Ben Standig

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Wizards releasing Chasson Randle opens roster spot, possibilities

Wizards releasing Chasson Randle opens roster spot, possibilities

The Washington Wizards released guard Chasson Randle Monday. The additional space – the Wizards had one vacant roster slot even with Randle – brings up the question of what the team may do next. For now, don’t expect a blockbuster move.

Head coach Scott Brooks briefly addressed the move ahead of Monday’s game against the Orlando Magic.

“He’s a terrific young man, a very good player,” Brooks said of Randle. “Just gives us more flexibility. Who knows what we might do with it. He’s definitely an NBA player.”

Randle, who Washington signed to the active roster on Oct. 30, likely clears waivers, and then would rejoin the Capital City Go-Go, Brooks said. It’s been a back-and-forth scenario for Randle between the Wizards and their G-League squad this season. The 6-foot-2 guard was on the Go-Go roster when Washington’s season tipped off and assigned to the G-League squad at the time of Monday’s release. Randle scored 37 points in the Go-Go’s inaugural game. He did not enter a game for Washington.

The Wizards were forced to add a player by Oct. 30, a date that marked two weeks from the time Washington traded Jodie Meeks to Milwaukee. League rules require a minimum of 14 players on the roster.

That two week timeline applies to the current scenario. For now, the Wizards save a bit on the luxury tax payment by waiving Randle, who was signed to a $1.24 million non-guaranteed contract. Considering he'll likely be back in the building, Randle returning to the Wizards roster is a consideration.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, adding Randle cost the Wizards approximately $239,000 in luxury tax payments. Washington saved approximately $8 million by dealing Meeks.

As Brooks acknowledged, the open spots create greater flexibility.  In wake of the Timberwolves trading disgruntled All-Star Jimmy Butler to the 76ers, multiple reports at least tangentially mentioned the Wizards’ as part of the mix.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Washington balked at including Bradley Beal. SI.com’s Chris Mannix reported teams are keeping tabs on the 3-9 Wizards in case role players like Jeff Green, Markieff Morris or Kelly Oubre Jr. become available should the slow start continue.

Randle’s release limits Washington’s backcourt depth, but the top four options are healthy entering its five-game home-stand. In theory two-way contract player Jordan McRae could be recalled from Capital City, but the wing guard is dealing with a groin injury, according to a source. McRae should be available later in the week.

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8 snap counts and judgments from Redskins' win over Buccaneers and beyond

8 snap counts and judgments from Redskins' win over Buccaneers and beyond

Time for our weekly review of the Washington Redskins snap counts, plus some big picture thoughts one day after Sunday’s 16-3 road victory at Tampa Bay.

♦The Redskins didn’t boldly acquire safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix before the recent NFL trade deadline for him to look cool on the sideline in his No. 20 jersey. After mixing the ex-Packer in for 71 percent of the defensive snaps against the Falcons in his debut days after the trade, Clinton-Dix joined fellow safety D. J. Swearinger on the field for all 69 defensive snaps against the Buccaneers.

Clinton-Dix finished third in tackles (8) against Tampa Bay. The free safety racking up that many tackles isn’t ideal for the defense, of course. He did recover a fumble and was credited with a single pass defended.

♦Jonathan Allen (43), Daron Payne (42) and Matt Ioannidis (43) all played a bit less than normal. Chalk it up to the coaching staff keeping players fresh in the warm conditions. Tim Settle (11) only received five snaps over the previous four games. Stacy McGee (11) made his season debut after the Redskins activated him from the PUP list this week.

♦Cassanova McKinzy didn’t just make his defensive debut for the Redskins. The outside linebacker:

  • Played more defensive snaps (24) than 2017 second-round pick Ryan Anderson (22)
  • Was active game day ahead of veteran Pernell McPhee
  • Played late in the fourth quarter with the game result still in the balance

That’s quite extraordinary for the 25-year-old undrafted free agent who moved from the practice squad to the 53-man roster multiple times this season. That the Redskins deactivated McPhee automatically sent a signal something was up considering the limited outside linebacker depth.

McKinzy finished with one official tackle, essentially falling on Ryan Fitzpatrick as the Tampa Bay quarterback gathered a fumble. The former Auburn Tiger’s biggest play, a strip-sack and fumble recovery inside Washington’s 20-yard-line, was wiped out by a Josh Norman holding penalty.

Anderson was not officially credited with a tackle or forced fumble, though he clearly punched the ball away from Bucs running Jacquizz Rodgers. Clinton-Dix recovered the ball in the end zone for one of the defense’s four turnovers.

McPhee, who was added this offseason in free agency as pass rush help, had zero sacks in eight games. His playing time ranged from 18-24 percent of defensive snaps this season.

♦Ryan Kerrigan (64 percent) and Preston Smith (70) both played their least percentage of snaps this season. Again, we’ll assume this usage a nod to the heat thrown down by Mother Nature.

