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'Something we really needed:' The Redskins secondary is committed to relearning the basics

'Something we really needed:' The Redskins secondary is committed to relearning the basics

After coaching in college for the past decade, Torrian Gray is now back in the NFL. But the Redskins' new secondary coach is still treating his group of defensive backs like college kids in at least one aspect.

You won't catch DeAngelo Hall rolling his eyes at the angle Gray is approaching his new gig, though. In fact, he fully supports how the assistant is going about things.

"Just seeing the players he’s helped bring up and produce and recruit, you know those guys have a good football IQ," Hall said this week during Washington's minicamp. "It’s something I feel we’ve kind of lagged a little bit in years past. We didn’t get a lot of that technique work. A lot of coaches, when they get into the league, tend to let guys kind of do it their way. They think, 'They’re professionals, let them do it their way.'

"He came in with kind of a college mentality," the veteran added. "Sometimes it’s bad, sometimes it’s good. For us, it was great."

Hall is the second DB this offseason to lament the way previous coaches instructed them. The first was Will Blackmon, who told the Washington Post in late May that he doesn't "count last year" as the year he switched to safety and that this season he's "actually learning football."

Count Jay Gruden among those who are welcoming Gray's methods, too. The Redskins' head coach backed up Hall's assertion that Gray differs from his predecessors and reiterated how necessary it is for the team's corners and safeties to focus on what's apparently been overlooked stuff. 


"He's a fundamentally sound guy," Gruden said at a minicamp presser. "No disrespect to the coaches we had, they were more of the big-picture-type coaches and they're good coaches, but Torrian is more of a hands-on, fundamental technique guy and I think that's something we really needed to work on." 

Really? How about really? Since 2010, the Redskins have allowed opposing quarterbacks to put up the second-highest passer rating in the NFL. Only the Saints — a unit that every fantasy player in America hopes their starters will be lucky enough to face — have been worse in that span, according to CSN's Rich Tandler. 

That stat is just one example why a change in the manner the secondary is being managed, led by figures like Gray and new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, is being embraced.

Come to think of it, even some of Gray's answers in interviews are basic. The man knows how to stay on brand.

"All I want to do is give those guys information to have the best success that they can have," Gray responded matter-of-factly when asked how he'll aim to turn around the back end of the Redskins' maligned defense. "All I know is I like the talent that we got and the best thing I know how to do is just coach the guys and try to put those guys in position to have success."

Hall, who's busy rehabbing from a torn ACL, has remained a fixture on the sidelines and served as a primary witness to his immediate boss's early days on the job. So far, so good, he says.

"You see our guys competing every single play and Torian’s always reminding them, screaming at them and yelling at them, just trying to work on the basics," Hall observed. "I’m definitely, thoroughly impressed with him."

He's not just using his voice to reinforce his lessons, either. Gray admitted last week he held up a sign during a session in Ashburn that read, "Greatness is in the details," just in case it wasn't clear enough what he's all about. It remains to be seen whether his messages truly sink in, of course, but if they do, Gray's sure that they'll lead to better production. 

Really sure, actually. 

"If we're detailed," he said, "we don't have any other choice but to be great."


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Need to Know: The best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best pass rushers the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 19, seven days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best pass rushers 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. Today the pass rushers are up. They are roughly ranked by Pro Football Focus’ pass rush productivity metric, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this we looked at the best teamsreceivers,running backs, and quarterbacks

1. Calais Campbell, Jaguars—If he gets a sack against the Redskins in Week 15, many fans will once again rue draft day in 2008 when the Redskins took both WR Devin Thomas and TE Fred Davis in the second round while Campbell was still on the board. He has been a consistent pass rusher since coming into the league, averaging eight sacks a season. Campbell is coming off of a career-high 14.5. 

2. Demarcus Lawrence, Cowboys—He had nine career sacks going into last year and then he broke out in a big way with 14.5. He got three sacks against the Redskins last year and has five in six career games. He actually ranked ahead of Campbell in the PFF pass rush metric, but I put Campbell ahead of him because we’re not sure if Lawrence is a great pass rusher or if he just peaked in his contract year. 

3. Chandler Jones, Cardinals—He posted double-digit sacks in four of the last five years including a league-leading 17 last season. His 2017 performance earned him first-team All-Pro honors for the first time in his career. Jones does more than get sacks. He has 16 career forced fumbles; only five players have forced more since he came into the league in 2012.

4. J.J. Watt, Texans—Injuries have limited him to eight games over the past two seasons. Even if the missed time has him beneath his peak years of 2012-2015, when he was first-team All-Pro every year and defensive player of the year three times, he will be difficult to deal with. 

5. Brian Orakpo, Titans—His career with the Redskins was a mixed bag, with two Pro Bowls and two seasons with double-digit sacks. After Orakpo missed 23 games from 2012-2015, the Redskins didn’t make him a competitive contract offer and he left to sign with the Titans. He hasn’t missed a game in three seasons in Tennessee and has averaged eight sacks per season. 

Best of the rest: Yannick Ngakoue, Jaguars; Clay Matthews, Packers; Vic Beasley, Falcons; Jason Pierre-Paul, Buccaneers; Cam Jordan, Saints

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Redskins six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams was born on this date in 1988.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 7
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 21
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 44

The Redskins last played a game 200 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 52 days. 

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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes


Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

Annually, Forbes releases the worth of all professional sports franchises in the world. Once again, the Washington Redskins are sitting near the top. 

This year the Redskins are ranked the fourth most valuable NFL franchise at $3.1 billion. 

That marks a five percent worth increase from a year ago. They leapfrogged the San Francisco 49ers for a spot in the top four after placing fifth in 2017. They still trail the Dallas Cowboys ($4.8 billion), the New England Patriots ($3.7 billion), and the New York Giants ($3.3 billion).

Compared to other leagues and franchises, the Redskins jumped into the top-10. They are tied for the tenth overall value with the Golden State Warriors who are coming off of their third NBA title in four years.

From year-to-year there is never much movement from the top of the ranking. Once again, the Cowboys are the top team in the world by over $600 million. They were followed by three European soccer teams. In total four NFL teams made up the top-10, the most of any sport. 

2018 Top-10 World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams according to Forbes:

1. Dallas Cowboys, $4.8 billion (NFL)

2. Manchester United, $4.123 billion ( Soccer)

3. Real Madrid, $4.09 billion (Soccer)

4. Barcelona, $4.064 billion (Soccer)

5. New York Yankees, $4 billion (MLB)

6. New England Patriots, $3.7 billion (NFL)

7. New York Knicks, $3.6 billion (NBA)

8. Los Angeles Lakers, $3.3 billion (NBA)

8. New York Giants, $3.3 billion (NFL)

T-10. Golden State Warriors, $3.1 billion (NBA)

T-10. Washington Redskins, $3.1 billion (NFL)

Next five NFL franchises:

13. San Francisco 49ers, $3.05 billion

T-14. Los Angeles Rams, $3 billion 

17. Chicago Bears, $2.85 billion 

T-19. Houston Texans, $2.8 billion

21. New York Jets, $2.75 billion