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Redskins’ Barry addresses defense's lack of 'takeaways'


Redskins’ Barry addresses defense's lack of 'takeaways'

The Redskins have been playing some pretty good defense so far this season in terms of the raw numbers the NFL uses to rank defenses. They are second in yards allowed with 285 per game and eighth in scoring defense with 19.7 points allowed per game. In all, they are in the top 10 in 14 of the 18 major defensive stats the NFL tracks.

With a fairly small sample size this year, those numbers represent a solid improvement over 2014 when they allowed an average of 357 yards per game, 27.4 points per game, and were in the top 10 in just one of the 18 statistical categories. 

But it is hard to say that the Redskins are a top defense because of their low ranking in one, very important statistical category. They have just one takeaway, tied for last in the NFL with the Jaguars. Preston Smith’s sack, strip, and recovery in the third quarter of week 1 remains the team’s lone turnover. 

Excuse me, that’s takeaway, according to defensive coordinator Joe Barry. 

“We don’t call them ‘turnovers.’ We call them ‘takeaways,’” said Barry “We’re not taking the ball away right now ... It’s our job as defenders no matter if we’re rushing three, four, five or six, whether we’re playing man or zone or zero, takeaways are our duty to take the ball away.”

The Redskins 1-2 record could be better had the team been able to get a few more takeaways. They had at least two game-turning interceptions in their hands in Week 1 against the Dolphins but dropped them. 

It’s not a coincidence that the Redskins are also ranked low sacks. They have just four of them in three games, tied for 21st in the NFL. Sacks lead to turnovers directly by setting up plays like Smith’s against the Dolphins and indirectly by forcing the quarterback to get rid of the ball before he wants to. 

“I think we’ve pressured the quarterback fairly well,” said Barry. “You look at the Miami game, you look at the St. Louis game — the St. Louis game was a big point of getting [Nick] Foles off the spot. Now, you look at the final stat sheet from a sack standpoint, it wasn’t where you wanted but we affected the quarterback ... I’d tell you, our whole D-line room would tell you, ‘They’re greedy. We’re greedy. We want to sack the quarterback. We want to get after the quarterback.’”

Barry’s assessment seems to be fair. Against the Dolphins and Rams combined they had five QB hits and 23 hurries. That is decent pressure on the quarterback. 

Regardless, it doesn’t appear that Barry will be trying to dial up any new defensive calls to force more takeaways. 

“I’m a firm believer also there’s not some make-believe call that you can call to create a turnover,” he said. “It’s our job as defenders to take the ball away. Now sometimes, obviously, within the call, if there’s a breakdown on their part, sometimes takeaways happen a little bit more easier, but no, I don’t think there’s some magic call that you can call to create a turnover.”

There may not be any magic involved but the Kirk Cousins and company would surely benefit from having a short field to work with on occasion. The chances are that things will turn around at some point but the Redskins hope it will not be too late. 

MORE REDSKINS: Eagles game a big opportunity for Cousins to redeem himself

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

The Redskins seem to love former Cowboys. They signed another one today.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media is reporting that Washington has agreed to terms with cornerback Orlando Scandrick. The early numbers put the contract at up to $10 million over two years.

Scandrick, 31, has played for the Cowboys since they made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. In nine seasons in the league, Scandrick has eight interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

He has been plagued by injuries the last three years. Scandrick was out for the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. In 2016 he missed four games with a hamstring injury and he finished last season on injured reserve with a back injury. Whether his struggles last year were due to injuries or age remains to be seen.

Scandrick joins Nosh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, and Josh Holsey at cornerback for the Redskins. Holsey is the only natural slot corner in the group and he played very sparingly as a rookie last year. Scandrick likely will fill the slot role until Holsey is ready.

We will see what the signing costs in terms of salary cap impact when we see the details of the contract. The phrase “up to” generally means that there are incentives included in the deal so we will have to see.

In recent years, the Redskins have signed former Cowboys defensive linemen Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, and Terrell McClain.


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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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. The top line numbers are five years, $111 million, an average annual value of $22.2 million per year. 


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.