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Pro Bowl Travesty

Pro Bowl Travesty

December 22, 2004

It’s a travesty.

It’s a sham.

It’s a mockery.

It’s (all together now) a traveshamockery!

The Washington Redskins have statistically the best defense in the NFC. Are you ready for the list of players off of that defense who have been selected to play in the Pro Bowl?

  • Marcus Washington

That’s it.

The most egregious slight was to Cornelius Griffin, the Redskins’ player of the year. He’s been a one-man wrecking crew in the middle. The success of the team’s defense starts with him. And Mr. Griffin is the fourth alternate for the Pro Bowl team at defensive tackle. Think about it. There are two starters and three other alternates in front of him, so by this logic he’s the sixth-best defensive tackle in the NFC. Something tells me that the guards and centers who have lined up against him this year would beg to differ.

Stats aren’t the main measuring stick for defensive linemen, but they’re a good starting point for comparison. Thanks to Rat Boy at the site this blog proudly calls home, WarpathInsiders.com, for compiling these numbers for Griffin and the two players selected at DT for the NFC:

DT Shaun Rogers:

Defense's Rank: 11th out of 16 teams.

Tackles: 47 Solo

Sacks: 4

Stuffs: 6

Pass Defenses: 5

DT La'Roi Glover:

Defenses' Rank: 10th out of 11 teams.

Tackles: 30 Solo

Sacks: 5

Stuffs: 3

Pass Defenses: 1

And your 4th Alternate:

DT Cornelius Griffin:

Defense's rank: 1st out of 16 teams.

Tackles: 52 Solo

Sacks: 5

Stuffs: 14

Pass Defenses: 5

Among the others snubbed were Fred Smoot and Shawn Springs, arguably the best CB tandem in the NFC. They also are alternates, along with some others. The complete list of Washington alternate selections from Redskins.com:

First Alternate

Clinton Portis, RB

Sean Taylor, S

Second Alternate

Antonio Pierce, MLB

Fred Smoot, CB

Tom Tupa, P

Third Alternate

Shawn Springs, CB

Fourth Alternate

Cornelius Griffin, DT

It will be argued that players from bad teams don’t make the Pro Bowl and that certainly can be demonstrated to be true. But the whole darn NFC except for one or two teams isn’t very good. If that form was followed they’d be sending the Eagles and Falcons to Honolulu and let them split up the positions.

Anti-Redskins conspiracy or bias? Probably not. For whatever reason, the defense did not impress those who vote for the Pro Bowl as much as it impressed those of us who watch it week after week. But it’s annoying nonetheless.

As we try always to emphasize the positive here, hats off to Washington, who the defensively-challenged Colts inexplicably let get away right into the waiting arms of Gregg Williams and the Redskins. What makes him special is his ability to make the big play but rarely get caught out of position. He’s a solid citizen, too.

And kudos to Sean Taylor as well. He’s overcome come some adversity, much of it self-inflicted, and is beginning to play to his monster potential. A lot of “experts” said that Taylor was the best player at any position in last year’s draft; this could well turn out to be one of the rare instances where the experts turn out to be right.

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to spend send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110 but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!