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Redskins report card at the bye—Crowder at the head of the class


Redskins report card at the bye—Crowder at the head of the class

JP Finlay and I did our bye week grades on the Redskins’ position groups (you can find the links to all of them at the bottom of our post on special teams). But that doesn’t cover everything that needs to be evaluated before we turn out full attention to the second half of the season. Here is my report card on various individuals and other aspects of the Redskins in the first half of the season. Note that part-time players don’t get an A from me unless they are truly outstanding.

If I’m way off, or if I missed a player or coach you think needs a grade, let me know in the comments.


Ever since Spencer Long went in at center things have clicked for the Redskins’ offensive line. They have allowed seven sacks in five games and have rushed for 100 yards or more in four of those games. We will have to see if they can maintain this grade with Trent Williams watching games at home while serving his substance abuse suspension.

You couldn’t ask much more out of Jamison Crowder than 40 receptions (leads Redskins wide receivers) for 498 yards and four touchdowns (both lead the team). On top of that, however, Crowder also leads the NFL in punt return average at 19.2 yards and he scored a key touchdown with an 85-yard return against the Ravens.

I gave Kirk Cousins an A- in the grades series on CSN and there’s no reason to change it here. He has left the field with the Redskins having a very good chance of winning the game for six consecutive weeks. Sure, there are areas he could improve but he is doing his job.

Others: TE Jordan Reed, RB Chris Thompson


You certainly can quibble about some of Jay Gruden’s play calling and clock management. And I still haven’t figured out why he went for it on fourth and short in the red zone against the Bengals. But week after week he has had his team ready to play and in all but one game they have had a chance to win at the end. That’s about all you can ask out of a head coach, especially one with a roster not exactly loaded with Pro Bowlers.

Josh Norman has played well, although he has missed some potential big interceptions. He was probably in A territory before the Bengals game. A veteran has to learn to adjust his game if they are continually going to flag him for hands to the face. He’s been an excellent addition but if he’s going to take some flags (overall he’s the most penalized player in the league) he needs to make a few more big plays.

What grade should DeSean Jackson get? He hasn’t been very productive but it’s not all his fault. Clearly he has been getting open and Cousins has been going elsewhere with the ball. A grade of B seems fair.

If I had told you before the season started that Trent Murphy would have a grade of B at midseason you would think that the grading would have to be on some sort of a severe curve. But with six sacks and three forced fumbles he is on a roll.

I know many will scream with the offensive play calling getting an above average grade. But they are near the top of the NFL in yards per play (2nd), third-down conversions (6th), and fewest three and out series (1st). The only area that needs major work is the red zone and I’m convinced that play calling is only part of the issue there. The execution has been subpar at times as well.

Others: OLB Ryan Kerrigan, CB Kendall Fuller, K Dustin Hopkins, WR Pierre Garçon, TE Vernon Davis, ILB Mason Foster, ILB Su’a Cravens, RB Rob Kelley


This was the grade that Twitter gave the Redskins on the first half of the season in the poll I ran yesterday. It was a solid majority of 60 percent and I see no reason to make a case that it should be higher or lower.

Punter Tress Way has gone from being special to being, well, average. He is near the bottom of the league in touchbacks, punts inside the 20, a net average.

Others: ILB Will Compton, DE Chris Baker, DL Ziggy Hood, DC Joe Barry,


All through training camp and the first part of the season it looked like RB Matt Jones had taken care of his fumbling issues from his rookie year. But then the ball started falling on the ground with alarming regularity. He needs to get it back together.

Preston Smith might earn a C in a vacuum but his ability and the expectations for him move him down to this level. He’s too talented to have just 1.5 sacks and no fumbles forced or recovered put him here.

It’s the same story with Bashaud Breeland. His first two years in the league he played on a B-/C+ level most of the time. This year with higher expectations he’s scuffling. And what was up with him missing almost half of the Bengals game with cramps?

