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Need to Know: Why doesn't Aldrick play more?


Need to Know: Why doesn't Aldrick play more?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 22, five days before the Washington Redskins travel to Denver to play the Broncos.

Nickel coverage

Five notes and quotes from Mike Shanahan’s Monday news conference:

1. Shanahan’s press conference took place a few hours before the NFL announced that Brandon Meriweather would be suspended for two games. He said the following when asked if Meriweather was being coached to avoid helmet-to-helmet hits where they are illegal:

“Well, I think he knows exactly what he has to do and sometimes there’s no intent there. Sometimes you hit a guy a little bit higher than anticipated. Even on the last one, he came to the sideline and said, ‘Hey, the one guy told me it was a good hit and the other official told me that he saw it differently.’ There are a lot of different interpretations of it. At the end of the day, we’ll find out.”

2. Stephen Bowen was diagnosed with a knee injury. “It’s a PCL tear,” said Shanahan. “Right now, he’s sore. [We will] probably know more [in] the next couple of days.” Bowen played through the same injury on his other knee during the 2011 season. The defensive end tweeted the following on Monday evening:

Letting everyone know I am not out for the season just gonna have some hard core rehab. We have some more games to win. #HTTR

— Stephen Bowen (@stevebo72) October 21, 2013

3. It was noted here yesterday that the success that Robert Griffin III had running the ball on Sunday helped out the rest of the offense. Shanahan agreed with that take. “I think the threat of the run is very important,” he said. “Any time the defense is afraid you may run the football, they have to cover the whole field and all the aspects of your game. I think anybody that has a threat of running the ball, you never know who they’re going to take away.”

4. Why doesn’t Aldrick Robinson, who caught two passes, one for 30 yards and another for 45 and a touchdown, get on the field more? He’s an X receiver and that’s Pierre Garçon’s spot. “We’ve got a lot of belief in Aldrick, and he does have some big play capabilities,” said Shanahan. “We need to get him in the ball game a little bit more. [wide receiver] Pierre [Garcon] has been playing well, so you don’t want to take Pierre out of the game too often, but you do want to give him opportunities to make some plays like he did [in the Bears game].”

5. I pointed out to Shanahan that the Redskins averaged 11.5 yards a play in the no-huddle offense. He said that if it continues to work that well they might have to use it more often.

“Our football team is in pretty good shape. We’ve got a fast and quick football team and it helps us when we do kind of change the tempo of the game. We might try to tire out the defense or we may call plays at the line of scrimmage. Just because you hurry up to the line of scrimmage doesn’t always make it a hurry-up offense. A lot of people huddle on the line of scrimmage and they take their time and call out audibles and check defenses out. Other teams will try to go a little bit quicker. We’ll change it up there, but it is a high-tempo offense for us and we do it to keep defenses a little bit off-balance and fortunately it has worked.”

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Stat of the day

—The Broncos are averaging 42.6 points per game. They are on pace to score 681 points for the season. The NFL record for points scored in a season is 589 by the 2007 Patriots.


—Days until: Redskins @ Broncos 5; Chargers @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Vikings 16

—Today’s schedule: No availability, off day.                     

In case you missed it

Why the Redskins drafted Jordan Reed

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Free agency update: What happens next for the Redskins on the defensive line?


Free agency update: What happens next for the Redskins on the defensive line?

The Redskins sure hosted a lot of free agent defensive line visits in the second week of free agency, but so far, no signed contracts. 

Johnathan Hankins came to Ashburn. Sylvester Williams came to Ashburn. Pernell McPhee came to Ashburn. All three left without a done deal, and now for Redskins fans, the question becomes not about when a deal will get done, but if any deals will happen.

Actually, one deal did happen. According to a report, Williams has signed with the Lions. 

Since visiting the Redskins on Monday, Hankins also took a trip to see the Lions. McPhee, who was offered a contract by the Redskins, has since taken a trip to visit the Falcons. 


Keep in mind too, Washington expressed interest in nose tackle Bennie Logan last offseason, and the 6-foot-2, 309 lb., former Chief is again on the market. A visit from Logan would surprise nobody, though it hasn't been reported yet. 

Mother Nature might also be an impediment for the Redskins. A March snowstorm shut the D.C. region down on Wednesday, which could have limited potential free agent visits.

What's clear is between Hankins, McPhee and Williams this week, in addition to Muhammad Wilkerson and Benson Mayowa last week, the Redskins are obviously looking to upgrade their defensive line. Combine that with a contract restructure for incumbent Terrell McClain, and Washington has the flexibility to improve on last season's NFL-worst run defense. 

That doesn't mean, however, the Redskins will absolutely sign one of the above mentioned players. And it doesn't mean outside linebacker Junior Gallete won't return to the Redskins either. 

Many fans wonder if a McPhee signing means the Redskins would move on from Galette. It might, but that's no sure thing. 

