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Need to Know: 5 Redskins thoughts including O-line competition

May 21, 2014, 5:16 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 21, six days before the start of OTAs.

Nickel coverage

With the draft and rookie minicamp in the rear view mirror and the start of OTAs almost a week away, here are five thoughts on the Redskins.

—With the exception of Shawn Lauvao, who just got here, every member of the starting offensive line has had his job handed to him for the past two years. There was not any serious training camp or in-season competition for any of the jobs during the four years that Mike Shanahan was the head coach. This year Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, and Tyler Polumbus will be pushed by Mike McGlynn, Spencer Long, and Morgan Moses. We will see how they respond.

—It’s easy to connect a few hypothetical dots and see the addition of DeSean Jackson will help Robert Griffin III rack up some solid passing stats. But then I look at the case of Griffin’s fellow class of 2012 quarterback Ryan Tannehill. As a rookie Tannehill averaged 6.8 yards per pass attempt. Prior to the 2013 season the Dolphins added receiver Mike Wallace, who was supposed to add the same deep-threat dimension that Jackson should bring to Washington. But last year Tannehill’s average per attempt actually fell, down to 6.7 yards. There isn’t necessarily cause and effect there but the addition of a fast receiver doesn’t mean an automatic boost to the QB’s numbers.

—It’s the turnovers, folks. The Redskins turned the ball over 34 times last year; only one team, the Giants, turned it over more often. They had only one turnover-free game the entire year. If they are going to turn their record around, they need to change that situation.

—I think that the NFL Players Association should be able to approve of any expansion of the playoffs. But I can’t for the life of me figure out why they wouldn’t approve it. They shouldn’t need a “concession” in return. The additional revenue will expand the salary cap and 106 more players per year will get a chance to play for the Super Bowl title. That’s the concession.

—Back to Griffin—if he plays better than he did last year, the Redskins will not necessarily be an improved team. But they will not be better if he doesn’t play better.

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—It’s been 143 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 109 days until they play the Texans in the 2014 season opener.

Days until: OTAs 6; Training camp starts 63; Redskins @ Eagles 123

In case you missed it

  1. O - May 21, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    I think in the case of Tannehill and Wallace, there were games where they didn’t even target him. It was more of a game planning issue than anything. Anyway, great point of view

    • bowlregard - May 21, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      It seemed Wallace was doing better later in the year.

  2. ET - May 21, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    I would expand on the turnover comment—it’s not just a team’s own turnovers, it’s the ratio of turnovers to takeaways. Those takeaways create opportunity, even for a mistake-prone team.

  3. internetcareer - May 21, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    Couple of things. I think it’s silly to say that if Robert plays better the Skins won’t be an improved team. That statement is your opinion but not based on facts. The facts we have over a 2 year period is that when RG3 is playing at a high level…the team improves. When he plays at a deficient level….the team sinks to 3-13. Those are the facts and all the proof I need to state that if Robert improves…cuts his turnovers in half…slightly better completion percentage….more TD’s….etc….how is it that the team does not improve and win more games???

    Tannehill and Wallace comparison is not valid simply because the Dophins lost Reggie Bush last year so their running game was not as effective to set up the pass. In fact the Dolphins only had 1400 YARDS rushing last year so Tannehill was forced to throw those short passes. Plus the Dolphins lost Dustin Keller in preseason who was suppose to help with the passing game. The Skins have GAINED weapons, not lost weapons.

    So I have no idea how you compare apples and brocolli because these 2 teams are not in any way connected in similarity.

    • Rich Tandler - May 21, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      I fail to understand why you can’t disagree without being disagreeable. I really don’t want to ban you because you do have some good thoughts but I’m not going to put up with your snark much longer. Consider this a warning.

      Oh, so QB’s that throw for 4,000 yards always play on winning teams. Really? My experience, based on something much larger than your two-season sample size, says otherwise.

      And the comparison is valid. The simple fact is that adding a weapon doesn’t always improve a quarterback or an offense. The weapon has to be utilized properly and we’ve seen time and time again instances where it hasn’t been. Again, I have a very large sample size in addition to last year’s Dolphins.

