Sunday, May 22, 2016

Is This The Year The Offense Takes Off And Produces Consistently?

This is a huge year for the Redskins and Kirk Cousins. With the franchise tag given and a young QB drafted, Kirk Cousin will have to take a step forward in his game in order for this team team to take the next step. The rookie Josh Doctson is another weapon on this potent yet inconsistent offense.

Going into his 3rd season at the helm, this year is usually the
make or break season for a coaching staff. Jay Gruden must
improve in several aspects of coaching for it to happen.

 Going into the off season the big question was,  are the Redskins gonna give Kirk Cousins the big payday or designate him the franchise player. Now with negotiations underway and Kirk going into his second full year as starter there is more pressure to produce after the numbers he put up last season. If he produces and progresses this season we are sure to see a long term deal in the range of 20 to 25 million a year. The pressure is on because of the plethora of talent at the WR spot, teams have tape and will gameplan tougher for him this year and he will have tougher defenses to contend with also. This offense as a whole was inconsistent last season, that was in part to execution, preparation, game planning and bad play calling at times. These things will all need to improve and become consistent in order for this team to progress and reach its ultimate goal. I'm gonna break down the offense position by position and give my player to look out for just like my article last week on the defense.

With this being the third season in Jay Gruden's offense, everyone
should be ready to play without thinking about what they have to
do because it should be second nature by now.
Quarterbacks: The Redskins believe they have their franchise quarterback in Kirk Cousins but want more then a season sample before paying him franchise quarterback money. I totally agree. I'm not a Kirk Cousins fan but I also am not a hater. I applaud his season last year but still sees holes in his game that I'm hoping he corrected or is in the process of correcting. It's very hard to improve arm strength but you can improve your intangibles. I would love to see him settle in and become the QB the team believes he can be. I like the drafting of the big QB Nate Sudfeld out of Indiana. We all know what Colt McCoy is, and that's not taking anything from him. This young, undeveloped, strong armed quarterback is a interesting prospect to me and another back up plan in case Kirk falters in any way down the line. Always need to have a young QB in the system learning, just in case. With Jay Gruden being an ex quarterback coach and Matt Cavanaugh being one of the best Qb coaches in the game, there is no reason why Kirk shouldn't progress.  With a very talented group of skill players, all he has to do is find a way to get them the ball. My player to watch, of course is Kirk Cousins. This offense goes only as well as Kirk goes. With a top flight TE, a deep and full receiving corp, and better hands coming out the backfield. There's no reason this offense shouldn't be in the top 10 this upcoming season.

Running Backs: With the departure of Alfred Morris the offensive backfield is very
Matt Jones will have to step up and show and prove that letting
Alfred Morris walk via free agency was a good idea. The rookie
Keith Marshall will push Jones to play better.
young and inexperienced. This is the youngest backfield that I can ever remember. The veteran in the backfield is Chris Thompson of all people and he has only three years of tenure (one of those spent on IR). There are still talks of the team re-signing Pierre Thomas, who Jay Gruden really likes but he stated in a earlier press conference that "we'll see what happens with Pierre". Matt Jones as on right now is the penciled in starter going into the season. With the team drafting Keith Marshall out of Georgia in the seventh round, I see a stiff competition at training camp. Jones of course will have the upper hand having a year under his belt but if his fumbling issues continue it would open the door for the rookie. After watching tape on the rookie it's apparent he has the speed, vision, hands, elusiveness and toughness to make it in the NFL. His hands are above average and we all know how much Jay likes to throw out the backfield and call screens. Chris Thompson will be on the bubble in my opinion being that the rookie seems to be a bigger version of him. The team also has Mack Brown a second year player on the practice squad that has elite speed also. The team signed a couple of undrafted free agent running backs as camp bodies but with a open competition, who knows who will end up making the roster. My player to watch is Keith Marshall, I really like this kid and believes if he gets the chance to show what he can do, he will flourish and excel.

