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Need to Know: Redskins-Texans notes and observations--Should Morris have carried more?

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Need to Know: Redskins-Texans notes and observations--Should Morris have carried more?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, September 8, six days before the Washington Redskins open their home season against the Jaguars.

Nickel coverage

Here are five notes and observations from the Redskins’ 17-6 loss to the Texans.

—Pierre Garçon had 10 receptions, the second time in his career that he has an double-digit receptions in a game. But this game was vastly different from that one, the game against Dallas in Week 16 last year. Last December he had 11 catches for 144 yards (13.1 average) and a touchdown. Yesterday he picked up just 77 yards (7.7 average). It was probably one of the quietest 10-catch games in memory.

—Alfred Morris picked up 91 yards on 14 carries. Two things jump out here. First is that he only had 14 carries. The Redskins ran 63 plays, you would think that they might have been able to get it in to Morris more than 14 times. Also, that is an average of 6.5 yards per carry. That is the second-highest single game average in Morris’ 33-game career. Against the Packers in Week 2 last year he averaged 8.2 per carry (13 att., 107 yds.).

—The Redskins had never had a punt and an extra point blocked in the same game until yesterday. Roy Helu took the blame for the punt, which was returned for a touchdown. J. J. Watt, who made life miserable for the Washington offense all day, also added to the special teams woes by muscling through the line and swatting away Kai Forbath’s conversion attempt after the Redskins’ only touchdown.

—The Redskins lost two fumbles inside the 10 yard line in the third quarter. Since 1998 they have lost two fumbles inside the 10 in the same game only once before. In the second quarter of the season opener against the Cowboys in 1999 Brad Johnson and Stephen Davis lost fumbles in goal to go territory. Going into yesterday it had happened just 13 times since 1998.

—One of those fumbles came at the end of a 48-yard reception by Niles Paul, a career long for him. He also caught a career-high four passes. Paul had just 10 total catches in his first two seasons in the league. Still, the critical fumble overshadowed the rest of his performance. To his credit, he was the first one on the Comcast SportsNet interview stand to talk to the cameras after the game.

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
The good news? Nobody left on the schedule has JJ Watt. #Redskins

— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) September 7, 2014
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Timeline

Today’s schedule: Open locker room 11:30; Jay Gruden news conference 3:00 p.m. (telecast on Comcast SportsNet)

Days until: Home opener vs. Jaguars 6; Redskins @ Eagles 13; Thursday night Giants @ Redskins 17

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The betting houses are bearish on the 2018 Redskins

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

The betting houses are bearish on the 2018 Redskins

With the NFL schedule dropped last week, many fans and media types went through and predicted wins and losses for the teams they follow, just for fun. But others predict the records of teams and it’s not for laughs, it’s for very high stakes.

The betting houses in Las Vegas and offshore have established their lines for over/under in wins. They then take this a step further and go through the playoffs to establish the odds of winning the Super Bowl. 

Over the weekend, BetOnline published one of each and let’s just say that they do not like what the Redskins have done this offseason. Or, more accurately, they think that the public perception is that the Redskins will not be a very good team this year. 

Their over/under for wins is 5.5. They won seven games last year so the under would represent a decline of at least two wins. This line seems to be low. The Redskins won seven games last year with the worst injury situation in the league, per the numbers crunchers at Football Outsiders. They also faced one of the toughest schedules in the league in terms of opponent winning percentages. 

Yes, they did lose Kirk Cousins to free agency but they replaced him with Alex Smith, who, like Cousins, is not elite or even in the top 10 but in the category of solid, reliable quarterbacks. The QB exchange was close to a wash. But despite the fact that the chances are they will suffer fewer injuries and face a schedule that isn’t as much of a meat grinder, this over/under has the Redskins producing double-digit losses. They have managed to stay out of 10-plus loss territory for three straight years. 

There are more reasons to think that they will win at least as many games as they did last year than there are to think that they will win fewer. If I’m betting, which I’m not, I’d be tempted to hit the over on that pretty hard. 

