems to have a nose for the ball, when he does blitz he gets there, if not to get the sack it kills the play. With him being a hybrid player not telling how many snaps he gets but as a third round pick he needs to make an impact.

Via sportingnews.com
  The team decided to go with a defensive player again with its third round pick also by drafting Kendall Fuller CB out of Virginia Tech. At 5ft 11 he isn't the tallest CB but his athleticism and good
ball tracking skills should help him make up for the lack of size. He likely could be nickel back in a NFL defense but could also play outside. Even after signing All Pro CB Josh Norman the GM said that that wouldn't deter him from drafting a CB also. Fuller is coming off of microfracture surgery so there is some risk with drafting him especially in the third round but they feel like he's on track with his rehab and will be ready to go no later then training camp.

Via redskins.com
  The team traded its fourth round pick to New Orleans for their fifth this year and a fifth for next year. Then they traded their fifth pick this year to the Jets for another fifth round pick in 2017. Now after all of that taken care of the team drafted DT Matt Ioannidis out of Temple in the fifth round. 6ft 3 300lb lineman with strength and power. He has a non stop motor and sometimes depend on his strength more then technique, which will cause him
issues in the NFL. He works on that he can be a solid contributor at DT and DE. With Trent Murphy playing DL now the front seven has definitely getting younger and hopefully getting better.

Via riggosrag.com
 After drafting three defensive players in a row the team went offense and a need by drafting QB Nate Sudfeld out of Indiana. 6ft 6 234 lbs he's your "Big Ben" type QB. Big, strong arm, ability to buy time in the pocket and can break the pocket and get those tough yards when needed. Giving Kirk the franchise tag seems a lot smarter after this pick. Not saying that the rookie will be starting in 2017, but you now have someone waiting in the wings just in case something crazy happens.

 In the last round of the draft the Redskins had two picks. With the first of those picks they drafted Steven Daniels ILB out of Boston
Via zimbio.com
College and Keith Marshall RB out of Georgia. Steven Daniels is good size for ILB at 5 ft 11 243lbs he can get deep enough in coverage and hit the hole with speed to stop the run. His hands need work on getting off blocks and needs to make more impact plays but solid foundation to build on.  The running back out of Georgia stats are 5ft 11 219 lbs with a 4.31 40 time. If Matt Jones falters this kid might be a quality fill in if not starter. He has speed, power, vision, quick feet and above average hands for a running back. The offense just got more explosive. Look out for this kid.



Via espn.go.com
 This second draft of Scot McCloughan looks like a good draft that could be considered a great draft in a few years, but only time will tell. With the draft done but the undrafted free agents still out there I will have to give the GM a B grade so far. I would've liked a true OLB with proven pass rush skills. Other then that I have no issues with this draft and can't wait for the competition in training camp to see who will make the team. With the free agent signings and draft picks, this team looks poised to make  run at back to back NFC East Championships and hopefully a longer playoff run and some playoff wins.

 As always thanks for reading, sharing, and all of your support. You can always follow me @TattooedScorpio on Twitter and Carroll Porter III on Facebook. Don't forget to go like the page for this blog It Is wat It Is...Another Redskins Blog and Sports On The Hill Podcast on Facebook and go follow @SportsOTHP on Twitter for show times and sports content for all DC sports. Be sure to tune in to our show on Monday May 2nd at 6;30 pm up to puck drop for the Capitals pivotal Game 3 at 8pm. #HTTR4LIFE #LetsGoCaps















Sunday, April 17, 2016

So.....The NFL Put Out It's 2016 Schedule

(Schedule designed by The Washington Redskins. Original source here)
I used to be very excited about the schedule release because of multiple reasons. First, I'm not a big Basketball or Hockey guy so unless the Capitals or Wizards are playing, I could care less about either sport. Baseball is just starting up and Football hasn't done much  since the very boring and tedious underwear fest called The Combine back in February. Second, was that from 2004-2013 I was a season ticket holder and that I needed to know ASAP when the 'Skins were playing so I could try and schedule myself off for those games. In my real career, you usually have to be available to work weekends. So, it can be a royal pain to get a specified day off. The earlier you can put in for games, the better.

