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Failure to build on prosperity is nothing new for the Redskins

Failure to build on prosperity is nothing new for the Redskins

“You are what your record says you are.”

Bill Parcells, talking about the 2015-2017 Redskins, probably

Well, The Tuna said this in 1994, so maybe he was talking about Norv Turner’s Redskins. But the truth of the statement remains.

The Redskins are just a mediocre football team. Just when it looks like they are about to break out of the muddled middle of the pack in the NFL, they have an ugly performance that pulls them right back into the middle of the morass.

Here is a look at some of the Redskins’ signature wins of the last two and a half years and what happened next.

2015

—In Week 4, Kirk Cousins put together his first comeback win, getting the winning score in the 23-20 win on a pass to Pierre Garçon with 26 seconds left. The following week they went to Atlanta and despite having a few chances to win the game they lost in overtime.

MORE REDSKINS: 5 KEY PLAYS IN THE REDSKINS' LOSS

—In Week 7, the Redskins came back from a 24-0 deficit to beat the Bucs and Cousins yelled, “You like that!” They had a bye the next week and in their next game they went to New England and were uncompetitive in a 27-10 loss. Yes, that’s a tough place to win but a better showing in a loss would have been evidence that they had turned the corner.

—Perhaps the best game of Jay Gruden’s tenure came in Week 16 in Philadelphia when they whipped the Eagles and clinched the NFC East title. They followed this up with what amounted to an exhibition game in Dallas. In their next game that counted they were at home against a Packers team that had lost two in a row and looked vulnerable. The Redskins had an 11-point lead early and they were up 18-17 in the third quarter but Aaron Rodgers and company scored 18 unanswered points to close it out.

2016

—In Week 6 they ran their winning streak to four games as they held off the Eagles for a 27-20 win. The next week they nearly built the first five-game winning streak since 2012, but Matthew Stafford rallied the Lions with a touchdown pass with 16 seconds left to snatch that victory away.

RELATED: 21 UNANSWERED POINTS SINK REDSKINS

—The Redskins’ 2016 season reached its peak with their Week 11 drubbing of the Packers. But they couldn’t build on the momentum of their 42-24 win. They lost the next two in a row with some red zone woes in Dallas and turnover issues in Arizona.

2017

—The 2-0 Raiders came into town and the left with a thorough 24-10 whipping. They then went to Kansas City and battled the undefeated Chiefs hard, coming out with a moral victory, which is another term for a loss.

Their failure to create any momentum after the win in Seattle is perhaps the most head-scratching of all of them. They got several key players back from injuries, including three of their starting offensive linemen. Unlike most of their momentum-killing games, they were at home. And still they got boat raced (don't let the final score fool you). They let Case Keenum, who had thrown 24 touchdown passes in 24 career starts, pass for four touchdowns and as they left the field thousands of Vikings fans were doing the “Skol” clap and cheer.

The result was hard to understand but, given recent history, not surprising.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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The Redskins are going to draft the best available player, unless they aren't

The Redskins are going to draft the best available player, unless they aren't

When their turn comes up in this draft, the Redskins are going to pick the best available player on the board. Unless they’re not. 

That is the mixed message delivered on Tuesday by Doug Williams, the team’s senior vice president for player personnel during his pre-draft press conference on Tuesday. 

Williams was asked what nearly every NFL personnel executive has been asked during this round of draft press conferences: Will the Redskins take the best player on the board or would they draft for need?

And Williams gave an answer similar to the ones that all of the other personnel guys gave. 

“You hear this cliché all the time, it’s always going to be the best player available, because at the same time if you’re looking for a need, the player you’re looking for a need might not be graded as high as the guy that’s on that board,” he said. 

That makes some fans crazy as they believe that you must fill needs in the draft. But reaching to fill needs is a good way to have a mediocre, disjointed draft. 

But there are times when the best available player is not the player the Redskins will pick. The topic of injuries came up and Williams talked about the situation at offensive tackle. Morgan Moses and Trent Williams currently are rehabbing from injuries and they won’t take the field during OTAs and minicamp. 

Doug Williams said that both players should be ready for training camp. He didn’t mention it but Trent Williams and Moses are signed for the next three and five years, respectively. That means that there is no need for a tackle in at least the first two rounds, and Williams agrees. 

“We can’t go into the draft drafting tackles, you know,” he said. 

