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Need to Know: Shanahan defends play calling

Need to Know: Shanahan defends play calling

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, September 24, five days before the Redskins visit the Raiders.

Nickel coverage

Five key quotes from Mike Shanahan’s Monday press conference:

1. Along with many, I commented on the Redskins’ play selection with 50 passes called in what was a one-score game most of the way. I realized that it got skewed in the latter stages of the game when the Redskins fell behind by 10. Mike Shanahan gave the following, more detailed explanation:
“I think when you take a look at that ratio, you have to look at the total game. We had 22 passes that were with 38 seconds left; we had five at the end of the half, we had 17 at the end of the game. Then you take 12 third-down passes, and you get 35 passes there. Then you take your first-down ratio of run-to-pass; I think we had 14 runs, 13 passes. Then you take second-down; I think we had five runs and 11 passes. That’s the type of ratio that we’re looking for. Once you get into the two-minute situation, those numbers can get really carried away one way or the other and that’s what happened.
2. Why hasn’t Bacarri Rambo been playing? This explanation if kind of, well, ouch:
“When he gets his opportunities, he’s got to take advantage of it. We’re not here to keep his spirits up. When he does play special teams or whatever role you’re in, you better play it 100 percent and make some plays. If he doesn’t play anything on defense, he better play well on special teams and if you don’t play well on special teams and you’re not a starter on defense, then you won’t be dressing. So everybody’s got a role and it changes during the season.”
3. Why didn’t Robert Griffin III slide feet first on that critical fourth-quarter play?
“Like I said after the game, I’ve had a lot of guys do it both ways. A lot of people would rather go feet-first, other guys want to get the extra yards and go face-first. Sometimes they feel a little more protected going head-first. I told Robert he can do it any way he wants to, he just has got to hold onto the football if he goes face-first.”
4. Here are his comments on putting Josh Morgan in on kickoffs:
“He’s still a legitimate guy, a legitimate threat as a kick-off returner. Josh [Morgan] has a little bit more wiggle than Niles does. He’s more of a power-type runner. We thought we’d give Josh a shot at it.”
5. Finally, he had this puzzling positive comment on Griffin’s second-quarter interception.
“That was not his fault. I was very upset during the game. I thought he just kind of threw it haphazardly, and really it was a great throw. It just didn’t work out that way. I’m not going to go through the blame, but as I said after the game, I thought it was just a mistake, and it was a good throw.”
Stat of the day

—This via my friend John Keim and ESPN Stats and Information: In first two games, Matthew Stafford completed 1 of 8 passes on throws of 15-plus yards. On Sunday he was 7-9 for 22.2 yards/attempt.

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Timeline

—Born on this day: current WR Aldrick Robinson (1988), former RB Joe Washington (1953), former C Casey Rabach (1977)

—Days until: Redskins @ Raiders 5; Redskins @ Cowboys 19; Bears @ Redskins 26

—Today’s schedule: Day off, no availability

Shanahan talks turnovers

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2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: Montez Sweat and N'Keal Harry are productive for different reasons

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2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: Montez Sweat and N'Keal Harry are productive for different reasons

NBC Sports Washington wants Redskins fans to help decide the team's ideal 2019 first-round pick by voting in the Redskins Draft Bracket on Twitter. Before you vote, though, take in this breakdown of the next matchup.

Montez Sweat and N'Keal Harry both produced a ton at their respective schools and, because of that production, are enticing prospects for NFL teams.

Their skillsets and the reasons they were productive, though, are quite different. That also means the biggest question facing them as they transition to Sundays is quite different, too.

At Mississippi State, Sweat terrorized opposing QBs in both 2017 and 2018, racking up sacks and tackles for loss. He did so thanks to his body type and a surplus of athleticism and burst.

"I see a talent, similar to Danielle Hunter out of LSU, with above-average length and a prospect who should continue to grow into his frame, allowing him to unleash his rush flashes into a consistent attack," Lance Zierlein writes in his evaluation of the edge rusher.

