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On Brunell: The Last One to the Party

On Brunell: The Last One to the Party

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

I have to park a long ways away since all of the spaces nearby are taken. I come inside and nobody says hello because they are all involved in intense conversations. There are empty Newcastle bottles all around but all the beer that is left is domestic light. The Grey Goose bottle is drained, too. There was once a nice spread but the crab bites are long gone; only a few cold pigs in a blanket, celery sticks and ranch dip and some broken chips are left.

Yep. Once again, I’m the last one at the party.

It’s time to sit Mark Brunell.

The body of evidence that Brunell can’t lead this offense effectively has been growing and has been explored in great depth elsewhere. Suffice it to say that the straws have been piling up on the camel’s back all year long. The last straws that broke the back came in the second half on Sunday.

The Colts had scored rather easily on their first possession of the third quarter, taking just 2:01 to drive to take a 20-14 lead. It was apparent that Indy was about to get on a roll and that the Redskins were going to have to respond if they were going to save their season. After Ladell Betts got one first down on the drive to save the season with a nice 19-yard run, the Redskins faced third and eight at their own 48. Brunell dropped back and fired the ball out to Betts in the left flat. Colts immediately surrounded him and he was tackled after a gain of three yards.

Washington punted and it took the Colts 2:02 to score another touchdown to make the score 27-14. If the previous drive was critical for the Redskins the next one, with the Colts offense on fire, was desperate. With a touchdown, it remains a competitive ballgame. After two plays the drive to maintain hope of saving the season the Redskins again faced a third down, this time with seven yards to go. Instead of going back to the same throw, Brunell really crossed the defense up this time. He threw to Betts in the right flat. The trickeration had no effect, however, as the Colts must have scout this left flat-right flat tendency and they made the tackle just inches short of the first down. Well, it was 180 inches--or five yards--short of the first to be precise.

After the punt, the Colts ground out a time-consuming drive taking every bit of 3:11 to take a 33-14 lead with 2:36 left in the third quarter. The lights were flickering, but the Redskins still could pull off a miracle if they could get a quick six points.

The Redskins converted a third and one with a Betts run and then they faced third and eight at the Colts 49. Brunell really tried to cross them up here, going to Mike Sellers in the right flat for four yards. Three third and long situations, three passes to the flat well short of the first down.

Santana Moss temporarily bailed the Redskins out with a one-handed grab on fourth down, but all that did was give Brunell yet another opportunity to fail to convert yet another third down, this time on a short toss to Clinton Portis. The season was over even before Nick Novak missed a 35-yard field goal attempt.

It’s not always a bad idea to dump the ball off short of the sticks in a third-down situation. Sometimes you can catch the defense back on its heels, the receiver can break a tackle and make the necessary yardage. That only works, however, if there is some threat of throwing deeper downfield like, say, eight or ten or even 15 yards. But there is no such threat with Mark Brunell. One dumpoff is OK to mix things up, sometime there could be a reason to do it twice. But three or more is a trend that opposing defenses can bank on.

And it’s not the offensive play calling. None of the plays was a maximum protection deal where all of the receivers besides the one who caught the ball were back blocking. There were other options, other receivers in patterns. Brunell had time to throw on all four plays. I don’t have to see the game film to know that at some point some other receiver who was positioned past the sticks had a reasonable chance of making the catch.

At this point, it doesn’t matter if Brunell can’t make the deep throws or if he won’t make them. The result is the same; an offense that halfway through the season has no identity and is, for the most part, utterly ineffective.

If you don’t want to bench Brunell based on four plays, the big picture is an indictment as well. One of the reasons you want a veteran at quarterback is to provide leadership and a steady hand for the tough road games. In the Redskins’ three tough road games this year, the ones in Dallas, the Meadowlands, and Indianapolis they have scored exactly one offensive touchdown when the outcome of the game was in any kind of doubt. That is unacceptable.

Would putting in Jason Campbell mean that the Redskins are giving up on the season? Possibly, but not certainly. In 1985, Joe Theismann was a struggling veteran quarterback just like Brunell is now. He was completing 55% of his passes for an anemic 5.6 yards per attempt with 16 interceptions and just eight touchdowns. Through 10 games the Redskins were 5-5. Joe Gibbs, however, steadfastly refused to bench Theismann in favor of the untested backed, Jay Schroeder.

