Redskins

Quick Links

Media Madness

Media Madness

Media Madness

It must be March; the national media is at it again, foaming at the mouth over the Redskins’ foray into free agency.

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
The national media’s template for coverage—to use the term loosely—of the Redskins’ ability to get far enough under the salary cap to make some high-profile free-agent acquisitions was, for the most part, typical Dan Snyder bashing. There was one talking point, however, that crossed the line from stupid to flat out outrageous.

First, the garden variety, pedestrian stupidity. Ahh, where to begin. Len Pasquarelli is always a good place to start. From ESPN.com:
So, either Washington contracts manager Eric Schaffer is a genius or Snyder has found a way to circumvent the cap. Seems it must be the former, since none of the legion of the team officials who keep wondering privately how the Redskins are able to add players -- and who complain to the media about Washington's laxity in turning in contracts to the league -- apparently has the gumption to raise the issue with the NFL Management Council.

After paying a backhanded compliment to Schaffer, Pasquarelli implies that the only reason that the NFL hasn’t smacked the Redskins for salary cap violation penalties is because nobody has complained loudly enough. Excuse me, Len, but does anyone have to complain for the league to enforce the rules? Does another team official have to do that little “throw the flag” motion that NFL receivers do to try to elicit a pass interference call to get Paul Tagliabue to enforce the terms of the CBA? I don’t know the inner working of the NFL, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the league doesn’t have to wait for someone to a call toll-free hotline (1-800-CAP-HELL) for it to take action against cap cheaters. If the Redskins weren’t clean, they would have been hit by the league.

Len babbles on:
In each of the last two springs, Snyder has vowed publicly that the roster he has assembled will represent the Redskins' team for three years. Then the inevitable occurs. Washington doesn't win a Super Bowl, the roster is blown up and Snyder goes back to the vault for another free-agent spending spree.
Horse hockey. First of all, Snyder does not assemble the roster, Joe Gibbs does. Snyder has publicly vowed nothing about the roster in any way, shape or form in the past two springs. The only comment that Snyder has made about the roster since January of 2004 is something along the lines of, “Whatever Joe Gibbs wants is what he gets.”

And did I sleep through a roster explosion last spring or something? The Redskins drafted a corner (Rogers) to replace one who departed via free agency, got a free agent center (Rabach) to replace one who was woefully inadequate, traded away a disgruntled receiver for a better one (Moss), and signed a free agent WR (Patten). That hardly qualifies as a mushroom cloud over Ashburn.

The other prime Snyder basher, Peter King, did an interview on WFAN radio in New York. The host asked him how the Redskins were able to get under the cap. King’s response:
Here’s how they did it this year. They got rid of, basically, depending on how you count them, four or five starters. They purged those guys.
Purged them? How Stalin-esque! What, does he know about a gulag hidden under Redskins Park or something?

Style aside, let’s examine the substance here. Depending on how you count them. Hmmm. Let’s see, LaVar Arrington, starter. Walt Harris, starter when someone was injured. Matt Bowen, not a starter. Cory Raymer, not a starter. Brandon Noble, entire season on injured reserve. Ditto Tom Tupa.

The only way King is counting five starters is by just flat out making them up.

That’s just a small sampling of the ridiculous stuff out there. However, perhaps frustrated because they don’t seem to have fazed Snyder yet, both King and Pasquarelli stoop to new lows when they attack the integrity of Snyder and, indeed, of the entire organization. They’re playing their outrageous tune from the same sheet of music. First, Lenny (an ESPN Insider article):

Several NFL teams had claimed that the Redskins could not mathematically get under the salary cap if it was set in the $94 million range, which it initially was (at $94.5 million), and that Washington needed a cap level in the $98 million range to be in compliance with the spending limit. And, presto, suddenly the team gained $4.4 million in cap relief (you do the math on the difference between $98 million and $94 million) when Arrington forfeited the deferred bonus money.

While no one was publicly willing to charge the Redskins with attempting to circumvent the cap, there were plenty of whispers that owner Dan Snyder had conspired to get the money to Arrington by surreptitious means.
“‘Plenty of whispers’ that I, Len Pasquarelli, decided to turn into shouts by broadcasting them all over the Internet,” Lenny thinks but fails to write. There’s absolutely zero evidence that anything like Dan Snyder taking a briefcase full of cash and passing it to LaVar in the dead of the night in an underground parking garage in Silver Spring ever happened. The lack of evidence, however, doesn’t prevent King from calling for an investigation:
I think just for the sake of insuring trust in the salary cap from some skeptical front offices, the league needs to make sure LaVar Arrington is really going to forego the $4 million in guaranteed money to get his freedom now. Not saying it didn't happen, but I am saying with all the money the Redskins have to spare and how convenient it was that the team could find this money after months of hand-wringing over the Arrington deal, the league needs to double check that the accounting of this is clean.
A dog may have been kicked in Peter King’s neighborhood. We don’t know this for sure but, because so many of us think that Peter King is the kind of guy who goes around kicking dogs, there needs to be an investigation to see if he committed cruelty to animals. Not saying that it happened, you know, just double check to make sure he’s clean.

