Rich Tandlers five things possibly related to the Washington Redskins and other matters.5. London Fletcher probably didnt mean to take a shot at Rex Grossman and John Beck at his press conference after the OTA session but he did. When asked if the trade for the draft rights to Robert Griffin III influenced his decision to re-sign with the Redskins, the 37-year old captain said that it did. Im in my 15th season, to go into another year with not having a quarterback was not very appealing to me, he said. Ill tell you that. Clearly, Beck and Grossman were not quarterbacks who inspired much confidence. It does not appear that RG3 has that problem.4. I will have a full article on Chris Cooley later today or tomorrow but I was surprised to hear him say that his weight is down to 237. Thats 18 pounds lighter than his listed weight of 255 and just a couple of pounds heavier than converted wide receiver Niles Paul. The lighter weight is great for running routes but not necessarily good when it comes to taking on 270-pound linebackers. We will see if Cooley can make up for his reduced bulk with leverage and technique when he needs to block. The answer to that will have to wait until training camp, when full-contact blocking is allowed, and the preseason games.3. Speaking of Paul, he looked very good yesterday. Every time you looked up he was catching another dart from Griffin. That doesnt mean that he is going to jump ahead of Cooley or Fred Davis on the depth chart but it cant hurt to develop a good rapport with the starting quarterback.2. It was somewhat surprising to see Tim Hightower, about seven months removed from tearing his ACL, on the field taking handoffs from Griffin. He ran straight ahead for the most part; he probably wont be able to cut until training camp. I saw him about 30 minutes after the workout, running sprints on the field turf in the bubble. He is not all the way back by any means but he is on his way.1. Griffin was as good as advertised yesterday. He threw with zip and accuracy, getting some passes into small openings. He was confident and clearly in charge as he went up to the line of scrimmage. It was time to get out of the playbook and, in his words, go out and play and he clearly enjoyed and savored the experience. The caveat is that its relatively easy to look good while wearing shorts with no contact allowed against defenders likely to be reserves when the season starts. The true test will come when the pads go on against hostile first-teamers. But were not at that point yet and based on what we have to go on its so far, so good.Days until: minicamp 21; training camp 65; preseason opener @ Bills 79; Redskins @ Saints 110; home opener vs. Bengals 124Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.
Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 15, 11 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
The best teams the Redskins will face in 2018
This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Most of the focus will be on individuals such as quarterbacks and pass rushers, but we’re going to get started with the best teams on the schedule. These are roughly ranked by Football Outsiders’ DVOA, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors.
1. Eagles (13-3, Super Bowl champs)—They were fifth overall in DVOA and the second-ranked team on the schedule. But DVOA is calculated for the regular season only and you have to say that by the time the playoffs were over that the Eagles had taken their game up a few notches over everyone else. They haven’t lost much over the offseason, putting them at the top of the heap and the Redskins play them twice.
2. Saints (11-5, lost in divisional round)—New Orleans was the top team in DVOA in 2017. After a couple of mediocre seasons, the Saints have retooled, and they will make a push to get Drew Brees his second Super Bowl ring. They play in Week 5, which means that Mark Ingram will be back from his four-game suspension to open the season and he will be alongside Alvin Kamara in the Saints backfield. They both had over 100 yards from scrimmage when the teams played last year.
3. Jaguars (10-6, lost AFC title game)—They finally made the jump after failing for the last few years as the trendy preseason pick. It was no fluke as they outscored their opponents by 149 points on the season. Their quarterback situation is far from ideal with Blake Bortles, but they are strong enough defensively (first in defensive DVOA) to rely on their running game.
4. Panthers (11-5, lost in wild-card round)—They certainly have had the Redskins’ number, winning the last six matchups, a streak going back to 2009. This doesn’t seem to be one of those fluke situations. The Redskins simply have problems matching up with Cam Newton. Carolina also is solid defensively (No. 7 in DVOA).
5. Falcons (10-6, lost in divisional round)—Even though the Cowboys ranked a couple of notches ahead of the Falcons in DVOA, I’m putting the Falcons ahead of them. Dallas doesn’t have a good enough defense to win with their running game. I’ve always been a big Matt Ryan fan and a lot more people would be too if he hadn’t been victimized by poor defense and bad play calling in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. Add in Julio Jones and their running backs and you have a scary offense. Defensively they are not that good but I still like their unit better than that of the Cowboys.
Rest of top 10:
6. Packers—Almost put them ahead of Falcons, their DVOA suffered last year with Rodgers out.
7. Cowboys—Even with problems on D, still have the Redskins’ number.
8. Texans—Way down the DVOA rankings last year but they will the tough with J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson back.
9. Titans—I’m not sure if they’re ready to take the next step up but they will be hard to beat.
10. Bucs—The bolstered a defense that already with tough with Jason Pierre-Paul and Vita Vea.
Tandler on Instagram
—Training camp starts (7/26) 11
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 25
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 48
The Redskins last played a game 196 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 56 days.
In case you missed it
Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 14, 12 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
The Redskins week that was
Is Junior Galette hinting at a possible return to the Redskins? I would be very surprised if Galette ever wears a Redskins uniform again although it would make sense for them to talk to him. I think the Redskins should be very nervous about their depth at outside linebacker. Pernell McPhee can get them some pressure, but he has missed 10 games over the last two seasons. Ryan Anderson’s next NFL sack will be his first. You can’t have too many pass rushers; the Redskins could well find themselves in a spot where they don’t have enough.
Upside outweighed risk in Redskins' selection of Alexander—The selection of Adonis Alexander wasn’t quite a no-brainer, but it was not a tough call for the Redskins to make. Torrian Gray, who recruited and coached Alexander at Virginia Tech, gave the green light so it came down to his potential and what draft pick they were willing to give up. They have two in the fifth round next year and they had three in the sixth. They might as well get one of those late Saturday afternoon picks in a year early and see what they have. We have more analysis of the Alexander pick here and here.
If Guice is legitimate, the Redskins running game could explode—With the exception of the 2012-2013 seasons, when quarterback Robert Griffin III was kicking in a lot of yards on the ground, the Redskins have not been in the top 10 in the league in rushing yards since 2008. Derrius Guice could help change that. Read the post for my in-depth look at the running back position.
Madden has a clear answer for the Alex Smith-Kirk Cousins debate—I don’t know much about Madden ratings, so I don’t have a lot to add here. It doesn’t look to me like the difference between the ratings of Smith and Cousins constitute and “clear” advantage but, again, what do I know?
Instagram post of the week
Joe Jacoby belongs in the Hall of Fame. If you’re reading this, I think you know that.
—Training camp starts (7/26) 12
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 26
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 54
The Redskins last played a game 195 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 57 days.
In case you missed it