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Need to Know: Last words on Redskins vs. Lions—It just wasn't Washington's day


Need to Know: Last words on Redskins vs. Lions—It just wasn't Washington's day

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 25, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Cincinnati Bengals in London.


Today's schedule: No media availability

Days until: Redskins vs. Bengals in London 5; Vikings @ Redskins 19; Redskins @ Cowboys on Thanksgiving 31

Injuries of note:

High concern: Josh Norman (concussion), Jordan Reed (concussion)
Moderate concern: Trent Williams (knee), Brandon Scherff (shoulder), Bashaud Breeland (ankle)
Monday injury report

Last words on Redskins vs. Lions

—Maybe it just wasn’t the Redskins’ day. When the reliable Dustin Hopkins hit a 45-yard field goal attempt off of the top of the upright, well, things aren’t going your way. Maybe a foot higher and it sails directly over the post, which is good. Or a few inches higher and it skips over and that’s also a good field goal. Add that to Trent Murphy getting the sack and strip of Stafford out on the edge and seeing the ball bounce right back to the quarterback, allowing the Lions to keep possession and kick a field goal, and it was obvious that things weren’t going the Redskins’ way.

—I wrote about 700 words on the running back situation so I won’t go into it much here. But I did not address the possibility of getting in a veteran running back who could take some carries and perhaps mentor Jones. It’s not a bad idea but I think that if they were going to bring in another back they would have done it by now. Jones’ recent spate of fumbling issues may push them into a signing but I’d be surprised.

—Should Kirk Cousins have thrown deep a few times, especially to DeSean Jackson? Cousins said that he goes where his reads take him. I haven’t watched the game again but I don’t think that Jackson was even sent long very often, if at all. The quarterback can’t throw to a player who’s not there. But they did rack up 419 yards of offense so it’s hard to fault what happened too much.

—Yes, it’s easy to point the finger at the defense for that final drive. It was the most obvious event that led to the loss. But the defense pulled out a win a couple of weeks ago in Baltimore by stopping a late drive when the offense couldn’t put enough points on the board. With the rules favoring the offense as they do, batting .500 in those situations is not doing too badly. Sure, you’d like to do better but the reality is you’re not always going to stop them. Matthew Stafford, by the way, now has 20 game winning drives (4th quarter drives that put his team ahead to stay) in 100 career starts. The Lions have four wins this year and they have come from behind in the fourth quarter in all of them. He may not be a great quarterback but he is great at late comebacks.

—The bottom line on this game is that it’s being overanalyzed. Yes, the defense had an opportunity to get a stop and win the game. But they held the Lions to 20 points, a total that should win games. The offense was perhaps too timid in not throwing deep against a depleted Lions secondary. But they put up 419 yards. The difference between winning and losing this game was, quite simply, the two lost fumbles. Without the two turnovers they win. For that matter, they quite possibly win if they eliminate one of the two turnovers. Take your pick. If they hold on to the ball they're 5-2 going to London. It's really that simple.

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The Redskins are going to draft the best available player, unless they aren't

The Redskins are going to draft the best available player, unless they aren't

When their turn comes up in this draft, the Redskins are going to pick the best available player on the board. Unless they’re not. 

That is the mixed message delivered on Tuesday by Doug Williams, the team’s senior vice president for player personnel during his pre-draft press conference on Tuesday. 

Williams was asked what nearly every NFL personnel executive has been asked during this round of draft press conferences: Will the Redskins take the best player on the board or would they draft for need?

And Williams gave an answer similar to the ones that all of the other personnel guys gave. 

“You hear this cliché all the time, it’s always going to be the best player available, because at the same time if you’re looking for a need, the player you’re looking for a need might not be graded as high as the guy that’s on that board,” he said. 

That makes some fans crazy as they believe that you must fill needs in the draft. But reaching to fill needs is a good way to have a mediocre, disjointed draft. 

But there are times when the best available player is not the player the Redskins will pick. The topic of injuries came up and Williams talked about the situation at offensive tackle. Morgan Moses and Trent Williams currently are rehabbing from injuries and they won’t take the field during OTAs and minicamp. 

Doug Williams said that both players should be ready for training camp. He didn’t mention it but Trent Williams and Moses are signed for the next three and five years, respectively. That means that there is no need for a tackle in at least the first two rounds, and Williams agrees. 

