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Need to Know: Should the Redskins shift to a run-first philosophy?

Need to Know: Should the Redskins shift to a run-first philosophy?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, April 6, 21 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 11
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 36
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 48
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 148

Should the Redskins shift to a run-first offense?

Good question, Eric. First, let’s look at just how much of a pass-first offense they were in 2016 so we can gauge how much they would have to adjust.

First, let’s establish that “run first” doesn’t mean that you run more than you pass. Last year the Cowboys led the league in rushing attempts with 499 but they called 511 pass plays (attempts + sacks). Most years one or two teams run a few more plays than they pass but if you get to a 55-45 pass-run ration you are predominantly running team compared to the rest of the NFL.

The 2016 Redskins ran 1,009 plays and called 630 passes and ran 379 times. That’s a ratio of 62 percent passes to 38 percent runs.  They would have some work to do to get that 55-45 ratio that would make them a run-first team.

Assuming they run the same number of plays as they did last year, the Redskins would need to change about 55 passes to runs over the course of the year.

That would mean a serious change of philosophy. While I have documented here a few times that Jay Gruden is not nearly as pass happy as his reputation would suggest (most recently right here), he probably isn’t going to switch out 55 passes for runs easily. But if he ends up with a rookie or journeyman quarterback next year he might have to move in that direction.

You don’t need to look any further than Dallas to see how being run-first can help a young quarterback. There is no question that Dak Prescott is talented but he was rarely tested. Only two teams threw less often than the Cowboys and their effective running game helped them move the ball and keep the pressure off Prescott. To take one slice of the season, the Cowboys ran on first down a league-high 290 times. They averaged five yards per carry. The NFL is hard but it’s a lot easier if you’re facing second and five a lot.

The key for the Cowboys, of course, was rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott, who led the NFL in rushing. The Redskins don’t have a back like him. There are a few backs, namely Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey, who have that ability. Gruden talked about them at the NFL meetings in Arizona recently and it certainly sounded like he would welcome any of those three players into the Washington backfield.

Getting a true feature back will be the key. will be the key. Rob Kelley is a good running back for a passing offense. He’ll get you some yards while your pass catchers are getting a breather and pick up blitzes when necessary. But he is not suited to be the centerpiece of a run-first offense.

So if the Redskins pull the trigger on McCaffrey or Cooke in the first round (Fournette is likely to be gone) they could begin to work towards a heavier emphasis on the run. I wouldn’t expect it to start right away since they still will be paying Cousins $24 million this year. But if they get a star-quality running back they would be well set up to go into 2018 with Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld, or a rookie or journeyman-type quarterback.

That’s not all they would need to contend for the playoffs going forward, of course, The rebuild of the defense would have to continue with further free agent and draft investments. But you must be able to score and a true feature back is a quarterback’s best friend.

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

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Chris Simms: Why Dwayne Haskins has 'Big Ben Roethlisberger-type talent'

Chris Simms: Why Dwayne Haskins has 'Big Ben Roethlisberger-type talent'

It did not take long for Dwayne Haskins to win approval from the media and the Redskins coaching staff in a short amount of time at OTAs. 

That excitement from the Redskins OTAs has reverberated across the country and made him the feature of NBC Sports' Chris Simms QB School series. There, the current NFL analyst and former NFL quarterback made big comparisons to the No. 15 overall pick Haskins to Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger. 

Simms was enthralled with the skillset that Haskins possesses and his potential. Citing his arm talent and the small mechanics of the 22-year-old, Simms thinks he has all the tools to be a top-tier NFL QB.

"He reminds me a lot of a big Ben Roethlisberger with his style of football play. [Haskins] arm is special, there's no doubt about that," Simms said. 

Comparing a rookie QB to a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback that has made six All-Pro teams is not too shabby. Roethlisberger has thrown for over 54,000 yards in his career with 363 touchdowns across his NFL career. They both wear No. 7, both played their college ball in Ohio, and both are known for their ability to hurl a football down the field. 

Some of the strong qualities of Haskins that Simms highlighted were his tight and quick arm motion, his controlled body rotation, and the accuracy down the field. At the same time, he pointed out that Haskins has a tendency to drop his elbow on passes, forcing his passes to sail high. 

"[Haskins] has Big Ben Roethlisberger-type talent and I know he's already wowed some people down there in Washington in his first few practices." 

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Redskins 2019 Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

Redskins 2019 Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

Before you blink Redskins training camp will be here, which means preseason football is not far off and the 2019 NFL regular season will come with it.

On Friday afternoon, the Washington Redskins released its 2019 training camp schedule, set to begin July 25. Training camp will take place at Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va. for the seventh straight year. 

This year is set to be the most intriguing training camp since Robert Griffin III was drafted by the team in 2012. Playing in his first NFL training camp first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins will be the center of attention with the team's quarterback position still up in the air. There will be competition from trade acquisition Case Keenum and Redskins mainstay Colt McCoy. 

More to watch:

-Derrius Guice will be in the backfield practicing with Adrian Peterson for the first time.
-The return of the Alabama Wall in Darron Payne and Jonathan Allen.
-Which wide receiver(s) will step up into holes in the offense.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2019 Redskins training camp.

When is the Redskins 2019 training camp?

The Redskins 2019 training camp begins on Thursday, July 25 at 9:45 a.m. ET and runs to the team's final practice on Saturday, August 11. 

What time does the Redskins training camp start?

Most days of the Redskins training camp schedule starts with a practice at 9:45 a.m. ET with a late afternoon walkthrough at 4:40 p.m. ET.

Where is the Redskins training camp located?

The Redskins 2019 training camp is located at the Bon Secours Training Center at 2401 W. Leigh St., Richmond, Va. 23220.

How much does it cost to attend the Redskins training camp?

The Redskins training camp is free and open to the public. For more information on logistics, head to the Redskins’ official training camp page

Redskins training camp schedule

Date — Camp Opens — Practice — Walkthrough — Camp Closes

Thurs. 7/25 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Fri. 7/26 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Sat. 7/27 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Sun. 7/28 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Tues. 7/30 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Wed. 7/31 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Thurs. 8/1 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Fan Appreciation Day:
Sat. 8/3 — TBA — 1:00 p.m. — No Walkthrough — TBA

Sun. 8/4 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Mon. 8/5 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Tues. 8/6 — TBA — 1:35 p.m. — No Walkthrough — TBA

Thurs. 8/8 — PRESEASON WEEK 1 AT CLEVELAND BROWNS 7:30 P.M.

Sat. 8/10 — TBA — 1:35 p.m. — No Walkthrough — TBA

Sun. 8/11 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — No Walkthrough— TBA

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