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Draft: Coaches Will Have to Earn Their Money

Draft: Coaches Will Have to Earn Their Money

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According to the scouting reports, Rocky McIntosh needs to play under control and not overpursue. Anthony Montgomery needs to work on his hand technique in order to shed blocks better. There are also issues with Reed Doughty’s backpedaling, Kedric Golston’s lateral movement, Kili Lefotu’s footwork and Kevin Simon’s tackling technique.

In evaluating these players, the Redskins undoubtedly saw those flaws and many more. And Joe Gibbs turned to the most expensive coaching staff in the history of mankind and told them that they would be the ones who will make or break this draft. Dale Lindsey, Greg Blache, Jerry Gray, and Joe Bugel will have to coach ‘em up, correct the flaws and turn them in to NFL players.

Bubba Tyer’s training and medical staff also may be taxed. McIntosh, Golston, and Simon all carry histories of significant injuries into the NFL and their success will be determined in large part by how well Tyer and company can help them overcome their past ailments.

Don’t think for a moment, though, that this draft class is a nothing more than a group of the undisciplined and the infirm. What they got in exchange for some rough edges and mended joints is athletic ability. Doughty is an excellent natural athlete. Golston, when healthy, amazed many observers with the agility he displayed for a man his size. Scouts were amazed at how light the 311-pound Montgomery is on his feet. McIntosh has excellent speed for someone his size.

They also got smarts—not just football smarts but book smarts. In particular there’s McIntosh, who has already graduated with a 3.0 GPA in Criminology. He won’t be waving his transcript in Doughty’s face, however. Doughty also has his degree, graduating with a perfect 4.0 average in kinesiology. (Yeah, I don’t know what that is, either, but I’m thinking that it’s harder than ballroom dancing.)

Add in a solid dose of versatility, too. Lefotu can play all three O-line positions, a hat trick that McIntosh can match with his experience in all three LB spots. Simon could play inside or outside and several teams talked to Montgomery about drafting him as an offensive lineman. That wouldn’t be the former Golden Gopher’s first foray on offense; in high school, he was a 295-pound quarterback.

The move that is drawing the most fire from the self-declared draft gurus out there is the spending of the 2007 second-round pick to move up 18 spots to draft McIntosh (there was a 2006 sixth involved also). As was discussed here before the draft, the Redskins way of doing things is to be aggressive and go after the players that they want rather than letting things come to them. True, it is not a move that such successful franchises as the Steelers would make. To them, a second-round pick is way too precious to part with a year early and their results validate their methods. However, it is also not a move that franchises such as the Detroit Lions or Arizona Cardinals would have made and their records of futility are testimony to the fact that sitting on your hands and taking whoever falls into your lap isn’t a guaranteed ticket to success either.

It’s not what you do, it’s how well you do it. Time will tell, just as it will with the rest of the draft. If you came here looking for a draft grade, you came to the wrong place. Check back in a couple of years. Golston and Simon are the keys. If they can shed their injury-ridden pasts and play to their potentials, they could be something that the Redskins have not had many of in recent years—late-round steals. That would, at least by this team’s standards, make the draft a smashing success.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game that the Redskins played from when the moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. For details and ordering information, go to

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Free agency update: What happens next for the Redskins on the defensive line?


Free agency update: What happens next for the Redskins on the defensive line?

The Redskins sure hosted a lot of free agent defensive line visits in the second week of free agency, but so far, no signed contracts. 

Johnathan Hankins came to Ashburn. Sylvester Williams came to Ashburn. Pernell McPhee came to Ashburn. All three left without a done deal, and now for Redskins fans, the question becomes not about when a deal will get done, but if any deals will happen.

Actually, one deal did happen. According to a report, Williams has signed with the Lions. 

Since visiting the Redskins on Monday, Hankins also took a trip to see the Lions. McPhee, who was offered a contract by the Redskins, has since taken a trip to visit the Falcons. 


Keep in mind too, Washington expressed interest in nose tackle Bennie Logan last offseason, and the 6-foot-2, 309 lb., former Chief is again on the market. A visit from Logan would surprise nobody, though it hasn't been reported yet. 

Mother Nature might also be an impediment for the Redskins. A March snowstorm shut the D.C. region down on Wednesday, which could have limited potential free agent visits.

What's clear is between Hankins, McPhee and Williams this week, in addition to Muhammad Wilkerson and Benson Mayowa last week, the Redskins are obviously looking to upgrade their defensive line. Combine that with a contract restructure for incumbent Terrell McClain, and Washington has the flexibility to improve on last season's NFL-worst run defense. 

That doesn't mean, however, the Redskins will absolutely sign one of the above mentioned players. And it doesn't mean outside linebacker Junior Gallete won't return to the Redskins either. 

Many fans wonder if a McPhee signing means the Redskins would move on from Galette. It might, but that's no sure thing. 

