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Need to Know: Redskins stock up, stock down after Patriots game

Need to Know: Redskins stock up, stock down after Patriots game

FOXBOROUGH, MA—Here is what you need to know on Friday, August 10, six days before the Washington Redskins host the Jets in their second preseason game. 

Talking points

Here are the players who played well against the Patriots and saw their stock rise and some others who now have declining stock.

Up—WR Cam Sims caught a 57-yard pass from Colt McCoy. It was a nice pass, looped over the fingertips of a leaping safety. Sims made the most of it, staying inbounds and dismissing a few tacklers to get down to the one-year line. Jay Gruden said that he was looking for players who could shine under the bright lights and Sims, who has been inconsistent in practice, needed a good game. 

Down—When QB Kevin Hogan came into the game for the last series of the first half, the Redskins had racked up 259 yards of offense. They ended with 333, meaning that they got 74 yards of offense with Hogan under center. The problems weren't all on him, but he did nothing to elevate the level of play of the offense. He did a few things well, but with the ball in Patriots territory and his team having a chance to take the lead, he coughed up the ball after a sack. 

Up—NT Tim Settle was playing with backups against backups, but that shouldn’t take away from his performance. He dominated the middle, posting five tackles and forcing and recovering a fumble. 

Down—RB Samaje Perine got off a few good runs but he did put the ball on the ground, something he has to avoid at all costs. Fortunately, the fumble, which the Patriots recovered, was negated because of the referees’ questionable assertion that his forward progress had been stopped. Perine was lucky this time, but his next fumble could be his last for the Redskins

Up—Midway through the first quarter, RB Byron Marshall showed why he is a serious candidate to make this roster. On a play from the New England 25, he got matched up against a linebacker and McCoy looked for him all the way. Marshall took in the short pass, turned on the jets, and went in for the touchdown. Not many can do that.

Bureau of statistics 

Only one player who started last night on offense, RB Rob Kelley, might be a Week 1 starter. In all, 29 Redskins did not play.

On the record

Gruden on why so many of the team’s starters did not play: I think a lot of thinking was I want to see our guys play against hopefully a lot of the starters for New England. I think it’s a great opportunity for some of these core backup players to get some great experience against a great team on the road. That was part of it. The other part of it is we have the Jets coming in for a couple of days of practice.

Comment: Yeah, I guess. Bill Belichick did the same thing, so there must be some merit to the strategy. I still think there is some value is giving the starters five to 10 plays just to get them out there. The thing is, coaches like Gruden are terrified of the thought that they might reduce the length of the preseason. If they continue to make the first look just like the fourth, they could disappear in a hurry. 

The agenda

Today: Off day

Upcoming: Preseason Jets @ Redskins (Aug. 16) 6 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 22 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 30 days

In case you missed it

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 and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

On paper, Jay Gruden's tenor with the Redskins is nothing to write home about. Through five seasons he holds a 35-44-1 record, good enough for a .444 winning percentage. Looking at that, some may draw the conclusion that Gruden hasn't been what the Redskins need at the helm.

But according to Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt, that's not exactly the case. Taking into account the variables Gruden has dealt with throughout the five years, Gantt actually sees him as a "really good" coach.

"I have always come down of the side, maybe, of guys who are doing more with less," Gantt said recently on a Redskins Talk Podcast. "I think Jay has done a pretty good job keeping things in the middle."

Doing more with less and working in the middle essentially defines Jay Gruden's career with the Redskins. Besides his opening year in 2014 in which Washington went 4-12, Gruden's teams have consistently finished right around the middle of the pack.

In the last four seasons, the Redskins have not won more than nine games, but they also haven't lost more than nine. Hovering right around .500, they've always been around league average.

Part of the reason Gantt is willing to give Gruden praise for records that some coaches would get scolded for revolves around what he's had to work with. Gruden's time as head coach has been filled with injuries and other dilemmas both on and off the field. 

In those circumstances, it wouldn't be surprising to see a team completely flounder and spiral out of control. But, that hasn't really been the case with Gruden. Dealing with what he has, the head coach has kept the team competitive for the most part. The team hasn't been a perennial playoff contender, but it also hasn't been at the bottom of the league.

For that ability to keep the Redskins out of the basement despite all the problems he's encountered, Gruden is someone Gantt respects.

"They're able to keep it out of the ditches," Gantt said about Gruden and former NFL head coach John Fox, who Gantt followed during his time in Carolina.

"I think again in the NFL there's something to be said for that," Gantt added. "When things get sideways a Jim Zorn can lose control in a hurry. I feel like Jay just got sort of a steady hand on the wheel."

Until Gruden takes Washington back to the postseason, the critiques will continue to come, as they would for almost all head coaches in similar situations. But when looking at Gruden's time in Washington with a wide view of everything that has happened, Gantt believes the head coach deserves at least a little praise for keeping things afloat.


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Best birthday ever? 107-year-old Redskins fan celebrates in Burgundy and Gold

Best birthday ever? 107-year-old Redskins fan celebrates in Burgundy and Gold

When Carletha "Nana" West was growing up, she began to take an interest in football. In particular, she took notice of a certain Redskins quarterback. 

"When Sammy Baugh was quarterback I liked him and I was just learning football at that time," West said. "I was young myself."

Baugh commanded the Redskins offense from 1937-1952 and became one of West's favorite player. With that, her fandom for the Redskins grew.

Decades later, her love for the Redskins remains. So for her 107th birthday -- yes, 107th -- she, of course, celebrated it with some Burgundy and Gold festivities.

Joined by Redskins GM Bruce Allen, West took in her birthday on Thursday, July 18, at Brandywine in Alexandria, Va. Not only was she given a customized Redskins jersey with the number 107 and the name "Nana", but West also got a day named after her. In Alexandria, July 18 will now be known as Carletha "Nana" West Day.

West spent some time reminiscing about her years as a Redskins fan, singing 'Hail to the Redskins' and even sharing her advice on how to live a long, fulfilling life. Besides loving football, she shared some simple words of wisdom.

"Make friends," West said. "And keep them."