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Aldrick Robinson gets a second chance

aldrick_robinson_vs.pitt_.png

Aldrick Robinson gets a second chance

Aldrick Robinson’s first opportunity to make an impact in the NFL didn’t last long. 

On Sunday, the Redskins’ wide receiver will get a second chance against the Panthers. And this time, Robinson knows can’t afford to drop the ball again.

“Opportunities are limited,” Robinson said. “Now that they’re going to get more involved, I have to take advantage of my opportunities.”

Robinson replaced Pierre Garçon when the No. 1 receiver hurt his foot in the first quarter of the season opener. Robinson played the final three quarters against the Saints and impressed the coaching staff with his speed and route-running. The 24-year-old also hauled in four passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.

As a result of his strong showing, Robinson was tapped to start in Garçon’s place against the Rams the following week. But instead of seizing the opportunity, Robinson missed two blocks and dropped a deep pass that hit him in the hands.

“I didn’t play as well as I wanted,” Robinson said. “That kind of pushed me back a little bit. Now I’ve got another chance.”

Coach Mike Shanahan wouldn’t say exactly how Robinson will be deployed, but with Garçon expected to be sidelined again and the entire group of wide receivers coming off a wretched performance in Pittsburgh that included 10 drops, Robinson will see a more prominent role this week in a critical game for the Redskins (3-5).

“Aldrick has gotten back in the mix,” Shanahan said, referring to Robinson's role in practice this week. “When Pierre went down early, he had a pretty good game. He’s going to get some more playing time. And as you have guys who get hurt, these guys have to step up.”

Robinson played a career-high 66 snaps against the Saints after Garçon hurt his foot. But it was all downhill from there for the Dallas native as his playing time plummeted from 30 snaps vs. the Rams to three against the Giants. He also missed the Tampa Bay game after getting knocked unconscious during the pregame warmup when he ran into teammate Brandon Meriweather.

Against Pittsburgh, Robinson remerged – sorta. He was included in 15 plays and nearly scored a touchdown when dived for a Robert Griffin III pass in the end zone early in the fourth quarter. Robinson got both hands on the ball, but cornerback Keenan Lewis held Robinson’s arm, increasing the catch’s degree of difficulty.

Even though he didn’t snag the ball, the play showed Shanahan something.

“If he wasn’t interfered with,” the coach said. “The guy [had him in an] arm bar. He still almost caught it. That showed me a lot right there. There were another couple of routes that he ran that I was really impressed with so he will get some more playing time.”

This time, Robinson plans to grab the opportunity with both hands – on the field, the practice field and in the classroom.

“I have to take a better approach,” Robinson said. “I have to be well-prepared and be ready when a play presents itself Sunday. I’m going to be a lot more focused, work on the details and the little things – all the things that will help me do better than the last time I had this chance.”

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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. 

RELATED: WHAT SHOULD THE REDSKINS DO AT RUNNING BACK?

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.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0

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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 Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

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