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Zach Brown sees 'writing on the wall' and expects to leaves Redskins after the season

Zach Brown sees 'writing on the wall' and expects to leaves Redskins after the season

Last season, fans loved Zach Brown. They clamored for the team to re-sign him this offseason and let the tackling machine do his thing in the middle of the Redskins defense. 

Things appear to have changed. 

He got benched last week during the 40-16 blowout loss to the Giants after missing a few days of practice with an illness. For Brown, that was a clear message. 

"I'm just sitting here just doing what I'm supposed to be doing 'till it's time for me to leave," Brown said Wednesday. "You see the writing on the wall. It is what it is. Just here now I just got to contribute to the team and help us get to the playoffs."

Time for him to leave?

That's an eye-catching quote from Brown, who was the biggest defensive signing the Redskins made in the 2018 offseason. Not to mention he was heading towards a Pro Bowl selection in 2017 before injury ended his season with three games remaining. 

The Redskins signed Brown to a three-year, $21 million deal in March. He got more than $5 million this season, but should the Redskins release Brown after the season, the team would save $5.75 million and take a $3 million cap hit. 

The Redskins started rookie Shaun Dion Hamilton in Brown's spot last week against the Giants, and head coach Jay Gruden hinted that Hamilton will continue to get more work in a recent interview on the Redskins Talk podcast. 

"It's been very frustrating. You get benched and it's not like you get a reason or anything for," Brown said. "Just got to keep doing things, just got to keep practicing. You've just got to just stay ready. But at the same time it's frustrating. It's frustrating on anybody to get benched and you not know the reason."

On the season, Brown has 80 tackles and two forced fumbles. 

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Zach Brown 'surprised' by 1st half benching, calls run fits 'Day 1' knowledge

Zach Brown 'surprised' by 1st half benching, calls run fits 'Day 1' knowledge

When the Redskins sent their defense out to the field to start the game against the Giants on Sunday, Zach Brown did not take his usual spot at linebacker. Rookie Shan Dion Hamilton did instead. 

"I was surprised but the coaches made a decision I guess," Brown said after the game. 

Brown missed practice time last week with an illness, and Washington head coach Jay Gruden said after the game that's why Hamilton got the start. Brown clearly did not like the decision and posted a message on his Instagram voicing his frustration before the game. 

The results were bad too, as the Giants ran for more than 150 yards in the first half. That type of yardage did not completely hinge on Brown not being on the field, obviously, but it was a noticeable difference in team speed. Hamilton did notch seven tackles before going down with a shoulder injury. 

Of the run struggles, Gruden said that a number of players suffered "missed fits." That means a player wasn't in the right spot for the defensive scheme, and one player missing a fit can impact the whole defense. 

"It's stuff you work on in practice, but at the same time, it's certain things you should know," Brown said. "You should know how to fit, it probably was a Day 1 play that we ran. At the same time, you got to execute the call."

The Redskins offense never produced at a high level this season, even when Alex Smith was healthy. In turn, it's not that weird for the offense to continue to struggle as their quarterbacks and offensive linemen suffer one injury after another.

Defensively, however, things are weird. 

Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky's unit looked like one of the best defenses in the NFL during the first half of the season. Then, things fell apart. It hasn't been a byproduct of injury either. 

There aren't any answers on the demise of the Redskins defense. Coaches and players can't understand why simple mistakes keep happening, and Brown's comments explain it well. Guys are missing Day 1 techniques, and the execution just isn't there. There seems to be much more under the surface, but so far, that information is staying there. 

What happens next? Brown said the team has to look at Jacksonville next week. 

"You just got to move on from this game. We got beat, and we got beat bad. We just got to move on to the next game," he said. "We just got to make sure we're on point."

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Three Redskins make Bill Barnwell's "Perfect 53-man Roster"

Three Redskins make Bill Barnwell's "Perfect 53-man Roster"

Each season, ESPN's Bill Barnwell takes the NFL's $177 million salary cap and builds "the perfect 53-man roster." This year, three Redskins — two obvious and one not so obvious — made the cut. 

Brandon Scherff, Chase Roullier and Zach Brown joined some of the NFL's finest on the "perfect roster."

There were several rules when it came to its construction.  First, there needed to be at least one player –  but no more than three – from each NFL team. How much each player would cost was determined by their current cap number after any restructuring, but without cap acceleration. There's at least one player from the 2015, '16,'17, and '18 drafts, with one player from each round and an undrafted free agent. Barnwell built his offense so that it fits within the Patriots' and Josh McDaniels' system, while the defense is built around Jim Schwartz and the Philadelphia Eagles' unit. Special teams was also included. 

Barnwell spent $6.75 million on Scherff and $592,000 on Roullier. He describes the "perfect roster's" O-line as "mobile enough to routinely get to the second level on run-pass options and screens and big enough to bulldoze defensive linemen one-on-one." 

Scherff –  the fifth overall pick in the 2015 draft – has made two Pro Bowls in three years and has started every game he's appeared in. The Redskins picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, extending his time with the team through 2019. At just 26-years-old, a big deal will be coming his way at some point. Scherff was also named a starter on the "perfect roster."

The Redskins drafted Roullier in the sixth-round of the 2017 draft, and in just one season, he has earned the starting center job after Spencer Long missed a chunk of the season with injury and eventually left for the Jets in free agency. Pro Football Focus ranked Roullier the No. 21 center in the league during the 2017 season, and he will have a vital role in helping Alex Smith make the transition to a new offense as smooth as possible. 

And then there's Zach Brown. Barnwell spent $2.95 million on the linebacker, saying, "We need cover linebackers with the range to scare quarterbacks from throwing over the middle of the field." When it comes to Brown specifically, Barnwell goes on to say, "The league doesn't seem to value Brown, but he has been an excellent run defender on early downs and isn't much of a liability in coverage."

The Redskins saw his value and signed Brown to a three-year deal back in March after picking him up in free agency during the 2017 offseason. Brown started 13 games in 2017, racking up 127 tackles (84 solo) and 2.5 sacks on his was to finishing ninth in the league in tackles during the regular season. 

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