♦Whatever blame Zach Brown felt from the coaching staff, it didn’t reflect in his playing time; the 75 percent of snaps meshed with previous weekly amounts.

♦Wide receiver snaps: Josh Doctson (45), Maurice Harris (38), Michael Floyd (31), Brian Quick (21). Percentage-wise, Doctson and Harris ticked down in part because the three tight ends each played 45 percent of the snaps in the same game for the first time this season. The need for more run-blocking in light of the offensive line issues likely played a factor in more work for Floyd.

♦Danny Johnson (18) played early in place of the inactive Quinton Dunbar, but ultimately fellow rookie cornerback Greg Stroman (39) more than doubled his snap total. Both players were credited with a pass defended, but Stroman added an interception and a forced fumble. Either rookie will be challenged in Week 11 against the Texans receiver duo of DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas if Dunbar sits again.

♦Random stat for the win: Alex Smith finished with EXACTLY 178 passing yards for the third time in four games. Equally amazing considering NFL offenses in 2018, the Redskins are 3-0 in those games. They lost to Atlanta in Week 9 when Smith finished with 306 yards as Washington played catch-up.

Props to the Redskins for Sunday’s gritty win. The NFC East leaders, now 6-3 overall and 2-0 in the division, hold a two-game lead over the 4-5 Cowboys and Eagles. Winning just three of their final seven games might be enough to win the division. One can’t win the Super Bowl without making the playoffs, so let’s not discount the potential achievement, especially after zero postseason appearances since 2015.

There’s a difference between qualifying for the playoffs and truly contending. It’s hard projecting Washington as a true contender based on recent performances and current injuries.

The defense, which allowed 501 net yards yet only three points at Tampa Bay, did the best version of bend but don’t break in NFL history. Seriously, this isn’t a joke.

The Redskins forced the Buccaneers into methodical mode offensively. The more plays run, the more chances for mistakes. Fitzpatrick and crew made plenty while Washington defenders consistently held strong in the red zone. That’s probably not good enough most week against steadier offenses. Let’s not forget Atlanta struck for 38 points and 491 yards in Week 9. Among the league leaders in yards allowed per game for most of the season, the Redskins now rank 17th (361.0).

The concern, however, exists on the other side. Washington could barely put up points or move the ball through the air against Tampa’s 30th ranked pass defense. The Redskins now rank 26th in scoring offense (19.6) and yards per game (337.4).

The Redskins are obviously shorthanded. We’ll see when Trent Williams, Jamison Crowder and Chris Thompson return.

The NFL is unforgiving. Other teams are missing integral components as well. The key is adjusting. The Redskins did good work against the Buccaneers. The same likely won’t be enough for two wins over the next three weeks against Houston, at Dallas on Thanksgiving and at Philadelphia.

That’s short-term. If we're talking bigger picture, it’s hard projecting Washington as a true contender under current conditions. Then again, who had them 6-3 after nine games regardless.

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Redskins vs Bucs: Highs and Lows from Week 10

Redskins vs Bucs: Highs and Lows from Week 10

Under normal circumstances playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, even on the road represents a get-right opportunity for the Washington Redskins coming off a loss. Little is as expected for the offense, of course. Three starters along the line are out, including left tackle Trent Williams. Jonathan Cooper, who joined the roster this week, starts at left guard. No Jamison Crowder, no Chris Thompson.

Oh, the defense isn’t at max depth either. Cornerback Quinton Dunbar (leg) was among the inactives after returning last week. Linebackers Pernell McPhee and Zach Vigil joined Dunbar on the inactive list. Huh, that’s interesting.

We’ll see if quarterback Alex Smith can attack the Buccaneers’ 30th ranked pass defense. Can the Redskins secondary slos down the Tampa Bay aerial show headlined by DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans and O.J. Howard? Here we go…

Redskins at Bucs: Highs and Lows

FIRST QUARTER:

HIGHS: Remember when Josh Norman went well over a full season without an interception? The cornerback came up with his second pick of the season on Tampa Bay’s opening drive. Unlike the simple grab in Week 6 against Carolina, Norman made an acrobatic catch to snag an overthrow from Ryan Fitzpatrick near the goal line. That’s a big moment not just for the obvious turnover, but the bizarre reality that the Redskins are 0-3 this season when trailing, but 5-0 when scoring first.

The turnover didn’t lead to points, but Washington did score first with a Dustin Hopkins 43-yard field goal on its second possession. Runs of 15 and 16 yards by Kapri Bibbs and Adrian Peterson respectively sandwiched a 24-yard reception by Jordan Reed moved the ball into Bucs territory. Settling for three points isn’t ideal considering the Bucs offense can rack up points, but the makeshift line opened holes on the ground. That’s an early win.

LOWS: No Dunbar puts rookie Danny Johnson on the field. Just like fellow rookie Greg Stroman earlier in the season when Dunbar sat, Johnson became a favorite target for the opposing quarterback. Howard beat Johnson over the middle for a 15-yard gain. Don’t expect the Bucs to stop looking for the rookie.

