Saturday, July 18, 2015

12 Days 'Till Training Camp.......Yikes!

(Time to breakout the Redskins gear, the 2015-16 season is almost here. Image via)
So, I was looking at my twitter feed today and I saw this post from DeAngelo Hall (@DeAngeloHall23):


.....and I realized that we're only a mere 12 days away from the start of training camp.

12 days! It feels like we're still months away (and I guess we technically are to the games that actually count) from the start of the season, but we really aren't.

It's been nice to get away from football and the Redskins. The Nationals are in first place, I've been brewing my own beer as a new hobby and just trying to enjoy the world around me.

WITHOUT FOOTBALL

Anyway, this will be the 8th season that IIWII will be covering the Redskins.

I'm not sure how much coverage I will have on here. I will try to post when I feel a topic that's worth writing. There will be some GBU's and I'll probably have a good deal of commentary on the team before the season starts.

Also Tattooed Scorpio will be back to provide commentary and game write ups whenever he can.

So keep checking back with us here on IIWII and check out our daily commentary on Twitter @IIWIISkinsBlog and @TattooedScorpio .

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Three Answers To Questions Every Redskin Fan Wants To Know

(Time for me to break out the old Magic 8 Ball and answer some questions.)
I know all of the excitement is currently aimed at OTAs, the practices with the Texans and the upcoming mini-camp but I've seen a great deal of discussion about some other major topics that will affect the team and I figure I would take a shot and try to answer them the best that I can given what I know and where I think the team is headed.

So, today I'm going to look at major questions that will have significant consequences for the next couple of years based on what happens in the 2015 season.

Remember, this is the era of Scot McCloughan and the first legitimate GM the team has had since 1999 (No, sorry, Bruce Allen doesn't count during his 2010-2014 run. He was pretty much team president then with either Mike Shanahan or Scott Campbell doing the talent evaluations.) and there will be changes. We've already seen a decent amount since he's been hired and I expect more to come as we hit the 2016 off season.

1. How Many Games Will The Redskins Win in 2015?

Before I get to a prediction let me say the following things. First, is that I love what Scot McCloughan has done in his brief time with the team. He's made the team younger, addressed gaping holes and filled it with affordable talent. He's looking at the future but expecting progress and some results now.

I also have loved the hiring of Callahan and the new strength and conditioning coaches. I think Matt Cavanaugh will be a great addition and take some extra pressure off of Sean McVay. I've even warmed to the hiring of Joe Barry, because let's face it, we didn't get that much from Jim Haslett's defense.

But I have to be realistic here. I only see the Redskins winning at best around seven to maybe eight games this season. First, you have to look at the schedule. For a team that had the 5th worst record in 2014, they have one of the most difficult schedules in 2015. They will be facing five teams coming off of extra rest this season and have to face the Super Bowl champs later this year. I don't know if Barry's one-gap 3-4 will work with the roster talent and the 'Skins still have serious question marks at safety. Offensively the team has many questions at quarterback, two key players (Trent Williams and Jordan Reed) currently out with injuries, a young and inexperienced O-line and a scheme that's still trying to find an identity.

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.

2. Will Jay Gruden Be The Redskins Head Coach in 2016?

I think so barring some type of crazy meltdown. Now, if the Redskins go 4-12 or worse with McCloughan's upgrades, I think he's gone. I also think it's about 50/50 if they only win five games. In that case there would have to be some reason for why the Redskins didn't improve (major injuries, another RGIII regression) and the team overall would need to show improvement. Any signs that Gruden had lost the locker room and he'll be out the door.

But since I think the 'Skins will win six anyway, I think the team will give him another season to try to get to .500 or better. I know 10-22 doesn't sound like a great record, but I just don't see Dan Snyder paying Jay three years of fully guaranteed salary to just go away.

3. Will RGIII Be The Starting QB in 2016?

This......is clearly the hardest answer to predict. Griffin hasn't played an entire season either by injury or benching, so it's hard to determine how many games he'll actually play in 2015. The good news is that Griffin has had an off season where he hasn't been the number one topic. He's already spent time with his receivers in a separate session as well as the current OTAs. The word is that Griffin has dedicated himself even more to film study than he has in the past and the early word is that there has been progress.

That said, ESPN 980's Chris Russell made the following comment after observing an OTA session:
I'll write about the quarterbacks more in-depth later but as usual there were some good things and plenty of bad things that I noted. Safe to say this - if this team has to depend on a quarterback to throw 30-plus times in a game, they are in a LOT of trouble.
This kind of makes sense when you think of RGIII over the past three seasons. He is a playmaker who does excel at making things happen on the field (both good and bad). His biggest problems over the years has been being able to hit a WR on a pass when he's covered or make some of the more expected passes.