“We can’t go into the draft drafting tackles, you know,” he said. 

So if, say, offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame has the highest grade on the Redskins’ board when pick 13 comes up, they will not be taking the player with the best grade. They will “reach”, perhaps only slightly, to take a player at another position. 

The Redskins have a similar situation at quarterback. They are committed to Alex Smith for at least three seasons and it would be foolish to spend a high pick on a quarterback. Williams said that the Redskins are not in the quarterback business this year. If there is a top QB still on the board at pick 13, it’s likely that Williams and Bruce Allen would be looking for phone calls from teams that want to trade up and get their signal caller. 

The true test of how the team chooses needs vs. best available could well come this year. Let’s say that Da’Ron Payne, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Tremaine Edmunds are all on the board when the Redskins’ pick comes up. While each team has its own grades, you probably won’t find many that don’t have Fitzpatrick and Edmunds a clear cut above Payne. The Redskins have needs on the defensive line, not so much at inside linebacker or in the secondary. Picking Payne at that point could be interpreted as reaching to fill a need while leaving more talented and more versatile players on the board. Going best available would almost surely mean choosing between Fitzpatrick and Edmunds. 

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

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Need to Know: Final Redskins seven-round mock draft

Need to Know: Final Redskins seven-round mock draft

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 25, one day before the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.  

Final seven-round Redskins mock draft

Here we go. No trades. If you like big guys you’ll like the first four picks. 

Round 1, DL Da’Ron Payne, Alabama—I think that Vita Vea will be off the board; it’s looking more and more like he will go the Raiders at 10 or Miami at 11. Payne might be the better player anyway, assuming that Jim Tomsula can coach some pass rush out of him. If Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James is on the board the Redskins may have to adjust their thinking. 

Round 2, OL Billy Price, Ohio State—I had a running back in mind here but the run at the position came earlier than expected. Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones, Sony Michel, and Nick Chubb were all off the board. The decision was to get a guy to insert at left guard and complete a home-grown O-line that can hopefully create running room for whatever back takes the handoff. 

Round 4, RB Kalen Ballage, Arizona State—I’m going with the best available running back here. The analytics types really like his combination of size (6-1, 228) and speed (4.46 in the 40 at the combine). Also, he shared carries with the Sun Devils so is a relatively low-mileage back (450 carries in four years). Ballage scored eight touchdowns in a game as a junior so he could be what the team needs in the red zone. 

Round 5, DL R.J. McIntosh, Miami—The Redskins have spent so little draft capital on the defensive line over the past two decades that it’s easy to justify doubling up there in one draft. McIntosh is a project, but he has high-level athleticism and quickness and those are traits you can’t teach. It might take him all of this year and next offseason in the weight room to build up his core strength and to add some weight onto his 286-lb. frame. 

Round 5, CB Nick Nelson, Wisconsin—While working out for the Lions last week, Nelson suffered a torn meniscus. That dropped his draft stock from perhaps being a Day 2 pick to one who should still be on the board on Saturday afternoon. The rehab for the 2017 All-Big Ten selection has been estimated at three to four months, meaning that he could be ready for the start of training camp. One more note: he was the Badgers’ punt returner last year and he averaged 8.6 yards per return with one touchdown. 

Round 6, TE David Wells, San Diego St.—While Jay Gruden and Doug Williams both seem to be confident that Jordan Reed will be healthy and ready to go by the time the regular season starts the truth will emerge in the draft. If they take a tight end early, they are very concerned about Reed. If they wait until this point in the draft and take a project like Wells, they are only moderately worried. 

Round 7, WR Auden Tate, Florida State—He’s coming off of a separated shoulder and that might push the 6-4 Tate down the board. Tate would be a project; he only caught 65 passes in 22 game at Florida State. He doesn’t have blazing speed (4.68 in the 40) but he competes for the ball and he could be a good red zone asset. 

Round 7, CB Greg Stroman, Virginia Tech—You can’t have too many corners or edge rushers and since there aren’t enough of the latter to go around in this draft I took a corner here. Stroman doesn’t have ideal size at 5-11, 182 but he paid attention during his four years with the Hokies and he plays with good technique. 

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

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In response to a suggestion that former kick returner Devin Hester should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer:


Days until:

—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 16
—OTAs start (5/22) 27
—Training camp starts (7/26) 92

The Redskins last played a game 115 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 137 days. 

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