Monday, August 17, 2015

RGIII Watch (Redskins @Browns)


(Is RGIII improving and can the fans handle it? Image Via)
So, it's been a few days. People have had a chance to watch the game, panic and settle down and now it's time to look back at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of the Redskins first preseason game of the 2015 season.

Before we start the GBU (which will be my next post), I need to focus in on RGIII again. There was a TON of sports talk driven commentary on whether RGIII shown any improvement and whether Kirk Cousins (who did look great on Thursday) should be put back into the running as a potential starter in week one after the game last Thursday. So, this article is dedicated only to the breakdown of RGIII's passes and his run for a 1st down.

RGIII Watch
So Robert was 4/8 for 36 yards. The stats don't look that great, but at this moment that isn't really an issue. So lets look at each pass attempt and see what did (or didn't) happen.

#1) 3-5-WAS 25 (13:48) (Shotgun) 10-R.Griffin pass short right to 14-R.Grant to WAS 34 for 9 yards (21-J.Gilbert).

It was a 3rd down and RGIII completed a short crossing pattern to Ryan Grant. Grant ran a good route to get beyond the five yards needed. Griffin's pass was slightly behind Grant, but on target enough that Grant didn't need to stop or reach back to grab the pass.

#2) 2-5-WAS 39 (12:38) 10-R.Griffin pass incomplete deep left to 88-P.Garcon.

Based  on Garcon's head movement and body position, it looks like the route was meant to go inside on his right shoulder. The pass, while accurate to location, was more towards the sideline on Garcon's left shoulder. Did Robert adjust his throw for the safety in the middle of the field? I don't know because I don't know the original route/play call. Was Robert a bit late on the pass? Yes. Should Pierre have caught the pass anyway?  Yes. What would have been interesting is how the vibe in DC would have been if Garcon had caught the ball. Fair to say Robert's stats would have been more like 5/7, 97 yards and a TD.

#3) 3-5-WAS 39 (12:31) (Shotgun) 10-R.Griffin pass incomplete short left to 85-E.Spencer.

This was the pass I had the biggest issue with during Robert's performance. It was a short timing route that either was some miscommunication with rookie WR Evan Spencer or Griffin was way off on the pass. This type of error could lead to an easy INT and TD return.

#4) 2-7-WAS 23 (6:24) 10-R.Griffin pass short right to 14-R.Grant to WAS 28 for 5 yards (22-T.Williams).

Looks like same route that worked on Robert's 1st pass. Looks like Jay wants Robert to work on certain things......

#5)  2-8-WAS 33 (4:35) 10-R.Griffin pass deep left to 14-R.Grant to CLE 45 for 22 yards (31-D.Whitner) [99-P.Kruger].

This was Robert's best pass of the night but not because of the yardage. Robert ran a bootleg to his left (something he's had problems with in 2013-2014) and despite taking a shot, throws a bullet to Ryan Grant. It's not ideal for Robert to get planted on a throw, but he kept his eyes downfield and was able to hit Grant on the run while running to his left.

#6) 3-1-CLE 36 (2:44) 10-R.Griffin pass short right to 36-D.Young to CLE 36 for no gain (56-K.Dansby).

The old Spider 2 Y Banana  play. Looks like Robert got the ball out pretty quickly but unfortunately Cleveland had good penetration and did a good job in man coverage to hit Young behind the line of scrimmage for no gain.

#7)  2-6-CLE 14 (:42) 10-R.Griffin pass incomplete short left to 88-P.Garcon.

On Robert's final two passes of the night, it looks like Jay Gruden was looking to work on one of the weaker elements of RGIII's game: the fade route. On this play Garcon was able to get separation with the CB but the ball went more to the sideline instead of the corner.

#8)  3-6-CLE 14 (:39) (Shotgun) 10-R.Griffin pass incomplete short left to 88-P.Garcon [36-K.Williams].

2nd fade attempt. This was thrown more to the designed spot but the coverage on Garcon was better and Robert had to basically throw the ball away. While neither pass was that terrific, at least both balls were thrown that only the WR could make the play or no one could.

I also want to talk about the following play:

3-2-WAS 28 (5:50) (Shotgun) 10-R.Griffin scrambles right guard to WAS 31 for 3 yards (56-K.Dansby).

This is a good play to look at with Robert's view of open receivers and his growth. From watching the game live Robert takes the snap looks, sees no one open and runs three yards for a 1st down. He even shifts his body into a position where he doesn't take a major hit as he goes down. Overall good play. However, CSN's Trevor Mattich did notice that had Griffin waited a moment more there were times that Grant and Garcon were open. Ideally, you want the QB to avoid taking a hit and throw, but in this case he got the 1st down. It's hard to argue that he should have not used his legs here.