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      • goskins44 - May 23, 2014 at 6:47 PM

        @ Rich – I get your comparison. I may agree a little with internet if you had made the statement that “making no other changes adding another weapon still is no guarantee of improvement.”

        But you just said adding a weapon does not mean you get better and then showed a team who added a new weapon and did not improve. That may or may not have been a failure to use the guy right. But it seriously could have also been other parts of the team not playing as well as the previous year. In this case part of the problem was the running game. But whatever the reason, the fact remains as you stated, they added Wallace but did not get better. JMO here.

        One thing we didn’t talk about is that Wallace may just not be that good in the new system. His role was different in Pitts. Maybe he could not meet the demands of the new position. Again, just a thought.

        • Rich Tandler - May 23, 2014 at 7:22 PM

          I got ya. It was a paragraph, not a comprehensive study. The simple fact is that, for a variety of seasons, adding a big-play receiver does not always improve the offense. That’s all I was saying and it’s a factual statement.

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  4. Newsuit - May 21, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    I agree turnovers are a huge factor in an offenses productivity. I also think field position, 3rd down conversion rate, and redzone efficiency are also huge factors. I have heard Gruden remark about his concern on 3rd and long situations and improving the pass protection as the line got consistently pushed back in Griffins face.

    Rich if the competition at Oline you talk about enhances protection I think Griffin will play better and score more points. If he lets all his playmakers make plays and not force things like last year due to the lack of weapons I think the turnovers will be limited as well. So in a way it is all up to Griffin.

    • bowlregard - May 21, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      Lots of reasons for optimism regarding RG3. Upgrade of the receiving corp. Upgrade of the OL. Healthy knee and not having to wear the brace. New and improved coaching. (Maybe that’s being hopeful.) An offseason where he can participate.

      • Newsuit - May 21, 2014 at 6:40 PM

        I totally agree. If there’s any player on this team that I would want its success to be predicated on it would be RGIII.

  5. shermanp79 - May 23, 2014 at 8:17 AM

    Your statement about no competition under Shanahan is a huge factor why this team didn’t improve under him. So many say the cap penalty hurt them but I said the other day, I don’t think it was the reason this team didn’t grow. They Drafted a lot of players and didn’t get them on the field. So how much did that truly effect them? The OL is a perfect example of the problem. Now, it could be who they drafted too but they never had a shot. He had his guys and went with them despite all the issues last year. The line was getting killed up the middle and he still wouldn’t make changes. That is part of the stubbornness I talk about with Shanahan not being flexible. It was in the game plans too. When defenses know what’s coming, it’s not too hard to stop. I know RG3’s injury didn’t help the situation but another example of his stubbornness or ego, whatever you want to call it. To not play him at all in Pre Season, was a dumb decision. If he was starting week one…play him. I do get if he got hurt, he would have never heard the end but he would have known Cousins probably needed to start early. That isn’t all on Shanahan but I think it taught RG3 a lesson, that will make him better long term. I think the change of demanding production by competition is what will help this team improve.

  6. redskinsnameisheretostay - May 23, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    RIch, I somewhat disagree with Shanahan not providing any serious competition in training camp for the Offensive Line. I do feel LeRibeus was a serious contender before he blew out his weight and the Skins signed two big experienced tackles to take on Polumbus. One of those tackles; “Pashos”, whom I was sure would be the starter, moved on to start for the Raiders last season. Also, I think the salary penalty made it difficult to bring in more quality starting linemen the last two seasons.

    • Rich Tandler - May 23, 2014 at 3:14 PM

      LeRibeus was a “what if” situation. maybe he would have had a legit shot, maybe not.

      But it’s not accurate to say that Tony Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood were competition for Polumbus. For there to be a legitimate competition there needs to be some sort of split of snaps with the first unit during OTAs and training camp. That just didn’t happen. Polumbus got all of the first team snaps.

      It’s like saying two guys are having a competition and than handing one a knife and the other a gun. No contest.

      Bottom line, I had as much of a chance of starting at right tackle for the Redskins last year as Pashos and Trueblood did.

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