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Addition by subtraction? Why Redskins offseason moves could shore up tackling problem

Addition by subtraction? Why Redskins offseason moves could shore up tackling problem

A skill taught to football players starting in Pop Warner, tackling proved to be a problem at times for the Redskins in 2016. Repeatedly at often critical junctures last season, Redskins defenders missed tackles, and the problem plagued Washington particularly on third downs.

The 'Skins third down woes are well chronicled as they ranked worst in the NFL allowing first down conversions. There were plenty of defensive problems in 2016, but it appears the team looked to address the missed tackles. Two of the team's biggest offenders from 2016 will not be back in 2017.

Duke Ihenacho led the Redskins with 15 missed tackles. Further, he registered 60 tackles for the season, which means he missed tackles on about a quarter of the plays he was in position for the stop. Ihenacho only played 638 defensive snaps in 2016, 10th on the team. The stats suggest more snaps would have meant more missed tackles. Washington made no moves to bring Ihenacho back, and he's still on the free agent market. 

Another poor tackler was David Bruton, who didn't even last the full 2016 season with the Redskins. In just four games and 234 defensive snaps, Bruton registered eight missed tackles. Projected out, that would mean 32 missed tackles in a 16 game season. Woeful. Bruton is currently unsigned. 

RELATED: PREPARE FOR THE REDSKINS TO BE UNDERDOGS OFTEN IN 2017

Sandwiched between Ihenacho and Bruton comes Will Compton. In 2016, the Redskins defensive captain missed 13 tackles. Now, for the full picture, Compton played more than 900 snaps and registered more than 100 tackles. The former Cornhusker would likely admit he missed too many tackles last season, but for a high-volume tackler, some misses are going to happen. 

As for the Redskins free agent additions, safety D.J. Swearinger missed 11 tackles over the course of 839 snaps in Arizona. Less misses, more snaps than Ihenacho. New linebacker Zach Brown missed 15 tackles last year, but he also made almost 150 tackles on nearly 1,000 snaps for the Bills. 

Remember, it's hard to make tackles in the NFL. The guys running with the ball are also paid, and it's their job to avoid tacklers. 

Missed tackles happen. They will continue to happen. But by letting go of two of the team's worst tacklers, maybe the Redskins will get better in 2017.

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Exploring the different scenarios between the Redskins and Trent Williams

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USA Today Sports

Exploring the different scenarios between the Redskins and Trent Williams

Training camp comes for the Redskins near the end of July, and in mid-June, not much looks overly worrisome. Except for the Trent Williams situation.

As fans well know, Williams missed all of mandatory minicamp amid reports that the seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle was upset with his contract. There are also reports that Williams is upset with the Redskins medical staff, and one report that the former Top 10 pick "vowed" never to return to Washington. 

That's serious stuff.

Jay Gruden rotated between calling Williams the Redskins best player and one of the team's most important players when the coach spoke about the situation during minicamp. Regardless of the exact assessment, Williams is obviously important to the Redskins plans for 2019, and how good the team can possibly become. 

Looking to the fall, there are a few probable outcomes for the Williams situation to end. Here's a look at the possibilities:

  1. Redskins trade Trent Williams - This seems like quite a long shot, but not impossible. Williams has started 119 games in Washington since 2010, but just two playoff games in that time. He's a very valuable player, one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL, and could obviously draw interest around the NFL. A trade seems quite unlikely, but if a contending team wanted to move for Williams, he might actually want to go. This doesn't seem likely until closer to Week 1, and it doesn't seem likely anyway. The Redskins won't be able to get close to equitable value for Williams on the trade market. 
  2. Redskins cut Trent Williams - There is zero chance this happens. Zero. ZEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
  3. Redskins make it work with Trent Williams - The reality of pro football doesn't bode great for Williams. He's under contract for two more seasons and the salary structure of the NFL means there isn't much money without game checks. All of that suggests Williams arrives for the Redskins somewhere in mid-August, perhaps after training camp in Richmond but well before Week 1 in Philadelphia. That doesn't mean, however, that the 'Skins couldn't make a goodwill offer to Williams. His deal in 2020 holds barely any guaranteed cash, and perhaps making more of his salary a certainty could help him come back to the fold. 
  4. Trent Williams never returns - This seems highly unlikely, but has been reported. Williams seems very angry at the Redskins medical staff based off his Instagram posts, and if he can't trust the doctors, maybe he can't play for the organization. Williams has made a tremendous amount of money during his NFL career, with nearly $100 million in career earnings, so never say never. 

 

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In addition to being an NFL player, Bryce Love can now call himself a Stanford graduate

In addition to being an NFL player, Bryce Love can now call himself a Stanford graduate

Bryce Love hopes he'll have the opportunity to carry many footballs in his NFL career. But this past weekend, the running back picked up something that'll be just as, if not more, valuable than the attempts he'll be getting on Sundays.

How's a college diploma from Stanford sound? Pretty solid, right?

Oh, how about a college diploma from Stanford in human biology? Yeah, probably something worth hanging up on the ol' fridge, huh?

Well, that very hard-earned and impressive degree is what Love is now in possession of:

Drafted by the Redskins in late-April and walking across the stage at Stanford in mid-June, Love is doing well for himself recently. He passed up the chance to enter the draft early to ensure he graduated, and now he has.

His college GPA isn't known, but once you find out his high school GPA was 4.5 (that's apparently possible) and add that to the fact that he was able to finish up school out west while also churning up yards for the Cardinal, you can imagine it was very, very good. And if his yards-per-carry average as a pro matches or exceeds it, then the Redskins will be thrilled.

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