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Need to Know: Romo's scrambling has the attention of Redskins' defense


Need to Know: Romo's scrambling has the attention of Redskins' defense

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 10, three days before the Redskins visit the Cowboys on Sunday night.

Nickel coverage

Five things from yesterday at Redskins Park:

1. We have a couple of takes on the elusive Tony Romo here. The first is from Rob Jackson.

Once you beat the guy in front of you, you've still got to bring Tony Romo down. That's one of his upsides, he's so difficult to tackle. … He has great instincts, he seems to know where you are without looking at you.

2. The other one is from nose tackle Barry Cofield:

His pocket presence and his willingness to extend the play is his biggest attribute. A lot of quarterbacks want to get rid of the ball, they want to get that pressure off of them. They throw it out of bounds they feel like they've done their job. His willingness to extend plays, his ability to make those throws from any type of body position and the trust he has in his receivers make him tough.

3. Another one from Cofield on the team’s state of mind:

I think this team is confident despite the way we've started. I think we have a lot of confidence in general. People trust the plan that we have, I think that's the biggest thing. We have a lot of faith in our coaches, we have a lot of faith in our front office. We love our locker room we feel like we have a lot of high-character guys who we can rely on. Whenever you have that type of mindset, that type of trust and faith, you're very reluctant to crumble and you're very reluctant to lost confidence.

4. The Cowboys switched from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 this season. Here’s Mike Shanahan on studying film on a defense that has many of the same personnel but a drastically different scheme.

Sometimes when you go back and you look at games last year with a different scheme, it’s about personnel, studying someone from last year – might be a defensive end, linebacker, secondary – not as much scheme. [You] see if somebody has changed within the last year or how they’re playing, but not from a strategy standpoint.

5. And Robert Griffin III admitting what we already knew, that there was some rust for that opening game against the Eagles.

“You come out and the way we played – the way I played that first game – that was not up to my standards or up to our standards as a team in general. That was disappointing. When it comes to timing here, timing there, sometimes you might be a little bit off coming back from an injury like I had, and you have to work through those growing pains, but we didn’t think it was going to be what it ended up being those first couple of games, so that’s no excuse at all. You just have got to move on from that and try to be better – or be better.”

Stat of the day

—Since the divisions realigned in 2002 the 11 Cowboys-Redskins games in Dallas have been decided by an average of five points.


—Days until: Redskins @ Cowboys 4; Bears @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Broncos 18

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Jim Haslett news conference 12:00; Practice 1:00 (open to media for first 30 minutes); After practice (approx. 3:00) news conferences from Kyle Shanahan and Mike Shanahan.

Young: We can't look past anything

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details.

Until now.

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022.


Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer).

But there is another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million.

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith, but since we have no details, we’ll set those aside for now.

The cap hits on the contract are as follows:

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022.

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five.


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


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Three Monday visitors to Redskins Park could determine team's free agency strategy going forward

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Three Monday visitors to Redskins Park could determine team's free agency strategy going forward

The Redskins are having three visitors today in Ashburn. Depending on how they go, they could mostly be done with free agency or still pushing to fill some needs.

They have been making an effort to hire one of the top defensive linemen on the market since before free agency actually started. They had former Jet Muhammad Wilkerson in for a visit last Tuesday, something they could do because Wilkerson had been released. The team put on a good sales push that lasted most of the day, but Wilkerson left without a deal. Shortly after he left he decided to sign with the Packers.

They made runs at Dontari Poe and Sheldon Richardson, but they signed with the Panthers and Vikings, respectively. The prospects were looking slim until the Colts decided to cut Jonathan Hankins on Saturday. He weighs 320 pounds and turned 25 on January 1. Hankins probably isn’t going to make any All-Pro teams or post double-digit sacks, but he will help you stop the run for the next half-decade, at least. In case you haven’t noticed, that’s the Redskins’ biggest defensive problem for the last several seasons.


Hankins is visiting today and he is someone the Redskins would very much like to sign. The other two visitors may be fallback plans.

Cornerback Orlando Scandrick is a veteran who can play in the slot. That is what the Redskins are looking for but Scandrick does not appear to be their first choice. Last week they had former Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in for an extended visit that included a physical. However, they could not come together on money. Scandrick, who has missed time with injuries in each of the last two years, could be an alternative to Rodgers-Cromartie or it could be that he is being used to put some pressure on the Redskins’ preferred choice.

Edge rusher Pernell McPhee is also clearly a second choice. The Redskins have an offer on the table for Junior Galette to return. He tweeted yesterday that the Redskins were the best fit for him but that the money “has to be fair.”

McPhee has played well but injuries have limited his impact the last two years. He started the 2016 season on injured reserve with a knee injury and he missed a total of seven games. Last year he missed three games with shoulder and knee injuries.


The Redskins likely are interested in McPhee for the right price. That price is considerably less than the $7 million he was going to make from the Bears this year before they let him go on February 26. There does not seem to be a hot market for his services; he has been a free agent for three and a half weeks and this is his first reported visit.

The Redskins would rather bring back Galette, who was much more effective as a pass rusher last year than his three sacks would indicate. But the price has to be right for both sides and apparently there is some work to be done towards working that out.

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