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Despite Improvements, Ramsey Still Under Fire

Despite Improvements, Ramsey Still Under Fire

Although you wouldn’t know it from the reaction he received from the crowd, from the fans discussing the game, or from the press, Patrick Ramsey’s performance took a quantum leap in the positive direction from last week to last night. You wouldn’t know it as he was booed at FedEx Field, has been getting hammered on the message boards and in water-cooler discussions, and several questions at Joe Gibbs’ press conference last night were aimed at getting to coach to show the least bit of wobble in his support for Ramsey.

Although Gibbs opened up the presser with an angry outburst (for him, anyway) at the turnovers that he believes cost his team the game, he didn’t point the finger at Ramsey, who tossed two interceptions, and didn’t waiver in the least in his assertion that Ramsey is the guy at QB and will remain so. As well he should, for a couple of reasons.

First, you can’t yank the guy or even put the job up for grabs after two preseason games. Gibbs announced at the end of last season that the starting quarterback job was Ramsey’s, period. The team has been through minicamp, OTA’s, and two weeks of training camp. You don’t commit to a plan for that long and then, when things to a little bit wrong during two weeks of camp and a couple of exhibition games, throw it all out the widow. That’s not how you get an organization back on track.

Second, the view here is that things aren’t all that wrong. Ramsey did almost nothing right last week against Carolina. His errors, ranging from the interception on the opening drive to depriving his receivers of yards-after-catch opportunities by making them lunge for throws, were well chronicled here. Against the Bengals, Ramsey did a lot right. He averaged over ten yards per attempt and over 20 per completion. In the pocket, he was cool and calm. He developed some timing and rapport on deep passes with David Patten. He didn’t quite develop the same with Santana Moss, although on the first series Moss lost a potential TD pass from Ramsey in the lights. On several occasions, he threw a ball to a spot, the exact spot to which a receiver arrived at the moment the ball did.

It was a very good, perhaps great, performance except for the interceptions.

Yes, that is like the old “other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?” And Ramsey’s first pick was eerily reminiscent of the one that he threw late in the game last year at FedEx against the Eagles when the Redskins had a chance for a stunning upset. It was the same area of the field, the same kind of pass where he seemed not to see a defender who was stationed right between the quarterback and the receiver. It’s one thing for a quarterback to make a mistake; it’s another for him to make the same mistake over and over again.

But, hey, this just in, quarterbacks throw interceptions. Three of them in two first halves of play is not an outrageous, unheard of event. As long as the quarterback is making some positive things happen, as was the case against Cincinnati, such miscues, while unwelcome, are not stunning nor should they be fatally damaging to a team’s chances.

Also keep in mind that this was just one half of work, 19 attempts. Ramsey seems to be a quarterback who takes a while to get warmed up. He has a track record for doing better as the game went on. Last year, in his 21st through his 30th pass attempts in games, his quarterback rating was a cool 100.8 with three touchdowns, just one interception, 59% of his throws going for first downs, a 68% completion percentage and an average of 7.73 yards per attempt on 64 throws. Like a pitcher who needs a few innings of work to get into the groove, Ramsey needs some time to find the strike zone.

Of course, you can’t always afford to muddle through those first 20 attempts, where in 2004 Ramsey averaged less than six yards per attempt, threw seven interceptions to six touchdowns and a rating in the low 70’s. He has to figure out a way to come out of the chute throwing accurately and with confidence.

The point here is not that Patrick Ramsey is ready right now to go and lead this team back to the promised land of double-digit win seasons and playoff runs. However, he did show enough improvement from the first preseason game to the second to warrant a bit more optimism that he’ll be able to do so.

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Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

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Need to Know: How many starters are left from the Redskins' last playoff game?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 19, 54 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 46
—NFL Draft (4/26) 97
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 233

Things change quickly

Two years ago today, the Redskins were in the process of picking up the pieces after their 35-18 home loss to the Packers in the wild-card round of the 2015 season playoffs. How many of the 22 players who started that game for Washington are still with the team? You may be surprised to find out just how few are likely to be with the Redskins when the season opens in September.

Offense:

WR DeSean Jackson—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
WR Pierre Garçon—Signed with 49ers as a free agent last year.
WR Jamison Crowder—Still with the Redskins
TE Jordan Reed—Still with the Redskins
LT Trent Williams—Still with the Redskins
LG Spencer Long—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
C Kory Lichtensteiger—Retired following the 2016 season
RG Brandon Scherff—Still with the Redskins
RT Morgan Moses—Still with the Redskins
RB Alfred Morris—Signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in 2016
QB Kirk Cousins—Set to be a UFA, you know the story here

Of the 11 offensive starters, five are still with the team, one has retired, three are employed by other teams, and two are headed into free agency. The chances of either Long or Cousins returning currently hover under 50 percent, although things can change.

