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Need to Know: Spotlight on RG3 but Morris could be the key


Need to Know: Spotlight on RG3 but Morris could be the key

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, September 9, the day the Redskins open up their season against the Eagles at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage

1. Explain to me why at 6-feet-2, 223 Robert Griffin III is somehow too fragile to get hit too often but Adrian Peterson, who is listed at 6-2, 217, can carry the ball 348 times and it’s not an issue. I know that generally speaking a quarterback will take more direct shots than a running back. Still, the level of worry over Griffin getting hit 100 or so times at his size is way over the top compared to the concern over Peterson.

2. Since Mike Shanahan came to the Redskins they have rushed for at least 130 yards in four of their six meetings with the Eagles. They are 3-1 in those games. The spotlight on Monday night will be on RG3 but maybe it should be on Alfred Morris.

3. A Redskins win on Monday night would tie Mike Shanahan with Tom Landry for the most opening day wins by a coach since the NFL merger. Six more wins this season will move Shanahan past Bill Parcells and into top 10 in all-time regular season wins as a head coach (currently 167-125).

4. If the Eagles open up in a three wide receiver set, the Redskins likely will be starting two rookie defensive backs. Bacarri Rambo will be at free safety and David Amerson will be the nickel back. There is plenty of cause for concern there but one thing you have to figure is that they have faced the kind of offensive attack we expect to see from Chip Kelly’s team a lot more recently than most of the veterans have.

5. I’ll probably say this more than once this year but if you’re complaining about either anti-Redskins bias or not enough Redskins on your choice of NFL pregame shows and you’re not watching Redskins Kickoff on Comcast SportsNet with Chick Hernandez, Trevor Matich, Brian Mitchell and others, I can’t help you.

Stat of the day

—Last year against the Eagles RG3 completed 77 percent of his passes, averaged 10.2 yards per attempt, and threw six touchdowns to one interception.

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—One year ago today Robert Griffin III made his NFL debut by completing 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns as the Redskins defeated the Saints 40-32.

—It’s been 243 days since the last Redskins game; the next one is today

—Days until: Redskins @ Packers 6; Lions @ Redskins 13; Redskins @ Raiders 20

—Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff on Comcast SportsNet 6:00; Eagles at Redskins ESPN 7:10; Redskins Post Game Live on Comcast SportsNet immediately after the game.

Tarik previews Redskins-Eagles

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Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source


Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source

The Redskins hosted Sylvester Williams for a free agency visit on Tuesday morning, per a source with knowledge of the situation. 

Williams played in 2017 with the Titans, logging 20 tackles in 11 starts. Tennessee released Williams this offseason, just one year into a three-year, $16 million deal. 

Drafted in the first round by the Broncos in 2013, the 6-foot-3, 313 lbs. Williams' stat line has never really popped. That isn't uncommon for a nose tackle though, as the job is less about tackles than it is holding leverage against the interior of an offensive line. 


Should the Redskins sign 29-year-old Williams, it would represent the first true nose tackle free agency addition since Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton joined the team in 2015 from Denver. In an ironic twist, Williams took over at nose in Denver when Knighton left for Washington, and posted his best season as a Bronco. 

Washington restructured its deal with Terrell McClain, reported first by ESPN, which could allow more flexibility to add another defensive lineman. That could come in the draft, but the club has been very active talking with free agents to play on the defensive front. 

On Monday, Johnathan Hankins and Pernell McPhee visited with Redskins officials in Ashburn. Hankins would carry the heaviest price tag, but his past performance would also indicate the most promise. 

McPhee is an edge rusher with enough bulk to play against the run as well. Williams compares more with Hankins, and could be seen as the secondary option.

Among 79 nose tackles Pro Football Focus graded, Williams ranked Williams 36th. For comparison, Bengals star Geno Atkins ranked No. 1, Dontari Poe ranked 26th, former Redskin Chris Baker ranked 65th and current Redskin Ziggy Hood ranked 79th. 

It's also worth noting that since the Titans released Williams, should the Redskins sign the nose tackle, his contract would not count towards the NFL compensatory pick formula. 

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Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility

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Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility

One head-scratcher from over the weekend was the Redskins’ apparent decision to hold on to defensive end Terrell McClain despite the fact that his 2018 base salary of $3.25 million would become fully guaranteed as of 4 p.m. on Sunday.

McClain missed four games with a toe injury last year and when he was playing he was not one of the top performers on the line. Perhaps he will improve in his second year in the defense but his performance certainly didn’t warrant a fully guaranteed salary.

Sunday came and went, and McClain was still on the roster. However, there was a change regarding the eight-year veteran. According to John Keim of ESPN, the Redskins and the player agreed to remove the full guarantee of the 2018 salary and change it to an injury-only guarantee.


The change will help alleviate what could be a numbers crunch down the road. The Redskins normally carry six defensive linemen. They have four keepers in Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. They have been trying to sign a free agent D-lineman like Johnathan Hankins and if they fail to do that they are likely to take one early in the draft. That would mean that five of the roster spots are spoken for.

If McClain had the guaranteed salary that might lock him into that sixth spot, leaving Ziggy Hood, a favorite of the coaching staff, on the outside looking in. The removal of the full salary guarantee levels the playing field between McClain, Hood and another possible free agent or draft pick when it comes to competing for that last roster spot.

If McClain loses out in the battle for a roster spot in training camp releasing him would save about $3.4 million in 2018 cap space. However, there would be a dead cap charge of $2.5 million in 2019. If his salary had remained fully guaranteed his departure would have caused a net cap charge of about $2 million.


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.