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Redskins are spending absurd money on players that aren't playing

Redskins are spending absurd money on players that aren't playing

The Redskins won their second game of the year Sunday, and in the victory, the team carried a shocking amount of wasted salary around. How much?

Let's count it. 

Alex Smith hasn't played all season, and he's on the books for a cool $20 million. Trent Williams hasn't played this season, and his base salary was more than $10 million before the season started. 

At tight end, the Redskins had more than $15 million in salary on the injured reserve between Jordan Reed ($9 million) and Vernon Davis ($6 million). 

Don't forget Josh Norman, who made the Redskins active roster against Detroit but didn't take a single defensive snap. Norman carries a $14.3 million price tag this year, and it's unclear if he will play much in the remaining five games of the year. The Redskins also unsuccessfully tried to move Norman before the late October trade deadline.

Those five players account for $58 million in salary cap space that the Redskins did not have on the field Sunday. That's astonishing. 

It should be pointed out that technically Norman played against the Lions. He played two snaps on special teams. Two snaps. $14 million. And Williams' salary cap number decreased significantly because of his contract holdout and then the Redskins subsequent decision to put him on the NFI list. 

That's not all of it though, as the Redskins still have dead money on their cap from players cut earlier this year. Who and how much?

  • Zach Brown - $3 million
  • Josh Doctson - $2.5 million
  • Stacy McGee - $2.4 million
  • D.J. Swearinger - $1.3 million

Want to dig deeper? Redskins running back Chris Thompson didn't play Sunday, and he hasn't played since Week 6 in Miami. He counts for nearly $4 million on the Redskins 2019 cap. 

This is an ugly game, and Washington can't be blamed for injuries. Questions can be asked about the Redskins persistent dependence on oft-injured players though. 

Here's the other part to consider. At this point, in late November, some might dismiss the more than $60 million of salary cap space the Redskins have tied up in players that aren't performing on the field because the money is already spent. It's gone. That's a shortsighted take. The salary cap is set to roll over year after year, and that brings significant advantages in creating more space for 2020 and beyond. 

When there's that much money on the sideline, or not even in the stadium, injuries will always be a factor, but it's also a sign of bad decisions. Then again, so is a 2-9 record. 

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    3 critical takeaways from Jack Del Rio's first media session as Redskins defensive coordinator

    3 critical takeaways from Jack Del Rio's first media session as Redskins defensive coordinator

    Jack Del Rio spoke to the Washington media on Wednesday, his first public session with reporters since being named Redskins defensive coordinator on Jan. 2.

    While the conference call came more than two weeks after the team's announcement, it was certainly worth the wait.

    Here are the three most critical takeaways from what Del Rio discussed.

    1) He has no interest in discussing potential

    At one point in the call, Del Rio was given the chance to set expectations for his group and explain what kind of potential he sees. It was the kind of question he could've easily answered, using glowing adjectives and praising many players.

    But he didn't go that route. In fact, he went the opposite direction of that route

    "It’s interesting to me that so much is made this time of year with thoughts on potential," Del Rio said. "Potential really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really amount to much. To me, it’s more about what we can get done and the work that we’re willing to put in and the idea that, ‘Look, we’re going to become a respected unit, OK?’"

    That might've been the most compelling response from the longtime coach, and it's a mindset that people like Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Landon Collins will surely appreciate.  

    2) Teaching matters quite a bit to him

    During one explanation, Del Rio brought up current Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard. Why? To illustrate how someone can grow and improve with the proper coaching.

    Woodyard was with the Broncos when Del Rio took over as defensive coordinator, and according to Del Rio, people told him not to worry too much about the linebacker. Woodyard was merely a special teamer who "wasn't going to amount to much."

    Del Rio dismissed that advice, instead focusing on bettering Woodyard's fundamentals, which in turn would help his confidence spike. That former Denver special teamer was recently on the field for Tennessee's playoff win in Baltimore and is now one victory away from a Super Bowl.

    That's just one example that sticks out to Del Rio and proves how necessary it is to assist in the continuous enhancement of a pro's skills.

    "For us, we are going to look to teach and develop," he said. "To me, we have players here that are maybe considered in a specific light and they will have the chance to change that."

