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A Sight to Get Used To

A Sight to Get Used To

Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins. Get details and order at

You had better get used to the sight of Patrick Ramsey as the Redskins quarterback. Good, bad, or indifferent, the team just might well be stuck with him.

This isn’t a seven-game audition, folks, it’s the beginning of an era. For the foreseeable future, the Redskins’ fortunes at the quarterback position rest with number 11.

The reason is simple—economics or, more precisely, the allocation of scarce resources. A team has two main assets it can use to acquire players, draft picks and cap dollars. You get six of the former and about 70 million of the former a year. It’s a zero sum game; what you spend on one player you don’t have to spend on another one. In the past three years, the Redskins have allocated a lot of resources to the quarterback position. They gave up their first-round draft pick for one in 2002 and eight million cap dollars for another earlier this year. Quarterback is an expensive position to fill in the NFL and you can’t keep on flinging draft picks and money at it and expect to have resources left to retain quality players to protect whoever’s in there, give him someone to throw to, have someone to prevent the other team from scoring, and so on.

This team has needs on both sides of the line as well as some quality depth in other spots. Drafting a quarterback first or third (the second-rounder has been traded away) could be done, but at the expense of ignoring those needs. In addition, drafting a quarterback is always a crap shoot. I’m sure I don’t need to go any further than the names Heath Shuler and Ryan Leaf to make that point.

Barring some sort of miracle turnaround, Mark Brunell is a bust of Shuler proportions only more expensive. It will cost over $7 million in dead cap money to cut him before June 1. Waiting until afterwards puts about $2 million of dead money in ’05 and the remaining $5 million in 2006. That’s about what it cost to shed Deion Sanders after one season. Such a cap hit virtually precludes the team from going after a free agent quarterback.

There is one alternative, but, like anything else, it would involve some risk. Perhaps the Redskins could trade for a young backup who is stuck behind a young star. Matt Schaub of the Falcons comes to mind here. He’s a rookie who played well in the preseason and has almost no chance of ever holding the regular starting job as he’s stuck behind Mike Vick. Perhaps he could be pried away for a third-rounder. It’s a move that carries somewhat less risk than just taking a third-round quarterback because he has shown something on the NFL level.

This is the route that the Packers took to acquire Bret Favre from the Falcons and that the Jaguars used to get the Brunell that started two AFC title games from Green Bay.

Still, the best option remains the guy who’s on your roster already, the one whose cap hits are less than $2 million per season through 2006, the one who has won some NFL games, the one who has shown guts and toughness under pressure, the one who is smart and willing and eager to learn. There are teams who are in playoff contention this year that are quarterbacked by Craig Krenzel, Kyle Boller, Josh McCown, and other assorted nonentities. It’s hard to believe that Joe Gibbs couldn’t mold Patrick Ramsey into a quarterback who was capable of doing the same.

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Redskins Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown: WR James Washington's numbers don't impress but he could be a solution for the Redskins

Redskins Draft Countdown

James Washington

Wide receiver
Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington measured at 5 feet 11 inches at the combine and his 40 time was a pedestrian 4.54.

But forget about the numbers. His catch radius is larger than his height would indicate, and he plays much faster than the stopwatch says he does.

His route tree needs to be cleaned up but his ability to get open deep, make receptions on back shoulder throws and, yes, Redskins fans, fade patterns will make him a productive receiver while he learns.

Height: 5-11
Weight: 213
40-yard dash: 4.54

Projected draft round: 1-2

What they’re saying

He doesn't look like a receiver and he doesn't run routes like a receiver, but then you see him get open deep and make all those explosive plays, and you know exactly what he does for an offense.

—A Big 12 assistant coach via

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins needed a wide receiver to line up opposite Josh Doctson after Terrelle Pryor fizzled out last year. They went out and signed Paul Richardson to a free agent contract, solving the immediate need.