Of course, its during this time that everybody makes predictions and has it figured out how their team is going to do based on who they're playing, when they are playing them and how much rest or lack of rest the team is given when facing a particular team will affect the outcome of the game. It's okay, I do it as well. But, do we really learn anything from a schedule release other than when to turn on the TV or show up at the stadium? I don't think so.

Here's Why:

1. Everybody Is Going To Beat The Browns (Not True)

When you look at the schedule and see the Browns coming to FedEx, the majority of you mark that as an automatic win. Well, every other fan from every other team is predicting the same thing. The problem is that it is highly doubtful that Cleveland is going 0-16. That doesn't happen often. Cleveland is bound to win a few games this year. The same arguments can be made for the Redskins losing against Green Bay or Carolina. These are not automatic losses despite the 'Skins losing to both teams last year. While you can guess the likely outcome of these games, it still doesn't mean that it will happen that way.

2. Team Turnover/Strength of Schedule

Even though the 2015 Redskins went 9-7, made the playoffs and won the NFC East there has been a decent roster turnover on the 2016 team. This year's team will be different from the team from last year. Look at the teams that played poorly and how radically those teams have changed in front office, coaching and player personnel. Compared to the Redskins, they're doing almost a complete overhaul.  Again it's hard to figure how the 2016 team will perform based off a 2015 record. It's also equally hard to tell how easy/difficult the 2016 schedule is based off the 2015 records of other teams.

3. NFL = NOT FOR LONG

In the NFL change is constant. A couple of good moves combined with a key injury to another team in your division can lead to radical change. Remember, only 2 seasons ago the Redskins were 4-12 and hoping that new GM Scot McCloughan could turn things around. He did. This also includes Jay Gruden improving as a head coach, Kirk Cousins becoming a starter and a change in scheme philosophy with Bill Callahan that contributed to the team's success. Those moves combined with the Eagles and Giants floundering and Tony Romo going down helped the Redskins to win the division.
Unless you're that homer that has the Redskins going 16-0 every year, I find it hard to believe that anyone had the Redskins winning nine games when the schedule was released last season (I had them winning 6 games).

So, while it's fun to guess how the team will do when the schedule comes out.....please take all of these "predictions" with a huge grain of salt. The schedule release again is just another way to pump you up for the season and let you know when to turn on the TV, nothing more.

Well, at least we got a good Hype Video out of it.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

So, I'm Back To Writing.......For Now

(Me on a normal day on my "computer" commenting on Twitter.)

Ok, so I'm back.........

Well, sort of. I was outside fixing a wheelbarrow of all things and decided I should be writing about the Redskins again.

I'm not really sure why, but, well, here I am.

I had a major announcement I wanted to say about IIWII but I wanted to finish some stuff first and well..... those articles never came about.
So....here it goes......

IIWII and myself were going to call it a day. I hadn't gotten around to telling Tattooed Scorpio yet, but since I'm back..... well, I guess I don't have to make that call/email.

Anyway, I feel like I should do a few articles on some Redskins stuff and we'll go from there. I'm not saying I'll be back to doing a lot of posts but we'll see if I feel like continuing this or letting other bloggers ramble instead of me.

So, if you missed me- I'M BACK! and if you didn't, well then you're probably not reading this anyway, so who cares.

Stay tuned.

In the meantime if you like sarcasm, occasional political ramblings and some commentary on the Redskins, Nationals and lots of beer check my Twitter @IIWIISkinsBlog

Don't forget about my co-writer @TattooedScorpio
Check it---- he's got his own podcast now Sports on the Hill @SportsOTHP

Monday, January 11, 2016

Quick Thoughts on the 2015 Season, Updates and Other Whatnot

(Reed stiff arms Clinton-Dix to get some extra yards. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Yeah, I still like that.

Despite a bittersweet ending with a playoff loss at home to the Packers, the Redskins are still the NFC East Divisional Champions. They finished with a 9-7 record and have built a foundation for them to build upon for next year.