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Three Monday visitors to Redskins Park could determine team's free agency strategy going forward

USA Today Sports Images

Three Monday visitors to Redskins Park could determine team's free agency strategy going forward

The Redskins are having three visitors today in Ashburn. Depending on how they go, they could mostly be done with free agency or still pushing to fill some needs.

They have been making an effort to hire one of the top defensive linemen on the market since before free agency actually started. They had former Jet Muhammad Wilkerson in for a visit last Tuesday, something they could do because Wilkerson had been released. The team put on a good sales push that lasted most of the day, but Wilkerson left without a deal. Shortly after he left he decided to sign with the Packers.

They made runs at Dontari Poe and Sheldon Richardson, but they signed with the Panthers and Vikings, respectively. The prospects were looking slim until the Colts decided to cut Jonathan Hankins on Saturday. He weighs 320 pounds and turned 25 on January 1. Hankins probably isn’t going to make any All-Pro teams or post double-digit sacks, but he will help you stop the run for the next half-decade, at least. In case you haven’t noticed, that’s the Redskins’ biggest defensive problem for the last several seasons.


Hankins is visiting today and he is someone the Redskins would very much like to sign. The other two visitors may be fallback plans.

Cornerback Orlando Scandrick is a veteran who can play in the slot. That is what the Redskins are looking for but Scandrick does not appear to be their first choice. Last week they had former Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in for an extended visit that included a physical. However, they could not come together on money. Scandrick, who has missed time with injuries in each of the last two years, could be an alternative to Rodgers-Cromartie or it could be that he is being used to put some pressure on the Redskins’ preferred choice.

Edge rusher Pernell McPhee is also clearly a second choice. The Redskins have an offer on the table for Junior Galette to return. He tweeted yesterday that the Redskins were the best fit for him but that the money “has to be fair.”

McPhee has played well but injuries have limited his impact the last two years. He started the 2016 season on injured reserve with a knee injury and he missed a total of seven games. Last year he missed three games with shoulder and knee injuries.


The Redskins likely are interested in McPhee for the right price. That price is considerably less than the $7 million he was going to make from the Bears this year before the let him go on February 26. There does not seem to be a hot market for his services; he has been a free agent for three and a half weeks and this is his first reported visit.

The Redskins would rather bring back Galette, who was much more effective as a pass rusher last year than his three sacks would indicate. But the price has to be right for both sides and apparently there is some work to be done towards working that out.

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

Associated Press

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

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 19, 38 days before the NFL draft.  

Free agency notes and nuggets

Looking at the 2018 depth chart—offense

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 offensive side of the ball stands now. The defense is up tomorrow

Quarterback: Alex Smith
Backups: Colt McCoy

The only question here is if the Redskins will draft a late-round project quarterback to develop as the backup. McCoy is in the last year of his contract and he may not be back in 2019.

Running back: Samaje Perine
Backups: Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, draft pick

This is an area to watch. Thompson could end up being the only carryover if they get a draft pick who can start and decide to keep 2017 late-season addition Kapri Bibbs or if they find another veteran. They also could go with only three running backs.

Wide receivers: Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder
Backups: Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Brian Quick

They may not carry six, so Harris, Davis, and Quick might battle it out for two spots. It’s possible that they will put a draft pick into the mix as well.

MORE REDSKINS: The Redskins week that was

Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

As of right now, this appears to be one of the few position groups you can write in with a Sharpie. If the Redskins are going to be better in 2018, a lot of the improvement will have to come from improvement of 2017 draft picks like Sprinkle. If he can develop into a solid blocker and a moderate receiving threat he will be an asset.

Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Arie Kouandjio, C Chase Roullier RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: T Ty Nsekhe, G/T Tyler Catalina, G Kyle Kalis, T T.J. Clemmings

Kouandjio is a placeholder at left guard for the moment. He was solid pass blocking but struggled in run blocking in six starts in injury fill-in duty. I think that if they bring in another interior O-lineman in free agency or in the draft, Roullier will remain at center. I think Jay Gruden likes the way he is developing there and wants to continue.

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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