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Jim Zorn Notable Quotables

Jim Zorn Notable Quotables

"One of the things that is evident for us is we have concentrated on the defensive side of the ball.  Last year, our first four picks were on the offensive side of the ball.  This year, our first four were on the defensive side.  We had some real need and actually trying to address those needs, those kinds of things have come together for us and we've stayed true to that.

 

"[Brian] Orakpo is coming in tonight.  He'll be here tomorrow at 11 a.m.  We've got the young guy coming from Maryland, he's just driving over, Kevin Barnes.  We saw him and thought there would be a chance to get him.  He is a very tall corner, six feet.  He kind of reminds you of- maybe a little thinner, he weighs about 200 or 205- Carlos Rogers is the guy he most looks like.  He is built a little learner than that. He can run fast.  He can run receivers down.  In our division we are going to try to get him in the mix.  That creates an opportunity for us to go into our offseason, more into our offseason, getting ready for the season with a variety of corners.  Being able to move those guys inside, seeing if they can play nickel, helps us out.  It gives us flexibility with him.

 

"We did address the linebacker situation.  We addressed it just recently with our last pick.  We took Cody Glenn, who is a converted running back to linebacker.  Took to that position very quickly.  We think he is sudden when you watch him play.  He has some things to learn, but that is a guy that we wanted to develop.  Coach (Greg) Blache and KO (Kirk Olivadotti, Linebackers Coach) felt like he was the best guy at that particular pick when we had a chance to draft him and those around him, he was the guy we were hoping would hang on.  I think he is going to give us a shot to- again he is versatile.  He will be able to move around.  We don't know exactly where he is going to move around.  We don't know exactly where he is going to end up in those three positions that we have, but he will be in the mix.  Then, we just drafted Robert Henson, a linebacker from TCU.  He is going to be an inside linebacker.  I told him just on the phone, 'I don't exactly know where you're going to end up.  Just come and let's play.'  He is a special teamer, as well as an inside guy that works suddenly.  I think what is nice about the things that I've seen on video is that he likes to attack the line of scrimmage and get into that gap and really blow things up when he gets there.  He likes contact.  He was telling me, because I was mentioning him that we were looking at him as well as not only a linebacker, but a special teams player.  A young guy, that is going to develop into our program and he assures me that is where his specialty was the first few years he was at TCU."

 

On if the Redskins are further along at strong side linebacker:

"What we're going to try, we're going to try to put Rocky [McIntosh] at strong side as well.  You may even see [Brian] Orakpo at strong side as well, just early here so we can see whether or not he has the potential to do that.  Rocky may flip over as well.  It gives us some flexibility with the two guys.  We have to find out what mixture and what the ingredients will come out.  I'm not really sure exactly how it's going to all come out and right now we have some time to develop that."

 

On any concerns about Kevin Barnes' shoulder:

"He had a fractured scapula which is an unusual injury.  We had one of those when I was in Seattle.  One of our DBs had a broken scapula.  I mean, good gosh, how do you break that?  But it was fractured, it was repaired and even in Seattle our DB out there didn't have a problem and he's not going to have a problem at all."

 

On Kevin Barnes' reputation of being a physical cornerback:

"I think at the edge there, in this league, you have to be able to attack receivers and be able to tackle running backs coming off the edge.  I don't know how well these corners in our league can take on guards coming and pulling, but he is not afraid to make a tackle.  As you see some highlights on him, I don't know if you've seen many, but he comes up and he packs a wallop when he gets there, especially on receviers.  He is a decent tackler when he has to tackle a running back.  I don't think he is going to square up on an offensive lineman, but he has good enough feet to get out of the way and then make the tackle.  I have seen that."

