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Need to Know: Shanahan speaks of 'growing pains' for RG3


Need to Know: Shanahan speaks of 'growing pains' for RG3

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 19, six days before the Washington Redskins host the San Francisco 49ers.

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Five notes from Mike Shanahan’s Monday news conference, with comments:

1. Shanahan had this to say about the end zone interception that killed the Redskins’ miracle rally possibility: You’d always rather have it fourth-and-one than an interception, we all know that, so you’ve got to be able to throw the ball away at the right time. But he’s trying to make a play.” Comment: So, he was trying to make a play? I thought Griffin said he was trying to throw it away.

2. On the development of Robert Griffin III: "There is going to be some growing pains. It’s not going to be automatic. We didn’t expect it to be automatic. But there will be growth in what we do with him as time goes on and I think he’ll keep on getting better and better.” Comment: This is the realistic view. I think Redskins fans got spoiled by Griffin’s rapid development last year. He was a raw product coming in out of Baylor and he caught some lightning in a bottle. We’re seeing sort of a double dose of growing pains this year.

3. Asked about keeping the players believing in his plan: “Well, as I shared with you a second ago, we talked about the Minnesota game – you’ve got to be able to close that game. We talked about Philly, we had a chance even though it was in the fourth quarter to come back and have a chance to at least tie it up and go into overtime, and it’s disappointing we didn’t get it done. We’re playing some good football teams. We’re not finishing games. Like I said, when you’re No. 1 in the National Football League rushing, it means you’re doing some things good.” Comment: Two things here. He said they have  played “good football teams”. The Vikings are not a good football teams. The Eagles aren’t very good, either. And being at the top of the league in rushing in a passing league doesn’t mean what it used to. The Seahawks (10-1) and Chiefs (9-1) are among the top 10 rushing teams. So are the Texans (2-8), Bills (4-7), and Raiders (4-6).

4. Asked about comments from Griffin and others that the Eagles know what’s coming: “This year they’re saying hey we’re going to play a little more passive. You’re going to have to earn your right in that running game, which we’ve been able to do, and you’re not going to always get that deep ball so you’ve got to dump it off and be patient. That’s part of the NFL. No matter what quarterback you’re going against. No matter what system you’re going against. You’ve got to be able to relate or adjust your game plan accordingly.” Comment: Let’s get past the fact that he didn’t answer the question at all. The last part is something of an indictment, where he says you “adjust your game plan accordingly.” It doesn’t appear that the Redskins did that against the Eagles for most of the game or if they did it didn’t work. They didn’t score until Griffin scrambled and launched a pass to Darrel Young, who got free when two defenders collided with each other. A nice effort by the two players but not the result of a great play design.

5. Does Shanahan think that direction of the program still positive? “I really do. I really do and I think you’ve got to take a look at a number of things when you take a look at the direction of a football team. I think when you take a look at the offensive numbers and that just doesn’t happen naturally with a lot of new players. We talked about it last year – we had six new players on our team and putting up the numbers that we’re putting up are pretty impressive, especially with losing the $36 million salary cap over those two years’ timeframe.” Comment: Of course in a setting like this Shanahan is going to accentuate the positive and point out obstacles like the salary cap penalty. Although he said earlier in the press conference that he didn’t talk about his job status or security, he took advantage of the question to lobby the media and public at large, if not Dan Snyder, for more time to get this fixed.

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins' five offensive linemen have played a combined 3,675 of a possible 3,675 offensive snaps this season.


—Days until: Monday night 49ers @ Redskins 6; Giants @ Redskins 12; Chiefs @ Redskins 19

—Today’s schedule: Off day, no availability

In case you missed it

Shanahan on RG3: I think he’s done a good job

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

The Redskins seem to love former Cowboys. They signed another one today.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media is reporting that Washington has agreed to terms with cornerback Orlando Scandrick. The early numbers put the contract at up to $10 million over two years.

Scandrick, 31, has played for the Cowboys since they made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. In nine seasons in the league, Scandrick has eight interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

He has been plagued by injuries the last three years. Scandrick was out for the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. In 2016 he missed four games with a hamstring injury and he finished last season on injured reserve with a back injury. Whether his struggles last year were due to injuries or age remains to be seen.

Scandrick joins Nosh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, and Josh Holsey at cornerback for the Redskins. Holsey is the only natural slot corner in the group and he played very sparingly as a rookie last year. Scandrick likely will fill the slot role until Holsey is ready.

We will see what the signing costs in terms of salary cap impact when we see the details of the contract. The phrase “up to” generally means that there are incentives included in the deal so we will have to see.

In recent years, the Redskins have signed former Cowboys defensive linemen Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, and Terrell McClain.


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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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. The top line numbers are five years, $111 million, an average annual value of $22.2 million per year. 


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.