Final Thoughts

It's the 1st preseason game, so barring something terribly awful, RGIII's job was never up for grabs. The good news is that Robert has shown improvement compared to last year and arguably looked better in this game vs. the Browns than in any game he played in during 2014 (maybe the Jacksonville game being a lone exception). Robert looks more comfortable when he is taking snaps from under center and there is a clear confidence when he is working in the pocket.

Is RGIII there yet? I don't think so. He still needs to improve upon his touch on fades, he needs to develop better timing with his receivers and be ready to read more exotic defenses and know how to counter them. But so far, so good. Hopefully Robert can take advantage of the next few games and continue to improve upon his skills.

Now is not the time to panic, now is the time to see if the Redskins and RGIII can get ready to succeed for the first time since 2012.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Observations of the Washington Redskins Vs Cleveland Browns Preseason Game

Via GamblersPalace.com


    Hail Redskins Nation!!!!! Football season is finally upon us with the start of the 2015 preseason. After re-watching the game to fully observe Robert Griffin III and his progression in becoming a complete NFL quarterback, I feel like he's only going to get better as the season progresses.
The development of RGIII is crucial to his success and
ultimately the Redskins also.
Via sports.yahoo.com
The injury bug has hit the team big time especially at one specific position, tight ends. Niles Paul out for the season wit a dislocated ankle and fractured leg, Logan Paulsen is set to have season ending toe surgery for turf toe and Jordan Reed is well...Jordan Reed. Fans have been calling for the re-signing of Chris Cooley. My personal feeling is that any extended time out of the NFL has helped no one. Now if he was still playing, then possibly I might have given him a shot. Since he's been broadcasting since he left the team, I honestly can't see the team signing him. Here's my observations by position group (with so many bodies in training camp) :



Quarterback:  With all three quarterbacks staying turnover free and for the most part stayed clean, I like the way all three played. Looked like they had control of the playbook, knew where the ball has to go and got it out quickly for the most part. Besides the one drop by Pierre on the first series, the offense looked somewhat smooth and efficient. For the first game of the preseason, I felt good about most of what I saw.

Mack Brown running hard, fighting for extra
yards and punishing defenders at the same time.
Via cleveland.com

Running Back: With thr departure of Roy Helu Jr. (Oakland via free agent) I wasn't too sure about the position. After watching this game and even losing Silas Redd Jr. to a season ending knee injury, this backfield is deep and talented. Even though all Alfred Morris's backups have limited to no NFL experience, once they got in the game they were determined to show that they belong in the NFL. They all ran physical, tough and with a purpose.



Wide Receiver: Once again we are deep at this position during the preseason. Looking for that unknown game changer to help make this offense become more potent and deadly. With DeSean Jackson sidelined with a sprained AC joint, the WR corp still looked effective without its biggest deep threat. The X factor is the rookie Jamison Crowder out of Duke. He's impressed in camp so far but a slight hamstring injury kept him out vs Cleveland. The team says he should be available this week.



Tight End: Already spoke about the injury situation. Too many injuries to even give any type of observation, other then get bodies in camp as soon as possible. Jordan Reed is gonna have to step it up big time this season by stay healthy and finally becoming the consistent playmaker the team needs him to be. (Update as of 5;50pm 8/16/15) The team has signed D.J. Williams after a workout. At 6 ft 2 inches 245 lbs he has good size, he was with Tampa bay last season but didn't get on the field.



The no. 5 pick feels more comfortable at RG to start his career.
Which could be good for him and the O-line this season and
beyond.
Via Riggosrag.com
Offensive Line: This unit needed to be the most improved and from the looks of things by mid season....it just may be. With the hiring of Bill Callahan as the new offensive line coach seems to be paying dividends already. The addition of a 6 ft 5 inch 319 lbs rookie Brandon Scherff at right guard doesn't hurt either. With Brandon at RG and Morgan Moses at RT there should be holes open on the right side and left this year. As long as everyone stays healthy and they continue to mess as a unit this could become a very physical mauling line. Better protection, better running game equals better offense as a whole. Trent Williams has lost 30 lbs. and looks like he's ready to have another pro bowl type season.





Defensive Line: This line has also gotten younger, bigger and more physical from last year. the same goes for this line that said for the O-line. The defense will only be as good as this unit. With two new pieces on the D-line this preseason is gonna be vital for them to mesh and gain chemistry. I saw some good penetration, holding of point of attack and a more aggressive pass rush. If they can learn each others tendencies and use it to their advantage...well as Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton said " We're gonna be the hammer and not the nail". I love that saying. Very real and true statement. In order for this team to become better we have to force the action instead of always reacting.