 

On the learning curve for Cody Glenn at linebacker:

"What is nice about Glenn was just the fact that he is a little bit raw.  He is new to the position for this year, but he is a good athlete.  I think he took the position, he played at a high level conference, he played on a tremendous team and they had enough confidence in him to start him there at that position.  I think that formula just allows us to be optimistic about what his chances are.  I can't tell you exactly which position he is going to be able to settle in at.  He'll definitely be a special teamer."

 

On if the Redskins have any concerns about Cody Glenn's previous injuries:

"I don't think we have any concerns.  Our doctors have checked him out and we feel very confident he is going to be able to start day one in our camp.  He will be here next week."

 

On Kevin Barnes scoring at 41 on the Wonderlic:

"How do you get 41 on that?  I think it is unusual.  I don't know what to think of that.  I think if you score in the mid-to-high 20s you have to know what you are doing and I think it is very difficult to take that test and do something wrong with a 41.  Maybe it all came together. 

 

"I think most of our guys in this group are very encouraging.  These guys are going to be able to learn football.  Jus talking to these guys, they kind of know what it is all about.  The linebacker, Robert Henson from TCU, very well spoken, can communicate, understands what his situation has been.  They are all very excited just to have the opportunity.  I think you will see that in these guys.  Some humility is coming from these guys and that certainly is going to bode well when they are going to have to line up against some of the players we have on this team."

 

On what the Redskins liked about Kevin Barnes:

"His football awareness on the field was excellent because he has great vision.  He can react to the quick screen very well.  It is very difficult for a receiver to get a quick screen on him if you are just going to go one-on-one.  He understands double moves.  The thing that was said about him, this was not my quote this was a quote from one of his coaches, that he was the only guy maybe in that league that could run with Heyward-Bey, the wide receiver.  That is something to be said about his speed.  That doesn't have to work with his intelligence, although you probably have to have a little intelligence to cover these receivers that have great speed as well. I didn't really look at the 41 [on the Wonderlic].  That wasn't the deciding factor on taking him, 'Oh my gosh, we have to get a guy that has 41 and see what that is all about,' but when we watched him on video, when we inteviewed him, when we talked to the people that know him, we feel very comfortable with him."

 

On if Kevin Barnes was the best player on the board when the Redskins selected him:

"He truly was.  I think there was a tight end there up above him, but what were we going to do?  We really felt like he was a good enough player to trust our board and to say that just puts another guy in the mix and gives us some flexibility.  On the flip side of that, there were several offensive linemen down the way, but you want to develop them a little bit later.  They weren't quite graded well enough for that particular pick in the draft."

 

On not drafting an offensive lineman in this draft:

"Well down the way, we've had five picks.  Now we tried to move in different places all throughout this draft.  Very active on the phones, trying to move around so we can capture one of these guys and it either hasn't worked or when we've had that chance to pick the guy hasn't really been there.  We feel really fortunate in the guys that we do have though. 

 

"I'm not disappointed that has happened either because we are developing some offensive players.   We are developing some of our linemen.  We are hoping that Chad Rinehart develops into an outstanding offensive lineman.  D'Anthony Batiste, we hope he can develop.  We just got Mike Williams.  We just got Derrick Dockery, so there are some new faces that are going to be in that offensive line and we will see how they develop as well."

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Redskins schedule preview: Week 16 vs. Titans

Redskins schedule preview: Week 16 vs. Titans

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the game against the Titans. 

Week 16 December 22 or 23, Nissan Stadium (the date of the game will be determined no later than Week 8 in early November)

2017 Titans: 9-7, Second in AFC South, lost in the divisional round 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 8

Early line: Redskins +5.5

Key additions: CB Malcolm Butler, DT Bennie Logan, RB Dion Lewis

Key losses: DT Sylvester Williams, RB DeMarco Murray

Biggest questions: 

  • QB Marcus Mariota improved from his rookie year and had a solid 2016. But he regressed last season. In which direction is his career headed?
  • After head coach Mike Mularkey took the Titans to the second round of the playoffs he was summarily fired. Will they regret making to switch to Mike Vrabel?

