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Redskins LB Su'a Cravens staying focused, trying to be 'assignment perfect'

Redskins LB Su'a Cravens staying focused, trying to be 'assignment perfect'

The Redskins are not getting as much out of this year’s draft class as they did out of the class of 2015 when five picks played prominent roles as rookies. This year’s first-round pick, WR Josh Doctson, had two receptions before landing on injured reserve. Fifth-rounder DL Matt Ioannidis started the year on the practice squad, was brought up in Week 3, and he has played OK in 47 snaps on defense. QB Nate Sudfeld has yet to be active and seventh-round picks LB Steven Daniels and RB Keith Marshall have been in injured reserve all year.

Saving the draft class from being a total short-term flop are CB Kendall Fuller, who was taken in the third round and has been doing a good job as the slot corner, and LB Su’a Cravens.

Cravens has had a remarkable impact this year considering he has played just 134 snaps, about a third of the team’s total defensive plays this year. His lunging interception of an Eli Manning pass late in the Redskins’ Week 3 game against the Giants saved the team’s first win of the year. Against the Bengals in London he had a sack and he knocked down a pass in the late going, helping his team hang on for a tie in that game.

“I think I did alright,” said Cravens when asked to assess his season so far. “Obviously I’m a rookie and I’m going to make my mistakes but I think I’ve made the plays I’ve had the opportunity to. I know my playbook and I think I’m getting a little bit more comfortable out there with a lot more on my plate.”

Since coming to the team Cravens has said that his goal is to be “assignment perfect”. He’s not quite there yet.

“I think I average one mental error a game,” he said. “I’m getting there but I shouldn’t have any. If you ask me in college I’d say I didn’t have any mental errors. I’m trying to get back to that point.”

In addition to the fact that he is designated as primarily a nickel situation player, one of the reasons why Cravens’ snap count is relatively low is that he missed two games after suffering a concussion in Week 4. He also missed a lot of practice time after sustaining that injury. That has slowed his development somewhat, according to defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

“You know, that concussion was a little bit of a setback for him,” said Barry. “You’ve heard me stand up here before—with any player, but especially with young players, especially guys that are as young as 21 years old like he is, he needs to play. He needs to practice. He needs every single rep. So it was a little bit of a setback for him when he missed—what did he miss, two or three weeks. But Su’a is a gym rat. He loves football. He loves working at it. He loves practicing.”

Cravens knows there’s nothing he can do about the missed time. He will continue working on the same things he has been working on all year.

“Be focused, be a professional,” he said of his path going forward. “Just because you’re not on the field doesn’t mean you’re not a football player. I know it doesn’t define me but part of being a professional is being one on and off the field and I’m learning that.”

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 22, 20 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 underrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/29/17

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. Here, in no particular order, are three underrated events from 2017. Tomorrow we’ll look at three events that were overrated at the time they happened.  

Beating the Rams in Week 2—Nobody got particularly excited when the Redskins went to the LA Memorial Coliseum and beat a Rams team that had gone 4-12 in 2016. Sure, there was a belief that they were in good hands with Sean McVay but nobody saw them as anything better than a middle of the pack team. The win looks much more impressive now as the 11-4 Rams have locked up their division with a playoff game in their future.

Drafting safety Montae Nicholson—He was a fourth-round pick who had a shoulder injury and appeared to be a reach. But once he got on the field, the reasons the Redskins drafted him became apparent. His range and hard hitting had an immediate impact on the game. Nicholson had problems staying on the field and he will finish the year on IR, so his impact this year was diminished. Regardless, he has a good chance of being part of the solution to a position with which the Redskins have had issues for years.

Ty Nsekhe’s injury—Against the Raiders in Week 3, Shawn Lauvao’s facemask had an issue and he had to leave the game for a play. In came Nsekhe without an opportunity to warm up. He suffered a core muscle injury and had to undergo surgery. His absence didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Trent Williams suffered a knee injury the next week and other offensive linemen were sidelined with injuries over the next several weeks. Nsekhe was inactive until the Week 10 game against the Vikings and he didn’t start a game until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. He sure would have been useful to have in the lineup instead of T.J. Clemmings or Tyler Catalina.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 7
—NFL Draft (4/26) 63
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 199

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL.

They can also trade Landry and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first-round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 

RELATED: BEST AND WORST OF REDSKINS' FIRST-ROUND DRAFT HISTORY

What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical; few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins. But it's certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. Wide Receiver$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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