Defense:

DE Chris Baker—Signed with the Bucs as a free agent last year.
DE Jason Hatcher—Retired following the 2015 season
NT Terrance Knighton—Signed with the Patriots following the 2015 season but was cut and he hasn’t played and subsequently retired
ILB Will Compton—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
ILB Mason Foster—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
OLB Ryan Kerrigan—Still with the Redskins
OLB Trent Murphy—Spent 2017 in injured reserve, set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Bashaud Breeland—Set to be an unrestricted free agent
CB Will Blackmon—Released last September, currently unsigned
S DeAngelo Hall—Set to be an unrestricted free agent, likely to retire
S Dashon Goldson—Released after 2015 season, currently unsigned

Only one starter, Ryan Kerrigan, is under contract for 2018. Of the free agents, Breeland is likely to depart and things are up in the air regarding Foster, Compton, and Murphy.

To sum it up, out of 22 starters in that game played 740 days ago, only six are certain to be with the team in 2018 while nine have either signed elsewhere, spent 2017 out of football, or have retired (10 if you count Hall).

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.

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Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Looking at cheap, reasonable and expensive wide receiver scenarios for Redskins

Most NFL teams usually carry at least six wide receivers, but going into the 2018 season, only Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Maurice Harris and Robert Davis hold signed contracts with the Redskins.

That means Washington must consider adding receiver help via free agency, especially considering Harris and Davis rarely played in 2017. Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Grant both played with the Burgundy and Gold in 2017, and while Grant has a solid chance to return, it would seem Pryor will head elsewhere after a disappointing season in D.C. 

Like every year, a number of receivers will be available via free agency, but what guys make sense for Jay Gruden's team? Let's take a look at three different scenarios, knowing Washington likely needs to add at least one free agent wideout. 

RELATED: MOCK DRAFTS LINKING 'SKINS TO BAKER MAYFIELD

  • Expensive: Jags WR Allen Robinson - A second-round pick in 2014, Robinson posted a 1,400-yard season in 2015 and has shown the ability to be a true No. 1 wideout in the NFL. He's 6-foot-3 with speed and leaping ability. In 2016, his numbers dipped to less than 900 yards receiving, but that season the Jacksonville QB Blake Bortles struggled significantly. Here's the thing: Robinson blew out his knee in the NFL opener in 2017, and that might make his price tag drop a bit. Word is the former Penn State star should be fully cleared by early March from the injury, and just 24 years old, he will be intriguing. Washington showed they would spend for a wideout in 2017 with the Pryor signing, but they did so on a one-year deal. If Robinson finds the free agent market not as robust as he wants, maybe a similar short-term deal could be reached?
  • Reasonable: Colts WR Donte Moncrief - A third-round pick in 2014, Moncrief also had a big sophomore season in 2015. He grabbed 64 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns. That was his only full 16-game season, as injuries have continued to be an issue for the 6-foot-2, 220 lbs. wideout out of Ole Miss. In 2016, only playing in nine games, he still contributed with seven touchdowns. In 2017, his numbers slipped big-time, and he posted less than 400 yards receiving in 12 games. Moncrief's problem isn't talent, it's health. That means he could be relatively cheap, and at just 24 years old, that contract might bring a strong return. 
  • Wild Card: Jets WR Eric Decker -  The Redskins have lacked a true veteran wideout since DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon left the team following the 2016 season. Decker will turn 31 in March and would give Washington a different presence in the WR meeting room. He posted two 1,000 yard seasons playing with Peyton Manning in Denver and went to the Super Bowl in 2013. In 2015, while teamed up with Ryan Fitzpatrick playing for the Jets, Decker again hit the 1,000-yard mark and hit the end zone 12 times. Throughout his career, Decker has been a solid red zone threat and has shown the ability to win on tough routes. He will need to take a big pay cut from the $4.5 million, one-year deal he signed in Tennessee in 2017, but that has to be expected considering his paltry production. In 16 games with the Titans, Decker logged 563 yards and only one TD. Decker might make sense, though the cost would need to be low. 

There are plenty of other names to watch, guys like Seattle's Paul Richardson or Buffalo's Jordan Matthews. Free agency opens in mid-March, and some connections between the Redskins and wideouts will start prior to that.

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