Series history

The all-time series between the two teams is tied a 6-6; the teams split six games when the franchise was the Houston Oilers and they have gong 3-3 since the move to Tennessee. 

Series notables

The first time: October 10, 1971, RFK Stadium—The Redskins offense didn’t score a touchdown but that often didn’t matter when George Allen was the head coach as they still won 22-13. Washington’s scoring came on five Curt Knight field goals and on an 18-yard interception return by defensive end Ron McDole. That touchdown came on one of five takeaways by the Redskins defense. 

The last time: October 19, 2014, FedEx Field—Quarterback Kirk Cousins was struggling in the first half, losing a fumble and throwing a head-scratching interception. With the Redskins trailing the 2-4 Titans 10-6, Jay Gruden decided it was time for a change and Colt McCoy came in to play QB in the second half. 

Things clicked immediately as McCoy threw a short pass to Pierre Garçon, who turned upfield and rolled in for a 70-yard touchdown. It was back and forth in the second half and the Redskins were trailing 17-16 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 3:14 to play. McCoy led a 10-play drive that consumed all of the remaining time and culminated in a 22-yard Kai Forbath field goal to win it 19-17. 

The best time: November 3, 1991, RFK Stadium—To win nine straight NFL games to start out a season, you need solid blocking, accurate passing, hard-hitting tackling, inspired play calling, crisp execution and, as was the case today, a little bit of luck. Chip Lohmiller kicked a 41-yard field goal for Washington to give the Redskins a 16-13 overtime win over Houston. Darrell Green’s interception at the Houston 33 set up the kick. All of that, however, would not have happened if not for Oiler placekicker Ian Howfield. 

After Houston tied the game on a one-yard run by Lorenzo White with 1:42 left in the game, Brian Mitchell fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving the Oilers prime field position. Howfield came in for a 33-yard field goal attempt with one second left. It appeared that the winning streak would end at eight. “You don’t exactly give up, but you’re not far from it,” said Andre Collins. 

The snap was perfect as was the hold, but Howfield’s kick was wide right. 

On Houston’s second offensive play of overtime, Oiler quarterback Warren Moon got bumped as he threw an out pass and Green picked it off. Three Ernest Byner runs preceded Lohmiller’s game-ending kick. 

The worst time: October 30, 1988, Astrodome—Washington entered the contest riding a three-game winning streak and appeared to be rounding into form to defend their Super Bowl title. Warren Moon threw three touchdown passes to Drew Hill, however, and the Redskins took a 41-17 whipping that wasn’t even as close as the final score would indicate.

Redskins schedule series

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

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Inside the numbers: Will a 1,000-yard receiver make or break the 2018 Redskins?

Inside the numbers: Will a 1,000-yard receiver make or break the 2018 Redskins?

In 2017, the Redskins missed the playoffs while no receiver went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Jamison Crowder led the team with 789 receiving yards.

In 2016, the Redskins missed the playoffs while two receivers went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Pierre Garçon gained 1,041 yards that year while DeSean Jackson posted 1,005 receiving yards. 

In 2015, the Redskins did make the playoffs. That season the team had no receivers go for 1,000 yards, though Jordan Reed got close with 952 receiving yards. 

Is there a lesson here? Is there a takeaway that can help to predict the 2018 season?

Going into this season, no Redskins wideout has ever accounted for 1,000 yards in a single season. In their career.

Former first-round pick Josh Doctson accounted for just more than 500 receiving yards last season, catching 35 of the 78 balls thrown his way.  Crowder was mostly productive, but there was an expectation, fair or not, he would make more of a jump in 2018 than he did. Jordan Reed hardly played. 

To help the group, the Redskins added Paul Richardson in free agency. Last year playing for the Seahawks, Richardson went for 703 yards on 44 catches. The speedster gives the Redskins a true downfield threat the team lacked in 2017, and that could help the whole offense. In fact, it better help the whole offense. 

