Redskins

Quick Links

Need to Know: Tandler's Take—Jay Gruden knows the pressure is on him in 2018

gruden_2018_tandler_take.jpg
Various sources

Need to Know: Tandler's Take—Jay Gruden knows the pressure is on him in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 24, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The heat is on Jay Gruden

Jay Gruden knows that his Redskins need to win in 2018.

“This isn’t a two- or three-year process,” he said last week. “This is a one-year process and we have got to win right away.” 

Jay Gruden gave this answer to a question about Alex Smith, but his words should resonate with the whole team. He’s right. This is no longer a rebuilding team. It’s time for this team to get it together and make a playoff run. 

That puts the pressure on Gruden. 

This is his fifth year as coach of the Redskins. He is well beyond the point where he can credibly point a finger of blame at his predecessor for any problems that are lingering. Only five players who were around in 2013, Mike Shanahan’s last year in Washington. It’s Gruden’s show now. 

His tenure is now the longest for a Redskins head coach since Norv Turner made it nearly seven years, from 1994 through 13 games into the 2000 season. His 49-59-1 run with the Redskins spanned three owners in Jack Kent Cooke, John Kent Cooke, and Dan Snyder. 

It should be noted that Turner’s third and fourth years at the helm closely resembled Gruden’s past two years. Turner’s team went 9-7 in 1996 and 8-7-1 the next year, narrowly missing the playoffs both years. That looks a lot like Gruden’s 8-7-1 and 7-9 records over the past two years. 

Gruden does not want this year’s team to resemble the 1998 Redskins. Turner’s fifth team started out 0-7 before winning four of their last five to finish 6-10. 

Turner kept his job in part because of the team’s uncertain ownership situation after the elder Cooke passed away in 1997. Gruden will not have a similar set of circumstances to help him out if he needs a lifeline in January. 

Gruden wants his fifth year to turn out more like Turner’s sixth season. That team went 10-6, topped the NFC East standings and won a playoff game. 

To get there, he needs a lot of his decisions to go right. While the trade for Smith was not his call, every indication is that he was on board with it. 

Last year, it was his decision to say no, thanks to Wade Phillips, who wanted to be his defensive coordinator and promote Greg Manusky into the job. The results were mixed as the Redskins were sixth in pass defense DVOA but 29thagainst the run. It was viewed as a marginal improvement on defense but the unit still seeme to be more of a liability than an asset. 

This year, the Redskins re-signed inside linebackers Zach Brown and Mason Foster and added defensive lineman Daron Payne with their first-round pick after spending their first-round pick on DE Jonathan Allen in 2017. There will be no excuses for Manusky and, by extension, Gruden if the defense does not improve. 

Joe Barry, Manusky’s predecessor who also was hired by Gruden when Phillips was an option, was out after two years of failing to significantly improve the defense. Any reasonable analysis would have to conclude that Barry did not get an infusion of talent anywhere approaching what Manusky has received in his two seasons. Manusky is getting a second year but he probably won’t get a third if the defense is still considered to be an impediment to the team’s progress. 

And if Manusky has to go, you have to wonder if Gruden will get a chance to hire a third defensive coordinator. 

I’m not sure if there is a certain number of games that the Redskins have to win for Gruden to return in 2019. It feels like he would not survive a 6-10 season or maybe not even another 7-9 finish. On the other end of the spectrum, making the playoffs and winning a game when they get there would certainly punch his ticket for a sixth season. 

Anything in between would leave Gruden in some jeopardy and the call would come down to the vague “moving in the right direction” criteria. 

There are some holes on this team, to be sure. But every team has some and the ones that are well coached figure out how to overcome them. The pressure will be on Gruden to best utilize their strengths and minimize any damage brought about by the weaker points. 

From his statement, it’s apparent that he is well aware of that. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Tandler on Twitter

I put out a tweet correcting the Super Bowl ring count to two.

Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 32
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 60

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 77 days. 

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Contract makes Adrian Peterson a no-risk acquisition for the Redskins

Contract makes Adrian Peterson a no-risk acquisition for the Redskins

Adrian Peterson is truly a no-risk acquisition for the Redskins. 

