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When it comes to picking a team for 'Hard Knocks,' the Redskins are the easy choice


When it comes to picking a team for 'Hard Knocks,' the Redskins are the easy choice

Six NFL teams are eligible to be featured on "Hard Knocks" in 2018. Well, sorry, five NFL teams and the Browns.

Along with Cleveland, the Broncos, Chargers, Ravens, 49ers, and (licks thumb, flicks through notes, scans) oh, yes, the Redskins could all be the center of HBO's fantastic program come training camp this summer.

But of those six squads, one has by far the strongest résumé. Here's a hint in GIF-form:


It's the Washington Redskins, and it's not that close.


As mentioned before, "Hard Knocks" is a show about professional football teams. HBO would be better off airing re-runs of "True Detecitve 2" than putting the Browns on their channel for a month-plus in the summer.

As for the Ravens, they were already the center of "Hard Knocks" back in 2001, its first season. Besides, Baltimore's offense is already so dreadful in the regular season, and that's when its had months to gel. Could you imagine watching that unit in training camp trying to figure things out?

The Broncos would be a decent choice, and an uncensored Philip Rivers would make the Chargers one, too. But this is "Hard Knocks" people, and "Hard Knocks" only comes around once a year for five weeks, so there's no sense in wasting a precious season on an AFC West team whose biggest dilemma is picking one mediocre QB out of seven to be their starter or finding a kicker who'll eventually screw them over numerous times in the fourth quarter.

That leaves the Niners and the 'Skins. And while it's hard to deny the potential of a team based in California led by a passer who would easily win "The Bachelorette," besides Jimmy G, San Fran lacks a lot of what makes for a compelling "Hard Knocks" subject. 

The Redskins, meanwhile, have it all.


Under center will either be Kirk Cousins playing under another tag or a pricey new extension, or a rookie or free agent being asked to replace Kirk Cousins. Storylines galore either way.

Another thing that separates the Redskins from the other five franchises is their head coach. Few, if any, headmen are more suited for "Hard Knocks" than Jay Gruden. He'd drop more one-liners in the first five minutes of episode one than Bucs coach/local librarian Dirk Koetter had in the entire last season.

And, finally, Washington is loaded with additional characters who'd make tremendous cast members. The secondary alone boasts D.J. Swearinger and Josh Norman, two guys who should be legally required to be mic'd up at all times. Then there's Chris Thompson — America needs to know how nice Chris Thompson is. Plus, the 'Skins possess an X-factor no other NFL organization has: Jim Tomsula.

Of course, in the end, one really convincing blog post won't be enough to get the Redskins onto the show. HBO and the team's decision makers would need to come to an agreement, and the Burgundy and Gold already reportedly declined the opportunity once before.

But if they were to accept the chance this time around, they would absolutely go on to have a really engaging "Hard Knocks" stint. Few Redskins-related predictions ever work out, but that's one that feels solid.

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 


The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.


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Need to Know: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Need to Know: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 20, 22 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

Galette to be a valued free agent

Originally published 12/13/17

Like the Redskins, the Broncos are no longer relevant in 2017. Both teams’ fan bases have started to look towards the coming offseason.

To give their readers what they want, the Denver Post published an article by Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus that discussed some of the top pending free agents who have done the most to increase their values in the past year. There were two Redskins named, one you would expect to see on such a list and one that might surprise some people.

Kirk Cousins is at the top of the list. “The Washington signal-caller is grading as a top-10 quarterback (82.8), and soon he’ll have the long-term contract of one,” Renner wrote. “Only this time its value will be exponentially higher than any one he would have signed back when he first became a free agent in 2016.”

But the surprising name is that of Junior Galette. After missing the last two seasons with two torn Achilles tendons, he played this year on a one-year, $800,000 deal. And while he hasn’t been on fire in the sack department with just two on the year, he has been getting pressure on the passer.

“He’s accumulated the 27th-highest pass-rushing grade of any edge defender this season, but in only 264 snaps,” wrote Renner. “At 29 years of age, it’s doubtful he ever gets back to the level of the contract that he once had on the table with New Orleans. With how he’s played this season though, some pass-rush-needy team will pay handsomely for his services.”

One team that could be considered to be pass rush needy is the Redskins. Preston Smith is the starter and supposedly one of the Redskins’ top pass rushers. But in 100 fewer pass rush snaps this year, Galette has only three fewer quarterback hits than Smith and six more hurries.

And after missing those two seasons, Galette has remained healthy. Although he was limited with a hamstring during much of the preseason, he has not missed a practice or appeared on an injury report this year.

But would the Redskins be willing to pay him “handsomely”? Perhaps a good comp would be Connor Barwin, who moved from the Eagles to the Rams this past offseason at the age of 31. He had five sacks in Philly in 2016. That got him a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.

Barwin likely will have more sacks on his ledger going into free agency so let’s say Galette could command around $3 million. Perhaps he could offer Washington a bit of a hometown discount and agree to something in the $2.75 million range. If that is the case, the Redskins would be smart to keep him around for another year.

Plenty of things could alter the equation. If Galette gets hot in the last three games and posts a few more sacks his price could rise. With Smith and Ryan Kerrigan both back next year, perhaps Galette will want to go somewhere that he might get more playing time.

The details need to be sorted out but don’t be surprised if Galette gets a lot of attention in free agency, as much as teams need pass rush, and if the Redskins have to make a very tough decision about how much he is worth.

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.


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 9
—NFL Draft (4/26) 65
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 201