I would keep my money in my pocket when it comes to betting on the Redskins’ chances of winning the Super Bowl. I don’t think they’re close, but I think they’re much closer than the Browns but BetOnline has Cleveland and Washington with the same odds of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. The Redskins, Browns, and Bucs are at +6600 to win it all. The Redskins odds are worse than all but six other teams. 

Again, I don’t think that the Redskins are going to win the Super Bowl. Winning a playoff game would be quite an accomplishment for them. But same could be said of the Colts, Giants, Chargers, and 49ers, but they all have considerably better odds than the Redskins. 

In fact, there may be some irrational exuberance with the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo. They have the seventh-best odds at +1600. Sure, Jimmy G was very good in five meaningless games at the end of last season. Let’s see how he does with some pressure on and after defensive coaches have had a chance to study how to take away his strengths. It just goes to show you how little real analysis goes into this. 

I get a little annoyed when teams play the disrespect card, especially when they have to look too hard to find it. But if the Redskins look at this, they certainly can embrace the underdog role if they want to. What they do with it, we will find out starting September 9. 

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5 draft scenarios that make sense for the Redskins in the 1st round

5 draft scenarios that make sense for the Redskins in the 1st round

As NFL Draft Week starts in earnest, a million scenarios will get presented. Hypothetical trades, absurd reaches and nonsenical slips will get discussed, most likely to not happen. 

For the Redskins, the team could go a number of different ways, and plenty of them make sense. Let's take a look at those options.

  • Draft Vita Vea or Da'Ron Payne- The Redskins had the worst run defense in the NFL in 2017, and defending the run has been a problem for Washington for some time. Vea would help, immediately, both on the front line and the linebackers making tackles. Washington could make this pick at 13 and nobody would question it. Drafting Payne would be a move for higher potential, rather than immediate performance. Vea has been the more impressive college defensive lineman, but that doesn't mean Payne couldn't be the better professional. Payne could develop pass rushing skills, becoming a valuable interior pass rush disruptor. Vea seems a longer shot to do so. 
  • Draft Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James - Neither of these players should last to 13, but because of the expected run on quarterbacks, it's entirely possible James or Fitzpatrick last until the Redskins' pick. Both players are versatile and highly capable, both could help the Redskins in 2018, and maybe more in the years following their rookie season. Position questions will get sorted out, whether it's at safety or corner or some hybrid of roles. Listen to the folks from Tallahassee or Tuscaloosa, and the word on these two secondary players is elite potential. 
  • Go linebacker - Roquan Smith seems undersized for the NFL, but he will help an NFL team. He is a high floor, low ceiling player. Tremaine Edmunds could be much more. He has outrageous measurables and is only 19 years old (see video above). Smith is an interior linebacker that will make a ton of tackles; Edmunds can rush the passer and be disruptive in pass coverage. It's entirely possible neither make it to Washington at 13, but if either do, that would mark a good option for the Redskins. 
  • Trade down - Bruce Allen made clear speaking with NBC Sports Washington in March that the organization would look for opportunities to trade down, and it would be a wise strategy. Most top draft analysts believe the value in this draft comes from the 30th to 100th best players, not necessarily the Top 30. Washington gave up its third-round pick in the trade to acquire QB Alex Smith. If an opportunity presents itself to move back in the first round and gain additional picks the team needs to give that offer strong consideration. A player like Payne might be had around the 20th pick in the first round, or there are other defensive linemen available. The Redskins also need interior offensive line help, and a number of quality candidates will likely get picked in the bottom third of the first round.
  • Catch a falling star - This plan worked great for the Redskins in 2017. Nobody expected Alabama DL Jonathan Allen to slip to the 17th pick, but sure enough, he did. All Washington had to do was wait for their pick and take easily the best player available. That could happen again. The expected early run on QBs will drive top talent down the board, and if one or two teams make surprise, reach picks, the Redskins could again win out. It seems unlikely, but if a talent like Denzel Ward or Quenton Nelson falls to 13, the Redskins should pounce. 

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