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Need to Know: Redskins one per player one-liners, defense

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Need to Know: Redskins one per player one-liners, defense

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 7, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Chargers in Los Angeles.


Today’s schedule: Practice 2 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky press conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:45

Days until:

—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 3
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 10
—Broncos @ Redskins Christmas Eve (12/24) 17

Redskins player one-liners, defensive edition

I looked at every offensive player on the roster on Monday, here are one-liners on every defensive player on the roster. 

DE Matt Ioannidis—He won’t be getting back to being the force he was early in the season until he can get his left hand out of the club he has been playing with and get some use of that hand.

DL Ziggy Hood—I’ve said this here before, but there really isn’t that much more to say about him—Hood prepares hard and plays hard and he would be a good rotational end, but he is not suited to being the first option at nose tackle.

DL Stacy McGee—After looking like he could teeter towards being a free-agent bust, McGee has played well the last several weeks with four QB pressures and 15 tackles.

DL Terrell McClain—After missing two games with a toe injury he was back out on the practice field on Wednesday.

DL A.J. Francis—He has been off and on the roster the last two years, kudos to him for not giving up and getting some meaningful playing time.

DE Anthony Lanier—The second-year player has been good providing pass pressure, but he has been a liability when he is on the field on running plays.

ILB Zach Brown—He has been slowed a bit by various injuries, most recently to his Achilles tendon, but he has only missed 12 snaps all year and he still leads the NFL in total tackles.

ILB Josh Harvey-Clemons—He got his first defensive snaps of the year against the Giants and recorded his first sack (a half, to be exact) in Dallas.

ILB Martrell Spaight—He seems to be more effective when he comes in as a role player rather than when he starts.

ILB Zach Vigil—After being re-signed on November 15 he has started two games and has 10 tackles.

OLB Ryan Anderson—While this has been a learning season for him, it’s almost time to say that his rookie year has been pretty disappointing for a second-round pick.

OLB Chris Carter—He has only played one defensive snap this year but he has been a solid contributor on special teams.

OLB Preston Smith—The third-year player went six games with zeroes in the sack column before getting a half against the Cowboys, but he has been good providing pressure all year long.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan—He needs one more sack to hit double digits for the third time in the last four years.

OLB Junior Galette—He has been a disappointment in the sack department with only two, but per Pro Football Focus, he has 25 total pressures in 186 pass rush snaps, which isn’t bad after being out two years.

CB Bashaud Breeland—The pending free agent has been inconsistent but on the whole, he has had a solid year.

CB Quinton Dunbar—If Breeland leaves as a free agent in 2018, the Redskins could do worse than have Dunbar start opposite Norman.

CB Kendall Fuller—With one more interception he would have five picks, the most that any Redskins cornerback has had since DeAngelo Hall had six in 2010.

CB Fabian Moreau—Although his defensive plays have been limited (54 snaps), he has excelled on special teams, particularly as a gunner on punt coverage.

CB Josh Norman—Opponents have attempted 390 passes against the Redskins and only 37 of them have been into Norman’s coverage.

S Montae Nicholson—Injuries have cost him time but he has shown great promise when he has been in the game.

S Deshazor Everett—He was forced into the starting lineup the last two games with Nicholson out and Hall playing ineffectively and held his own.

S DeAngelo Hall—After getting burned against the Saints, Hall has played just one snap in the last two games.

S D.J. Swearinger—He has been one of the better free agent signings in the past decade providing both leadership and solid play all year.

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

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Free agency update: What happens next for the Redskins on the defensive line?


Free agency update: What happens next for the Redskins on the defensive line?

The Redskins sure hosted a lot of free agent defensive line visits in the second week of free agency, but so far, no signed contracts. 

Johnathan Hankins came to Ashburn. Sylvester Williams came to Ashburn. Pernell McPhee came to Ashburn. All three left without a done deal, and now for Redskins fans, the question becomes not about when a deal will get done, but if any deals will happen.

Actually, one deal did happen. According to a report, Williams has signed with the Lions. 

Since visiting the Redskins on Monday, Hankins also took a trip to see the Lions. McPhee, who was offered a contract by the Redskins, has since taken a trip to visit the Falcons. 


Keep in mind too, Washington expressed interest in nose tackle Bennie Logan last offseason, and the 6-foot-2, 309 lb., former Chief is again on the market. A visit from Logan would surprise nobody, though it hasn't been reported yet. 

Mother Nature might also be an impediment for the Redskins. A March snowstorm shut the D.C. region down on Wednesday, which could have limited potential free agent visits.

What's clear is between Hankins, McPhee and Williams this week, in addition to Muhammad Wilkerson and Benson Mayowa last week, the Redskins are obviously looking to upgrade their defensive line. Combine that with a contract restructure for incumbent Terrell McClain, and Washington has the flexibility to improve on last season's NFL-worst run defense. 

That doesn't mean, however, the Redskins will absolutely sign one of the above mentioned players. And it doesn't mean outside linebacker Junior Gallete won't return to the Redskins either. 