If you didn't hear about Sweat during his college career, you almost certainly know him now thanks to his NFL Combine performance, where he ran the 40-yard dash in a truly absurd 4.41 seconds and checked in with a wild wingspan. He's rising up boards as much as anyone right now thanks to his effort in Indy.

When it comes to most of his physical tools, you can't ask for much more out of a defender. According to Zierlein, however, he could stand to clean things up technically.

"Some will see Sweat as a leggy edge prospect with average play strength and a lack of refinement in his pass rush. ... His transition as an NFL rusher will take some time."

Harry, on the other hand, is almost the opposite. The receiver from Arizona State isn't a freak at all compared to his peers, but when it comes to winning with details and technique, he's fantastic.

"Back-shoulder boss who thrives with contested catch opportunities outside the numbers but lacks explosive traits," says Zierlein. "Harry's ability to body-up opponents and win with ball skills is undeniable, but his inability to find a threatening top gear or shake loose from tight man coverage must be accounted for within his new employer's scheme."

While Sweat's 40-time was in the 99th percentile for his position, for example, Harry's was only in the 45th. But Harry is strong and was about as reliable on the outside as you can be for the Sun Devils the past two years. 

If these two make it to Washington at No. 15, it'll be a very intriguing choice. Both play positions of extreme need and both have a track record of success.

The debate for them, of course, is: Do you take the rare, rare athlete and hope he can become more polished, or take the polished player and hope he can get by without top speed? 

You've heard the case for both players. Now, retweet or like depending on whom you'd prefer to see move on in the bracket.

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Colt McCoy is on crutches, but there isn't yet cause for alarm (VIDEO)

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Colt McCoy is on crutches, but there isn't yet cause for alarm (VIDEO)

UPDATE: Redskins fans got alarmed Sunday when quarterback Colt McCoy showed up at an Indy car race on crutches.

What?

McCoy broke his leg in December on the Monday night stage against the Eagles, but was seen a few weeks later walking around the locker room without a limp.

Thus, the crutches seemed alarming.

Later Sunday, news emerged that McCoy had another surgical procedure on his leg, but is expected to be ready when the 'Skins offseason workouts begin.

***

Colt McCoy broke his leg in December, and a few weeks later was seen in the Redskins locker room moving around without crutches. 

In fact, shortly after his injury, Washington head coach Jay Gruden said that McCoy might have played had the Redskins made the playoffs. 

So it comes at a peculiar moment when McCoy was shown on Sunday moving around with the help of a pair of crutches. 

With Alex Smith expected to miss at least the 2019 season after suffering his own broken leg last fall, some expected McCoy to get a chance at the Redskins top QB spot this fall. 

Then, the team moved to get Case Keenum from Denver in February, which clouded McCoy’s chances. Washington’s top brass explained Keenum and McCoy would battle it out for the QB1 position. 

Now, however, naturally the question comes if the ‘Skins had to acquire Keenum because there was a setback with McCoy’s recovery or another injury popped up. 

Right now, there’s no answer. 

Soon there will be. 

Jay Gruden will talk with the media on Tuesday morning during the NFL League Meetings in Phoenix. While there are plenty of topics to discuss with the Redskins head coach, now McCoy will be high on the list. 

For fans worried by McCoy’s crutches, keep in mind many NFL players get procedures done in the offseason to clean up old injuries or scar tissue. 

It’s March and the Redskins won’t play a game until September. That’s plenty of time. 

Depending on the severity of McCoy’s situation, there could be questions about his availability for offseason workouts or training sessions. 

Another quarterback seems likely to join the Redskins this offseason regardless of McCoy’s availability. 

The team must add a passer on an affordable rookie deal, as neither Keenum or McCoy is under contract beyond this year. Alex Smith is, but it’s not even close to a given he can return by 2020, despite carrying more than $20 million in salary next year. 

Stay tuned. NBC Sports Washington will be on the ground in Phoenix and working to clarify the McCoy situation. 

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