Washington Football

Raiders' focus shifts to future

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Raiders' focus shifts to future

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) For the Oakland Raiders, the focus has already turned to the future.

With six straight losses, all that's left for the Raiders (3-10) to play for in the final three weeks is pride, draft position and the opportunity to evaluate some of the younger players on the roster.

Coach Dennis Allen has already gotten increased playing time from young receivers like Rod Streater and Juron Criner, cornerback Phillip Adams and defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi. Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie want to get a more detailed look at third-string quarterback Terrelle Pryor and rookie offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom in the final three weeks.

``All of us, as competitors, we want to win. That's what it's all about,'' Allen said. ``But I also understand, and I've got a big-picture view of what I want this football team to look like. Reggie and I have talked about it. We knew what we were dealing with when we came here. We knew we had some depth issues on the roster, and we couldn't sustain a lot of injuries. We've sustained a few injuries in some spots. We all want to win, and I understand that. And I want to win now, but I'm looking at the long-term future of this team. We've got to prepare for the future.''

Streater is coming off his best game as a pro, catching four passes for 100 yards - even besting his top single-game yardage mark from two years at Temple. Streater signed with Oakland as an undrafted free agent and has been one of the brightest developments this season with 28 catches for 429 yards and three touchdowns.

``Experience is definitely valuable,'' Streater said. ``A lot of things you can't just teach. You got to kind of go out there and experience the good and the bad. Getting that experience will be good for me next year.''

Criner, a fifth-round pick, has 15 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown and has gotten increased playing time in recent weeks.

Adams has gotten more time at cornerback the past few weeks and has interceptions the past two games, while Bilukidi is part of the defensive line rotation.

Allen said he would look at possibly starting Bergstrom as the organization figures out which players will be part of the future.

``It's going to take time,'' Allen said. ``It doesn't happen with one decision. It's an accumulation of decisions made over time that gets everything to be exactly how you want it.''

The most interesting case is Pryor, the former Ohio State star who has no official plays in two seasons as a pro. Pryor got on the field once as a rookie and committed a false start before his only play.

He was inactive the first 11 games before dressing the past two weeks without playing. While Carson Palmer will remain a starter barring injury, Allen does want to give Pryor some playing time down the stretch.

``We've got a package of plays that we've had up and available the last couple of weeks to get Terrelle in the game,'' he said. ``I think at some point we'll get him in the game and have a package of plays for him to run.''

Allen is getting backing in this difficult year from an unusual spot: the AFC West rival Denver Broncos. Allen was defensive coordinator in Denver last season and is still highly thought of in that locker room.

After the Broncos' latest win over the Raiders, some of Allen's old players said they believed he was still the right person to get the Raiders turned around.

``Once they get their personnel that they want, that coach Allen wants, things will start working out. It starts from the top,'' cornerback Champ Bailey said. ``He did some good things for us. He did some good things here. I have to give him a lot of credit. He earned that job. He deserves it. He's a good football mind.''

Allen helped Denver win the AFC West last season and knock out Pittsburgh in the wild-card round before getting the Raiders job. His defense in Oakland has not been nearly as good.

The Raiders are last in the league in points allowed per game (30.9) and fifth worst in yards per game (390.2) and are on pace to allow the most points ever in a season in franchise history.

``It's just his first year,'' Denver linebacker Von Miller said. ``I'm sure they'll get it cooking. For us we got it clicking with coach Allen. He's a great coach. I'm sure the wins will start coming soon.''

Notes: Allen will leave the team to attend his father's funeral on Monday. He will decide when he returns whether to reinstate LB Rolando McClain from his two-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. Allen said he has not talked with McClain since the suspension was issued Nov. 30. ... Allen said RB Darren McFadden was walking without pain a day after re-injuring his sprained right ankle that sidelined him for four weeks. ... X-rays on CB Michael Huff's injured wrist were negative. He also was undergoing an MRI but Allen did not believe the injury was serious.

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Redspears or not these uniform designs are a great option for Washington

Redspears or not these uniform designs are a great option for Washington

When looking at the endless amounts of fan concepts and designs out there for the Washington Football Team's next name and logo, it's important to remember that not every idea belongs to the name suggestion of the designer. 