This could be Pierre's last season with the team. He's always
been the toughest receiver on the field in my opinion. His
toughness, run blocking and fierceness will be missed.
Wide Receivers: The receiving corp is the most costly position group on the team (salary cap wisse) and the most needed for this team to go. Since the team acquired DeSean Jackson two years ago, the team has become more explosive then ever. Still inconsistent and in need of another weapon to take the pressure and coverage off the deep threat, The emergence of Jamison Crowder last season was a pleasant surprise and ultimately led to the releasing of Andre Roberts last week saving the team 4 million in cap room. The drafting of 6 ft 3 inch Josh Doctson signals to me that this team think it's found it's missing piece. With Pierre and DeSean being free agents at the end of the season it was necessary to get someone in the mix just in case both walk via free agency. Ryan Grant is another quality receiver but his size limits where he can effectively lined up. But still has some of the best hands and run the best routes of most in the receiving group. The team also signed a couple of 6 ft plus receivers out of college, so competition should be and will be at the highest level we have seen in years. I actually have two players to watch, Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder. This could possibly being our starting WR tandem next season if neither Pierre or DeSean re-sign with the team. Crowder showed his potential in the slot and on the outside and Doctson's size and hopefully the ability to get on the field and produce in his rookie season will be a big factor.. If so that will go along way into determining who the team will resign or if they would re-sign either of the elder statesmen of the WR corp. If that happens then this position group would drop from the most expensive very quickly which I'm sure was in Scot McCloughan thought process when drafting the rookie in the 1st round of this years draft.

Tight Ends: Going into this season one of my biggest concerns was the status of our
With the addition of Vernon Davis, Kirk Cousins has 3 big
legitimate red zone targets. This offense has all the
potential to be explosive, the question is....will it.
playmaking TE Jordan Reed. When the news broke that the team has extended his contract for five more years, let's just say I was extremely excited the team had locked him up for the next 5 years. He and DeSean Jackson are the X factors in this offense and needed to be retained. I'm a big fan of keeping your own homegrown talent and I hope the team continues on this path moving forward. Also have Niles Paul returning after yet another injury. I still feel he can be a dynamic TE in this offense but I fear this may be his last shot here. The signing of Vernon Davis signaled to me that the team has concerns about Niles's durability. I've been a Nile Paul fan since the team drafted and converted him to TE, I just hope he can stay healthy and show what he can do. He's been a special teams standout since we drafted him and I believe that's what has helped him stay on this roster. Then you have Logan Paulsen (The Lumberjack) who isn't as much of a fan favorite because of his limited offensive arsenal but I love his blocking and his special teams play. Once again the team drafted another young prospect in Micheal Cooper out of Indiana.  My player to watch of course is Jordan Reed. If he can stay healthy he can break and surpass all the single season
 records for this team.

The offense will only go as far as the o line take them. Bill
Callahan has already put his stamp on this unit. Consistency
and execution is a top priority this season.
Offensive Linemen: Last but definitely not least is the offensive line, the most important position group on the offense. Without proper blocking and protection it doesn't matter how many explosive weapons the team has. The Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams is the foundation of this line blocking the blindside of the QB and Morgan Moses made great strides at becoming a NFL right tackle. The main issue for the last few seasons has been the interior of the line. The guards and the center position has been an issue, either with staying healthy or execution. Fans forget before Shawn Lavauo went down in week 5 of last season the offense led the league in rushing and Alfred Morris led the NFL in rushing. To me the center position needs to be addressed, the team is satisfied with Kory but I believe his under 300 lb frame hurts our offensive line as a whole. Currently there is one other center on the roster and he's about the same weight and height, about 6 ft 2 and barely 300 lbs. For the first time in several years the team didn't draft a offensive linemen but did sign several UDFA after the draft. All of the new players are 6 ft 3inches or taller and 310lbs and bigger. Scot has always said he likes big lineman that have good quick feet. This will be another highly contested battles in training camp to see what player can help solidify a inconsistent line. One way to help the line is by Jay sticking with the run game more, game planning better and learn to make adjustments on the fly. The line has to be built to run the ball so when./if the team has a lead late in the game that they have the ability to run the clock out by grinding it on the ground. My players to watch are both at the guard spot. Josh LeRibeus and Spencer Long. Both are big and strong that will have a shot at starting at both guard spots and help improve the line. If these two young studs can step their game up under the coaching of Bill Callahan our O line will be much more physical at the point of attack.

