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Need to Know: Redskins camp news and notes, Day 7--Continuity in the running game

Need to Know: Redskins camp news and notes, Day 7--Continuity in the running game

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 1, six days before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

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News, notes, and quotes from Day 7 of Redskins training camp.

—Yesterday we touched on Alfred Morris possibly catching some more passes. But catching more passes means being in the game more on passing downs and that means being solid in pass protection. Morris talked about some of the challenges he faced when he came into league. “It’s very tough,” he said. “I think that’s one the main reasons why running backs – you might have a big name running back in college that doesn’t make it in the pros, it’s because he can’t pass pro and he can’t read the blitzes. He can’t tell what’s going. And if you can’t protect the quarterback, which is the franchise, then you won’t be on the field. For me in college, I only had to worry about one side of the field when it came to blitz pickups, but here you have to do a full-field scan, and it can be very difficult.”

—It appears that the Redskins running game will be very similar—perhaps identical—to what we’ve seen the past couple of years with a few power runs sprinkled in. Trent Williams likes the continuity. “I think that just goes to show you how football savvy [Jay Gruden] is,” he said. “All coaches preach to guys that you’ve got to be unselfish and do what’s good for the team, and I think that is the biggest example right there. It’s just showing that he can come in and adapt and play to our strengths, even though he is a new head coach.” Contrast that to the square peg in round hole approach we’ve seen from new coaches both here and elsewhere.

—I have a post coming soon based on a talk with Keenan Robinson, the man trying to replace London Fletcher. One thing that impressed Brian Orakpo was how hard Robinson worked to keep up to speed during the nearly year and a half that he missed with injuries. “He hasn’t missed a beat,” said Orakpo. “Even though he hasn’t been on the field with us, he’s been to meetings, he’s been throughout the practices watching and rehabbing, trying to get better. But also he’s been in that playbook, it’s a great thing that he can come in here without any hiccups.”

—Nobody thought that Jerry Rice Jr. had much of a chance to make the Redskins roster but his chances probably got even worse on Thursday when he went out with an injury. “Hurt his shoulder,” said Gruden. “He had a test done today. I’ll know more once I get the results back, but it’s pretty significant, I believe.” That doesn’t sound good for the son of the best receiver in NFL history.

—Gruden has a phrase he likes to use. "I said it yesterday, I’ll say it over and over again, every play is its own entity,” he said. “Sometimes, ‘Heck, should’ve taken off and run here. Heck, if you would have stepped up and slid over a little bit, Santana [Moss] is wide open.’ You know what I mean? It’s just a matter of seeing all these plays develop and then when you give them the ball on game day, letting him be himself and play. We just continue to coach them and work with them, work with his vision, what his progression is, who is he reading, two hands on the ball, ball security. All that stuff comes with the position.” In short, every play is different and even if the same set of circumstances are present the play may unfold differently due to very subtle differences.

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Timeline

—Redskins cornerback Richard Crawford was born on this date in 1990.

Today’s schedule: Full practice 8:35; Jay Gruden media availability 3:45; Walkthrough 4:10; players availability after both practices.

—It’s been 215 days since the Redskins played a game; in 37 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 6; Final cuts 29; Redskins @ Eagles 51

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 

RELATED: WHAT SHOULD THE REDSKINS DO AT RUNNING BACK?

The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0

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Need to Know: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Need to Know: Redskins' Junior Galette will be a valued free agent

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 20, 22 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.

Galette to be a valued free agent

Originally published 12/13/17

Like the Redskins, the Broncos are no longer relevant in 2017. Both teams’ fan bases have started to look towards the coming offseason.

To give their readers what they want, the Denver Post published an article by Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus that discussed some of the top pending free agents who have done the most to increase their values in the past year. There were two Redskins named, one you would expect to see on such a list and one that might surprise some people.

Kirk Cousins is at the top of the list. “The Washington signal-caller is grading as a top-10 quarterback (82.8), and soon he’ll have the long-term contract of one,” Renner wrote. “Only this time its value will be exponentially higher than any one he would have signed back when he first became a free agent in 2016.”

But the surprising name is that of Junior Galette. After missing the last two seasons with two torn Achilles tendons, he played this year on a one-year, $800,000 deal. And while he hasn’t been on fire in the sack department with just two on the year, he has been getting pressure on the passer.

“He’s accumulated the 27th-highest pass-rushing grade of any edge defender this season, but in only 264 snaps,” wrote Renner. “At 29 years of age, it’s doubtful he ever gets back to the level of the contract that he once had on the table with New Orleans. With how he’s played this season though, some pass-rush-needy team will pay handsomely for his services.”

One team that could be considered to be pass rush needy is the Redskins. Preston Smith is the starter and supposedly one of the Redskins’ top pass rushers. But in 100 fewer pass rush snaps this year, Galette has only three fewer quarterback hits than Smith and six more hurries.

And after missing those two seasons, Galette has remained healthy. Although he was limited with a hamstring during much of the preseason, he has not missed a practice or appeared on an injury report this year.

But would the Redskins be willing to pay him “handsomely”? Perhaps a good comp would be Connor Barwin, who moved from the Eagles to the Rams this past offseason at the age of 31. He had five sacks in Philly in 2016. That got him a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.

Barwin likely will have more sacks on his ledger going into free agency so let’s say Galette could command around $3 million. Perhaps he could offer Washington a bit of a hometown discount and agree to something in the $2.75 million range. If that is the case, the Redskins would be smart to keep him around for another year.

Plenty of things could alter the equation. If Galette gets hot in the last three games and posts a few more sacks his price could rise. With Smith and Ryan Kerrigan both back next year, perhaps Galette will want to go somewhere that he might get more playing time.

The details need to be sorted out but don’t be surprised if Galette gets a lot of attention in free agency, as much as teams need pass rush, and if the Redskins have to make a very tough decision about how much he is worth.

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) 9
—NFL Draft (4/26) 65
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 201