Many fans wonder if a McPhee signing means the Redskins would move on from Galette. It might, but that's no sure thing. 

Washington went into the 2017 season with five outside linebackers: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Galette, Ryan Anderson and Chris Carter. Right now, the 'Skins only have Kerrigan, Smith and Anderson under contract. The team needs to add at least one OLB, but likely two.

McPhee also carries about 20 extra pounds on his frame than Galette, giving the former Bear and Raven more flexibility to play against the run. Galette is a speed, leverage and moves player, focused on getting to the quarterback. He's capable against the run, but in the same way a sports car shouldn't carry a snow plow, Galette should be used to pressure QBs. 

Point being: McPhee and Galette could both make sense for the Redskins, if the team can work out the cash. 

Money usually matters the most in free agency, and it's clear the Redskins haven't made the type of offers that any of these players felt compelled to immediately sign. Deals could still happen though. Hankins didn't sign last offseason until April and Galette seems to thank Redskins fans via social media with relative frequency. 

Washington also had some success with the patient approach to free agency. The team was able to keep Zach Brown, though it took some nervous days of allowing the tackling machine linebacker to test the free agent market. With that win in hand, don't expect the Redskins brass to change their philosophy. 

Until further notice, it's hurry up and wait season in Ashburn.

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Could Da'Ron Payne be the final piece to the D-line puzzle?

Redskins Draft Countdown: Could Da'Ron Payne be the final piece to the D-line puzzle?

Redskins draft countdown

Da’Ron Payne

Defensive tackle

Stuff the run in the middle of the line? Check. Get outside to stop stretch plays? Check. Get after the passer? Check. Yes, Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne checks all the boxes the Redskins are looking for on the D-line.

He can be the immovable object, taking on double and triple teams, and he also can chase down the quarterback. At 311 pounds he could be the Redskins’ nose tackle in base and move outside in nickel.

Height: 6-2
Weight: 311
40-yard dash: 4.95

Projected draft round: 1

What they’re saying

Payne possesses one of the most impressive combinations of strength and athleticism that we've seen from an interior lineman. He will be the premier run-stuffer in this draft, but he may have enough in the pass rushing toolbox to project as a better pro than college pass rusher. Payne is a game-ready starter who immediately upgrades a defense's ability to slow the run.

Lance Zierlein,

How he fits the Redskins: This just in—the Redskins need a nose tackle. Of course, if you’re reading this you know that, and you’ve known it has been the case ever since the Redskins went to the 3-4 defense in 2010.

In very closely related news, they need to play better against the run, too. You probably noticed that they were dead last in the league in rushing defense last year. And that the NFC East has two very strong rushing teams in the Eagles and Cowboys and a Giants team that could well take Saquon Barkley with the second pick in the draft. If they don’t fix their rushing defense they could literally get run over.

Payne could help them a lot. He can take on double and triple teams and clog up running lanes in the middle. If they try to go around him, he has the quickness to penetrate and disrupt outside runs.

And a defensive lineman taken in the top half of the first round should be able to provide some pass rush pressure. As noted by Zierlein, Payne has the potential to do that. He’ll never be a double-digit sack guy, but if he can kick in four to six per year and get some pressure up the middle, that would be fine.

Film review: vs. Tennessee, vs Georgia (national title game)

Like most players, Payne can’t get much in the way of a pass rush when he is double and triple teamed. But when they tried to block him one on one he consistently got pressure. Payne didn’t get many sacks, but he did make a difference. Against Georgia, one pressure resulted in an interception and another forced a third-down incompletion.

Payne is very difficult to move off the spot in the running game, even when the offense tries to do it with two or even three players. Running backs did not get by him on a regular basis. In the second half in particular, Georgia tried to move the ball with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, both of whom are likely to get selected in the top 100 in the draft next month. But they kept running into a mass of humanity in the middle of the line with Payne in the middle of it.

He played well during the Tennessee game during the regular season, but he didn’t have a lot of impact. The only time his name was called was when he was hit with a roughing the passer call.

Potential issues: At 311 pounds, Payne may not be the ideal size to fill the chronic hole at nose tackle. It should be noted, however, that defensive line coach Jim Tomsula has said that the Redskins aren’t necessarily looking for the 350-pound nose tackle and that a relatively smaller player can get the job done. Ziggy Hood played the nose at 305 pounds last year. The Redskins finished last against the run, although that’s not necessarily cause and effect.

Bottom line: The Redskins went 20 years without taking an interior defensive lineman in the first round before taking Jonathan Allen last year. Nobody could legitimately complain if they doubled up on first-round D-linemen after so many years of neglect.

Payne should be there when the 13th pick goes on the clock. Unless the Redskins address the nose tackle spot in free agency Payne will be under strong consideration. The defensive line improved last year with the additions of Allen in the draft, Stacy McGee as a free agent and the second-year emergence of Matt Ioannidis. Payne could be the final piece of what could be a dominant defensive line.

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