But in the NFL, you should always be looking for your next receiver. It takes most of them at least a season to develop so if you wait until you really need a pass catcher it’s too late to draft one. Washington has the capability to contribute early and develop from there.  

Film review: vs. Pitt, vs. TCU, vs. Oklahoma

—Like most coaches, Jay Gruden wants his wide receivers to block and Washington certainly gives it the effort. He helped backs gain extra yards on stretch plays with hustling blocks downfield. His technique may need some work—a long touchdown run against Oklahoma was called back when he was hit for holding—but the effort is there.

—Against the Sooners, Washington got by a cornerback who was in off coverage and beat him for a long gain. Later in the game, the corner was in press coverage and Washington made one move and beat the defender on a post for a touchdown. We can insert the usual cautions about Big 12 defenses here, but it still was impressive to watch.

—Speed is important but so is how fast a receiver can stop to catch a pass. On one underthrown fade pattern, Washington was able to slam on the brakes while the cornerback kept on running, making the catch for a nice gain out of the end zone an easy one.

—Against TCU he split two defenders on a deep pass. He caught the ball in stride and then he found a second gear and easily outraced the defensive backs to the end zone to complete the 86-yard play. This is a good example of Washington playing faster than his 40 time.

Potential issues: Washington is not a good enough prospect to warrant the No. 13 pick, but he could easily be gone by the time the time their second-round pick is on the clock. As noted above, the quality of the defenses he faced in compiling 74 receptions for 1,549 yards (20.9 per catch) and 13 touchdowns has to be considered.

Bottom line: If I’m the Redskins, I have a talk with Jamison Crowder’s agent before the draft to gauge what his client would want in order to sign an extension prior to the 2018 season. If it’s something the Redskins consider reasonable, they should look elsewhere in the second round. But if a 2019 Crowder departure seems likely,  they should look at Washington if he’s there in the second round. 

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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Redskins withdraw contract offer to Junior Galette

Redskins withdraw contract offer to Junior Galette

It looks like the Redskins are moving on from Junior Galette.

Citing a team source, Chick Hernandez of NBC Sports Washington is reporting that the team has withdrawn its contract offer to Galette, the veteran pass rusher who finally got on the field last year after missing all of his first two seasons in Washington with injuries. He is an unrestricted free agent.

The Redskins may have a replacement for Galette lined up. They had former Bear Pernell McPhee in for a visit earlier this week and there was a report that they made him a contract offer after that. McPhee subsequently visited the Falcons facility, but he has not signed anywhere. However, there have been no reports that a deal is imminent as of this morning.


As for Galette, Hernandez mentions two possible destinations. One is the Browns, who have two key connections to Galette. Scot McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who signed Galette after he was cut by the Saints after the 2014 season is in the personnel department in Cleveland. In addition, Gregg Williams, who was the Saints’ defensive coordinator when Galette made the team as an undrafted rookie, currently has the same position with the Browns.

Another possibility is the Rams. The connections there are Joe Barry, the linebackers coach in LA who was Redskins’ defensive coordinator during Galette’s first two years with the team, and head coach Sean McVay, who was the offensive coordinator in Washington while Galette was on the other side of the ball.

Galette has said on social media lately that his first choice is to remain with the Redskins but that the money had to be “fair”. The interest in a return to Washington was mutual but evidently, the organization’s idea of fair and Galette’s differed by too great a margin to bridge the gap.  

Last year, Galette didn’t have an impressive sack total, getting three in a backup role. But he got plenty of pressure on the quarterback and that can be just as important as sacks.


Galette developed into a feared pass rusher with the Saints, getting double-digit sacks his last two seasons there. After signing him to a lucrative contract extension, the Saints abruptly released Galette due to some off-field issues. McCloughan and the Redskins signed him soon after the start of training camp in 2015 but before he could even play in a preseason game, he suffered a torn Achilles tendon in practice and he was out for the year.

His much-anticipated return the following year ended before it even started. Shortly before it was time to report to training camp, he tore the other Achilles and he was on the shelf again.

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.