Not bad for a team that most had left for dead by the end of week one of the 2015 season.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think the Redskins are Super Bowl bound in 2016. I haven't called Canton and told them to reserve spaces for Kirk Cousins or Jay Gruden's busts. What I have seen however is a massive improvement from the 2014 version of the team and a much, much better team than the one that had given up in the mid to late 2013 season.

Here's what I considered "improvement" for this team when I wrote my prediction for the 2015 season back in June:

I do think that the 2015 Redskins will be a much better team than the 2014 Redskins and if you have to hold me down to one record, I'd say 6-10 right now. That doesn't sound like much improvement, but a two game upswing combined with 4-5 very close probable losses is much better than the inept mess that we saw frequently in 2014.
Yep. 6-10. To me that was improvement. I had hoped that you would see some young talent drafted show some potential, Jay Gruden improve as a head coach and hopefully a quarterback rise up to lead the team. To my surprise it was Kirk Cousins and not RGIII but I've been wrong before on predictions (and I'm likely to be again).

So, if you're bummed out today after the loss- cheer up!!!! The Redskins head to a new season with a great deal of things accomplished but knowing that they have a lot of work ahead of them. However, at least compared to the 2012 season, the probable 2016 starting quarterback is healthy and the team will try to go a second year without the drama that has plagued this franchise for nearly 20 years.

And.....Hooray we still have an actual GM!!!!!

On Tap

So, I haven't wrote that much lately and I promised a six part feature breaking down the 2015 team back around the week eight mark. I'm going to finally do that feature starting this week.

The team breakdown will go as follows:
Part 1: 2015 Player awards and honorable mentions
Part 2: Scot McCloughan and the Front office -FA moves, roster decisions and the draft
Part 3: Coaches breakdown -both good and bad elements
Part 4: The dumbest fan debate I've had to deal with as a 'Skins fan (with brutal honesty)
Part 5: The Roster: Who's gone, Who's coming back and who will rise in '16
Part 6: The Future: A quick look at the draft and the 2016 schedule.

I also plan to write about an event I attended at Redskins Park earlier this season and how I got to meet Clinton Portis. But that is another story for another day.

Major Announcement Coming

I also want to make an announcement about the future of IIWII. It's kind of been a long time coming, but  that will come after I get these articles done. My 12 regular readers out there probably aren't going to like it.

Anyway, keep your eyes peeled I'll be adding some new content shortly.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Quick Prediction Redskins vs. Giants

I am unlike a lot of Redskin fans......I really despise the Giants. Most Redskin fans consider the Giants their 3rd hated rivalry behind the likes of the Cowboys and Eagles. It's understandable as the Cowboys are our "classic" rivals and that many* in their fanbase are obnoxious bandwagon fans who don't even realize that Dallas is in the state of Texas. The Eagles I also get. I have many friends, co-workers and associates that are Eagles fans and are fine by themselves, but you get a group* of Eagles fans together and it's like a pack of hyenas. They'd give their grandmother the finger during an Eagles game.

But, I can't stand the Giants. I'm sick of their smugness. I'm sick of John Mara and how he seems to control Roger Goodell like he's his personal Muppet. I can never forgive Mara for the events of Capgate and his "spirit of the game" comments, despite the NFL violating the uncapped year rules and colluding to keep the salary cap down. I also can't stand Eli Manning and his having a bitch fit because he was drafted by the Chargers, so his daddy and the NFL got him sent to NY.

Anyway......
The 'Skins are playing the Giants today and it's time for a prediction.
The 'Skins have really stunk it up against the G-Men as of late. I'm torn here and it's time to give you what my head and heart are telling me.

Head says: I've had this as a loss for awhile. Matter of fact, I saw the Redskins at the mid-way point to be 3-5, they lose to the Pats (duh) and then go 1-2 in their next three. So far, I've been dead on. I expect a typical crappy Redskins performance and a typical blowout type of loss.

Heart says: This is the game they turn things around. Beat the Giants and with exception to the Bears and Bills, the 'Skins could win the remaining games on the schedule (Cowboys, Eagles). At worst, with a Giants win, I see the Redskins going 4-2 down the stretch. An 8-8 season and the NFC East could easily be there for the taking. They will win today.

