If you’re concerned because the Redskins have not brought the player you want them to take in the first round in for a visit, don’t worry about it. There is at about a 50 percent chance that it doesn’t matter.
Visits by a draft prospect to the team facility are very unreliable indicators as to whether or not a team will draft a given player. Last year all three of the quarterbacks taken in the first round, Blake Bortles (Jaguars), Johnny Manziel (Browns), and Teddy Bridgewater (Vikings), visited the facilities of the teams that eventually drafted them. But of the other 29 first round picks only 16 had those pre-draft visits. That’s about 55 percent, so you could do almost as well predicting the draft using visits as a guide by flipping a coin.
Another number that works against tying visits to eventual draft selections is the number of visits permitted. A team is allowed 30 pre-draft visits per year and they get seven draft picks. Even if they only draft players who visited that still means that over three fourths of the visits were by players they don’t take.
RELATED: [25 Redskins questions: What would a successful 2015 look like?]
Sometimes visits are smokescreens, designed to make other teams believe there is interest in that player for various strategic purposes. The flip side of that coin is that sometimes a team doesn’t set up a visit to keep from tipping off their interest to other teams. Mike Shanahan famously had no visits or workouts with quarterback Jay Cutler in 2006 before trading up to draft the Vanderbilt product with the 11th pick of the first round.
So, the visits by Ereck Flowers and Dante Fowler and the upcoming visit by Vic Beasley mean either that there is or isn’t Redskins interest in them. Ditto on the fact that Kevin White, Amari Cooper, Randy Gregory, and other top-five possibilities have not visited. They’re either extremely interested to the point where they don’t want to tip their hands or they just aren’t under consideration.
The good news here is that we have less than two weeks until it all starts to unfold.
After missing the last eight games, the Redskins brought back place-kicker Dustin Hopkins from the injured reserve and waived Nick Rose.
Hopkins became eligible to return from the IR this week and took part in practice all week. Jay Gruden wouldn't commit to one kicker or the other when he spoke earlier in the week, but the decision came down on Saturday.
Rose played well in Hopkins' absence, making 10 of 11 field goals including a 55-yarder. The rookie Rose had some struggles with extra points, missing two of his 20 attempts, though neither snap/hold combination was totally clean either.
RELATED: REDSKINS-CARDINALS PREVIEW
Hopkins has the stronger leg and is capable of booting the ball out of the end zone on seemingly every kickoff. With Rose as kicker, at times the Redskins deployed a different strategy where kicks were aimed for the goal line, forcing a return.
Washington's kicker for parts of the last three seasons, Hopkins has a career 84 percent field goal conversion rate and 94.6 percent conversion rate on extra points in 36 games.
The Redskins sent Hopkins to the IR after a Week 6 win over the 49ers with a right hip rotator muscle injury.
MORE REDSKINS: SLOW STARTS HAVE BEEN KILLING THE REDSKINS
For the second consecutive game, the Redskins got blown out on the road. First in Dallas, then in Los Angeles, Jay Gruden's team is reeling with mounting questions and pressures about 2018 and beyond.
The best way to calm down the flames? Get a win.
Washington will have that chance on Sunday at 1 p.m. (full coverage on NBC Sports Washington at noon) when they host the Arizona Cardinals. Getting the victory won't be easy, however, no matter how bad the Redskins need it.
- Turn the page - The Redskins have lost their last two games by a combined score of 68-27. The results have been terrible, and the outcome in Los Angeles could have been much uglier had the Chargers not pulled starting QB Philip Rivers. Still, those games are over, and Washington needs to focus on the Cardinals. Gruden spoke this week that his team cannot "wallow" in the past two losses. If the Redskins are looking back at their lost season, instead of looking squarely at Arizona, another blowout loss is likely to come.
- Get it going - Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense had by far their worst statistical output last week in LA. The offense must get back on track, and that means a better performance from Cousins and the 'Skins run game. Against the Chargers, Washington generated only 201 total yards and just nine first downs. Nine, their second worst total since having only 15 first downs against the Cowboys the week before. At this stage of the season, the Redskins defense will not win this team any games. The offense must do it, and that means improved play from the line, the quarterback and the skill positions.
- Make a play - Turnovers can win or lose games, and in their last two blowout losses, it's no surprise the Redskins have been on the wrong end of the ledger. Washington has five turnovers in their last two games, and has generated only one takeaway in that span. (It can be argued that shouldn't even count, as it came on an interception from Chargers backup Kellen Clemens in the final minutes of a blowout.) Washington ranks dead last in the NFL in points per game allowed, and that won't improve with linebacker Zach Brown out this weekend. Generating turnovers, particularly against Arizona QB Blaine Gabbert, should be the defensive focus.
Quote of the Week: Jay Gruden, asked about preparation before the Chargers game-
We didn't spend last week playing checkers.
News & Notes:
- Gabbert has been sacked 15 times in the Cardinals last two games. Washington comes into Week 15 with the 13th most sacks in the league.
- The Cardinals defense ranks in the Top 10 in yards per play, yards per game, and rush yards per game. Despite that, Arizona's defense ranks 25th in points allowed.
- D.J. Swearinger, who played for Arizona last season before signing in Washington as a free agent, is tied for fourth in the NFC in interceptions.
- Jordan Reed won't be playing this week, or the remainder of the season. Washington moved Reed to the injured reserve this week.
- Arizona coach Bruce Arians was a college quarterback at Virginia Tech from 1972 to 1974.
Want more? Listen up!
Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!