SECOND QUARTER:

HIGHS: The Redskins defense is defining bend, but don’t break. Three of Tampa’s first-half drives reached the red-zone, yet resulted in only three points. Give an assist to Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro, who missed a 30-yard field goal on the middle of three lengthy drives. Tampa Bay knotted the score 3-3 as Cantazaro booted a 33-yarder on the next possession, but only after a good stand from the defense. Matt Ioannidis sacked quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on first-and-10 from the Redskins’ 12. Two incompletions followed.

Washington’s offense isn’t likely to put up massive numbers, meaning the defense must keep up the bending without breaking. Seeing as Tampa Bay had 16 first downs, but only three points at halftime, so far, so good. This probably won’t be good enough, however, unless the Bucs botch more chances. By the way, that’s 7.5 sacks for Ioannidis on the season. 

LOWS:  We already knew things wouldn’t be easy for an offense yet to click under Alex Smith. Five Week 1 starters are out along with running back Chris Thompson. Mistakes added to the degree of difficulty. Bibbs’ 40-yard run-and-catch just before the two-minute warning came back  because of a holding call on Cooper in his first action with Washington. Wide receiver Michael Floyd dropped a pass two plays later.

The Redskins moved the ball enough on the drive for a second 43-yard field goal from Hopkins and a 6-3 halftime lead. Better work in the second half is required. Tampa Bay doubled up Washington’s 136 total yards and time of possession. It’s only a matter of time before Fitzpatrick and crew find the end zone, meaning Smith’s side better figure out a way to move the ball consistently and convert for points.

THIRD QUARTER:

HIGHS: It’s not easy picking a “high” when neither side score, though the Redskins ended the quarter with the ball at the Tampa Bay 15. We’ll see how that drive unfolds. For now, let’s focus on the defense dodging bullets like Neo in “The Matrix” For the fourth time the Bucs entered the red-zone. For the third time, they come away with zero points. This time, a 14-yard loss on a fumble moved the ball from the 16 back to Washington’s 30, and Cantazaro then missed from 48. Tampa Bay is up to 359 yards and 20 first-down yards. That the Redskins are holding them to field goals is the key in a touchdown-less game. What happens from there, a gift.

LOWS: Nothing working on the ground for Adrian Peterson, who has 23 yards on nine carries. Washington is winless this season when Peterson rushes for less than 90 yards. Smith isn't exactly lighting it up with the passing game, but with this hodgepodge offensive line Washington might have to give up the ground attack and target that Bucs woeful pass defense. Nice gains to Maurice Harris and Reed moved the ball into the red-zone as the quarter ended.

FOURTH QUARTER:

HIGHS: Somebody finally found the end zone. Fortunately, for those rooting on the Redskins, that somebody was Josh Doctson, who ran the back of the end-zone until Smith found him for a six-yard catch. 

The score started a stretch of goodness for the Redskins. On Tampa Bay’s next play from scrimmage, Greg Stroman intercepted Fitzpatrick, setting up a third Hopkins field goal, this one from 26 out for a 16-3 lead. The Bucs quickly tried countering, but Ryan Anderson popped the ball out of Jacquizz Rodgers’ hands just as the running back entered into the Bermuda Triangle, err, the red-zone. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix recovered in the end zone. Another red-zone chance followed for Tampa Bay. Mike Evans dropped a potential touchdown catch one play before Preston Smith’s strip-sack forced a fumble, which Ryan Kerrigan recovered at Washington’s seven-yard-line. Better to be lucky than good, some say. 

The Redskins lived that bend, but don’t break defense to the nth degree. Tampa Bay botched soooooo many chances from start to finish. The NFC South squad entered second in yards per game, and finished with 498 yards (to Washington's 286). They easily had more first downs (29-15), but the name of the game is scoring points. On that front, the Redskins won, which is why they also won the actual game.

LOWS: There is no downside in the win, which moved the first place Redskins to 6-3. There is, however, a certain reality. The offense isn't holding up its end other than avoiding turnovers. Smith (19 for 27, 178 yards, one touchdown) has thrown for exactly 178 yards in three of the last four games. His counterpart is fun, but "Fitzmagic" is a journeyman for a reason yet the Bucs essentially had 500 total yards. This performance against a team with the goods on both sides of the ball probably wouldn’t be enough. 

The Houston Texans might be one of those teams. The AFC North leaders entered their Week 10 bye riding a six-game winning streak. J.J. Watt and crew will be rested – and ready to attack that Redskins offensive line. Houston hasn’t needed much from quarterback Deshaun Watson lately, but eight touchdown passes with zero interceptions over the last three games works.

That’s next week talk. The Redskins pulled off a win despite missing key pieces all over the place. Nine wins might be enough in the NFC East this season. Washington needs to finish 3-4 to get there. Keep up the opportunistic streak defensively while avoiding turnovers on offense, and it just might get there.

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