The Washington Redskins certainly are fair game for criticism. One playoff appearance in six years does not vindicate their way of doing things. However, it is reasonable to expect responsible criticism from publications such as ESPN and Sports Illustrated. Their writers should not be making things up out of thin air and making reckless, irresponsible accusations. Peter King and Len Pasquarelli are acting like a couple of message board trolls, and in the process they are dragging down the credibility of the organizations that they work for.

Quick Links

No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

MOBILE -- Jay Gruden is making jokes about Kirk Cousins again, and that's good news for Redskins fans that worried about a fracture between coach and quarterback. 

It all started in the weeks following the Redskins dreadful Week 17 loss to the Giants as Gruden and Cousins seemed to be throwing slight jabs at one another.

Gruden, in his end of year press conference, explained that while Cousins "showed flashes" in 2017, when the team goes 7-9, the coach can't say any player was outstanding: 

You know when you’re 7-9, you know it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ You know there’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent when he played was Pro Bowl type, Brandon when he was healthy was Pro Bowl type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know we’re 7-9. He did some great things, threw for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns I believe. So, I think he’s a very, very good quarterback without a doubt, but as far as getting us over the hump from 7-9 to winning a division with all the injuries that we had, I think he competed and did some good things.

Cousins, in his year-end radio appearance with 106.7 the Fan, explained that he wants the team to do better but doesn't think the 7-9 record should fall on his shoulders alone. (Quote via Washington Post)

What I gathered from the comment was 7-9 and the quarterback play are causally related and that quarterback play is 7-9, 7-9 is the quarterback play. I saw that and I thought, ‘I think it’s slightly more complicated than that.’ I think there’s a few more dynamics in play as to what your final record is. … At the same time, his job is to evaluate. That’s a big part of his role and his position. In that comment, he’s just doing his job, he’s evaluating the position and he has the right to say what he wants to say.

Both comments were fairly innocuous, but also clearly at odds. Combine that dialogue with the undercurrent of another offseason contract negotiation, and it seemed things between coach and quarterback weren't quite right. 

On Tuesday, speaking at the Senior Bowl, Gruden cleared the air. Asked directly about tension between he and Cousins, the coach was blunt. 

"No." 

Gruden went on to explain his answer about Cousins 2017 play, the now infamous 7-9 line.

"When I say 7-9, if I say one player played great that means I'm saying everybody else was not very good," the coach explained (full video above). "I think we all have to stick together, we all have to improve from a 7-9 season, coaches, players, everybody."

Cousins was good in 2017, throwing for more than 4,000 passing yards for the third straight season. He also showed that he can produce offensively without a great supporting cast, as injuries robbed the Redskins of many of their best passing game threats and seriously damaged the offensive line. 

The quarterback did play two terrible games in the last month of the season, however, including a three interception stinker in the Week 17 finale.

It's possible that Gruden had that fresh in his mind when he spoke in early January, and with the benefit of a little time, his assessment mellowed by late January. 

Either way, Gruden joked about Cousins deserving a vacation, and even said the QB needs a tan. Gruden often uses humor to defuse touchy situations with Redskins players, and maybe he just did it again. 

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 Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins fans want Zach Brown back. Bad. And for weeks there had been no news about contract talks between Washington and Brown. 

Now that's changed.

"We've been talking to his agent," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Tuesday. 

Gruden, speaking from the Senior Bowl, explained that the team would like Brown back in 2018 but Washington also understands that the linebacker might want to explore the free agent market. 

"It’s a process," Gruden said (full video above). "These guys have a chance to be a free agent, they had a good year and they want to check what the market is sometimes. If we can get them before they get to free agency, great, but if not, the bidding wars will begin."

For Brown, free agency will look different in 2018 than it did last season when he signed a one-year. bargain deal with the Redskins. 

Prior to injuries forcing him to miss the final three games of the season, Brown led the NFL in tackles. For two straight years, 2016 in Buffalo and 2017 in Washington, Brown has proved to be a tackling machine and arguably the fastest linebacker in the NFL. Brown also signed new representation last offseason, Jason and Michael Katz of CSE Football, and should Brown hit the free agent market the Katz brothers will aggresively market their client. 

Washington Senior Vice President of Football Operations Eric Schaeffer will handle the contract discussions for Washington, and is known as a shrewd negotiator. 

Like many business deals, this will come down to money. Brown established himself as a fit in Washington, both on the field and in the locker room. Interior linebackers do not command top dollar like pass rushers do, but Brown will still expect to be compensated appropriately. 

Further complicating matters for Washington, the Redskins only have Josh Harvery-Clemmons, Zach Vigil and Martrell Speight under contract for 2018. 

It's too early to predict what "it's a process" means from Jay Gruden, but Redskins fans should draw some encouragement that talks have begun with Brown. 

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 Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!