I trust my head here more than my heart, but you never know.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Saints @ Redskins Game Preview/Prediction

(Can Ryan Kerrigan step up and have a big game against Brees? Photo: Derick Hingle/US Presswire)
So, I had a six part mid-season breakdown that I wanted to get out this week and well.... life happened. Currently, I'm in the middle of part two of the series and I hope I will have the remaining posts out within the next two weeks.

Anyway.....

I was going to make a prediction about this game in part 6 of the breakdown, but since the game is on in just a few hours I figured I'd need to make a quick prediction.

So, I think this game will be one of the 3-4 games that I think the 'Skins will win in the remainder of the 2015 season.

Here's why:
- Drew Brees is not nearly as good outdoors than he is indoors. Brees will have a decent game nonetheless, but I think will be more likely to miss a key deep pass or get picked off at some point in the game.

- Jay Gruden actually has a decent record at FedEx. His teams are 6-6 at home, 1-11 on the road. Could Gruden actually have a winning home record after Sunday?

- The Redskins may have most of their starters back. With exception of the OL, the team seems to finally be getting healthy. For the first time all season, the Redskins may have their top three CBs active and healthy. DeSean Jackson may finally at 100%.

- The run game may be able to work this week. The Saints defense may be even worse than the Redskins in stopping the run. If Matt Jones or Alfred Morris don't get 100 yards this week I would be really concerned.

- Rashad Ross and the kick off return team might have a chance to break another big run as the 'Skins will be facing Kai Forbath this week. While I still like Forbath, we all can admit Forbath's weakness is his kickoffs.

This may not be a critical as the "Code Red" game at home vs. Tampa Bay, but it's pretty close. I have a feeling that this will also be another nail biting, frustration game for the fans. That said, I expect that Kirk Cousins will lead the team down the field on the final drive to win with no time remaining.

Monday, November 9, 2015

2015 Mid-Season Thoughts Pt.1: Awards


(Cheer up coach, The Redskins are right where I thought they'd be.)
Hey folks, FedEx Al here.
I thought now would be a good time to jump back onto the blog and look at the 2015 Redskins so far and where I think the team is headed for the remainder of the season and into 2016.

Remember, back in June I predicted the Redskins to go 6-10 and after the first eight games, the team is on course to achieve that record. Now there has been plenty of ups and downs already and a lot of frustration because I feel that the team could have played better and possibly won 2-3 of those five losses. But, despite all of those fan feelings, the team is right where I expected them to be which overall isn't a bad thing.

I have plenty to write about when it comes to the team, but let's start off and give out some mid-season MVPs

(If only he could stay healthy for 16 games. Photo: Alex Brandon via Newsday)

MVP Offense: Jordan Reed
Reed is still not the best run blocker, but at least he has made an effort to improve in that area and it has shown. What Reed is known for though is being a pass catching machine. The Redskins offense is much different with him in the game and it gives Kirk Cousins a good target to find open on a regular basis.

Reed's only problem remains that he gets injured to the point that many fans consider him just being a bonus if he's active on game days. It would have been really nice to seen what Niles Paul could have done this season alongside Reed.


(Swaggy!!!!! Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP/via Washington Times)

MVP Defense: Chris Baker
In previous seasons I got annoyed by Baker's celebrations. The reason is that he didn't finish plays. Dancing while there's a loose ball or if a player is still not tackled drives me crazy (to be fair he's not the only player in the NFL to do this). In 2015 though, Baker has really evolved into a team leader who makes plays, finishes them and then celebrates. Baker won a starting job this year and has proven that it's going to be very hard for another player to take it away from him.


(Could Hopkins be the 2015 'Skins best free agent? Photo via Redskins.com)

MVP Special Teams: Dustin Hopkins
I think both the team and the fan base has a great deal of respect for Kai Forbath. I think despite letting him go, we still do. Forbath was incredibly accurate from  the 45yd. range and he could hit FGs that went into the lower 50 yd. range. That said, his kickoffs were terrible.

In many cases, that would be ok if the Redskins had a decent kick coverage team but they really don't. Matter of fact, the Redskins have one of the weaker coverage units in the league. So, the team made a change and brought in Dustin Hopkins, the kicker who lost the Saints kicking job to Zach Hocker.......the former Redskins draft pick who lost to Forbath for the Redskins kicker position.