I doubt RGIII will ever be Peyton Manning or Tom Brady but in order to remain the 'Skins starter, he'll need to get close to his 2012 numbers when it came to accuracy and turnovers. I also don't expect him to be much of a running quarterback anymore (at least not like he was in 2012), but he'll need to know when to use his speed to run for a 1st down and to use his agility to slide away from defenders.

The 'Skins look like they are trying to help Griffin get rid of the ball by having more RBs used as pass catchers and to use more runs which will set up play action (ideally, RGIII excels at play action passing Joe Gibbs would have loved him). Hopefully, we can finally see some of the QB that we saw in 2012.

My Magic 8 Ball is hazy when it comes to this answer, so I'll leave it at this. If Griffin can stay healthy and have a productive 2015, then he'll probably be back. If he struggles..... I would not be in the least surprised to see the Redskins take a QB in the 1st round of the 2016 draft.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fans Learn Little From OTAs and That's Okay

(OTAs are important but not so much to the fans. Photo: Redskins.com)
Quick Updates (Skip below to read actual article)

- I haven't written that much lately on IIWII because, to be honest, I haven't felt like writing. I'm pretty happy with Scot McCloughan running the show and I've liked the majority of moves he made in both free agency and the draft. I hope he will make me regret giving up my season tickets in the next couple of years.

That said, I just haven't had the time, or desire to do much on the blog. As, I told a former editor at a former site I used to write for, I'd rather not write than write crappy articles.

- The great thing about the dead period in football (technically now, although nothing will be going on from mid-June through the end of July) is that I can catch up on all of the off-season moves, the draft, the schedule etc. as we wait for training camp to get here. I do plan on catching up on some stuff- the articles are rambling through my brain as we speak I just need to type, format, edit and find some nice pictures to go along with the words.

- Until then enjoy this very quick article and feel free to check out mine (@IIWIISkinsBlog) and Tattooed Scorpio's (@TattooedScorpio) Twitter feeds. We're both on there daily, usually tweeting about sports and other stuff we feel like sharing.

We Learn Nothing From OTAs

Tomorrow, the Redskins will start official OTA (Organized Team Activity) sessions. What is different from this and what the players have been doing is that coaches can now actually run full drills and players can have various offensive vs. defensive match ups.

This is critically important for the players and coaches but not so much the fans. It's important for the coaches because they can start to install their schemes and various packages. It also allows them to really work with the players for the first time and get a feel for the new players on the roster.

For the players (especially the new members of the roster), they get to work with their coaches and try to work on techniques and fix problems that they have in their skill set. They also can know what they need to work on to be ready for training camp.

The true goal is to get enough done to be ready for training camp and not waste precious time having to re-teach/re-learn something that could have been done with the pads off and people not fighting for starting jobs and roster spots.

More or less, OTAs are teaching sessions.

Unless you're a beat writer and can watch some of these practices, you really can't tell who's standing out or doing well. And really, right now, it doesn't matter.

Nobody is wearing pads. There is no hitting allowed during these sessions, so in many cases you won't know how good an actual player truly is until the pads come on.

Sure, it's great that the Redskins are doing something and there's football related news in May, but just don't determine your final 53 man roster off of a few reports coming from an OTA day.

The Redskins OTAs: May 26-28, June 2-4 and 8-11.
Mandatory Mini-camp: June 16-18

See Full NFL Mini-Camp and OTA dates here.

After the June 18th mini-camp day, the team will be off until late July (July 29th?) when the team heads down to Richmond to start training camp.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Some Quick Thoughts On Redskins 2015 Draft

(And thus another draft ends, so what did we learn if anything?)
I'm just about to start watching some film on our newest Redskins, but first I wanted to quickly write about the draft, the trades and some general thoughts.

I plan on doing a breakdown on the Redskins picks with rounds 1-4 being in the first part and rounds 5-7 in part two. Hopefully, I'll have a good idea about our UDFAs by Sunday morning and if I have time should have something about them by Tuesday at the latest.

Ok, on to some quick thoughts.

Scot McCloughan Is In Control And He Has A Plan

There were serious questions about whether McCloughan was really going to be in charge after he was hired. So far, so good in that Dan Snyder/Bruce Allen have done little in meddling. According to Jay Gruden the coaches, FO, scouts and the GM all had input in this draft and they seemed to be happy to contribute. However, in the end, it was McCloughan making the final call and say what you want about this draft and the players drafted, but it is clear that he has a plan and wants to establish that plan as the identity for the Redskins franchise.