 As always, thanks for reading. Last week I had the most reads since I first started writing. Don't forget to tune in Mon nights for my show with my co host Robbie Gross at 7 pm. You can stream it live through Tru Radio Network or can listen live or actually call in with any questions or comments about my article or anything D.C sports related. The show is called Sports On The Hill Podcast. Go like the page on Facebook or go follow on Twitter @SportsOTHP. Hope to hear from you Mon night. #HTTR4LIFE #dcRising

Monday, May 16, 2016

Defense: Adding Firepower To A Much Needed Unit

Bashaud Breeland coming into his own as a shut down cornerback and adding Josh Norman gives this team the ability to shut down any offense in the NFL. Especially the NFC East with all the talented WR tandems.

 After another early exit from the playoffs in 2015, the Redskins know they had to address the defense and Scot McCloughan made it his #1 priority. With the key acquisition of Josh Norman and the defense heavy draft, the defense has the potential to be a top 10 unit in my opinion. Some of the fan base has been questioning for years using a 3-4 if we don't have the proper personnel. Some fans wonder about going back to a 4-3. Fans remember the top 10 ranking but forget the way those top 10 defenses faltered late in games because we couldn't stop the run or couldn't get pressure on the opposing QB. Unfortunately that has been the case for the last few years with the 3-4. Now that the franchise and GM have gone all in to improve a inconsistent defense this off season, I can't wait to see the finished product under the play calling of Joe Barry on opening night against the Pittsburgh Steelers on MNF. I know it's early in the off season voluntary workouts, rookie mini camp and OTA's but looking at the roster (minus the rookie mini camp players that reported on Friday May 13th) it's apparent that Scot is putting his imprint on this team and this franchise. I'm gonna breakdown each position groups and give a stand out player from each unit that I think could make an impact on this defense. Starting with the defensive line.
Chris Baker will have to make a consistent impact for this defense to excel. Trent
Murphy converting to DE will also be something to watch in 2016.
Via redskins,com

Defensive Line: The defensive line has been a big need since the team switched to a 3-4. It's a dirty job of occupying blockers and clearing lanes for the linebackers to get to the ball carrier and making the play. With the retiring of Jason Hatcher and another inconsistent season on defense, due to injuries and lack of turnovers the defense has to address these issues as soon as possible. For this unit to improve and become more consistent, pressure and containment from the DL is mandatory. As of right now I see nine defensive lineman and eight of them are DE and one tru NT. With Terrence Knighton moving on to New England this leaves a big void n the middle of the line. Drafting DL Matt Ioannidis in this years draft could be an answer but that's a lot to ask of a rookie. He has great power and strength but lacks consistency with his technique.  Also with the OLB Trent Murphy converting to DE will be something to watch since he hasn't consistently lined up with his hand in the dirt since college. A key free agent acquisition is Kendall Reyes from San Diego. His experience with the 3-4, durability and 13.5 sacks in only 3 years as a starter shows he can get pressure on the QB and close the deal by getting to the QB. Ziggy Hood is another experienced lineman that can play the DE or the NT but he does have a lot of miles on him. Ricky Jean-Francois and Stephen Pea played well in their first year with this new defense, they also have room to improve. Their consistency, production and execution are all key to help this defense become a stellar, hard hitting, ball hawking unit that we all dream of when we think of a 3-4. My impact player to watch on the DL is Trent Murphy. If he can produce and get pressure at DE he can keep his place on the team and help this defense take  major step forward.