Hopkins not only can kick FGs, but now can generate touchbacks, something the team desperately needed and has a knack of making successful onside kicks.

So, the awards have been given out. Now it's time to crack open this franchise and look at its parts, piece by piece.

Part 2 will look at the front office and if Scot McCloughan is having an effect on the team.

Part 3 will look at the coaching, both the good and the bad.

Part 4 will tackle one of the most annoying debates I've had to deal with as a Redskins fan/blogger.

Part 5 will look at the current roster, the injuries, the cap and who will (or won't) be back next season.

Part 6 will end with a final game by game season prediction and a brief look at the 2016 draft.

Thanks again for reading and sorry for not posting in awhile. Please continue to read and follow @TattooedScorpio both on here and on Twitter. I'm at @IIWIISkinsBlog and please share this if you like the article and feel free to leave comments, emails or Tweet me.

Hail to the Redskins!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mid-Season Report Card and Grades

The 2015 Redskins did something that no other team in Redskins history had ever done before. A 24 point deficit is usually insurmountable in ther NFL but this team scrapped, fought and found a way to win. Could this be the kick start this team needed to get everything going in the right direction...only one way to find out. Play a consistent brand of football for the rest of the season and see where they stand at seasons end.
Via Redskins.com



 Hail Redskins Nation!!! Hope everyone enjoyed the bye week and got a chance to recoup like some of the injured players. So far it's been a almost typical up and down season for the Redskins, but you can tell is definitely a more determined, focused and physical team. The comeback victory from week 7 was very impressive and in my mind at the time, it didn't seem possible. If you want to hear my thoughts on the game you are in luck. Click the link to hear my thoughts on the game, team and quarterback situation. I'd like to thank Hurts House Online Sports Show  on the Tru Radio Network for having me as a call in guest to give my thoughts and observations of the week 7 victory. Now it's time to move into the second half of the football season and make a successful playoff push. At (3-4) and in 2nd place in the NFC east the team has it's destiny in its own hands. The first test coming out the bye week is the undefeated Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots. This is a big test for this team and I'll give my tale of the tape a little later. Now let's get to my mid-season report card and grades:


Via Redskins.com
Quarterback: Kirk Cousins has had a very inconsistent first half of the season. When he's good he looks a truly capable NFL quarterback. When he's bad he tends to get worse, especially in the turnover department. He does know the offense, controls the pace of the game, generally makes good decisions until he decides to press or force a pass he shouldn't. If he can limit his multiple turnover games and continue to step up when he's needed to it could make this season very interesting in an underachieving NFC East division. Grade: C


Running Back: To be honest I've never been a fan of running back by committee (3 or more backs sharing the ball) but would rather a 1-2 combo if any. I say that to say this, over the last 3 weeks the running game has been non-existent. The coach already has a issue with sticking with the run, then throw in the fact one back can't get any feel for the game of how the defense is playing the run. Granted injuries on the O-line and from the skill positions has equally hurt the running game. Hopefully with injured players returning and better dedication to the running game will get back going and eating up defenses and game clock. Grade: B-


Via Redskins.com
Wide Receivers: DeSean Jackson hasn't been on the field since the first series of the first game of the season. I still can't understand why Coach Gruden would run a Go route on the first series when the speedy wide receiver hadn't played one down in preseason. I have been noticing fans bashing him calling him soft etc etc. I recall last year and several seasons with the Eagles he played thru the pain an put up big numbers. The fact that it's his hamstring is why you wanna hold him back so it doesn't linger. In the colder months of the season it's harder to get warmed up and stay warmed up to prevent injuries so you would rather he be 100% going into the stretch run. Pierre Garcon is steady as usual and having a decent season so far but  his numbers should get better once the WR corp gets to full strength.The silver lining of this situation is the young WRs have been stepping up big time. The 2nd year pro Ryan Grant and rookie Jamison Crowder have made their presence known and felt on this team. Once Jackson gets back it will add another dimension to the passing game and the offense which in turn will help the running game. Grade: B+


