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Preseason Week 2: 5 things to watch from Redskins vs Jets

Preseason Week 2: 5 things to watch from Redskins vs Jets

The action will increase tonight as the Redskins take on the Jets in their home preseason debut. How much? In Atlanta last week the Washington starters played a minimal amount of snaps, and Kirk Cousins threw just five passes. Expect that to jump up at FedEx Field. For all the action, tune to CSN at 6:30 p.m. for Redskins Kickoff, followed by a full HD broadcast of the game at 7:30. After the game stick around for a full hour of live postgame with reports from FedEx Field and reaction from Brian Mitchell. Now here's what to watch tonight:

  1. Increased workload - In Atlanta the Redskins starting groups were mostly sent out to regain the speed of live NFL football. Against the Jets, more will be asked of the starters. Expect the offense to play about the whole first quarter, and one Redskins coach made clear he wants to see the starting unit put up points - something that escaped the group against the Falcons.
  2. Establish the run? - Matt Jones and Keith Marshall got nothing going on the ground last week before a second half rush attack improved with Robert Kelley. The Redskins staff appreciated Kelley's efforts, but the team needs to see more from Jones and Marshall. Most importantly, Washington wants to get Matt Jones enough carries to get into the flow of the game. Against the Falcons, Jones got just two carries, though a third succesful run was called back by penalty. Expect his total to get closer to seven or eight runs against the Jets, a team with a stout run defense that will give the 'Skins a good test.
  3. 'Stop beating ourselves' - Preseason football is usually sloppy, and last week proved no exception. The Redskins got flagged for 14 penalties. 14! The coaching staff harped on penalties all week in practice, and both OC Sean McVay and DC Joe Barry said their units must focus on eliminating the penalties and "stop beating ourselves." Though the Skins starting offense played a minimal amount of snaps, the team moved the ball well, save for two penalties that thwarted their lone drive. Defensively, Barry was particularly perturbed by offsides penalties as the team was not drawn off by a hard count or motion. Instead, players just aligned themselves offside, something that is inexcusable for Barry.
  4. Stop the long ball - On Thursday, Barry explained that the Redskins gave up four "explosion passes" to the Falcons. Burned repeatedly by Aldrick Robinson, Washington's defense must do a better job of limiting the big gainers through the air, and much of that comes in better communication and knowing assignments. August is the time to figure that stuff out, especially for players further down the depth chart, but the Redskins brass wants to be sure they see improvement in that category against the Jets offense with weapons like Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.
  5. Out of the end zone? - For years, special teams have been a problem for the Redskins, particularly on kick and punt coverage units. While specialists like Dustin Hopkins and Tress Way played well in Atlanta, the 'Skins gave up a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open up the second half. Allowing big special teams returns will bury Washington this fall as they face a tougher schedule, and it may give head coach Jay Gruden and special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica a hard time when deciding a strategy on kickoffs. With the rule change this season that brings touchbacks out to the 25-yard-line instead of the 20-yard-line, having Hopkins kick the ball out of the end zone brings increased questions. Though if the team proves unable to cover kickoffs, the coaches may decide that attempting shorter kicks is not worth the risk.

One hugely important item was omitted - no injuries. If NFL coaches could have one guarantee for preseason games, it's that players don't sustain major injuries. Certainly the Jets and Redskins brass feel that way. Stay with @JPFinlayCSN throughout Friday for updates and live intel from the stadium.

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Paul Richardson's Redskins contract is team friendly early

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Paul Richardson's Redskins contract is team friendly early

The Redskins’ contract with wide receiver Paul Richardson is very team friendly in the first year but it increases over the years to the point where he needs to be a very productive receiver in order to justify staying on the roster.

The big picture of the deal is $40 million over five years. A total of $12.5 million is fully guaranteed at signing, which is comprised of a $10 million signing bonus, his $1.5 million 2018 salary, and $1 million of his $5 million 2019 salary.

More money will become guaranteed if Richardson is on the roster as of five days after the start of the league years in 2019 and 2020. The remaining $4 million of his 2019 salary and $3.5 million of his $6 million 2020 salary become guaranteed on those dates.


Richardson will get salaries of $7.5 million in 2021 and 2022. Each year of the contract he can earn $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses ($31,250 for each game he is on the 46-man game day roster).

It all adds up to the following salary cap numbers:

2018: $4 million
2019: $7.5 million
2020: $8.5 million
2021: $10 million
2022: $10 million

The average annual value of the contract is $8 million, which is tied for 24th among NFL receivers.

The first window the Redskins have to terminate Richardson’s contract without taking a negative cap hit would be in 2020 as long as they do it prior to the fifth day of the league year when the partial salary guarantee kicks in. They would take a $6 million deal cap hit but they would save a net of $2.5 million.

The last two years, when the cap numbers are at their highest, the Redskins could easily move on, saving $6 million in cap space in 2021 and $8 million in 2022.


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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Need to Know: Redskins player quick hitters—Offensive starters

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Need to Know: Redskins player quick hitters—Offensive starters

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 21, 36 days before the NFL draft.  

Redskins starters quick hitters—offense

The last couple of days here I looked at how the depth charts are shaping up with a little bit of commentary (offense, defense). Today and tomorrow I’ll take a closer look at the starters with some quick hitters about each one, starting today with the offense.

QB Alex Smith—The deal is done, and the Redskins have their man for five years at $22.2 million per year or, if they prefer, three years at $23.7 million per. It seems like most fans are behind him but there will have to be a few more wins than losses this fall for that to become permanent.

RB Samaje Perine—He got better as the year went on, averaging nearly a half yard per carry more in the last seven games compared to the first nine. But the 3.4 average per carry certainly did not stop both Doug Williams and Jay Gruden from talking about drafting a running back early.

TE Jordan Reed—According to reports, he is rehabbing well from the hamstring and toe injuries that severely limited him last year. Still, expect him to be kept in bubble wrap until training camp and even then, his action may be limited.

WR Josh Doctson—Did Kirk Cousins look away from Doctson too often, lacking the confidence in him to let him go get the 50-50 balls? Will Smith have more confidence in Doctson? The answers to those questions may determine if the third-year receiver breaks out in 2018 or he continues to tease with flashes of ability.

WR Paul Richardson—He’s capable of the acrobatic catch, which should be fun to watch. Richardson was good with Russell Wilson on the off-schedule plays, maybe he can do the same with Smith.

WR Jamison Crowder—I guess it’s fair to say he had an off year in 2017 but his receiving yardage only dropped by 60 yards from 2016. It will be interesting to see if they keep him in as the punt returner after he averaged 6.3 yards per return (23rd of 25 qualifiers) last year.

LT Trent Williams—The six-time Pro Bowler is still in the relatively early stages of recovering from surgery to the knee that kept him from practicing from about Week 6 on. Don’t look for him until training camp and even then, the early workload is likely to be light.

LG Arie Kouandjio—This is the one offensive position that remains up in the air. Kouandjio has shown some grit as a spot starter but I don’t think the organization views him as a 16-game starter.

C Chase Roullier—Shortly after Roullier got the starting job when Spencer Long went out injured, Jay Gruden said that Roullier would be the Redskins’ center “for a long time”. There is no reason to doubt that at this point in time.

RG Brandon Scherff—His concern no longer is trying to live up to having been the fifth pick of the draft. Scherff has to play well enough to justify his 2019 option-year salary, which will be in the vicinity of $13 million.

RT Morgan Moses—He had surgery to repair his ankles, which were an issue most of last season. Still, he didn’t miss a start. Like Williams, even if he’s ready for training camp, don’t expect to see a whole lot of him.

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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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 27
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 129
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 173

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