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Redskins' McCloughan not concerned about ability to build defense


Redskins' McCloughan not concerned about ability to build defense

Redskins GM Scot McCloughan likes having a good defense but he believes that the game in about having an effective offense and you have to have a good quarterback to get that.

In fact, he likes a good quarterback three times as much as he likes a good defender.

“The thing about nowadays is way the season is set up and the way the game is set up, it’s about scoring points,” he said in an interview with Bleacher Report.

And to do that, you need a quarterback.

“If you have a productive guy, it helps everything and it proves out,” he said. “You look around this league and see the teams that are in the playoffs every year and look who the quarterbacks are. Look at the ones who win. It proves out.”

But what about the adage that “defense wins championships”?

“You’re going to play good defense,” he said. “That’s easy to fix. You just draft good football players. They can be a small guy, a big guy, as long as they can find the ball.”

Kirk Cousins is the Redskins’ quarterback and after having a breakout year in 2015 he was tagged as the Redskins’ franchise player. That gave him a guaranteed salary of $19.95 million. If he signs a long-term contract either prior to the July 15 deadline to do so this year or signs one next year he could average $20 million per year, perhaps more. Or they could hit him with the franchise tag again, a move that would cost just under $24 million for the 2017 season.

His salary has some worried about how the Redskins will be able to build a defense with Cousins taking up so much cap room. But McCloughan isn’t concerned, even though he said that he’s willing to “overpay” his quarterback.

“You’ll take a quarterback over three defensive players,” he said. “That’s just the way it is. No doubt about it.”

That statement will make some advocates of a strong defense cringe but it makes perfect sense. The quarterback handles the ball on every offensive snap. The offense has to flow through him. It’s great to have a blue chip defensive player but in many cases the opposing offense can game plan around him, by double teaming or running the offense away from a lineman or pass rusher or not throwing to where a particular defensive back is in coverage. Such workarounds help by limiting the offense but it’s not like handling the football on every single play like the quarterback does.

McCloughan is confident that as long as he drafts well he will be able to work around any salary cap issues. We will see how it works out. 

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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' defensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' defensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 20, 37 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at the 2018 depth chart—defense

The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions and there is the draft, but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the defensive side of the ball stands now. The offense was covered yesterday.

Defensive line: Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee
Backups: Terrell McClain, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood

I wrote this on Monday afternoon wondering if I would have to edit it to add Jonathan Hankins but that has not happened yet. I have to think that they will use a top draft pick on a D-lineman if they don’t land one in free agency. That could create some competition between Hood and McClain for the last roster spot.

Linebackers: OLBs Preston Smith, Ryan Kerrigan; ILBs Mason Foster, Zach Brown
Backups: Ryan Anderson, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Martrell Spaight

Again, I thought I might have to edit this because of the return of Junior Galette or the addition of Pernell McPhee but as it is, the Redskins are looking for an additional reserve edge rusher to go with Anderson. There might only be room for two backup inside linebackers between Vigil, Harvey-Clemons, and Spaight.

Defensive backs: CBs Quinton Dunbar, Josh Norman; FS Montae Nicholson, SS D.J. Swearinger
Backups: Orlando Scandrick, Fabian Moreau, Josh Holsey, Deshazor Everett

I debated including Su’a Cravens here because he is on the roster, but I think that the odds that he will be on the 53-man roster in September are slim. If he doesn’t return they will need some help at safety. You can count on Scandrick playing in the slot. They seem to like both Dunbar and Moreau better on the outside and Scandrick can give Holsey a chance to develop inside.

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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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 28
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 130
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 174

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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.