Via Redskins.com
Tight Ends: With season ending injuries to Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen and the often injured Jordan Reed, no one knew what to expect from this group this season. In Jay's offense the TE is a very crucial position. Having to depend solely on Jordan Reed who has missed 12 games combined in his first two seasons had me worried and scouring the waiver wire at the beginning of the season. The late addition of Derrick Carrier has proven to be a quality pick up that has stepped up when needed. For this offense to move the ball and produce touchdowns instead of field goals Jordan Reed has to stay on the field. The blocking from the TE position needs to improve as a whole but so far it hasn't been a major issue. It will be interesting to see how defenses try to play Jordan Reed when DeSean Jackson returns. You can't bracket or double them both so it should open up the passing and running game. Grade: B


Via Redskins.com
Offensive Line: The injury bug has hit this unit harder then any other on the team. Forcing rookies and second year players into starting role helps them develop faster but also does hinder your offense because of the lack of experience. Since the Shawn Lauvou went on the IR the run game has suffered and has been on a decline. By sticking with the run it will help the unit gain chemistry, cohesion and the ability to control the line of scrimmage when necessary. I've been impressed with Morgan Moses and Brandon Schreff holding down the right side. Not saying they've been lights out but the success they've had so far is a good sign. That definitely has something to do with the addition of Bill Callahan to the coaching staff. He's taken an underachieving unit and turning into potentially a quality O-line in the NFL. Grade: C+




Via Redskins.com
Defensive Line: This unit had the most turnover in the off season and all the moves has proven a smart and well executed. The biggest addition (not just by size) in my opinion has been Terrence "Pot Roast" Knighton. His presence in the middle of the line occupying two sometimes three lineman which allows others to get pressure or stuff the run. Chris Baker also is having a productive season so far. He's been equally effective stopping the run and rushing the passer. Lately the defense has been getting gashed on big runs and long runs, which happens time to time. It's only been one such run that directly resulted in a TD. If u recall in the Tampa Bay game they gave up a long gain by Doug Martin but was stopped at the 3 and ended up kicking a field goal from the 7. The impressive thing about that is despite those few long runs the defense has held their opponents to around three yards a carry on all other runs. With a new scheme and new coordinator you have to expect some growing pains. I love the switch from a 2 gap scheme to a 1 gap. Which means instead of the D-lineman trying to read and react to offense they attack and force the action instead of reacting to what the offense is doing. Grade: C+




Via Redskins.com
Linebacker: If the offensive line is the hardest hit by the injury bug the linebacker corp is the second hardest hit unit starting with Junior Gallete right before the start of the season. All the starters have missed time at some point this season but the replacements have filled in well. Second year un drafted free agent Will Compton has started/played 3 of the 4 LB positions, rookie Preston Smith has been effective in his limited role, Jackson Jeffcoat has filled in well during spot duty. The biggest question coming out of the bye week is whether or not Ryan Kerrigan will be able to play after breaking his hand and having surgery during the bye week. The unit has been effective but not the standout unit that would create constant pressure like we thought at the start of the season. Trent Murphy had that one quarter against the Rams but other then that has pretty much been quiet. I was calling for Preston Smith to start in place of him because it seems like Smith is always causing havoc somewhere when he's on the field. I don't want to call Murphy a bust but I thinking it's time to give someone else a shot and see what happens. In the second half of the season we will need this unit to step up with creating pressure (especially this coming Sunday) and causing turnovers. Giving the offense a short field and possibly points by the defense will go a long way into securing a playoff berth. Grade: B-




Via Redskins.com
Secondary: The secondary has had issues for years, sad to say as far back as the untimely death of Redskins great Free Safety Sean Taylor in 2007. Until you solidify the back end, you will always have an issue with your defense. The key additions Dashon Goldson, Jeron Johnson at the safety positions and Chris Culliver and Will Blackmon at the cornerback position the secondary has looked superb compared to last years inconsistency. The veteran of the group DeAngelo Hall, who has either been recovering from injury or getting dinged up here and there all season. If he can
actually get on the field it will give this secondary a boost in leadership and experience which you can never have too much of. Then there's the star in the making second year standout Bashaud Breeland. His play has been consistent all season and his ability to take away a receiver that he's covering is a added bonus. He alone have contributed to several key turnovers throughout this season. For this secondary to take the next step and start forcing turnovers the front seven has to provide more pressure. The secondary has done a solid job of covering but when the pressure doesn't get there it really puts them in a bind. That has been an issue in games recently. The secondary would do a solid job of covering but the pressure doesn't get there or the Qb makes eludes the pressure and buys time to make a play. The more they play together as a unit the better they will be. Grade: B+


