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.