The 33-year-old running back signed with the Redskins on Monday afternoon, for one year at the NFL minimum salary of $1.015 million according to Field Yates of ESPN

The contract structure means that the Redskins can have him practice for the next week and a half, play in the two remaining preseason games, and then let him go prior to Week 1 and walk away owing him nothing. 

If they do keep him for Week 1 against the Cardinals, his salary for the season will become guaranteed. But if they decide to let him go at some point in the season the payout of the remainder of his salary will be a drop in the bucket of a $176 million salary cap. There is no signing bonus, roster bonus, or other guaranteed salary. 

One more team friendly aspect of this deal is that Peterson will cost less against the cap than the Redskins are paying him. The NFL has something called the veteran minimum benefit, designed to encourage teams to keep older players rather than the younger and cheaper one. Under this benefit, Peterson will count just $630,000 in cap space. That is the same cap charge as Byron Marshall carries. So, if it comes down to choosing between the Marshall and Peterson for a roster spot, the salary cap will not be a factor. 

Apparently, Peterson is anxious to play football and after spending the entire offseason as a free agent who wasn’t drawing much interest, a player who received $11 million guaranteed from the Vikings two years ago will go to work for a fraction of that. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

 

Quick Links

Fantasy Football: Top 200 rankings with tiers

elliott-vs-bengals-usat.png
USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football: Top 200 rankings with tiers

Rankings are cool, tiers are better. Here we have nine of them separating the top 200 fantasy football players for 2018. Dive in.

Tier 1

1.  Todd Gurley, LAR RB
 
2.  Le'Veon Bell, PIT RB
 
3.  Ezekiel Elliott, DAL RB
 
4.  David Johnson, ARI RB
 
5.  Antonio Brown, PIT WR

Notes: There's a temptation to make this a two-man tier as some concern exists with situations for Elliott (Will the Cowboys have a balanced offense?) and Johnson (Will he thrive as Cardinals transition?), but ultimately these are the main building blocks for any fantasy team. Order isn't locked and even less so in PPR.
 
Tier 2

6.  Alvin Kamara, NO RB
 
7.  DeAndre Hopkins, HOU WR
 
8.  Saquon Barkley, NYG RB
 
9.  Leonard Fournette, JAC RB
 
10.  Melvin Gordon, LAC RB
 
11.  Kareem Hunt, KC RB
 
12.  Julio Jones, ATL WR
 
13.  Odell Beckham Jr., NYG WR

Notes: Interesting dilemma starts here. Take the always needed running backs or grab one of the elite in a year in which there aren't many elite receivers?
 
Tier 3

14.  Dalvin Cook, MIN RB
 
15.  Michael Thomas, NO WR
 
16.  Keenan Allen, LAC WR
 
17.  Devonta Freeman, ATL RB
 
18.  A.J. Green, CIN WR
 
19.  Davante Adams, GB WR
 
20.  Rob Gronkowski, NE TE

Notes: These are the last running backs that can help owners desiring an RB1 sleep better at night. Cook dropped from Tier 2 to 3 because Minnesota's offensive line is a true MASH unit. ...The "Gronk" upside vs. injuy risk is, always, in play.
 
Tier 4

21.  Joe Mixon, CIN RB
 
22.  T.Y. Hilton, IND WR
 
23.  Mike Evans, TB WR
 
24.  Jerick McKinnon, SF RB
 
25.  Jordan Howard, CHI RB
 
26.  Christian McCaffrey, CAR RB
 
27.  Stefon Diggs, MIN WR
 
28.  Adam Thielen, MIN WR
 
29.  Doug Baldwin, SEA WR
 
30.  Tyreek Hill, KC WR
 
31.  Alex Collins, BAL RB
 
32.  Amari Cooper, OAK WR
 
33.  Travis Kelce, KC TE
 
34.  Derrick Henry, TEN RB
 
35.  Demaryius Thomas, DEN WR
 
36.  Lamar Miller, HOU RB
 
37.  Larry Fitzgerald, ARI WR
 
38.  Allen Robinson, CHI WR
 
39.  Aaron Rodgers, GB QB
 
40.  Kenyan Drake, MIA RB

Notes:  Fun group of running backs here for any owner who went receiver-receiver at the start. Mixon, Collins and Henry are particularly interesting, though all have some form of a stat-stealing pest in their respective backfields. ... Rodgers likely goes higher in most leagues. Considering the impressive QB depth this season, it's surely better to let someone else jump in while you fortify depth elsewhere. 
 