Washington went into the 2017 season with five outside linebackers: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Galette, Ryan Anderson and Chris Carter. Right now, the 'Skins only have Kerrigan, Smith and Anderson under contract. The team needs to add at least one OLB, but likely two.

McPhee also carries about 20 extra pounds on his frame than Galette, giving the former Bear and Raven more flexibility to play against the run. Galette is a speed, leverage and moves player, focused on getting to the quarterback. He's capable against the run, but in the same way a sports car shouldn't carry a snow plow, Galette should be used to pressure QBs. 

Point being: McPhee and Galette could both make sense for the Redskins, if the team can work out the cash. 

Money usually matters the most in free agency, and it's clear the Redskins haven't made the type of offers that any of these players felt compelled to immediately sign. Deals could still happen though. Hankins didn't sign last offseason until April and Galette seems to thank Redskins fans via social media with relative frequency. 

Washington also had some success with the patient approach to free agency. The team was able to keep Zach Brown, though it took some nervous days of allowing the tackling machine linebacker to test the free agent market. With that win in hand, don't expect the Redskins brass to change their philosophy. 

Until further notice, it's hurry up and wait season in Ashburn.

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Could Da'Ron Payne be the final piece to the D-line puzzle?

Redskins Draft Countdown: Could Da'Ron Payne be the final piece to the D-line puzzle?

Redskins draft countdown

Da’Ron Payne

Defensive tackle

Stuff the run in the middle of the line? Check. Get outside to stop stretch plays? Check. Get after the passer? Check. Yes, Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne checks all the boxes the Redskins are looking for on the D-line.

He can be the immovable object, taking on double and triple teams, and he also can chase down the quarterback. At 311 pounds he could be the Redskins’ nose tackle in base and move outside in nickel.

Height: 6-2
Weight: 311
40-yard dash: 4.95

Projected draft round: 1

What they’re saying

Payne possesses one of the most impressive combinations of strength and athleticism that we've seen from an interior lineman. He will be the premier run-stuffer in this draft, but he may have enough in the pass rushing toolbox to project as a better pro than college pass rusher. Payne is a game-ready starter who immediately upgrades a defense's ability to slow the run.

Lance Zierlein,

How he fits the Redskins: This just in—the Redskins need a nose tackle. Of course, if you’re reading this you know that, and you’ve known it has been the case ever since the Redskins went to the 3-4 defense in 2010.

In very closely related news, they need to play better against the run, too. You probably noticed that they were dead last in the league in rushing defense last year. And that the NFC East has two very strong rushing teams in the Eagles and Cowboys and a Giants team that could well take Saquon Barkley with the second pick in the draft. If they don’t fix their rushing defense they could literally get run over.

Payne could help them a lot. He can take on double and triple teams and clog up running lanes in the middle. If they try to go around him, he has the quickness to penetrate and disrupt outside runs.

And a defensive lineman taken in the top half of the first round should be able to provide some pass rush pressure. As noted by Zierlein, Payne has the potential to do that. He’ll never be a double-digit sack guy, but if he can kick in four to six per year and get some pressure up the middle, that would be fine.

Film review: vs. Tennessee, vs Georgia (national title game)

Like most players, Payne can’t get much in the way of a pass rush when he is double and triple teamed. But when they tried to block him one on one he consistently got pressure. Payne didn’t get many sacks, but he did make a difference. Against Georgia, one pressure resulted in an interception and another forced a third-down incompletion.

Payne is very difficult to move off the spot in the running game, even when the offense tries to do it with two or even three players. Running backs did not get by him on a regular basis. In the second half in particular, Georgia tried to move the ball with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, both of whom are likely to get selected in the top 100 in the draft next month. But they kept running into a mass of humanity in the middle of the line with Payne in the middle of it.

He played well during the Tennessee game during the regular season, but he didn’t have a lot of impact. The only time his name was called was when he was hit with a roughing the passer call.

Potential issues: At 311 pounds, Payne may not be the ideal size to fill the chronic hole at nose tackle. It should be noted, however, that defensive line coach Jim Tomsula has said that the Redskins aren’t necessarily looking for the 350-pound nose tackle and that a relatively smaller player can get the job done. Ziggy Hood played the nose at 305 pounds last year. The Redskins finished last against the run, although that’s not necessarily cause and effect.

Bottom line: The Redskins went 20 years without taking an interior defensive lineman in the first round before taking Jonathan Allen last year. Nobody could legitimately complain if they doubled up on first-round D-linemen after so many years of neglect.

Payne should be there when the 13th pick goes on the clock. Unless the Redskins address the nose tackle spot in free agency Payne will be under strong consideration. The defensive line improved last year with the additions of Allen in the draft, Stacy McGee as a free agent and the second-year emergence of Matt Ioannidis. Payne could be the final piece of what could be a dominant defensive line.

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.