Still, looking at a top three of Doctson, Crowder and Richardson, it's hard to confidently predict a 1,000-yard receiver from the bunch. 

Could it happen? Absolutely. Any of the three could pop to a four-digit total.

Would you put your own hard-earned cash on the line? That would take some guts. 

Though the Redskins have a new quarterback in Alex Smith, head coach Jay Gruden has been crystal clear the team is not in a rebuilding mode. Washington must win, now, this season, and a minimum goal should be a Wild Card playoff spot. 

How imperative is a 1,000-yard wide receiver to that goal? Let's look back at the past 12 NFC playoff teams. 

Only three of six NFL playoff teams in 2017 had a 1,000-yard wideout. The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles did not, but the Vikings, Saints and Falcons all did. 

In 2016, however, five of six playoff teams had 1,000-yard receivers. The only team that didn't, the Cowboys, deployed a heavy run offense that resulted in Ezekiel Elliott going for more than 1,600 rush yards. 

Added together, in the past two seasons, eight of 12 NFC playoff teams had a receiver on their squad go at least four digits. 

One more note: the New England Patriots played in the last two Super Bowls, winning one and losing one. Both years they had at least one receiver get to 1,000 yards (Julian Edelman in 2016, Brandin Cooks in 2017). In 2017, tight end Rob Gronkowski broke the 1,000-yard mark too.

Again, what's the takeaway? Having a 1,000-yard receiver is certainly good, but it's not a must for a playoff berth or a deep playoff run. The Eagles proved that. 

On some teams, an elite wideout makes a huge difference. Watch Giants tape and it's clear what Odell Beckham does for the offense. Watch Falcons tape and Julio Jones does the same. 

On other teams, an elite quarterback makes a huge difference. Duh.  

Of the teams examined, the 2016 Packers came the closest to the 2017 Patriots with having two players go for over 1,000 yards.

2017 New England did it with Cooks (1,082) and Gronkowski (1,084), 2016 Green Bay almost got there with Jordy Nelson (1,257) and Davante Adams (997). 

While Gronkowski and Nelson are excellent players, the common denominator is obviously the elite play of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. 

For the 2018 Redskins, what does it mean?

The Redskins don't have an elite wideout like Jones or Beckham. The Redskins don't have an elite quarterback like Brady or Rodgers. 

The best path for Washington's offense might be balance, and trying to emulate the Eagles model from 2017. Carson Wentz played most of the season at an elite level, but he spread the ball around to a number of targets and leaned heavily on his tight ends. It helped that the Eagles ran the ball very well too. 

Could the 'Skins do something similar? Alex Smith is known to spread the ball around, and if Jordan Reed and Derrius Guice can produce this fall, the offenses might be similar. 

The answer can't be force enough balls to one wideout to ensure a 1,000 yard season. That won't work. 

There might be another way to consider. Of the three NFC teams that made the 2017 playoffs without a 1,000-yard wideout, two found a lot of success throwing to a running back.

The Panthers leading WR was Devin Funchess with 840 receiving yards. Their second best receiver? Rookie running back Christian McCaffrey. 

The Rams leading WR was Cooper Kupp with 869 receiving yards. Their second best receiver? Running back Todd Gurley.

See a pattern?

Before breaking his leg in November, Chris Thompson had more than 500 receiving yards. He still finished as the team's fourth-leading receiver despite playing only 10 games. 

The offensive path to playoff success for Washington might not hinge on a true 1,000-yard wideout like it does for many teams. Full, healthy seasons from Jordan Reed or Chris Thompson could make up for deficiencies at other skill positions. It also remains possible Doctson, Crowder or Richardson make the four digit leap. 

Having a 1,000-yard receiver seems like a nice option for a good offense, and that's proven by nearly 70 percent of recent NFC playoff teams. Still, other paths remain to the postseason, and increased production at tight end and running back can go a long way. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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