So if, say, offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame has the highest grade on the Redskins’ board when pick 13 comes up, they will not be taking the player with the best grade. They will “reach”, perhaps only slightly, to take a player at another position. 

The Redskins have a similar situation at quarterback. They are committed to Alex Smith for at least three seasons and it would be foolish to spend a high pick on a quarterback. Williams said that the Redskins are not in the quarterback business this year. If there is a top QB still on the board at pick 13, it’s likely that Williams and Bruce Allen would be looking for phone calls from teams that want to trade up and get their signal caller. 

The true test of how the team chooses needs vs. best available could well come this year. Let’s say that Da’Ron Payne, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Tremaine Edmunds are all on the board when the Redskins’ pick comes up. While each team has its own grades, you probably won’t find many that don’t have Fitzpatrick and Edmunds a clear cut above Payne. The Redskins have needs on the defensive line, not so much at inside linebacker or in the secondary. Picking Payne at that point could be interpreted as reaching to fill a need while leaving more talented and more versatile players on the board. Going best available would almost surely mean choosing between Fitzpatrick and Edmunds. 

More Redskins

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Need to Know: Final Redskins seven-round mock draft

Need to Know: Final Redskins seven-round mock draft

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 25, one day before the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.  

Final seven-round Redskins mock draft

Here we go. No trades. If you like big guys you’ll like the first four picks. 

Round 1, DL Da’Ron Payne, Alabama—I think that Vita Vea will be off the board; it’s looking more and more like he will go the Raiders at 10 or Miami at 11. Payne might be the better player anyway, assuming that Jim Tomsula can coach some pass rush out of him. If Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James is on the board the Redskins may have to adjust their thinking. 

Round 2, OL Billy Price, Ohio State—I had a running back in mind here but the run at the position came earlier than expected. Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones, Sony Michel, and Nick Chubb were all off the board. The decision was to get a guy to insert at left guard and complete a home-grown O-line that can hopefully create running room for whatever back takes the handoff. 

Round 4, RB Kalen Ballage, Arizona State—I’m going with the best available running back here. The analytics types really like his combination of size (6-1, 228) and speed (4.46 in the 40 at the combine). Also, he shared carries with the Sun Devils so is a relatively low-mileage back (450 carries in four years). Ballage scored eight touchdowns in a game as a junior so he could be what the team needs in the red zone. 

Round 5, DL R.J. McIntosh, Miami—The Redskins have spent so little draft capital on the defensive line over the past two decades that it’s easy to justify doubling up there in one draft. McIntosh is a project, but he has high-level athleticism and quickness and those are traits you can’t teach. It might take him all of this year and next offseason in the weight room to build up his core strength and to add some weight onto his 286-lb. frame. 

Round 5, CB Nick Nelson, Wisconsin—While working out for the Lions last week, Nelson suffered a torn meniscus. That dropped his draft stock from perhaps being a Day 2 pick to one who should still be on the board on Saturday afternoon. The rehab for the 2017 All-Big Ten selection has been estimated at three to four months, meaning that he could be ready for the start of training camp. One more note: he was the Badgers’ punt returner last year and he averaged 8.6 yards per return with one touchdown. 

Round 6, TE David Wells, San Diego St.—While Jay Gruden and Doug Williams both seem to be confident that Jordan Reed will be healthy and ready to go by the time the regular season starts the truth will emerge in the draft. If they take a tight end early, they are very concerned about Reed. If they wait until this point in the draft and take a project like Wells, they are only moderately worried. 

Round 7, WR Auden Tate, Florida State—He’s coming off of a separated shoulder and that might push the 6-4 Tate down the board. Tate would be a project; he only caught 65 passes in 22 game at Florida State. He doesn’t have blazing speed (4.68 in the 40) but he competes for the ball and he could be a good red zone asset. 

Round 7, CB Greg Stroman, Virginia Tech—You can’t have too many corners or edge rushers and since there aren’t enough of the latter to go around in this draft I took a corner here. Stroman doesn’t have ideal size at 5-11, 182 but he paid attention during his four years with the Hokies and he plays with good technique. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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In response to a suggestion that former kick returner Devin Hester should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer:

Timeline 

Days until:

—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 16
—OTAs start (5/22) 27
—Training camp starts (7/26) 92

The Redskins last played a game 115 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 137 days. 

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