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Need to Know: Gruden wants Jones to show more patience

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Need to Know: Gruden wants Jones to show more patience

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 28, 11 days before the Redskins visit the New England Patriots.

Read and react

Here are a few things said around Redskins Park on Tuesday and my reaction to them:

Jay Gruden talking about what running back Matt Jones needs to work on to improve:
He’s just got to continue to work on the pad level. Sometimes his patience, sometimes he cuts things back a little bit too quick wants to get north a little bit quicker than the play allows. But I like the way he runs.
Reaction: Jones is still a work in progress. His running is very unrefined; what he makes on a run is usually what his physical ability gets him. I don’t know if we’ll ever see the Alfred Morris we’ve seen for the last few years, whether the problem is the scheme or something else. He played 10 snaps against the Bucs, a number that does not bode well for his future. Jones is the future, and the future starts against the Patriots on November 8. The quicker he catches on, the better off the Redskins will be.

LB Preston Smith on learning how to become a better player:
You've got to be kind of hard on yourself just like the coaches would be. You've got to be critical when you watch film. You can't just think about all of the good plays you make or all the good stuff, you've got to look at the bad stuff and you've got to correct your mistakes and know what you've got to do to get better the next week.
Reaction: One of the skills that rookies need to learn is how to watch film. Too many will focus on the good plays and not learn from the bad ones, as Smith alluded to. The faster they learn how to be self-critical, the better off they will be.

Chris Baker on the team dealing with all of the injuries this year:
In this league it's a next man up mentality. We're not the only team in the league that's suffering with key injuries to key players . . . We've been able to withstand all the injuries we have, we just have to continue to find ways to win games.
Reaction:  Baker was once a “next man up”. He signed with the Redskins after bouncing around with a few teams and he came off of the practice squad when a few players got dinged up and earned some playing time. When nose tackle Barry Cofield went out with an injury the first game of the 2014 season, Baker stepped into the starting job. Baker did a passable job at nose tackle but he seems to be better suited to playing end in the 3-4 scheme. Baker has thrived in Joe Barry’s one-gap scheme, which allows linemen to be more aggressive. He’s been the team’s best defensive lineman this year and one of the best defensive players overall.

Gruden on improving the defense over the second half of the season:
We missed way too many tackles. I like the effort that they’re playing with. There’s a lot of things we can build off of. The main thing is just tackling and finishing plays and running to the ball. I always preach on hustle plays and the fundamentals of tackling, trying to get the ball out, turnovers. Those are things that we’re going to continue to work and work and work.
Reaction: The defense has improved in almost every significant statistical category for the season but they have taken some steps back in the last few weeks. The injuries have really hurt them. Will Blackmon is not a No. 2 corner but as long as DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver are out he will be forced into the role. Trenton Robinson is a fine special teams player but he’s not a starting strong safety. And if I know about those two, it’s certain that Tom Brady knows about them. It is likely that any defensive improvement will not take place until after the Patriots game.

Smith on what it takes become a consistently good player:
You've just got to stay consistent and keep working hard, things will fall into place. You've got to believe in the system the coaches set out for us and the game plan they set out for us. And just keep working hard and let things fall into place . . . Practice, practice, practice every day, sticking to the game plan.
Reaction: I’ve heard that Smith came into the league not really knowing the level of commitment and hard work it takes to make it in the NFL. He is still learning and perhaps that is why he is not used in games as much as many of us think he should be. There is no reason for concern in the long term but he may not be as good as a rookie as many thought he could be.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Bye week

Days until: Redskins @ Patriots 11; Saints @ Redskins 18; Redskins @ Panthers 25

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 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 overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

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usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 22, 20 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 underrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/29/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Here, in no particular order, are three underrated events from 2017. Tomorrow we’ll look at three events that were overrated at the time they happened.  

Beating the Rams in Week 2—Nobody got particularly excited when the Redskins went to the LA Memorial Coliseum and beat a Rams team that had gone 4-12 in 2016. Sure, there was a belief that they were in good hands with Sean McVay but nobody saw them as anything better than a middle of the pack team. The win looks much more impressive now as the 11-4 Rams have locked up their division with a playoff game in their future.

Drafting safety Montae Nicholson—He was a fourth-round pick who had a shoulder injury and appeared to be a reach. But once he got on the field, the reasons the Redskins drafted him became apparent. His range and hard hitting had an immediate impact on the game. Nicholson had problems staying on the field and he will finish the year on IR, so his impact this year was diminished. Regardless, he has a good chance of being part of the solution to a position with which the Redskins have had issues for years.

Ty Nsekhe’s injury—Against the Raiders in Week 3, Shawn Lauvao’s facemask had an issue and he had to leave the game for a play. In came Nsekhe without an opportunity to warm up. He suffered a core muscle injury and had to undergo surgery. His absence didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Trent Williams suffered a knee injury the next week and other offensive linemen were sidelined with injuries over the next several weeks. Nsekhe was inactive until the Week 10 game against the Vikings and he didn’t start a game until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. He sure would have been useful to have in the lineup instead of T.J. Clemmings or Tyler Catalina.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 7
—NFL Draft (4/26) 63
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 199