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Redskins best- and worst-case scenarios: Defense


Redskins best- and worst-case scenarios: Defense

In theory, any player in any given season can play at a Pro Bowl level and any player’s performance can go completely into the tank due to injuries or any number of other reasons.

But in practical terms it’s reasonable to expect that a given player’s performance will fall into a rage based on factors such as past performance, age, etc. So over the next couple of days we’ll look at best- and worst-case scenarios for key players on each side of the ball. Previously we look at key players on offense; today, the defense goes under the microscope.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan

Best: 13 sacks, 1 interception, 6 forced fumbles—The sacks depend a lot on if the Redskins are frequently playing with a lead and if others are drawing attention away from him. Kerrigan hasn’t had an interception since he got one in each of his first two seasons in the league. Is he due?

Worst: 8 sacks, 3 forced fumbles—He scuffled with injuries last year, being bothered by a knee injury early and a broken hand at midseason. Although he wouldn’t admit it, the injuries affected his performance. If he is dinged up in 2016 his performance could suffer even more.

OLB Preston Smith

Best: 12 sacks, 5 forced fumbles—Smith won’t keep up the pace he was on at the end of last year, when he posted six sacks in the final four games, including one of Aaron Rodgers for a safety in the playoff game. But if he has figured out how to do what it takes to succeed in the NFL he can be a steady force.

Worst: 7 sacks, 2 forced fumbles—He could take a step back if he doesn’t continue to put in the work needed to be able to produce consistently.

OLB Junior Galette

Best: 12 sacks, 3 forced fumbles—The 12 sacks would match his career high, set in 2012 with the Saints. Motivation won’t be a problem, with Galette working on an incentive-laden one-year deal. Health, with him coming off of a torn Achilles, could be an issue.

Worst: 5 sacks—This could happen if he doesn’t get back that explosive first step that made him so effective with the Saints.

CB Bashaud Breeland

Best: 6 interceptions, 1 TD—Breeland has intercepted two passes in each of his first two seasons in the NFL. He has had his hands on many more than that but he couldn’t hold on. If he can turn a couple of drops into picks and get the benefit of a strong pass rush in front of him he could triple his career best and get a pick six along the way.

Worst: 2 interceptions—There is no reason to think that his performance would fall off to any degree in his third year in the league. 

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price


Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 


Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

Want more Redskins? 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!

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

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.


Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198