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Will defense bend but not break in New York?


Will defense bend but not break in New York?

The Redskins’ defense has been out on the field for more plays in the past two weeks but they are playing better.

In the first four games of the season, opponents ran 244 plays and scored 123 points. That’s 61 plays and 30.1 points per game and an average of .50 points for every offensive play run.

The past two weeks, opponents have run 161 plays, an average of 80.5 per game, and they have scored 50 points, 25 per game. The Redskins have given up an average of .31 points per offensive play.

The Redskins’ opponents are running more plays but getting less out of them. The big plays that were so common in the first quarter of the season have by and large disappeared. In the past two games the longest plays they have given up are a 32-yard Adrian Peterson run and a 29-yard pass from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones.

Let’s see, forcing long drives, not giving up big plays, forcing teams to settle for field goal attempts (as the Redskins did three times in the first quarter of the Vikings game). That sure sounds like a bend but don’t break defense to me.

But when asked about applying that term to his defense, Jim Haslett objected. “I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a bend but don’t break defense if you’re blitzing,” he said. “I think last week we had a big lead and didn’t want to give it up.”

Will the Redskins be in the position of having to protect a fourth-quarter lead on Sunday? The Giants have been very efficient on offense, scoring .45 points per offensive play. The Redskins will have to be at the top of their game to keep the Giants from piling up the points.

Of course, Robert Griffin III and the Redskins are capable of lighting up the scoreboard as well. They have score exactly as many points as the Giants have, 178 (29.7 per game, .48 points/play).

And this game could well come down to who has the ball in his hands last. Eli Manning is one of the best fourth-quarter quarterbacks in the game and he has led two last-minute drives to win Super Bowls. Griffin is carving out his own niche with a late drive to set up a field goal to beat the Bucs and last week’s game-clinching 76-yard run against the Vikings.

I read that Accuscore, one of those places where they simulate each game 10,000 times, had the Giants winning 60 percent of the time. That sounds about right. The Giants should be favored but 40 percent is certainly a reasonable chance of winning.

I’m not going to pick the upset here with the Redskins on the road but it would not be stunning at all if I’m wrong. The RG3 legend could well grow this weekend.

Giants 28, Redskins 24

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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.


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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

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Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract

When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on January 30, news also broke that he had agreed to a four-year extension with Washington in addition to the one year left on his contract with the Chiefs. While we got some top-line numbers on the deal, we have gone since then without any details.

Until now.

The details show a deal that has a slightly higher cap hit in 2018 than was on his original Chiefs contract and the numbers rise gradually over the life of the deal, which runs through 2022. The top line numbers are five years, $111 million, an average annual value of $22.2 million per year. 


Smith got a $27 million signing bonus and his salaries for 2018 ($13 million) and 2019 ($15 million) also are fully guaranteed at signing making the total $55 million (information via Over the Cap, which got data from a report by Albert Breer).

But there is another $16 million that is guaranteed for all practical purposes. On the fifth day of the 2019 league year, his 2020 salary of $16 million becomes fully guaranteed. He almost assuredly will get to the point where that money will become guaranteed since the Redskins are not going to cut him after one year having invested $55 million in him. So the total guarantees come to $71 million.

His 2021 salary is $19 million and it goes up to $21 million in 2022. There have been reports of some incentives available to Smith, but since we have no details, we’ll set those aside for now.

The cap hits on the contract are as follows:

2018: $18.4 million
2019: $20.0 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $24.4 million
2022: $26.4 million

The Redskins can realistically move on from Smith after 2020. There would be net cap savings of $13 million in 2021 and $21 million in 2022.

The first impression of the deal is that the Redskins did not move on from Kirk Cousins because they didn’t want to guarantee a lot of money to a quarterback. The total practical guarantee of $71 million is second only to Cousins’ $82.5 million. It should be noted that Cousins’ deal runs for three years and Smith’s contract is for five.


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.