Special Teams: This unit has made the biggest improvement from week 1 to the mid point of the season. From getting punts blocked in the first week to blocking a punt of their own and scoring a TD. Special teams coach Ben Kotwica deserves at least a pat on the back and a cold brew
Via Redskins.com
for the turnaround. The players also for finding a way to improve, become a factor in games (in a positive way for a change) and actually becoming a dependable unit. Even from the kicker Dustin Hopkins to the rookie returner Jamison Crowder, it seems like this unit has finally gotten it self together after years of dysfunction. Last season Tress Way was the early season replacement that has excelled and looks like Dustin Hopkins will be this years key replacement. I actually find myself excited when they are receiving a punt or kickoff because you never know if we're gonna see another step of progress to building a great TEAM. Grade: A-


   With the undefeated Super Bowl Champs next on the schedule most wouldn't give the Redskins a chance. If you listened to my thoughts on the outcome of the game you know I'm not too sure we can beat them in Foxboro. If it is to happen the keys are as always; 1) Run the ball to control the clock and the line of scrimmage, 2)Get constant pressure on Tom Brady and keep him moving around the pocket, 3) Don't turn the ball over. Simply those three things can give the Redskins a shot at shocking the world. As always thanks for the support, reading and  sharing my blog. #HTTR #BeatDaPats




Don't forget to contact Demetrius Hendrix on the flyer below for tickets to raffle off @ goal line tickets and a parking pass for Monday Night Football Redskins Vs Dallas on Dec 7th. It'll help fund his non-profit YAS Sports Academy




















Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Week Six: 10 Observations Of The Redskins Vs Jets Game



After six weeks starting at Qb, Kirk Cousins has eight ints and six touchdowns. His ball placement was terrible for the second week straight and he's still trying to force the ball into tight spots. I'm not sure how much longer Coach Gruden can justify not making a quarterback change.
Via Topbet.eu



 Hail RedskinsNation!!!!! Another week in the NFL schedule but it sure looked and felt like last week to me. Once again another lights out performance by the defense until they were unable to dig any deeper to continue stopping their opponent. Two weeks in a row the defense has put the offense in ideal positions to blow games wide open but it just hasn't worked out that way. It was already a tough match up on the road against a tough defense. Add in basically a rookie offensive line and 2 out of 3 of your main offensive play makers sidelined. Kirk's int's and the offense just plain ineffectiveness helps kill the defense faster than the opponent . The most upsetting thing is our 3rd quarter performances all year. The Redskins are being outscored 46-3 in the 3rd and that's supposed to be after adjustments are made. I don't know if Gruden is calling all the plays but it might be time to let Sean McVay take over some of the play calling duties. One of a few bright spots for the team was a blocked punt for TD by the constantly improving special teams unit. No one talks about this unit until they screw up but you have to give credit to Coach Kotwica and his assistants for getting these guys
Another stellar game for Breeland. He keeps this up he will make the
Pro Bowl and possibly 2nd team All Pro defense in his 2nd season.
Via Redskins.com
up and ready. Joe Barry also deserves credit with all the injuries they still are playing at a high level. I know I spotlight him every week but every week he"s doing outstanding things trying to help this team win. It's second year standout, shutdown cornerback Bashaud Breeland. In the game he had 2 passes defended 2 fumble recoveries 4 tackles (3 solo) and a top 10 worthy int late in the game. This kid is gonna be something special for us for years to come. Now to my observations:





  For two weeks in a row the defense has produced three turnovers (six in the last 2 games) and have only scored 16 points ( not sure if the blocked punt for TD counted as a turnover) off of those turnovers. Have to start getting 7 instead of  settling for 3. With DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed on the mend there return should open things up for this offense especially in the red zone.

