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Despite mistakes, Redskins' Gruden has faith in WR Grant

Despite mistakes, Redskins' Gruden has faith in WR Grant

Redskins receiver Ryan Grant played 20 snaps against the Lions on Sunday. He was targeted twice and had one reception for five yards. But people were still talking about him after the game because of a couple of errors he made that could have been very costly.

The worst mistake came in the fourth quarter with the Redskins trailing 13-10. When Grant lined up for the play, he was on the line of scrimmage, covering up Ty Nsekhe, who had reported as an eligible receiver. According to the rules, an eligible receiver has to be line up either at one end of the line or in the backfield. Grant should have lined up off the line of scrimmage. The penalty negated a 27-yard completion to Vernon Davis.

Fortunately, the Redskins did go on to score a touchdown. But it was still a major gaffe for a third-year player.

“Yeah, that was tough when he covered up,” said Jay Gruden. “Nsekhe was in the game and I think he thought Nsekhe was a lineman—he didn’t realize he had reported as a tackle—so he saw the other tight end was off the ball so he got on. That’s a mistake that obviously is frustrating and we can’t have, but I can see where that could’ve messed him up a little bit. The referee was trying to get him back and he just didn’t see it.”

That’s the thing. The referee will tell you if you’re lined up properly or if you need to get off the line. If you’re a part-time player who doesn’t take many practice snaps with the starters you should check with the official 100 percent of the time.

Earlier the Redskins’ previous touchdown drive was almost derailed when Grant missed a hand signal from Kirk Cousins and ran the wrong route, almost causing an interception.

“The other one was a quick hand signal and he didn’t get it,” said Gruden. “It’s just something we have to work on—our communication—the ball was snapped quickly. But, yeah, you’re right. I think Ryan wishes he has those two back.”

It remains to be seen if another receiver will be activated in Grant’s place. But he has always seemed to be one of Gruden’s favorite players and, indeed, the coach finished the discussion of his mistakes by praising him.

“There’s nobody in this building that works harder than Ryan,” said Gruden. “He does a lot of the dirty work for us. He gets in there and digs out safeties for us in the running game. He’s a very important part of this offense and he’ll still get better.”

Sure doesn’t sound like a guy who is headed for the bench. And, to be fair, Grant will probably learn from his mistakes and not repeat them. We will see how this unfolds.

MORE REDSKINS: NFC East Update: Redskins loss in Detroit might prove costly

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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