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Best of the Best: The case for John Riggins


Best of the Best: The case for John Riggins

John Riggins is the Redskins all-time leading rusher, an impressive accomplishment especially considering that he didn’t joint the team until his sixth NFL season and that George Allen really wasn’t sure how to use him after he gave him a large free agent contract. And let’s not forget that he sat out a season in his prime, right after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 1978-1979. Fortunately, Joe Gibbs persuaded him to return, prompting Riggins to declare, “I’m bored, I’m broke and I’m back.”

He was good during the 1981 and 1982 regular seasons but as the Redskins entered the ’82 playoffs Riggins took it up a notch. A big notch. In his previous 24 games he had gained over 100 yards just twice. Riggins went in to Gibbs, told him, “give me the ball”, and the rest is history.

MORE REDSKINS Best of the Best: The case for Darrell Green

In the three playoff games leading up to Super Bowl XVII, Riggins rushed for 119, 185, and 140 yards. He saved his best for last.

In Pasadena against the Dolphins, the Redskins seemed to be the better team but they still trailed 17-13 when the Dolphins punted. With 10:28 left to play, the Redskins faced fourth and one at the Miami 43. We’ll let my book pick it up from here:

"Gibbs didn’t hesitate in his decision to go for the first down. The call was Seventy Chip, run from goal line formation. As he had been doing all game, Gibbs added motion to the play to try to create just a moment of confusion in the Miami defense.

On this play, the motion caused more than confusion. From the tight, jumbo formation, tight end Don Warren went in motion from the left side of the line to the right. Dolphins’ cornerback Don McNeal shadowed Warren. When Warren got to the right end of the line, he reversed his direction. McNeal slipped slightly and was a step or two behind Warren as the ball was snapped.

The Hogs exploded off the line, blocking back Otis Wonsley sealed off the end, and Riggins easily had the first down after taking Joe Theismann’s handoff and going off left tackle. McNeal was left unblocked and his attempted arm tackle was useful only in that it provided a snapshot that has adorned the dens of thousands of Redskins fans. After brushing aside McNeal, Riggins easily rolled into the end zone for the TD. The extra point made the score 20-17.

After the defense forced another three and out, the Redskins drove for the kill. From the Miami 41, Riggins carried five straight times to the 23. Five plays later, the Diesel gained the last of his 166 rushing yards to get the Redskins down to the six. Two plays later, right after the two-minute warning, Theismann rolled right and fired it to Brown, who managed to keep both feet in bounds in the right side of the end zone, and the celebration could begin." 

--From “The Redskins Chronicle” by Rich Tandler

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 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.

The five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

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) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price


Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 


Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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