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10 Questions for Training Camp: Want better offense? Get better play from the tight ends

10 Questions for Training Camp: Want better offense? Get better play from the tight ends

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

Over-simplification can be dangerous, but at the same time, some problems boil down to a root cause. 

The Redskins play-action pass game looked bad in 2018, and if you listen to head coach Jay Gruden, much of that might have hinged on the ability of his tight ends to run block. 

Back in March Gruden opened up about some of his team's offensive struggles in 2018 and the coach pointed out that his tight end rotation varied greatly on if the team was going to run or pass. Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis tended to come off the field in clear run situations, while Jeremy Sprinkle didn't get many snaps on pass plays. 

As the season went on, that became obvious for opposing defense. 

"Your tendencies are probably through the roof when you throw, that's what we're trying to guard against," Gruden said at the NFL League Meetings. "We got to figure out ways to be balanced in all personnel group settings and make sure that's really what we're studying in the offseason and moving forward how we can adapt our running game to make sure we have the equal amount of runs in each personnel group with each person in that group."

Sure those quotes are a few months old now, but nothing has been done to change the personnel. Reed, Davis and Sprinkle populate the tight end depth chart, and it doesn't seem likely there will be significant change to any of the three player's game. 

Based on that, something else must change. 

The Redskins either need to adapt their run style to something where Reed and/or Davis can be on the field. Or use Sprinkle more in the pass game.

Neither of those options seem particularly likely. 

What could happen is less two tight sets for the Washington offense, and less dependency on that look. 

In his remarks from March, Gruden hinted that the Redskins could deploy their 11 personnel more often, going with three wideouts and one tight, instead of two tight ends on the field. That would require health and productivity from the Redskins wideouts, which hasn't happened in the last two seasons. 

In a way, the discussion of a blocking tight end is very much an oversimplification of the Redskins 2018 offensive woes. The team ranked 29th in the NFL in points scored, and obviously, that lack of production did not stem from one position. 

At the same time, however, the lack of a tight end that can run block and show up in the pass game creates a series of other problems. The team can't always run with their best receiving threats on the field, they can't pull off play-action because the run threat doesn't always emerge, and all of that snowballs. 

The little things add up in the NFL. Just ask Jay Gruden. 

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Potential No. 1 NFL Draft pick Tua Tagovailoa to miss rest of season with hip injury

Potential No. 1 NFL Draft pick Tua Tagovailoa to miss rest of season with hip injury

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- What was planned to be the last series of the day for Tua Tagovailoa ended in the final play of his season -- and maybe his Alabama career.

The Crimson Tide's star quarterback will miss the rest of the season after dislocating his right hip in the first half of No. 4 Alabama's 38-7 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday.

Tagovailoa, the potential top pick in April's NFL draft, was injured while being dragged down by two Bulldogs late in the first half, with the Tide up four touchdowns. He was flown by helicopter to the St. Vincent's Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama. Hours later the school announced he has sustained a dislocated right hip.

"He is undergoing further testing to determine the best course of treatment," Alabama team orthopedic surgeon Lyle Cain said in a statement. "He is expected to make a full recovery but will miss the remainder of the season."

Tagovailoa had been nursing an ankle injury and Alabama was considering holding him out of this game. The junior needed surgery four weeks ago for a high ankle sprain on his right leg that caused him to miss a game and a half.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said the plan was to remove Tagovailoa from the game before the series when the quarterback was injury. Alabama was leading 35-7, but it was decided to let Tagovailoa play one more possession to get some work in the two-minute drill.

"We can second guess ourselves all we want," Saban said. "We told Mac (Jones) to warm up and we were going to go 2-minute before the half. Tua wanted to play in the game and so I don't really make a lot of decisions worrying if a guy is going to get hurt."

Tagovailoa was 14 of 18 for 256 yards and two touchdown passes against Mississippi State, giving him 31 TD passes on the season. He was replaced by Jones, who went 7 for 11 for 94 yards.

Jones led the Crimson Tide to an easy victory when he started against Arkansas last month. Alabama faces Western Carolina next week before finishing the season at No. 13 Auburn.

Tailback Najee Harris warned reporters that he wasn't in the mood to answer questions, saying: "I'm just hurt about our quarterback, what happened to our quarterback."

"He means a lot to our team, Harris said. "It's our guy. I came here at the same time he did. Been friends with him since my freshman season. For him to go down like that really hurts."

The Crimson Tide (9-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) were coming off a 46-41 loss to LSU that nudged it out of College Football Playoff position to fifth in the latest selection committee rankings. Now Alabama is facing the possibility of trying to impress the committee without Tagovailoa, the Heisman Trophy runner-up from last season.

