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Five things we learned about the Redskins in 2015


Five things we learned about the Redskins in 2015

Here are five things we learned from the Redskins' 2015 season. 

They aren’t good enough yet—Over the next few weeks we will go into some detail about where the Redskins need help. But to look at the view from 10,000 feet, the running game needs to get better and the secondary needs to be strong enough to allow the defense to send more pass pressure. That is the minimum they will need to do to be able to keep participating in the playoffs and to win games once they get there.

We know who the quarterback next year will be—Kirk Cousins will be back. It may be on a one-year franchise tag tender or it may be on a longer term deal. He still has a lot to prove but the fact of the matter is that his deal is up and the Redskins have no choice but to keep him around. Cousins will either be tagged or he will get a long-term deal by the March 7 tag deadline.

Jordan Reed is a keeper—He can’t be covered by a linebacker and he’s too big to be handled by most defensive backs. Reed is still learning the game and he is going to get better; 100-catch seasons with 15 touchdowns will be the norm for him over the next few years.

Jay Gruden is a pretty good coach—The second-year head coach got about as much as you can expect out of a team that wasn’t even supposed to get much more than six wins. They had to deal with more injuries than all but a handful of teams; at times it seemed that they were held together with duct tape, chewing gum and chicken wire. Gruden may need to polish his game management some and at times play calls were too predictable. But he is headed in the right direction.

Scot McCloughan is the right man for the job—He has barely started to build this team and they are already ahead of schedule. Draft picks like Preston Smith and Brandon Scherff were key contributors; others like Kyshoen Jarrett exceeded expectations as they filled in the gaps created by injuries. And guys he pulled off of the street like Mason Foster and Will Blackmon were immediate fits.

RELATED: Redskins season ends after 35-18 home loss to Packers

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PIC: Adrian Peterson has arrived at Redskins Park


PIC: Adrian Peterson has arrived at Redskins Park

With Derrius Guice out for the season and Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall both sustaining injuries during the Redskins' Week 2 preseason game vs. the Jets, the Burgundy and Gold may be in need of some help at running back. Enter seven-time Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson.

One of the best running backs to ever play the game, Peterson has rushed for 12,276 yards and 99 touchdowns over a 11-year career.

Peterson's visit is part of the team's contingency plan if they do indeed become very thing at the running back position. Jamaal Charles and Orleans Darkwa have also been at Redskins Park for visits. 

"Well we want to bring them in to get physicals on them just in case,” said Gruden.  

Nonetheless, the thought of having Adrian Peterson in a Redskins uniform is exciting. 


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Alex Smith believes that his Redskins teammates are 'all in'

Associated Press

Alex Smith believes that his Redskins teammates are 'all in'

During the offseason program and training camp we have seen ample evidence that Alex Smith’s teammates have great respect for their new quarterback. Speaking to the media on Sunday, Smith said that the respect is mutual. 

While saying that, nobody really knows how the team will respond when the games count and the pressure is on, but Smith likes what he has seen so far. 

“I think we’ve got guys that are all in,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys that are committed, and I don’t think that’s the case everywhere. I think a lot of times it’s easy not to invest because it’s scary to put yourself out there knowing you might not succeed. I think we’ve got a bunch of guys who are all in, really invested in what we’re doing here, and I think that’s all you can ask for. We’ve got a tough team that’s not afraid of competition, not afraid to toe the line. I think that’s been apparent through camp. Like I said, the proof’s in the pudding. You’ve got to go do it when it really matters.”

Of course, it’s smart to be complimentary of your new teammates when you are under contract with the organization for the next five years, and Smith is nothing if not smart. Still, Smith didn’t seem to be blowing smoke when he talked about how he formed his opinion about the team. 

“I think it’s an accumulation going back to April up to this date,” said Smith. “It’s how he conducts himself, how he carries himself in the locker room, in the film room, in the training room, in the weight room, on the practice field, when you’re in camp riding the shuttle bus together. I mean, you can tell, I think, how invested guys are. You can tell who’s real, who’s authentic. That quickly becomes apparent when you put all those things together. You can see what guys are really made of and who’s faking it. We’ve got a bunch of guys that are all in.”

For the last several years, the Redskins have talked a lot about drafting and signing players with character, guys who as Smith put it are “all in”. They haven’t always hit the mark, but they have collected players like Brandon Scherff, Jonathan Allen, Josh Norman, and others who love the game more than they love what they can get from the game (i.e. a big paycheck). 

To be sure, dysfunction involving players is not entirely a thing of the past. There has been occasional drama such as the sudden Su’a Cravens departure last year, but most NFL team have occasional situations and the Redskins are not one of the teams frequently making headlines for the wrong reasons. 

Smith is another one of those high character guys and he is recognizing that in the approach of many of his teammates. 

This all sounds great in August and, as Smith noted, we won’t really know how the high character will translate when they’re in a tight game during the season. But for right now, it’s good that the quarterback has confidence in his teammates and that could count for something when the chips are down in December. 

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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