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Will an emphasis on work ethic take some players off the Redskins' draft board?

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Will an emphasis on work ethic take some players off the Redskins' draft board?

It appears that the Redskins are putting a greater emphasis on intangibles when they are putting together their draft board and that might remove some prospects from consideration.

“What we’re looking for is people who love football and want to play football and want to win with the Washington Redskins,” said Bruce Allen during the team’s pre-draft press conference on Tuesday.

“You find out what a guy’s work ethic is and how important football is to him,” added Director of Player Personnel Scott Campbell. “As opposed to a guy that doesn’t love the weight room, is late, doesn’t work, is overweight, never in shape when the season starts – those are flags to you on how important football is to that player.”

The Redskins perhaps sent a signal that they are serious about character issues a few hours after the press conference when they waived Tanard Jackson right after the safety came off of a two-season suspension for violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. They certainly could have used someone with Jackson’s talent at the thin safety position but it’s possible that they had doubts about “how important football is to that player”.

There are some players in the draft pool who have been linked to the Redskins who might not survive the new emphasis on character and desire. Notre Dame defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt reported out of shape prior to his 2013 junior season, a red flag specifically mentioned by Campbell. There have been questions about the work ethic of Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses. The team’s scouts will certainly investigate those issues. Campbell said that they talk to “the coaches, the trainers, the strength coaches” and others to gauge work ethic and love of the game.

Some different issues have to make you wonder about some other players who seem to be fits for the Redskins. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Washington has a reputation for being a “wild child”, a reputation bolstered by a 2013 one-car accident that led to a DUI conviction. That certainly will show up in the grade the Redskins give him. Jace Amaro, another tight end out of Texas Tech, has March 2012 arrest for credit card fraud and an incident where he was ejected from the Red Raiders’ 2012 bowl game after throwing a punch.

Before taking the likes of Tuitt, Moses, Amaro, and Seferian-Jenkins off of the Redskins’ draft board remember that the intangibles are just part of the equation. “The grade that a player has on him, his final grade, takes into consideration all of his physical talents and the desire that we feel that he has to play,” said Allen.

So it sounds like players with great talent can overcome some off-field issues. But perhaps not as easily as they have been able to in the past.

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

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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.

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Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

There was some confusion about the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Tennessee when the NFL schedule dropped. The schedule pushed out by the Redskins said that the game date and time are to be determined. Other versions that went out, including the one on NFL.com, says the game will be on Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

So what’s the story? Well, if you’re thinking of making reservations to go to Nashville to watch the game you just might want to hold off for a while. Like, until early November. 

In an under the radar move, the NFL has established flex scheduling for its late-season Saturday games. Here are the details from the schedule press release from Redskins PR:

“Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network, with the game times of 4:30 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”

The way it sets up, if the Redskins and Titans are playing well in midseason there is a good chance the game will be played on Saturday, December 22 at either 4:30 or 8:20. If one or both teams are struggling, the league and networks could choose to flex two of the other four matchups to Saturday. 

This is taking flex scheduling to a different level. It’s one thing shifting a Sunday kickoff seven and a half hours from 1 p.m. to 8:30. It’s another to shift a whole day. The visiting teams can’t make travel arrangements, not knowing if they need to come into town on Friday for a Saturday game or on Saturday for Sunday. Fans who want to travel to the game are in the same boat. 

Of course, if you can afford it, you can just add a day to your Nashville excursion. There are worse things in the world than spending an extra day or two in Music City. 

If you have to wait to make your plans, as the Redskins do, you will find out no later than October 29, which is when Week 8 ends. 

Do you believe in trends? Then you should hope that the game does get flexed to Saturday. The Redskins have won three straight Saturday games, beating the Eagles in both 2014 and 2015 (the latter game clinching the division title for Washington) and the Bears in 2016. 

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