Washington went into the 2017 season with five outside linebackers: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Galette, Ryan Anderson and Chris Carter. Right now, the 'Skins only have Kerrigan, Smith and Anderson under contract. The team needs to add at least one OLB, but likely two.

McPhee also carries about 20 extra pounds on his frame than Galette, giving the former Bear and Raven more flexibility to play against the run. Galette is a speed, leverage and moves player, focused on getting to the quarterback. He's capable against the run, but in the same way a sports car shouldn't carry a snow plow, Galette should be used to pressure QBs. 

Point being: McPhee and Galette could both make sense for the Redskins, if the team can work out the cash. 

Money usually matters the most in free agency, and it's clear the Redskins haven't made the type of offers that any of these players felt compelled to immediately sign. Deals could still happen though. Hankins didn't sign last offseason until April and Galette seems to thank Redskins fans via social media with relative frequency. 

Washington also had some success with the patient approach to free agency. The team was able to keep Zach Brown, though it took some nervous days of allowing the tackling machine linebacker to test the free agent market. With that win in hand, don't expect the Redskins brass to change their philosophy. 

Until further notice, it's hurry up and wait season in Ashburn.

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Redskins Draft Countdown: Could Da'Ron Payne be the final piece to the D-line puzzle?

Redskins Draft Countdown: Could Da'Ron Payne be the final piece to the D-line puzzle?

Redskins draft countdown

Da’Ron Payne

Defensive tackle

Stuff the run in the middle of the line? Check. Get outside to stop stretch plays? Check. Get after the passer? Check. Yes, Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne checks all the boxes the Redskins are looking for on the D-line.

He can be the immovable object, taking on double and triple teams, and he also can chase down the quarterback. At 311 pounds he could be the Redskins’ nose tackle in base and move outside in nickel.

Height: 6-2
Weight: 311
40-yard dash: 4.95

Projected draft round: 1

What they’re saying

Payne possesses one of the most impressive combinations of strength and athleticism that we've seen from an interior lineman. He will be the premier run-stuffer in this draft, but he may have enough in the pass rushing toolbox to project as a better pro than college pass rusher. Payne is a game-ready starter who immediately upgrades a defense's ability to slow the run.

Lance Zierlein,

How he fits the Redskins: This just in—the Redskins need a nose tackle. Of course, if you’re reading this you know that, and you’ve known it has been the case ever since the Redskins went to the 3-4 defense in 2010.

In very closely related news, they need to play better against the run, too. You probably noticed that they were dead last in the league in rushing defense last year. And that the NFC East has two very strong rushing teams in the Eagles and Cowboys and a Giants team that could well take Saquon Barkley with the second pick in the draft. If they don’t fix their rushing defense they could literally get run over.

Payne could help them a lot. He can take on double and triple teams and clog up running lanes in the middle. If they try to go around him, he has the quickness to penetrate and disrupt outside runs.

And a defensive lineman taken in the top half of the first round should be able to provide some pass rush pressure. As noted by Zierlein, Payne has the potential to do that. He’ll never be a double-digit sack guy, but if he can kick in four to six per year and get some pressure up the middle, that would be fine.

Film review: vs. Tennessee, vs Georgia (national title game)

Like most players, Payne can’t get much in the way of a pass rush when he is double and triple teamed. But when they tried to block him one on one he consistently got pressure. Payne didn’t get many sacks, but he did make a difference. Against Georgia, one pressure resulted in an interception and another forced a third-down incompletion.

Payne is very difficult to move off the spot in the running game, even when the offense tries to do it with two or even three players. Running backs did not get by him on a regular basis. In the second half in particular, Georgia tried to move the ball with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, both of whom are likely to get selected in the top 100 in the draft next month. But they kept running into a mass of humanity in the middle of the line with Payne in the middle of it.

He played well during the Tennessee game during the regular season, but he didn’t have a lot of impact. The only time his name was called was when he was hit with a roughing the passer call.

Potential issues: At 311 pounds, Payne may not be the ideal size to fill the chronic hole at nose tackle. It should be noted, however, that defensive line coach Jim Tomsula has said that the Redskins aren’t necessarily looking for the 350-pound nose tackle and that a relatively smaller player can get the job done. Ziggy Hood played the nose at 305 pounds last year. The Redskins finished last against the run, although that’s not necessarily cause and effect.

Bottom line: The Redskins went 20 years without taking an interior defensive lineman in the first round before taking Jonathan Allen last year. Nobody could legitimately complain if they doubled up on first-round D-linemen after so many years of neglect.

Payne should be there when the 13th pick goes on the clock. Unless the Redskins address the nose tackle spot in free agency Payne will be under strong consideration. The defensive line improved last year with the additions of Allen in the draft, Stacy McGee as a free agent and the second-year emergence of Matt Ioannidis. Payne could be the final piece of what could be a dominant defensive line.

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.