For this defense to become feared by opposing offenses and QB's Ryan Kerrigan
and Junior Galette will both need to have a double digit sack numbers for this
defense to wreak havoc and cause turnovers.
Linebackers: The life's blood of any 3-4 is the linebacking corp. The outside linebackers go after the quarterback and drop into coverage on some occasions. They have to be versatile, fast, smart and sure tacklers. Inside linebackers have to be good with their hands, shedding blocks, solid coverage skills and ability to dissect the play n get the front seven in the right alignment.  With 17 LB's on the roster right now, you can tell how important it is to get the right combination of skills and the right type of players to fit the scheme. Pro bowl LB's Ryan Kerrigan and Junior Galette look to form a dynamic duo at the outside backer position. In order for Kerrrigan to get back to double digit sacks as he did in 2014 he will have to stay healthy and cause havoc where ever Joe Barry lines him up at. The only way the he gets his numbers is if Junior Galette returns to the form that got him his pro bowl nods in 2012 and 2013 with back to back 12 sack seasons. He's the wild card for this defense. After coming off of a Achilles injury that ended his 2015 season before it even started. The team isn't worried after DeAngelo Hall came off of two such injuries in a six month span and still played effectively for the team. These two are keys to the defense but key contributions will need to be made by the second year stud Preston Smith and any of the number of OLB's they have on the roster. Getting pressure on the quarterback is key to any  3-4 defense being effective and flourish. The emergence of one of my favorite players since the team signed him as a UDFA out of Nebraska is Will Compton. He's a steady defender, can read and diagnose plays and for the most part a sure tackler. Mason Foster inked a new deal in the off season along with Compton and the depth, skill and talent behind them is definitely gonna be an upgrade. They all have room to improve but with the upgrade in talent, youth, size and depth the Redskins have a chance at having a linebacker corp as good as Pittsburgh in the near future. My players to look out for are the OLB's Junior Galette and Preston Smith. The second year pro Preston Smith ended his rookie season with a bang, 10 tackles, five sacks, forced fumble and pass defensed all in his last three games has the team looking like they got a late round steal from last year's draft class. Now if he can back last season up wit eight more sacks or maybe even 10, it will make the defense as a whole more dominate in all the ways they want to. Junior Gallette has been putting in real work to return from almost two full seasons off the field. He signed a team friendly, incentive heavy one year deal to prove he can return to form. He performs well and this will be a huge win win situation for the team and the player.

DeAngelo Hall's experience and skill will help this team gain some stability
to the safety unit just as he did to the cornerback unit when he arrived.
Safety: Now any Redskins fan can tell you how much a team needs above average safeties to survive in the NFL. We have yet to get any type of consistent play from this position  since the untimely and tragic death of Sean Taylor. I wrote a article in 2013 referring to the 27 safeties the team has used since his death in 2007.( Lost count since I wrote that article) The safety position is the last line of defense and a very critical position. With DeAngelo Hall, Deshazor Everett and Will Blackmon are all making the switch to safety official, this will be once again a very important position to fill. We know Joe Barry likes for his safeties to be able to play both the Free and the Strong spots. There's only six safeties on the roster right now but sure to be deep competition during training camp and preseason. The second round draft pick in this year's draft Su'a Cravens out of USC can be an boom or bust pick. He fits the Troy Polamalu mold being a S/LB  but will be playing mainly safety and wearing Sean Taylor's old rookie number #36. The way Coach Barry uses his safeties to blitz and crash the box, whoever gets the starting job will have to be sure tacklers and have the ability to read formations quickly. As of right now there are six safeties on the roster right now. Duke Ihenacho is coming off injury will be someone to watch along with David Bruton Jr.a free agent pickup from Denver. My player to watch in the safety corp is the rookie Su'a Cravens. If he can learn the defense and convert to full time safety with his ability to cover will help this defense vastly. From the looks of rookie mini camp the rookie will be learning the SS position first and go from there.
The surprise signing of yet another talented superstar has the Redskins poised
to repeat as NFC East Champs and actually win a playoff game. Josh Norman's
impact should be felt immediately and if it does, watch this defense flourish.