We all know what happened in the second quarter of the 11th game, with Lawrence Taylor breaking Theismann’s leg and Schroeder coming in. His first pass was a bomb to Art Monk and the Redskins went on to beat the Giants. Overall they won five of their last six games to finish at 10-6, although they lost out on a playoff spot due to tiebreakers.

Gibbs had his reasons for sticking with the struggling veteran then and he has them now. One can only speculate as to what they are. That’s because there are very few if any apparent to even those who observe the team very closely from week to week throughout he year.

One wonders if it will take an injury like the one that Theismann suffered to force Gibbs to pull the plug on Brunell. Nobody wishes such a fate on Brunell, certainly, but it’s looking more and more like that’s what it will take.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when they moved to Washington for the 1937 season through 2001. For details and ordering information go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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2018 Redskins Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

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USA Today Sports

2018 Redskins Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

Redskins training camp is almost here, which means preseason football is not far off, with the 2018 NFL regular season coming into view.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Redskins released its 2018 training camp schedule, set to begin July 26. Once again the activities will take place at Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va., the Redskins training camp venue since 2013.

The Redskins' 2018 training camp is sure to be an intriguing one. The Redskins have a new quarterback in Alex Smith, a new running back in Derrius Guice, and a litany of players returning from injury.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2018 Redskins training camp, from location to times, dates, ticket prices and more.

Who: The Washington Redskins

What: Redskins 2018 NFL Training Camp

Where: Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va.

When: July 26 until Aug. 14

When is Redskins training camp?

The Redskins training camp begins on Thursday, July 26, 2018.

What time does Redskins training camp start?

The typical schedule opens with a morning practice from 9:45-11:45 a.m. and an evening walkthrough from 4:40-5:40 p.m. Exceptions are noted below.

Where is the Redskins training camp 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. (https://www.redskins.com/schedule/training-camp/)

Redskins training camp schedule

Date — Camp Opens — Practice — Walkthrough — Camp Closes

Thurs. 7/26 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Fri. 7/27 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Sat. 7/28 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Sun. 7/29 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Tues. 7/31 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Wed. 8/1 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Thurs. 8/2 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Sat. 8/4 — 11:30 a.m. — 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. — N/A — 3:30 p.m.

Sun. 8/5 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Mon. 8/6 — 8:30 a.m. — 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. — 4:40 to 5:40 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Tues. 8/7 — 12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

Thurs. 8/9 — PRESEASON WEEK 1 AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 7:30 P.M.

Sat. 8/11 — 12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

*Sun. 8/12 — 12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

*Mon. 8/13 — 8:30 a.m. — 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. — 10:35 to 11:35 a.m. — 3:35 p.m.

*Tues. 8/14 —  12:30 p.m. — 1:35 to 3:35 p.m. — N/A — 3:35 p.m.

*The last three training camp dates will be a joint practice with the New York Jets

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With Barry Trotz out, Jay Gruden is now your longest-tenured major head coach in D.C.

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USA TODAY Sports

With Barry Trotz out, Jay Gruden is now your longest-tenured major head coach in D.C.

Jay Gruden is many things, including honest, witty, one of the greatest Arena League quarterbacks in the history of the universe and, as of June 18, the longest-tenured head coach of a major D.C. sports team.

With the Capitals and Barry Trotz parting ways, Gruden is now officially the area's most experienced boss (while Gruden was actually hired a few months before Trotz back in 2014, they both have led their teams through four seasons up to this point, which is the number that matters here).

Scott Brooks, meanwhile, has overseen the Wizards for two campaigns, while Nats manager Dave Martinez is in the middle of his first year at the helm.

This designation will pair nicely with the fact that Gruden will also be the first 'Skins headman to hold his job into a fifth season in the Dan Snyder era. You don't need to make plans to visit his statue yet, of course, but this is some uncharted territory the 51-year-old is currently hanging out in.

Now, his overall record of 28-35-1 certainly needs work, or else he'll be in danger of handing the longest-tenured distinction over to Brooks. However, Gruden does deserve credit for bringing an amount of stability to the Burgundy and Gold, a franchise that is usually as stable as Metro's Wi-Fi connection.

So, with all due respect to DC United's Ben Olsen, the Kastles' Murphy Jensen and whatever legend is in charge of your kid's dynastic flag football team, when you think of the man who's been roaming the sidelines longer than anyone else in D.C., be sure to think of this man and only this man:

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