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McCloughan's mentor 'adamant' about not drafting for need


McCloughan's mentor 'adamant' about not drafting for need

If you want to get some insight into the draft philosophy of Scot McCloughan beyond what he did in his six years calling the shots in San Francisco (2005-2010) it might be instructive to take a look at his mentor, Ted Thompson. He has been the Packers’ general manager since 2005 so he has 10 drafts in Green Bay to examine.

McCloughan worked under Thompson in two different organizations. He was a regional scout for the Packers from 1994-1999 while Thompson was the director of player personnel. They both were in Seattle from 2000-2004 when Thompson was the VP of football operations and McCloughan serving as the director of college scouting.

Thompson’s draft philosophy, which has built a Packers team that has a Super Bowl title and is annually in contention to get another one, is simple—take the best player available. But what about team needs?

They are considered, said Thompson, but only as part of the equation.

"You factor everything in. But [need] doesn't carry as much weight as it might with other organizations,” Thompson said during his annual pre-draft news conference Wednesday, via Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin. “There's a certain amount of weighting in terms of need, but I am adamant that that's not the way to draft. The way to draft is to take the best player . . . If you reach and take something that’s not quite as good, then you may not be getting the same value. I know you don’t believe that, but it’s true. That’s what we do.”

Not coincidentally, this is very similar to what McCloughan has said about filling needs vs. taking the best player available. He referred to Thompson when he talked about how he builds his roster during his introductory press conference in January.

“Everybody says, ‘Well you need this, this, this and this,’ which I understand,” he said. “You know, a lot of times in pro free agency, you can address those needs a little bit, but I learned from Ron Wolf early on, I learned from Ted Thompson early on, I learned from John Schneider, you can never have enough good football players on your team. If you keep adding that, you’re going to have your couple of two, three superstars that are going come out and become stars.”

The few times that Thompson has abandoned his core philosophy the results have not been good. Wilde points to the 2012 draft as one that didn’t work out because the GM went for need. The Packers had finished the 2011 season ranked dead last in defense. Even though they went 15-1, they were carried by the offense and were one and done in the playoffs, losing at home to the Giants.

In 2012 Thompson used his first six picks on defensive players and traded up three times, a maneuver that is highly out of character for him. Only three players from that draft remain with the team. That is a serious issue for a Packers team that acquires players almost exclusively through the draft.

The issues created by the poor returns from 2012 were compounded by the fact that 2011 was not a strong draft for Green Bay either either. Only one player of the 10 Thompson drafted that year, second-round pick Randall Cobb, is still on the roster.

It doesn’t look like Thompson particularly reached for need in the 2011 draft. He took four defensive players and six on offense. What happen to that draft?

“Quite frankly, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. As much as you’d like to have some sort of magic pill to take before I pick up the phone and draft somebody, we don’t have that,” Thompson said. “We just have to depend on our work and what we thinks going to happen in the future with [each] young man in this organization. Sometimes it doesn’t work out.”

It’s also possible that 2011 was just a bad draft year. The Redskins had 11 picks and only two, Ryan Kerrigan and Niles Paul, are still on the roster.

I recommend reading the entire article if you want some good insight into how Thompson operates and, by extension, what McCloughan might do when things get rolling at the draft a week from today. 

RELATED: [Should the Redskins pick up RG3's option?]

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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and everybody will predict the team’s season-long record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing.

Myself included. 

But don’t read much, if anything, into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. 

What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)


Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins

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Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

The 2018 NFL regular-season schedule is finally here.

We’ve known who the Redskins will play in the 2018 season and where the games will be played since the regular season ended.

Now we know the when.

Here is the Redskins 2018 schedule; games are at 1:00 Eastern unless otherwise indicated.

The first thing that jumps out is the Thanksgiving game. This will be the third straight year that the Redskins have played on Thanksgiving. Two years ago they lost at Dallas and last year the got a win over the Giants at home. 

Three Thanksgiving games in a row for a team that is not the Lions or Cowboys, the two teams that traditionally host on Turkey Day, is not without precedent although it is unusual. Besides Dallas and Detroit, only two teams have played in three straight Thanksgiving games since the 1970 merger.

The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between the played at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Washington Redskins 2018 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9. 4:05 PM at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 Sunday, 9/16 vs Indianapolis Colts
Week 3 Sunday, 9/23 vs Green Bay Packers
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 Monday, 10/8. 8:15 at New Orleans Saints 
Week 6 Sunday, 10/14. vs Carolina Panthers
Week 7 Sunday, 10/21. 4:25 vs Cowboys
Week 8 Sunday, 10/28.  At New York Giants
Week 9 Sunday, 11/4. vs Atlanta Falcons 
Week 10 Sunday, 11/11. At Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Week 11 Sunday, 11/18. vs Houston Texans 
Week 12 Thursday, 11/22 (Thanksgiving).  4:30 at Dallas Cowboys 
Week 13 Monday, 12/3. 8:15 at Philadelphia Eagles 
Week 14 Sunday, 12/9. vs New York Giants 
Week 15 Sunday, 12/16. At Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16 Sunday, 12/23.  At Tennessee Titans (Time TBD)
Week 17 Sunday, 12/30. vs Philadelphia Eagles


  • If the Redskins are going to take advantage of home cooking, they will need to get off to a good start. They have five home games in the first half of the season. After Week 9 they have just three home games and they face a stretch of four road games in five weeks in late November and December. Three of the teams in that stretch, the Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans, made the playoffs and won at least one game. The Eagles, of course, won it all. The other road game in that stretch is against the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 last year. 
  • The Redskins will open on the road for the first time since 2014 when they opened in Houston. This year they will have to travel west to Arizona and try to win to remove the goose egg in Jay Gruden’s 0-4 opening-game record as coach of the Redskins.
  • They get an early bye, in Week 4. That will be their earliest bye week since 2007 when the bye also came in Week 4. 
  • On the plus side, their two games in Florida come at times when hot weather is unlikely to be a factor. Their game in Tampa comes in November and the contest at Jacksonville comes in mid-December.