Cornerback: The cornerbacks for this defense will have to step up there turnover game in 2016 for this team to be successful and repeat as NFC East Champs. If the front seven gets pressure and containment then the secondary will have to take advantage of these high pressure situations and force turnovers. I believe the GM feels the same way too, that's why he went after and signed the surprise free agent of the off season. Adding Josh Norman to this defensive backfield should help in the turnover department. We all know about the bitter and ugly rivalry between Odell Beckham Jr. and Norman, so now the stakes have doubled down. With these two meeting atleast twice a year for the foreseeable future, I'm sure it will be must watch football for years to come. In five seasons he has only seven interceptions and two returned for TD's. That's mostly because of his lockdown capabilities on the opposing teams top receiver limits the balls that come his way. That is going to put even more pressure on Bashaud Breeland who thrives off of it, as RedskinsNation has seen in his two years as a full time starter. These two feisty CB's should make it tough on opposing WR's, especially the talented WR's in the NFC East. The team signed Greg Toler another talented corner as a free agent, returning Quinton Dunbar (converted WR) and the rookie Kendall Fuller out of VT will be fighting for the nickel back duties. It will be a very competitive training camp with all this young talent on this roster. My player to watch is Josh Norman. With him now being the highest paid CB in the league he will have to play like one. He shines and plays like he did in Carolina then this defense has taken a major step forward. His work ethic and experience will help Breeland and all the other younger players.

 With a number of additions to this team and defense, the Redskins should be a much better team going forward. The goal is to repeat as NFC East Champs and make a long playoff run. In order for that to happen the defense has to step up and force turnovers, make plays, and get those critical three and outs when needed. It takes 53 men on a team to make a winner in the NFL and Scot McCloughan in my opinion is doing everything in his power to get the best 53 men possible. This season will go along way in to seeing where this franchise is headed. Back to back winning seasons with a playoff birth or maybe even NFC East Championships back to back will signal turning the corner finally.

 Don't forget to tune in to Sports On The Hill Podcast at 7pm streaming live on Tru Radio Network or you can call-in/listen in by dialing 347-884-9299. On the show tonight me and my co host Robbie Gross will be talking about the early playoff exit of the Capitals, the busy week on and off the field with the Nationals and of course talk about the Redskins and the rookie mini camp that just wrapped up this past weekend. If you haven't go like the Sports On The Hill Podcast page on Facebook and go follow @SportsOTHP on Twitter. You can also follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or Carroll Porter III on Facebook. Hope to hear from you tonight about any DC pro sports team, this article or any sports topic you may want to talk about. #HTTR4LIFE #dcRising

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Quick Thoughts on The Redskins Draft

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Scot Likes 2017 Draft Class

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. The Experts Like The 2016 Draft

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

4.  The Redskins Salary Cap Likes The 2016 Draft

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

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

5. Redskins Draft Coverage Was Pretty Lousy

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

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


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

Nothing. Cut to commercial.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washington Redskins Draft Recap 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 17, 2016

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

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

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

Here's Why:

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

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

2. Team Turnover/Strength of Schedule

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


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

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

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

Sunday, April 3, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned.

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

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

Monday, January 11, 2016

Quick Thoughts on the 2015 Season, Updates and Other Whatnot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Tap

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

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

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

Major Announcement Coming

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

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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Quick Prediction Redskins vs. Giants

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Saints @ Redskins Game Preview/Prediction

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 9, 2015

2015 Mid-Season Thoughts Pt.1: Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Could Hopkins be the 2015 'Skins best free agent? Photo via

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hail to the Redskins!