The plan is simple, big smash mouth offensive linemen and a punishing run game on offense. On defense, he wants hard hitting, big and nasty defenders. You look at that blueprint and compare it to the draft and it makes total sense.

McCloughan also said that ideally he wanted to leave this draft with 10 picks, although he was not willing to trade too far back to lose talent. Again, he did this. Concerned that he'd lose Brandon Scherff by trading back, McCloughan stayed at five and made the pick (to the dismay of some Redskins fans, media and draft experts). Instead, he waited until the 3rd round and traded back 30 some spots with Seattle and gained additional picks.

Can't Complain About Not Addressing The O-line Anymore
In 2014 Bruce Allen drafted two OL in the 3rd round in Morgan Moses and Spencer Long. This year, McCloughan drafts three with one being in the 1st round, one in the 4th round and one in the 7th round.

There's no guarantee that all five of these players make the final 53, but there will be some serious competition and options for the Redskins this year. Finally, the Redskins have some depth to work with and now it's up to Bill Callahan to coach them up.

Expect at least two new starters on the OL this year for the 2015 Redskins.

Trades
I thought McCloughan would make at least 3-4 trades here and was slightly off as he made only two. That said here's what he did:

WAS Trades #69 to SEA for #95, #112, #167 and #181
If you go by the traditional draft chart it looks like the trade favors the Seahawks by 11.4 points. But in a draft that is deep in depth talent the odds are better in your favor by taking as many players as possible and trying to get some of them to pan out. 50% is the likely percentage and half of 10 is much better than half of 7.

WAS Trades #167 to NO for #187 and 2016 6th round pick
It seems like McCloughan felt that the talent level was at a 6th round level and he made the move. The end result is moving 20 places back and adding an additional pick for the 2016 draft.

General Thoughts By Experts On Redskins Draft
(The future is now and the future is here. Photo from @bscherff68)
 When Monday gets here and Pete Prisco of CBS, Mel Kiper of ESPN and others do their "grades" on the draft, I expect the Redskins to be pretty low. Walter Football has already had some mixed live grades on our picks and I'm not surprised.

Also, don't be surprised to have some Redskin fans calling ESPN 980 and 106.7 The Fan on Monday having a freak out and calling for the heads of McCloughan, Jay Gruden, Bruce Allen and Daniel Snyder.

People will tell you that an unwritten in stone draft principle is that you don't draft a guard or RT high in the first round. They will tell you that Matt Jones is one dimensional and can't catch a pass and was drafted 2-3 rounds too high. They will also question the 6th and 7th round picks.

That's okay. I get it. They may not get what McCloughan is doing and want high level success now, but the key is that McCloughan is pretty much has to change the identity and culture of this franchise and to do that he is bringing in players that fit that mentality.

Plus, don't ever trust grades that come during or after a draft. Sure, they're fun to read (I do it too!). But, they are no indication of whether the player will pan out on said team. All they are grading is whether that player is drafted where they think that player should be drafted and whether that player fits a team's need.

Final Thoughts

- Overall, I liked the moves made although I was surprised initially by a few. Going back and watching and learning about these players will help me understand Scot's decisions. I'll be back with some evaluations in my next draft articles.

- The draft was boring this year. Trades were at a minimal and overall there weren't that many surprises. I also hated how days 1&2 were set up. It seemed that they were drawn out extremely long with a pick, five commercials and then another pick. Day three seemed to flow much more smoothly.

- Whoever was running the Redskins Twitter account did a bang up job. Tweets were insightful, often and pretty funny at times. This person had a sense of humor, a knowledge of pop culture and the ability to shoot out gifs and memes pretty quickly. Keep it up.

- I don't expect the draft to be going back to Radio City and NY anytime soon. Draft Town in Chicago was very successful and I expect the NFL to have a Draft Town set up where ever they go in the future. Hey, why not DC?

- I also had another successful draft day party. My wife made General Tso flavored wings. THis is my favorite time of year (until the Redskins get good again).