Tier 5

41.  Marvin Jones, DET WR
 
42.  Jay Ajayi, PHI RB
 
43.  JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT WR
 
44.  Zach Ertz, PHI TE
 
45.  Royce Freeman, DEN RB
 
46.  LeSean McCoy, BUF RB
 
47.  Chris Hogan, NE WR
 
48.  Josh Gordon, CLE WR
 
49.  Golden Tate, DET WR
 
50.  Brandin Cooks, LAR WR
 
51.  Alshon Jeffery, PHI WR
 
52.  Mark Ingram, NO RB
 
53.  Tom Brady, NE QB
 
54.  Jarvis Landry, CLE WR
 
55.  Marshawn Lynch, OAK RB

Notes: Derrius Guice would have been the first rookie running back off the board after Saquon Barkley. Alas, that's not happening after his season-ending knee injury. Instead that honor goes to Freeman, who should pass Devontae Booker on the Broncos depth chart before long.
 
Tier 6

56.  Corey Davis, TEN WR
 
57.  Rex Burkhead, NE RB
 
58.  Rashaad Penny, SEA RB
 
59.  Ronald Jones II, TB RB
 
60.  Russell Wilson, SEA QB
 
61.  Dion Lewis, TEN RB
 
62.  Cam Newton, CAR QB
 
63.  Tevin Coleman, ATL RB
 
64.  Michael Crabtree, BAL WR
 
65.  Emmanuel Sanders, DEN WR
 
66.  Deshaun Watson, HOU QB
 
67.  Sammy Watkins, KC WR
 
68.  Robert Woods, LAR WR
 
69.  Marquise Goodwin, SF WR
 
70.  Randall Cobb, GB WR
 
71.  Robby Anderson, NYJ WR
 
72.  Sony Michel, NE RB
 
73.  Kenny Stills, MIA WR
 
74.  Pierre Garcon, SF WR
 
75.  Devin Funchess, CAR WR
 
76.  Greg Olsen, CAR TE
 
77.  Jamison Crowder, WAS WR
 
78.  Isaiah Crowell, NYJ RB
 
79.  Will Fuller, HOU WR
 
80.  Jimmy Graham, GB TE
 
81.  Kerryon Johnson, DET RB
 
82.  Cooper Kupp, LAR WR
 
Tier 7

83.  Jamaal Williams, GB RB
 
84.  Marlon Mack, IND RB
 
85.  Delanie Walker, TEN TE
 
86.  Drew Brees, NO QB
 
87.  Nelson Agholor, PHI WR
 
88.  Julian Edelman, NE WR
 
89.  Evan Engram, NYG TE
 
90.  Kyle Rudolph, MIN TE
 
91.  Paul Richardson, WAS WR
 
92.  Carson Wentz, PHI QB
 
93.  Carlos Hyde, CLE RB
 
94.  Andrew Luck, IND QB
 
Tier 8

95.  Tarik Cohen, CHI RB
 
96.  Kirk Cousins, MIN QB
 
97.  Kelvin Benjamin, BUF WR
 
98.  Chris Thompson, WAS RB
 
99.  Jordy Nelson, OAK WR
 
100.  Marqise Lee, JAC WR
 
101.  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT QB
 
102.  Devante Parker, MIA WR
 
103.  Jordan Reed, WAS TE
 
104.  Trey Burton, CHI TE
 
105.  Matthew Stafford, DET QB
 
106.  C.J. Anderson, CAR RB
 
107.  Sterling Shepard, NYG WR
 
108.  Kenny Golladay, DET WR
 
109.  Allen Hurns, DAL WR
 
110.  Rishard Matthews, TEN WR
 
111.  Duke Johnson, CLE RB
 
112.  Josh Doctson, WAS WR
 
113.  Philip Rivers, LAC QB
 
114.  Tyler Lockett, SEA WR
 
115.  Matt Ryan, ATL QB
 