Perry Riley Jr. is a consistent player but for this defense to be
as effective as possible plays need to be made and he just hasn't
made any yet.
Via Redskins.com

Linebacker: To me this position has gotten upgraded the most with the additions of  Junior Galette, Rick Jean Francois and the rookie Preston Smith. I feel comfortable saying that we should be able to get better constant and steady pressure on opposing QBs. I love Perry Riley Jr. but he has limited ball skills and rarely makes a game changing play, if ever. I love Will Compton's motor, skills and heart. I believe if he gets another opportunity to start at ILB in 2015 I don't think he'll be coming out again.  This unit looked solid for the most part at getting pressure, setting the edge and stopping the run which are keys to success in the NFL.



Secondary: With the back end of the defense so banged up (as of today 5:20 pm 8/16/15) DeAngelo Hall went down at practice again. It's hard to even give an effective observation with all the changes. They even have a WR Quinton Dunbar playing CB and he actually did ok. He did get beat on a slant route for a first down but that just tells you how thin we are right now. Once everything and everybody works itself out this whole defense could and should be much improved this year as opposed to last. As of right now the safety position is set at one spot, Dashon Goldston seems to have taken the lead in the competition. He has good ballhawking skills and loves to hit. He has a nasty streak and that is something this defense/team desperately needs.


   As always thanks for reading and stay tuned for more articles, game recaps and insights on the Redskins. You can follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or friend request me on Facebook @ PorterIII. Always love talking football with the best fans in the world. HTTR











Friday, August 14, 2015

Redskins vs. Browns: Initial Thoughts


RGIII and Alfred Morris hope to pound the ball down the Brown's throat. Photo: David Richard AP
 I wanted to watch the game a second time before I did my first big write up on the year for the 'Skins. But unfortunately, I started watching the game 1-2 hours after it started (thanks to the real job and that I actually watched Redskins Kickoff on CSN before starting the game). So, it made it hard to get to a second viewing last night.

So instead, here's some initial thoughts on the game with a write up that should come later tonight.

1. RGIII - So (as always), the top story will be about how RGIII did last night. I thought he was good, not great, but not terrible. More or less what you expect for a player playing his first "real" game this season. I thought Robert did an excellent job with the bootleg pass to Ryan Grant and the bomb to Garcon was very close to where it should have been. I also didn't mind him running for a 1st down despite getting tackled and taking a hit.

Did he miss a few passes and open players last night? Yes.
Did he throw a couple of passes behind a couple of receivers? Yes.
Was it his fault that Garcon dropped his long pass? No.

Robert looks much more comfortable in the pocket than he did in 2013 and 2014 so far. I also didn't see the "happy feet" (QB looks like he's running in place while trying to find an open receiver) that he showed plenty of times last year when he was confused trying to reading defenses and finding an open guy.

Robert still has a lot of work to do, but so far so good. He did what was asked of him for the most part.

2. Niles Paul/Silas Redd injuries - I hate to see guys get injured in pre-season games and training camp. I feel real bad about Paul in particular because I met him back in 2012 and got to hang out with him for a few hours during a CSA show in Chantilly, VA. Great guy. Paul had earned the starting TE spot this year. He had added 30 lbs to his frame and focused on his blocking to help the team get better. It's a huge loss for the run game and on special teams with him gone. Plus, the Redskins are going to have to sign a free agent TE to replace him and Logan Paulsen. The TE unit has no veteran leadership currently (sorry, Jordan Reed doesn't count, he's never on the field) and will have to rely on inexperienced young guys to fill in.

Redd was on the bubble to make the team with Alfred Morris and Matt Jones already as locks for the final 53. He was in the hunt with Chris Thompson and Trey Williams for those 1-2 final RB spots. Williams and Thompson fit what the 'Skins are looking for as a 3rd down back, but Redd would have made Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan make a tough choice on whom to cut.

3. Young Guys stepping up - Good to see some solid performances from the following Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ryan Grant, Chris Thompson, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith and Akeem Davis. I missed a few players out there, so I'll have to go back and look more. That said, the young players are starting to step up and play well.

4. Special Teams still have issues - I'll put my punt return thoughts on hold since Jamison Crowder did not play last night. That said, the team still has issues on kick off and punts. Kai Forbath still struggles on kickoffs, which led to a huge return by Cleveland last night. It's something worth watching.

5. Curious to watch the D more - With certain situations in last night's game, it was hard to gauge the starting defense. Hopefully will get a few better looks in the next couple of games.

Keep your eyes peeled on Twitter for more comments on last night's game and stay tuned to IIWII. Later tonight/tomorrow morning should have a full GBU report on the game.


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.