    3) He absolutely wants Ron Rivera's input

    Del Rio and Rivera are both former NFL linebackers who seem to share a lot of the same ideologies about what they want in a scheme and in their guys. For that reason, he is more than willing to get input from Rivera on the 2020 defense's plan.

    "It’s an inclusive process," Del Rio said. "[Rivera] wanted to be sure that I knew, ‘Hey look, you’re going to call it. It’s your defense’. I said, ‘Hey coach, I’d love to have you in there any time you have to be in there with us.’ It’s our staff. We’re going to work together. The first thing I said to the defensive staff at our very first meeting, ‘This is not me. It’s not about what I want. It’s about what we are, what we’re going to become.’"

    Between Del Rio and Rivera, the franchise now has two leaders who each can point to plenty of past successes in building defenses. The thought of that pair working together and applying what they know in Washington should have fans feeling very pleased.

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    3 critical takeaways from Scott Turner's first media session as Redskins offensive coordinator

    3 critical takeaways from Scott Turner's first media session as Redskins offensive coordinator

    It takes most Americans decades in the workforce before they find happiness in their job. Scott Turner turned 37 years old last August and landed his dream job last week. No wonder he's so excited. 

    Redskins head coach Ron Rivera tabbed Turner as offensive coordinator and on Wednesday he spoke with reporters for the first time. His excitement for the new gig was palpable. 

    "To be able to come here and be the offensive coordinator for this franchise is really awesome and something that I'm really excited about. So, on a personal level it is pretty cool," Turner said. 

    Remember, Turner's father Norv was head coach of the Redskins during much of the 1990s, and Scott Turner lived in Northern Virginia from the age of 11 until he graduated high school. Those are his formative years, spent with the Redskins organization, and now he's the offensive coordinator. Most people would be excited. 

    "It is really a dream come true to be back," Turner said. "It is pretty surreal, to be honest with you."

    The homecoming story is great. It really is. But those good feelings are not going to score any points for Washington this fall. Coming home again won't gain a single first down. 

    For Redskins fans that want to know the critical information provided from Turner in his first media session, dig in below:

    1. Ready for Dwayne - Scott Turner made no secret that he's high on quarterback Dwayne Haskins' potential. Turner said he liked Haskins as a prospect coming out of Ohio State last year and he progressed well as a rookie, particularly late in the year with more opportunity. The new offensive coordinator also wasn't shy to tell Haskins he needs him to be the "most committed guy on the team" and that expectations will be high for the second-year signal-caller. Where Rivera gave relatively lukewarm praise to Haskins, Turner sounded all in on his presumed quarterback. 

    2. Hold the linebackers - Turner talked about some similarities with his dad's offense, but things also evolve in pro football. The young coordinator said he intends to "use a lot of play-action pass" as a means to maximize Haskins' ability and generate chunk plays in the offense. The Redskins have playmakers too in Terry McLaurin and Stephen Sims. In 2019, Washington ranked 32nd in points scored and 31st in yards. There are only 32 teams. Turner must make this offense better, immediately, and watch Norv or Scott's offense in the past and know that play-action will be a huge component. Passing to the running backs likely will as well. 

    3. Play to your strengths - For far too long the Redskins have tried to force players out of their comfort zones and into the Redskins strategy. That's not Turner's plan. "Right now, as a coaching staff we're really trying to get to know these guys. We have a little experience with some of them as far as like I was saying, evaluating Dwayne coming out of the draft. But, just really trying to figure out the pieces that we have on offense and then fit our scheme to our personnel and what they do well and not ask them to do stuff they don't do well. Now obviously we're going to push them and develop them to improve the things that they don't do quite as well, but we really want to develop our scheme around the strength of our players. So like Dwayne, you obviously see the big, strong guy who can stand in the pocket and really push the ball down the field." That sure sounds encouraging. 

    Bonus - For years Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan seemed at odds over the Redskins run game. The play-action didn't work that well because the blocking scheme in the run game didn't mesh well with the run-fake looks. Now, with Turner and new offensive line coach John Matsko coming from the same principled staff in Carolina, expect much more cohesion between the pass and run game. That could help Haskins a ton. 

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