116.  Mike Williams, LAC WR
 
117.  Devontae Booker, DEN RB
 
118.  Jack Doyle, IND TE
 
119.  Jimmy Garoppolo, SF QB
 
120.  Chris Carson, SEA RB
 
121.  D.J. Moore, CAR WR
 
122.  Patrick Mahomes, KC QB
 
123.  Giovani Bernard, CIN RB
 
124.  Anthony Miller, CHI WR
 
125.  Mohamed Sanu, ATL WR
 
126.  Ted Ginn, NO WR
 
127.  Matt Breida, SF RB
 
128.  George Kittle, SF TE
 
129.  David Njoku, CLE TE
 
130.  Cameron Meredith, NO WR
 
Tier 9

131.  Dez Bryant, FA WR
 
132.  Aaron Jones, GB RB
 
133.  Nick Chubb, CLE RB
 
134.  Chris Godwin, TB WR
 
135.  Tyrell Williams, LAC WR
 
136.  Ty Montgomery, GB RB
 
137.  Jared Goff, LAR QB
 
138.  DeSean Jackson, TB WR
 
139.  John Brown, BAL WR
 
140.  Alex Smith, WAS QB
 
141.  Michael Gallup, DAL WR
 
142.  Peyton Barber, TB RB
 
143.  Marcus Mariota, TEN QB
 
144.  Calvin Ridley, ATL WR
 
145.  James White, NE RB
 
146.  Keelan Cole, JAC WR
 
147.  Corey Clement, PHI RB
 
148.  Latavius Murray, MIN RB
 
149.  Mike Wallace, PHI WR
 
150.  O.J. Howard, TB TE
 
151.  Dak Prescott, DAL QB
 
152.  Bilal Powell, NYJ RB
 
153.  Martavis Bryant, OAK WR
 
154.  Quincy Enunwa, NYJ WR
 
155.  Nyheim Hines, IND RB
 
156.  Eric Ebron, IND TE
 
157.  Robert Kelley, WAS RB
 
158.  Tyler Eifert, CIN TE
 
159.  Charles Clay, BUF TE
 
160.  Austin Ekeler, LAC RB
 
161.  Ricky Seals-Jones, ARI TE
 
162.  Ryan Grant, IND WR
 
163.  Jordan Wilkins, IND RB
 
164.  Blake Bortles, JAC QB
 
165.  Samaje Perine, WAS RB
 
166.  Mitch Trubisky, CHI QB
 
167.  Theo Riddick, DET RB
 
168.  John Ross, CIN WR
 
169.  D'Onta Foreman, HOU RB
 
170.  Danny Amendola, MIA WR
 
171.  Cameron Brate, TB TE
 
172.  Doug Martin, OAK RB
 
173.  Vance McDonald, PIT TE
 
174.  Jermaine Kearse, NYJ WR
 
175.  Geronimo Allison, GB WR
 
176.  Chris Ivory, BUF RB
 
177.  Donte Moncrief, JAC WR
 
178.  Taywan Taylor, TEN WR
 
179.  Eli Manning, NYG QB
 
180.  Frank Gore, MIA RB
 
181.  LeGarrette Blount, DET RB
 
182.  Derek Carr, OAK QB
 
183.  Albert Wilson, MIA WR
 
184.  Austin Hooper, ATL TE
 
185.  Benjamin Watson, NO TE
 
186.  Austin Seferian-Jenkins, JAC TE
 
187.  Hayden Hurst, BAL TE
 
188.  Jacksonville Jaguars, JAC DST
 
189.  Courtland Sutton, DEN WR
 
190.  Christian Kirk, ARI WR
 
191.  Dante Pettis, SF WR
 
192.  Terrance Williams, DAL WR
 
193.  Travis Benjamin, LAC WR
 
194.  Jameis Winston, TB QB
 
195.  Mike Gesicki, MIA TE
 
196.  Spencer Ware, KC RB
 
197.  Andy Dalton, CIN QB
 
198.  Mark Andrews, BAL TE
 
199.  James Washington, PIT WR
 
200.  Greg Zuerlein, LAR