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Redskins need consistent contributions from Jackson


Redskins need consistent contributions from Jackson

At 5-10, 178, DeSean Jackson is not a very big guy. But he’s too big to just disappear for large chunks of games and that is what has happened the last two weeks.

The speedy wide receiver has been back for three games after missing all but a few plays of the first seven games with a hamstring strain. In his first game back against the Patriots he was still getting his legs under him and he had almost no impact, with three receptions for 15 yards.

But a trend has developed for Jackson in the last two games. In the Redskins’ first possession against the Saints he took off down the left side and Kirk Cousins dropped in a nice pass that was good for 43 yards. The Redskins went on to score a touchdown on the way to posting 47 points against New Orleans. But Jackson’s contribution the rest of the way was minimal as he caught one more pass for one yard.

Last Sunday against the Panthers, Jackson made another big play early. He got into the end zone for the first time this year, hauling in a 56-yard touchdown pass from Cousins midway through the first quarter. But it didn’t turn out to be a big day for him; the rest of the way he had a very pedestrian four receptions for 31 yards.

Cousins said that the Redskins didn’t have many opportunities to get the ball to Jackson for the final three and a half quarters because they didn’t run many plays.

“I think turnovers definitely shorten your ability to get anybody the football when you don’t run many plays,” said Cousins. “I think we had 21 plays in the first half. It’s hard to feed anybody — whether it’s DeSean or Matt Jones or Pierre [Garçon], anybody, if you don’t have that many plays.”

Cousins was right about the 21 first-half plays and thanks to the five turnovers and a trio of three-and-out series they ran just 47 offensive plays the whole game. For comparison, the average NFL team this year has run 64 plays per game.

Jay Gruden said that the Panthers’ coverage scheme was set up to take away big plays. “Carolina was playing a lot of the read Cover 2 last week where it’s hard to get him the ball down the sideline or to the post,” he said. “So it might be some underneath-type throws and we have other guys that are in those spots.”

Cousins pointed out that they did get the ball to Jackson on some bubble screens but they weren’t able to break any of them for solid gains.

But, regardless, they have to figure it out. “We have to make sure we try to keep him in the game for four quarters and try to get him some more looks,” said Gruden.

Gruden is right, of course. Jackson has a $9.2 million salary cap number this year. He is the one offensive weapon the Redskins possess that most other teams don’t have. The chances of them making a run to the playoffs in these last six games are not good if they can’t get contributions out of Jackson from the beginning of the game to the end. 

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Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Need to Know: Five safe draft picks for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 22, four days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five safe picks for the Redskins

Sometimes teams try to hit home runs with their draft picks. They may hit a few but they also will strike out a lot. Teams often are better off trying to hit solid singles and doubles. Here are five picks who would are unlikely to make many Pro Bowls but the Redskins would not regret the pick if they turned in the cards with their names on it. 

RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn—I’m starting off here with a player who would be a safe pick in the third round. Of course, the Redskins don’t have a third right now but if they do swing a trade and get one, Johnson would be a good pick. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, which is one reason why he might be available in the third. He is a grinder who will be an upgrade over Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley. 

DL Vita Vea, Washington—There is plenty of hand wringing over whether Vea is a three-down player or just a base defense nose tackle. But even if he can’t rush the passer very well his floor is a player who can go a long way towards helping the Redskins stop the run, a chronic weakness. This is why a lot of fans and media are urging the Redskins to not overthink this and take a player that will, at a minimum, bolster one of their weakest areas. 

OL Billy Price, Ohio State—He started 55 games for the Buckeyes, the most of any player in the storied history of the program. He did suffer the partial tear of a chest muscle in the combine but that will be fully healed by training camp. When he’s ready, he’s an explosive, smart, and powerful player. Just plug him in at left guard and the Redskins’ O-line is set with all home-grown talent. 

LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State—He doesn’t have the ceiling that the more heralded Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have. However, he may have a higher floor. Smith is undersized, and Edmunds will be highly drafted based more on potential than on production. At 6-4, 256, Vander Esch has plenty of size, and he racked up 141 tackles last year on his way to defensive player of the year honors in the Mountain West. 

 CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado—The All-Pac-12 selection has the size and athleticism that add up to a safe pick in the second round. He needs some work on technique, but he has enough natural athletic ability—he competed in the decathlon—to be a productive cornerback right out of the gate. One other plus that fans will appreciate is that his strength is press coverage, not off man. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 30
—Training camp starts (7/26) 95
—Redskins @ Cardinals (9/9) 140

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

In case you missed it