- I like where this team is heading. I think the best move the Redskins made was hiring McCloughan and letting him fix everything. I do think the Redskins are heading upwards. It may take some time but this draft and free agency has been a good start.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Starting From Scratch: Building Through The Draft

Scot McCloughan is a proven GM with his thumb on the pulse of the college game and I believe the best possible choice for
the Washington Redskins moving forward.
Via washingtontimes.com



    Hail RedskinsNation !!!! It's been a while since I've posted and boy oh boy plenty has happened after yet another disappointing season. Under first year head coach Jay Gruden, the team showed some potential but once again consistency and execution were the downfall of another season. The media once again stirred the pot of unnamed sources and unfounded reports which always seems to happen here in Washington. Our once thought to be franchise quarterback, Robert Griffin III didn't have the bounce back season many had hoped (including myself) but he did show some progress. His reading of defenses and fundamental footwork are a working progress but now it's time for it to show on the field,
Via Rich Tandler's www.RealRedskins.com
consistently.  With the 2016 option picked up it shows that the Redskins believe they have their man at QB.The offensive line also showed some promise but the interior is still the weakest link and I believe it will be addressed by our new GM during the upcoming draft (more on the new GM later) .The wide receivers showed some of the potential of how explosive the offense could be. Only issue is  that position taking up almost 24 million of the upcoming salary cap, some restructuring may need to be done to keep this core in tact. The running back situation is a little more undecided, with Roy Helu Jr, leaving via free agency it leaves a big hole for a third down back and backup to Alfred Morris. Left on the roster at running back are Chris Thompson and Silas Redd. I don't believe the team wants to go into the upcoming season with such inexperience in the backfield. The offense as a whole showed what they can do with some of the right pieces in place. Now it's time to get the missing pieces on the team, become more consistent and become relevant again.
Alfred Morris Is looking to have yet another 1000 yard  season in 2015. With new offensive line coach Bill Callahan and new lineman on the horizon, does the change from zone blocking scheme to more of a power scheme help or hurt Morris next season.
Via csnwashington.com

   With the Redskins and Jim Haslett mutually agreeing to part ways and the hiring of Joe Barry  (via www.redskins.com) the ex-linebackers coach from San Diego will hopefully help this defense gain an identity and consistency. With the addition of quality free agents such as Dashon Goldson (via trade with Tampa Bay), Jeron Johnson (via free agent from Seattle), Justin Rogers (via free agent from Kansas City), Terrence Knighton (via free agent from Denver), Chris Culliver (via free agent from San Francisco), Ricky Jean Francois (via free agent from Giants), and Stephen Pea (via free agent from Chicago) this defense has already gotten younger and gained more depth at key positions of need. The secondary, which has been a great weakness since the untimely death of Sean Taylor in 2007 (#RIPST21) looks to be a position of strength for a team that badly needs some consistency and accountability from its members.
Dashon Goldson I believe will be a key addition to this secondary
that badly needs some leadership and accountability.
(via blog.sfgate.com) 
With DeAngelo Hall returning from two Achilles injuries, Bashaun Breeland coming off a stellar rookie season and David Amerson coming off a some what disappointing sophomore season. This will be a interesting training camp for all of these returning starters and new editions. With OLB Brian Orakpo departing via free agency it leaves a big void in the pass rushing department. Most fans would say he didn't produce numbers wise, but you can see how the sack production dropped once he was out. Trent Murphy is expected to step up as a second round pick in his second season. With all the additions at LB this offseason and potentially drafting a pass rusher in the first round, I believe he wont be a starter but a solid contributor on special teams and get more involved in the defense. With a new defensive coordinator, it will be interesting to see how Joe Barry plans to use the new additions to this underachieving unit and make the defense better. The fact that they got younger and more physical on the D line should automatically increase the pass rush which should improve the secondary. I can't wait to see how the draft unfolds with the new GM at the helm. He sees the importance of drafting well and developing your own talent, which has been a major issue with this franchise for decades.


   Now in my opinion Scot McCloughan was the biggest signing of the offseason. For years this franchise has lacked the leadership of a quality football mind calling the shots. With Scot's resume with the 49ers and the Seahawks I'm sold on him building this team for success now and in the future. I've liked every move he's made so far via free agency. Getting younger, bigger and more hungry players is a key to getting this team back to the top of the NFL. If you look at the Seattle team that won the Super Bowl a couple years ago, they had 17 undrafted free agents. That is a unheard of in this day and age of free agency. The team not only gets quality young players that make an impact, but also save money under the cap and mold them into the players that you want them to be. Just look how Seattle has been able to keep their core together and resign their key players also. This could help our franchise immensely, especially coming off the BS cap penalty from 2012. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying the Redskins are going to the Super Bowl this year but I feel we will see a more consistent and focused on the details type of team in 2015. Hopefully we will see more of this in the future (see below). As always #HTTR4LIFE. #RedskinsTweetTeam

   You can follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or like my page on Facebook, Porter III for all Redskins news and notes.

(via redskins.com)

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.