Tagovailoa played well against LSU, passing for more than 400 yards, but he was gimpy at times, favoring his right ankle. Saban said Tagovailoa was a game-time decision against Mississippi State. He started and the Tide jumped out to a 14-0 lead on a touchdown run and a touchdown catch by Najee Harris, who finished with four TDs.

Mississippi State (4-6, 2-5) cut the lead to 14-7 on a 1-yard scoring run by Kylin Hill. But that was as close it got. Harris finished with 88 yards rushing and 51 yards receiving. Jerry Jeudy had seven catches for 114 yards receiving for Alabama.

After the game, the mood among the Tide players was somber.

"I'm just hurt about our quarterback, what happened to our quarterback," Harris said.

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Fantasy Football: Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 11

Fantasy Football: Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 11

Week 11 is here and it is time to take a good look at your lineups and decide whether you like the direction your team is headed. If you are sitting at 4-6, its time to make a season-deciding trade. If you're sitting at 5-5, bolster your bench for later in the season. It's also time to stop wasting a roster spot on players that have continued to let you down. This is most likely your last opportunity to make a trade before the deadline, so take advantage of that before it’s too late.

Before we can get ready for Week 11, lineups need to be set, decisions need to be made and let's take a look at how last week's predictions fared.

Start 'Em

QB: Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals: 324 Passing YDS, 3 Passing TD, 1 INT, 38 Rushing YDS: 26.7 PTS
RB: Tevin Coleman, San Francisco 49ers: 40 Rushing YDS, 4 Receptions, 32 Receiving YDS, 11.2 PTS
WR: Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts: 2 Receptions, 26 Receiving YDS. 4.6 PTS
TE: O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4 Receptions, 47 Receiving YDS, 1 Receiving TD, 14.7 PTS 

Sit 'Em

QB: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings: 220 Passing YDS, 2 Passing TD, 19.3 PTS
RB: Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons, 38 Rushing YDS, 3 Receptions, 10 Receiving YDS, 7.8 PTS
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers, 3 Receptions, 44 Receiving YDS, 7.4 PTS
TE: Chris Herndon, New York Jets: 1 Reception, 7 Receiving YDS, 1.7 PTS

Week 1: 5/8
Week 2: 6/8
Week 3: 4/8
Week 4: 6/8
Week 5: 4/8
Week 6: 2/8 
Week 7: 6/8
Week 8: 4/8
Week 9: 6/8
Week 10: 6/8

Start 'Em

QB: Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

Opponent: vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Derek Carr has thrived this season despite not having the weapons he had expected. Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow have been exceptional for the Raiders this season and a matchup against the winless Bengals should give Carr a top-10 finish in Week 11.

RB: Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
Opponent: at Miami Dolphins

Devin Singletary has yet to be unleashed yet by Sean McDermott through ten games. A matchup against the Dolphins could get him going and should give you the confidence to insert him into your lineup. 

WR: D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
Opponent: vs. Atlanta Falcons

D.J. Moore hasn’t gotten going to the extent many expected he would in his second season with the Panthers. A matchup in Week 11 against a struggling Falcons secondary will provide the tune-up game Moore needs.

TE: Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts
Opponent: vs. jacksonville Jaguars

Austin Hooper is out. George Kittle is out. Evan Engram is on a bye. Jack Doyle is a more than serviceable streamer in Week 11 with four teams on a bye and three of the top 7 tight ends on the shelf this week.

Sit 'Em

QB: Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars

Opponent: at Indianapolis Colts

Nick Foles will take the mantle back from Gardner Minshew in Week 11 when he returns to the starting lineup against the Colts. While Foles could producer average numbers, it’s worth waiting a week before inserting him into your lineup.

RB: David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
Opponent: at Los Angeles Rams

David Montgomery received a lot of hype after being drafted by the Bears back in April but with the way this offense has performed through the first ten games of the season, he cannot be relied upon with the fantasy playoffs on the horizon.

WR: Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles
Opponent: vs. New England Patriots

With Alshon Jeffery ruled out for the Super Bowl rematch with New England, Nelson Agholor will be shadowed by Patriots star Stephon Gilmore in Week 11 who has been nothing short of exceptional through the first 10 weeks of the season.

TE: Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams
Opponent: vs. Chicago Bears

With a banged-up offensive line in Week 11, Gerald Everett will be asked to block more than usual with Khalil Mack in town. Look for Jared Goff to get Cooper Kupp going early after the latter was held without a catch in Week 10 against the Steelers.

For a tiered breakdown of each fantasy football position, click below:

Quarterback Rankings: Week 11
Running Back Rankings: Week 11
Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 11
Tight End Rankings: Week 11