Via Redskins.com

  The front seven has been playing well for the most part but there are stretches where a big play needs to be made and this unit can help in that area. Need to cause a turnover or a big sack to stop momentum by the other team. I feel that will be coming soon with the D line getting more and more familiar with each other.

  All the points that were scored yesterday were scored off of turnovers, which is a good thing but also not a good thing. What gets missed is that the offense didn't produce any points based off of their ability to drive the ball. That should be a red flag for any offense. Jay needs to listen to some of his assistants for some advice and learn to mix up his play calls better.


 The trick play attempted in the third quarter was a good idea at the time to try and catch the defense off guard but execution was ruined this play. He has to start mixing up his play calls more and using more misdirection, especially with all the injuries on offense.


  I've been speaking about Kirk's ball placement the last three weeks. Now it's to the point where he's getting receivers hurt or in a position to get hurt. By him not leading them out of danger with his passes sometimes he leads them to it. When he is putting the ball on the inside shoulder instead of the outside shoulder or throwing behind the receiver instead of in front when he has nothing but open field in front of him.



  An encouraging sign is the reduction in penalties over the last few games. The team didn't get an accepted  penalty against them until the middle of the fourth quarter. That"s very impressive being that the previous games were all double digit penalty games except for the St. Louis game.


  I'm not understanding Jay only giving Alfred Morris the ball 11 times and on top of that is reluctant to use Darrel Young, one of the best all around fullbacks in the NFL. Instead of 3 WRs 2 TEs and 1 RB which leaves Morris one on one in the hole. We all know Morris is a north south runner with power but doesn't have the moves to make someone miss. So instead of lining up with 2 WRs 2 TEs and 2 RBs then you have more balance and a blocking back to enable Morris to make one cut and go which is what he excels at.


Via redskins.com
 Jamison Crowder is making plays week in and week out and by doing so he's increased his playing time. With his speed and quickness he can be a real attribute in the slot when DeSean Jackson comes back. Once the defenses will have to key more on D Jax then other things will open up elsewhere in the passing and running game. This rookie is making his presence felt on offense and special teams. I still believe that he is the reason Andre Roberts will be cut at the end of the season.






Via redskins.com
 Looking to get more pass rush generated, I think it's time to put Preston Smith in the starting lineup. Trent Murphy, I thought had turned the corner with his play a few weeks back. Since that game he
has disappeared again. Ryan Kerrigan can't wreak havoc on his side if the opposite linebacker isn't getting any push. More pressure leads to more turnovers which leads to more points (hopefully touchdowns in the future) which leads to victories.


 
  One of the under the radar moves made early this season was the signing of kicker Dustin Hopkins after the team cut Kai Forbath. We loved Kai's accuracy but his leg strength on kickoffs was a problem from day one and ultimately sealed his fate. Ironically Forbath was just signed to the New Orleans Saints today after they cut the ex redskins 2014 draft pick Zach Hocker earlier in the week. Dustin has came in and not missed a beat connecting on 9 out of 10 attempts with a long of 54 yards. His kickoffs are always deep and mostly out of the end zone. Just another piece to the special teams unit that is finally showing improvement, getting better field position and scoring points.



  Next week we have a interesting match up with the (2-3)Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the #1 pick quarterback Jameis Winston. Not knowing the situation with the secondary right now this is gonna be a tough matchup. Tampa has the biggest WRs ,TE combination with Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.  All three are 6'5" and are extremely hard to bring down after making the catch. Plus Doug Martin is playing like he did in his standout rookie season of 2012. The Redskins defense should have another multiple turnover day with the rookie under center. Winston has seven int's this season and 2 returned for TDs. The defense could help motivate the offense if they're able to put some points on the board.

   As always #HTTR. You can follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or on Facebook Carroll Porter III. Feel free to inbox, direct message or comment any questions, thoughts for topics of discussion or just to talk sports in general. If any local residents are interested in volunteering at one of the concession stands at FedEx Field during games for community service hours or just because. Check out the flyer below and give my good friend Demetrius Hendrix a call for more details.  Stay tuned for other community service events through YAS Sports Academy. #HTTR #BeatDaBucs