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Results more important than process

Results more important than process

The main complaint about the Washington Redskins draft that is making the rounds is that they didn't "address" the defensive line. It's a complaint heard almost every year as the Redskins do generally ignore the D-line during the annual selection meeting.

Of course, Rob Jackson of Kansas State, the defensive end that the Redskins took in the seventh round in the last dozen picks might take umbrage to such remarks, but nobody is expecting big things out of him, probably not even Mr. and Mrs. Jackson.

Not since 1997, when they tabbed Kennard Lang in the first round, have the Skins used their initial pick for a defensive lineman. Since then the first line of defense has received very limited draft-day attention in the form of late-round draft picks like Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston.

A funny thing has happened during the time that the Redskins have been neglecting the defensive line on the last weekend in April. The defense has been pretty good. Not necessarily great, not dominant, but good enough to win with.

How good? Starting with the 2000 season, the Redskins defense has been ranked 7, 13, 21, 24, 5, 9, 27, and 11 in points allowed. In those eight years they've been in the top 10 three times and in the top half of the league a total of five times.

Whatever method the Redskins are using to acquire defensive players has been working. To worry about where they have acquired their personnel is to be concerned with process over results.

The Redskins have not been mediocre this decade because of their defense. They have struggled because they haven't been able to score points. In that same eight-year span, from 2000-2007 their NFL rankings in point scored have been 24, 28, 25, 22, 31, 13, 20, and 18. They haven't been in the top 10 once and they were in the bottom half of the league in seven of the eight years.

That sounds to me like a team that needs to score more points. They have a ways to go here to move from being awful to merely run of the mill.

We keep on hearing that the Redskins should go after beefing up the defensive line because that's how the Giants won the Super Bowl. It's a copycat league and trying to overwhelm the other team with a fierce pass rush is a solid strategy in any era.

But the Giants weren't the team that was on the verge of being anointed the greatest of all time. That team was the Patriots, the team that added three veteran wide receivers in the offseason and became the greatest scoring machine in league history.

Now, which team do you want to copy? The one that lost six games, had to become road warriors, and needed a miracle throw and catch to become the champs? Or the one that cruised through its schedule undefeated, stayed at home for the playoffs and was a mis-timed jump by Assante Samuel on what would have been a game-ending interception away from the best season ever?

It's funny how just a couple of plays can turn the perception of how you should build your team. If the ball bounces out of David Tyree's grasp when he hits the ground, you should build your team to score points and obliterate the opposition. He catches it and suddenly every team needs to find an Osi and a Strahan in the middle rounds.

Devin Thomas, Fred Davis, and Malcolm Kelly will not turn Jason Campbell into Tom Brady. The Redskins will not win their first 18 games in 2008 or set the all time scoring record. But in time, perhaps as early as midseason, Thomas, Davis, and Kelly will be helping the Redskins score more points. By then Campbell should find the trio providing much more appealing targets than were Keenan McCardell, Reche Caldwell, and Todd Yoder.

If that happens, the biggest problem the team has had over the past eight years will be on its way to being solved.

They do not have to become a Pats-like dynamo to win more games. If they consistently can even score as many points as the average team in the league, that will be a major improvement.

Those who would rather fret over the process rather than look at the result will continue to do so. Too bad, they could be missing out on a lot of fun.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.

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Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.

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I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

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.