Once Washington makes its final decision, you can bet they'll be looking at a number of different options, and if they want to take a look at the fans' work, they could take a Red Wolves logo and match it up with a Red Tails uniform concept and tweak both to match whatever name they choose. 

In that case, whatever name and logo they choose should have these uniforms, plain and simple. 

 

Mike Joseph created these uniforms as part of his Washington Redspears project and did an exceptional job mocking up a number of different modern uniform designs.

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Redspears isn't a likely name change due to reports saying the franchise plans to stay away from Native American imagery, but that doesn't mean we should ignore these designs.

 

These use the burgundy and gold really well and have a unique number font that has worked for NFL teams like the Ravens, Broncos, Bears, Titans and Steelers in the past. 

The great part about this design is it could be easily rebranded to a different. All the franchise would have to do is lose the spear logo and use whatever logo they settle upon. They could even keep the numbers on the helmet as they have currently. Everything else is versatile. 

Between the sleek design, use of colors and the unique number fonts, this has to be one of, if not the best fan-generated uniform mock-up out there. If the Washington Football team uses these but with a different team name and logo, it'd be hard to complain about that decision. 

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Recent numbers indicate just how hard it could be for Antonio Gandy-Golden to help as a rookie

Recent numbers indicate just how hard it could be for Antonio Gandy-Golden to help as a rookie

There were already some decent expectations placed on Antonio Gandy-Golden for 2020 — and then Kelvin Harmon went down. Now, the Day 3 selection is being labeled as someone who needs to really contribute to the Washington Football Team.

But is that too much to ask for a rookie who went on Saturday in the draft? Recent numbers indicate that answer may be yes.

From 2015 to 2019, 25 wide receivers were chosen in the fourth round, which is where Washington nabbed Gandy-Golden a few months ago. Here are some takeaways from looking back on how all of those guys performed in their first professional seasons:

  • Only one target topped 50 catches and 600 yards, and coincidentally enough, it was Jamison Crowder. Crowder caught 59 passes for 604 yards and two scores as a rookie for the Burgundy and Gold in 2015. The only other guy who came close to either of those marks was Antonio Callaway, who had 43 grabs for 586 yards and five touchdowns for Cleveland in 2018. Those are easily the two best performances by a fourth-round rookie wideout since 2015, so keep that in mind when discussing Gandy-Golden.
  • Out of that group of 25, 15 suited up for double-digit games for their teams during their first taste of the league. The average stat line for those 15 rookies was 17 receptions for 182 yards and one touchdown in about 14 contests. That's meager. 
  • Just nine out of the 25 recorded a touchdown catch as a rookie, and only four (Crowder, Callaway, DaeSean Hamilton and Malcom Mitchell) visited the end zone multiple times.

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So, judging solely off of that data, it would appear that Washington shouldn't be prepared to lean heavily Gandy-Golden. And once you combine that history with other factors, such as the huge transition he's about to make from Libery to the NFL and the very limited offseason he's had thus far, then the outlook for Gandy-Golden becomes even dimmer.

There is a super simple counter argument, however, at least when it comes to comparing him to his past fourth-round peers, and it has to do with his potential playing time.

While the 22-year-old has to fight through a pandemic, something none of the above rookies can relate to and something that could be detrimental to his early career, he also may be in line for a massive share of snaps right away. Most players who go off the board where Gandy-Golden did are usually worried about simply making the team; he, on the other hand, very well could be a starter across from Terry McLaurin in Week 1.

That alone means Gandy-Golden could end up having enough involvement in the offense to come up with a Crowder-like, impactful debut. In 2019, McLaurin far surpassed other third-round rookie receivers due largely to the amount of opportunity he got with Washington (his ridiculous talent was a bonus of course, too). Gandy-Golden is tracking on a similar path. 

A fairly general rule for any franchise is that it's not exactly prudent to need a Day 3 pass catcher to immediately act as one of your primary weapons. Stats from 2015 to 2019 seem to back up that general rule.

Every rule has an exception here or there, though. Maybe Gandy-Golden, with his outstanding physical traits and possibly featured role in 2020, will be that next exception and make all this math and comparing a totally moot issue. 

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