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Grading the Redskins at the bye: Linebackers


Grading the Redskins at the bye: Linebackers

Bye week grades: Linebackers. 

Through seven games, the Redskins rank as one of the NFL’s most inconsistent teams—from week-to-week, quarter-to-quarter, heck, play-to-play. But at 3-4, they’re still in the thick of things as they catch a breather at the bye. It’s been an interesting couple of months, indeed, and over the next few days CSN Mid-Atlantic reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will hand out their first half grades, position-by-position.

El-Bashir: The outside linebackers took a huge hit when Junior Galette suffered an Achilles’ tear before taking a single snap. Galette was expected to provide some much needed explosiveness from the edge (and a little bit of attitude). Alas, we won’t see him until next season, if ever. Ryan Kerrigan is tied for the team lead with 3.5 sacks and ranks 17th among all 3-4 outside linebackers with 19 quarterback hurries. His production thus far has been good, not elite. He wants to be elite. And now Kerrigan is dealing with a broken bone in his right hand that could sideline him against the Patriots. Rookie Preston Smith, meanwhile, has shown plenty of promise, racking up two sacks, a team-best three forced fumbles, two passes defended and a fumble recovery. I anticipate his role—and impact—will grow over the final nine games. Trent Murphy has been good against the run and has made strides as a pass rusher but he needs to finish (one sack). As for the inside linebackers, ranks Perry Riley and Keenan Robinson among the bottom 10 entering Week 8. That’s extreme but I also don’t think anyone would argue that Robinson and Riley can afford to pick it up.

Grade: C.

Tandler: The Galette injury was a blow, although they conducted their draft and signed free agents all offseason without any idea that they would be able to sign a pass rusher of his capability to a minimum-salary contract in August. That’s why they drafted Smith, who is catching on in bursts but still isn’t showing the consistency the coaches want. When he does, he could supplant Murphy in the starting lineup. Tarik’s description of Murphy as a stout run defender who can’t get a ton of pass rush sounds more like a 3-4 end and his long-term future could be there.  A couple of whiffs on the immobile Sam Bradford are what separates Kerrigan from being in the top 10 in the NFL in sacks; instead, the talk is of him not living up to his contract extension. And, yes, PFF rankings may be a bit too harsh on the inside backers but Robinson and Riley need to play better. In particular, they can’t miss tackles or take poor angles to ball carrier. When this group starts making tackles, both of ball carriers and running backs, it will be pretty good. But they’re not there yet.

Grade: C-.

Grading the Redskins at the bye:

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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 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 Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

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) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200

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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. 


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.


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