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Redskins’ improvement in stopping the run gives offense a boost


Redskins’ improvement in stopping the run gives offense a boost

LOS ANGELES—You have read plenty about the Redskins’ big day running the ball against the Rams. And their inability to run in the season opener against the Eagles also has been well documented.

But you probably have not seen much about the Redskins’ ability to stop the run so far in this young season. The defense got that aspect of the job done in both games this year.

In the small sample size of two games, the Redskins have given up an average of 75 yards per game. That ranks ninth in the NFL. In 2016, they gave up an average of 119.8 per game, 24th in the league. Looking at yards per carry, the average this year is 3.3 (13th) compared to 4.5 last year (27th).


The Redskins made some personnel changes in their front seven to try to correct the run-stopping issues. Three new defensive linemen, top draft pick Jonathan Allen and free agents Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain, have help solidify the line along with vastly improved play by second-year player Matt Ioannidis.

The main change at linebacker was the addition of free agent Zach Brown, who has 15 tackles and covers the field from sideline to sideline. Holdover Mason Foster has continued his solid play from last year with 11 tackles.


Sunday, another big factor in the Redskins’ ability to slow down the Rams’ rushing attack was the aforementioned success the offense had on the ground. That helped the Redskins build a time of possession advantage of 36:19 to 23:41 for the Rams. Washington ran 68 offensive plays and the home team just 49.

Piling up advantages like those keeps the defense rested on the sideline.

“You keep your defense fresh, we’ll have a lot better chance than when our defense is on the field all day,” said Jay Gruden.

Left tackle Trent Williams likes looking up and seeing the clock winding down as they drive down the field.

“The more first downs you get, the more the clock starts ticking,” said Williams.

While it is a passing league, any coach will tell you that the ability to run and ball and to stop the run are the keys to success. If the offense can move the ball on the ground it’s a shorter day for the defense. If the defense can limit the running game the offense has more time to work. The dynamic worked well against the Rams and if the Redskins can keep it up they will be in very good shape.

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 @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Devin Hester deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and Brian Mitchell is why


Devin Hester deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and Brian Mitchell is why

Devin Hester officially announced his NFL retirement on Tuesday after 11 years as the most feared return specialist in NFL history. 

Hester who spent a majority of his career with the Bears and Falcons finished with 20 return touchdowns, the most in NFL history. His 14 punt return touchdowns is also an NFL record. Hester also returned a missed field goal for an 108-yard touchdown. He became just one of eight men to score a kick return touchdown in the Super Bowl. 

It wasn't just what he did, but how he did it, and that matters. Hester was explosively and entertaining, sometimes taking a route well longer than the official length of his return touchdown. Hester had the combination of speed and quickness you only see once in a generation. 

Devin Hester is worthy of a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Brian Mitchell is why.

Hester is the greatest return specialist in NFL history. But Mitchell is the best return specialist in NFL history.


There's a difference too, between greatest and best. Hester was feared. He was revered. But nobody did it better than Mitchell. Nobody has ever fielded more returns than Mitchell (1,070), and nobody has ever compiled more return yards (19,013) than he. Only Hester has more career return touchdowns than Mitchell (13).

While Hester was boom-or-bust on many of his returns, Mitchell always got yardage. He averaged at least 10 yards per punt return in nine seasons and led the NFL in 1994 with 14.1 yards per punt return. He played in 223 of 224 possible games. Nobody did it better.

Mitchell has still yet to get the call from Canton, Ohio for enshrinement. Mitchell was a nominee for the 2017 class, but did not receive enough votes. But with Hester now officially on the clock for enshrinement, one things become clear: A return specialist will head to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Hester will get his name called, and when he does, it will be because of Mitchell. Nobody did it better than Mitchell. The omission of Mitchell has been a contentious point recently, and if the Hall of Fame has not been able to add Mitchell to their hallowed halls, what would it take?

Devin Hester. That's what.

Hester had to do things pro football world had never seen before. He had to do truly great things. Things that you couldn't do in the Madden video games.

If the Hall of Fame has been reluctant to add Mitchell, only a player like Hester would be able to budge them off their archaic line.

Make no mistake about it: Brian Mitchell deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

So does Devin Hester, and when he makes it, he'll have B-Mitch to thank. 





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Jordan Reed's unsatisfying 2017 season has come to an official end

USA Today Sports

Jordan Reed's unsatisfying 2017 season has come to an official end

The Redskins made a roster move that many have anticipated for the last few weeks.

The team announced that 2016 Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Reed, who has missed the last six games with a hamstring injury, has been placed on injured reserve. That ends a very disappointing season for the five-year veteran.

It seemed that Reed was never fully healthy all year. He was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list with a toe injury when he reported to camp in late July. Reed remained on PUP until a week before the start of the regular season, when he was activated.


In six games, Reed’s production was running well below his career averages in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. He was averaging just 7.8 yards per catch after averaging 10.5 per reception prior to the season.

It seemed like he was on the verge of breaking out in Week 7 against the Eagles, when he caught eight passes for 64 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season. But the following week against the Cowboys he suffered the hamstring injury early in the game and he hasn’t played since.

Reed was close to returning a few weeks ago but he suffered a setback and he just couldn’t get the hamstring healthy enough to play. With the Redskins now officially out of playoff contention, the decision apparently was made to put him on the shelf and start getting him ready for next year.


In other moves announced by the Redskins, they put RB Byron Marshall (hamstring) and LB Chris Carter (broken fibula) on IR. Both were injured during the loss to the Chargers on Sunday. Carter will have surgery and face a long rehab. Perhaps Marshall could return after a few weeks but the Redskins needed to get a third running back on the roster.

That running back is Kapri Bibbs, who has been on the Redskins’ practice squad. Also signed to the active roster were practice squad linebackers Pete Robertson and Otha Peters.

Added to the practice squad were LB Alex McCalister, RB Dare Ogunbowale, and S Orion Stewart.

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.