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OPEN THREAD: Improved red zone play could mean improved Redskins play


OPEN THREAD: Improved red zone play could mean improved Redskins play

Red zone struggles limited the Redskins in 2014. Often the offense would move the ball to the opponents 20 yard line before sputtering out and sending in Kai Forbath and the field goal team.

Of 27 Forbath field goal attempts last season, 11 came from inside the 30. That means the Redskins offense stalled in the red zone and had to settle for three points instead of seven. Those lost points add up, especially in close games during a 4-12 season.

Jay Gruden is committed to converting more FGs to TDs this fall.

"Red zone has been a struggle," the coach said Tuesday. "It’s something that we continue to focus on. Every practice, we’ll have some version of red zone in working on it."


Gruden explained that both the run game and pass game faltered in the red zone, and it makes sense as defenders have less ground to cover. 

"Running the ball more effectively will be very helpful," Gruden said. "The play-actions off of that will be very helpful. There’s a lot of plays that you can run if you stay in positive downs and distances."

Red zone running should be aided by rookie RB Matt Jones. A beast of a man, Jones gives the Redskins a big back the team did not have in 2014. Improved QB play will also help in the red zone, as it will every other facet of the offense. Increased accuracy is a key, Gruden explained.

"It’s important for our quarterbacks to see throws and anticipate. Throwing windows are going to be tight, and then if they drop eight, keep the plays alive and move around. All that comes with experience."

Will the Redskins red zone offense improve in 2015? Will Jones help? Can Robert Griffin III get back to the playmaker QB with both his legs and his arm?

Let us know in the comments. 

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Redskins make new hire at special teams coordinator, and he comes from Tampa Bay

USA Today Sports

Redskins make new hire at special teams coordinator, and he comes from Tampa Bay

The Redskins announced the hiring of Nate Kaczor as their new special teams coach on Saturday morning. Kaczor will take over the role vacated by Ben Kotwica, who left Washington to take the same role in Atlanta.

Kaczor spent the last three seasons with the Buccaneers as special teams coordinator, but that coaching staff got let go this offseason. Prior to his work in Tampa, Kaczor coached in similar roles for the Titans and the Jaguars. 

It's not particularly easy to rank special teams, but Kotwica's groups did some things very well, particularly in punt coverage. Football Outsiders ranked all 32 special teams groups across the league based on a formula that combines field goals/extra points, kickoffs, kick returns, punts, and punt returns; The Redskins ranked 8th and Tampa ranked 29th. 

On the flip side, the Redskins had some of the lowest kick and punt return yardage in the NFL last season. The Redskins gained just 110 yards on all of their punt returns for the year. 

Head coach Jay Gruden spoke about bringing in Kaczor.

"We are excited to have Nate join our staff. We have had the opportunity to face his special teams play during his time at Tampa Bay and respected competing against him," Gruden said via press release. "He is a competitor and we have noticed and admired the intensity his units have played with through the course of his time as a special teams coordinator and assistant coach in the NFL."


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Kyler Murray is 'making a mistake' choosing football over baseball, according to Joe Theismann

Kyler Murray is 'making a mistake' choosing football over baseball, according to Joe Theismann

Joe Theismann wants Kyler Murray to have a "long, happy career" — as a professional baseball player.

In an interview with NBC Sports Washington, the former Redskins QB was asked what he thought of Murray's choice to pursue his NFL dreams over his MLB dreams for now. He didn't hold back.

"I think that he should choose baseball," Theismann said. "I think that he would struggle in the NFL."

As of now, many mock drafts are projecting the Heisman Trophy winner to be selected in the first round. His believers see him as an electric option who's entering a league perfectly suited for his skillset. 

Theismann is not in that camp, though.

"I understand a lot of guys work from the 'gun. You're away from the line of scrimmage," he explained. "But, sooner or later, defensive coaches in this league are going to figure out how to keep you in the pocket. And if you can't throw from the pocket, or you can't see from the pocket, it's going to become a problem."

Murray's height, which Theismann touched on, is a main concern for those skeptical of how he'd handle life in the NFL. Of course, being in the 5-foot-9 range matters far less on a MLB diamond.

Theismann also thinks that the Oklahoma product will need to be in an offense with a strong running attack. That's something any rookie passer needs to succeed, and without one, Theismann isn't sure if Murray can carry the load on his own.

In the end, Theismann told NBC Sports Washington that Murray is "making a mistake" by setting his sights on the gridiron. He simply doesn't see things going well for Murray as a signal caller.

"I think in professional football, it'll be a real challenge and an uphill climb for him to be able to do the things that he wants to do and a team wants him to do," he said.