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No Apologies Necessary

No Apologies Necessary

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When a team scores a lot of points and gives up a lot of points and wins like, for instance, in the Bucs' Week 10 win over the Redskins, that is generally considered to be a great victory. Their 36-35 win was viewed as a momentum builder, a win that helped propel them to the division title. Even though one side of the ball, the defense, was generally ineffective and not functioning up to snuff, the Bucs scored a lot of points so everything was OK. There's no talk of, my gosh, they're going to be in trouble if that defense doesn't pick it up. In this case, the win is a great deodorant, washing away the stench of a poor defensive performance. The Bucs' game here is just an example; it happens all the time.

Now, on the other hand, if a team wins with superb defense and not much offense, as the Redskins did on Saturday, the deodorizing effect of the victory is diminished significantly. Just like in the 36-35 game, one side of the ball is working superbly and the other one isn't even competent, but unlike the high-scoring affair it is viewed as an ugly, even undeserved win
Let me ask you this. If a team gave up the most yardage ever by a winning playoff team, would anyone make more than a passing mention of it? No, because needing to score a lot of points to win is considered to be winning "pretty".

Certainly, you'd rather win in a balanced fashion like the Patriots and Panthers did with good play on both sides of the ball. But the Redskins should not have to apologize for winning or feel inferior because only the defense performed well.

Further Review

One fun element of the Bucs game was the fact that they were turned down on two replay challenges and they whined about a couple of other calls. After what happened in November there, it was justice served up a bit cold.

There was zero evidence that Marcus Washington was down by contact on the fumble that Sean Taylor eventually returned for a touchdown and on the second challenge the replay confirmed what the back judge had originally called. As we found out with the "Tuck Rule" earlier this season, some rules may not make sense, but they are there nonetheless.

Generally, the Bucs were baffled about the call on the Shepherd play but they didn't complain about it much. Chris Simms did do some related whining however. He said that while he was OK with the Shepherd call, "But the first interception that LaVar Arrington caught, that was a fumble."

He went on further about his two interceptions, both of which came on tipped passes. "Both interceptions were going to be 20-yard completions." Yeah, and I was going to be the Queen of England, but a few things got in the way of that.

The best comment was made by John Gruden before the game. Talking about the controversial two-point conversions, he said, "I don't care about hurt feelings, all I care about is us." Couldn't agree more, John. Actually, there is one thing I do care about, John. When's your tee time on Monday?

Close Call

This season, I haven’t been doing much reviewing of my Bold Predictions like I did last year. I just didn’t find it to be interesting most of the time, so I didn’t do it.

The reason I did it in the first place was because I didn’t like it when writers touted the predictions that they got right and buried the ones they got wrong. Having gone one game better than the Redskins this time at 12-5 with my winner predictions so far this season, I’ve certainly been right more often than I’ve been wrong, so it’s time to do just a bit of crowing

From my Bold Predictions entry last week:

Chris Simms had the day of his brief NFL career the first time the teams played. He threw for 3 touchdowns and no interceptions with a gaudy QB rating of 119.8. He wasn’t sacked; for that matter, he barely even hit.
It will be different this time around. . . He will be very fortunate if his rating is half of what it was the first time.
Simms' rating for the game, 52.6, less than half of what it was the first time around.

Cadillac Williams won’t beat them either. Tiki and LT ran against the Redskins this year and Tatum Bell popped a couple of long ones. Nobody else, not Alexander, not Jones (Thomas or Julius), not Jordan, not Westbrook, not Tiki the second time around, ran on the Skins. Cadillac won’t either, and that will worsen Simms’ problems.
Williams gained 49 yards on 18 carries, an average of 2.7 a pop.

The bottom line:
It won’t be pretty and it won’t be for the faint of heart, but the Redskins will survive and advance.

Washington 17, Tampa Bay 13
That's the second week in a row I got the Skins' score on the nose, for the record. I called 31 points vs. the Eagles in that Bold Predictions piece.

Now, back to your regularly schedule pontificating.

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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.