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Redskins' Gruden picks up the tempo with no-huddle sessions

Redskins' Gruden picks up the tempo with no-huddle sessions

The no-huddle offense was something of a source of frustration for Redskins fans last year.

It seemed that when the Redskins ran it, they were effective. They didn’t run it at all during their 0-3 start, not even in situations where they were playing from behind (which was nearly all of every game). Then going to the no-huddle attack jump-started their offense in their first win in Oakland. But it went back in the drawer after that and was pulled out only occasionally Just when it seemed to be working or showing signs of effectiveness, Robert Griffin III and company would go back to huddling up.

We don’t know if Jay Gruden is any more of a fan of the no-huddle than Mike and Kyle Shanahan are but we did see it during the OTA session that was open to the media on Wednesday. The players seemed to enjoy it and it was a topic of conversation afterward.

“We did a little no huddle today, working that stuff in,” said Griffin. “Like I said, we’ll be very multiple. We’ll figure out what we do best and that’s the process—continuing to do this, continuing to learn, getting the new guys and the rookies up to speed with the offense and even ourselves, continuing to master it.”

Griffin indicated that they still intended to be physical when running the hurry up. “Our coach has said we’re going to huddle up and try to play some smash mouth football and then we’re going to no-huddle and still play some smash mouth football,” he said

Gruden, of course, is not going to discuss how much he plans to utilize a no-huddle attack. We’ll have to wait to see how the regular season games unfold before we can get a handle on that. Regardless, he sees a lot of value in running it this time of year. The benefits extend to both sides of the ball.

“We’re trying to pick up the tempo,” he said. “Also, from a communications standpoint, football is a lot about communication nowadays. A lot of teams are running a no-huddle, so from a defensive standpoint, you’ve got to be able to communicate your calls, get in the right front and talk about it and make sure everybody is on the same page.

“Offensively, it’s a good way to dictate tempo and keep defenses from substituting and keep them out of their blitz packages, all that good stuff. There’s a reason for us offensively to utilize it and there’s a reason not only from a point of view on game day, but also getting our defense ready for that kind of attack on Sundays.”

Gruden said that the no-huddle is growing in popularity around the league so the defense needs to be ready to face it. He specifically mentioned the Eagles, who rarely huddle in Chip Kelly’s fast-paced attack. The Redskins face them twice this year with the first meeting coming in Week 3.

Jason Hatcher appreciated the conditioning aspect of going against the up tempo offense on a warm June day in Virginia. “I think that was a great deal today because it was humid out here,” he said. “We got a lot of plays back to back, maybe eight, nine, 10 plays. It’s something that we really need to focus on as a team.”

One aspect of the no-huddle period that Hatcher didn’t like was that Griffin was able to use the hard count to draw the defense offside on a few occasions. “Some of those plays there down the stretch with five, 10 seconds on the clock you jump offside and give them a first down,” he said. “You’ve got to go and be a very fundamentally sound defense.”

Griffin got some satisfaction out of getting the defense to jump but he said that we shouldn’t read too much into what happened on one day. “It’s just a constant battle of X’s and O’s and mind games with the offense and defense,” he said. “Sometimes you get them, today happened

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.

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Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.

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I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

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.