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More fan Twitter questions: Trent Murphy, improvements on D, 10 wins for the Redskins?

May 22, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

In case you missed it, we got so many good questions we split the Twitter mailbag into two parts. Here is Part 1 from yesterday; let’s get rolling right here with Part 2:

You need a “none of the above” choice in your question there. There are some things you can tell when players are working out in shorts and helmets with not pads, but how one individual might “handle” another when anything is one the line is not one of them. I would caution anyone against reading too much into what you might hear about line play during the upcoming OTAs and minicamp. Let’s talk Morgan Moses vs. Trent Murphy in Richmond in August, not in Ashburn in May.

The organization has recognized that the team has fallen short when it comes to developing draft picks. Both Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden said that the goal was to draft players with strong work ethics and high football IQ in order to increase the chances that they will improve. This sometimes means that you don’t always get the biggest, fastest, and most athletic players. The prime examples of this type of player are Trent Murphy, Spencer Long, and, in the later rounds, Ryan Grant. They also brought in some coaches who are good teachers, coaches like outside linebackers coach Brian Baker. We won’t know for a couple of years if this plan will work, if it will result in players who are better in their third years than they were as rookies. But there does appear to be a plan in place and fans should take some encouragement in that.

I’m not sure they are aiming to be in the top 10 when it comes to yards given up, the traditional measure of defense. The game has changed. I think they want to be in the top 10 in sacks and takeaways; that type of defense wins games. But that doesn’t change the larger point of your question. I’m a believer in Harry’s and Joes winning games, not X’s and O’s. They need better players. When they get enough of them they will be an effective defense.

Normally it’s one to a customer but Rick is a long time Twitter follower and commenter so he gets a two-for-one special here. I wrote about Brown on Tuesday so you can get the details there. But the bottom line is that the job will need to be filled but it doesn’t necessarily have to be one person. As far as how big the loss is, it’s never good to lose good football people in the front office but in the shorter term, Jay Gruden and RG3 are much more important to the success of the team on the field than is Brown. Murphy’s role will be sorted out between now and Sept. 7. Look for him in pass rush situations. Not sure if he’ll be an extra linebacker, a linebacker while Ryan Kerrigan lines up with his hand in the dirt, or if he’ll line up as an end. If he can handle it, he’ll do all three in various packages.

Crazy? No, teams do the worst to first thing all the time and the Redskins could be particularly well positioned to do it for the second time in three years. But thinking 10 wins could be overly optimistic. With a new coaching staff, as many as 25 new players, and some questionable areas like the secondary and the offensive line, it could take a season for things to gel.

Not really. The CBA allows teams to release up to two players prior to June 1 and designate them as June 1 cuts for salary cap purposes (meaning that any prorated signing bonuses remaining on the contract will not accelerate onto the present year’s cap but will go onto the following season). So there is no reason for the Redskins to wait if they want to release Chester, Bowen, or any other player. In fact, if they know they want to release one or both players it would be better to do it immediately. If they wait and the player gets injured while working out on team property, they could end up being on the hook for the player’s salary for the entire year. The fact that both players are still on the roster indicates that the team plans to keep them at least through training camp.


  1. Newsuit - May 22, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    I personally hope Murphy demonstrates that he can grow into a big role. From what I can see he is very much like a Mike Vrabel or a Kerrigan. I wouldn’t put too much on Moses getting the better of him on one-on-one drills since I think Murphy is more of a smart run to the ball gamer type than a one-on-one guy which leads to impact plays sooner or later.

  2. C. Cowboykilla - May 22, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    Being in the NFC EAST it could go either way. 6 losses or 6 wins for us. To be honest I’d have to say no. I think our max wins possible would be 9.

    • Rich Tandler - May 22, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      Good point. It’s weak division and it didn’t get much stronger in free agency and the draft.

  3. brucealmty - May 22, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    I don’t know about 10 wins but they should be able to scrounge up 5. Defense leaves much to be desired.

    • thirdistheworrd - May 22, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      Lot of negativity here. I think it all depends on Robert Griffin. Think about the 2012 team, they were terrible. Griff and Morris quite liter– figuratively put the whole team on their backs and carried the team to ten wins.

      This year, Haslett alleges his D will function more effectively without Shanny in control. Orakpo is back, the DB corps should be improved; the whole receiving corps seems overwhelmingly more dangerous (Reed, Jackson, and Roberts replaicng Josh Morgan and Fred Davis); the O-line should be much improved as well, depending on Lauvao and the rookies. Most importantly, ST promises to better than ’12– and if they aren’t better than ’13 we might as well disband the entire franchise.

      Point is, we don’t have a good team, but we’re decidedly better than the 2012 team, and while ’13 was obviously a nightmare, we only lost three games by more than one score. If Griffin can play anything like 2012, a ten win question is a very optimistic projection, but certainly not out of the question.

      And forget “scrounging”, I would say five is the absolute minimum number of games they win.

  4. ET - May 22, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Great big picture question from Brandon Moore! (And great answer from Rich.)

    The biggest positive for me so far has been the sense that Gruden and Allen are thinking like capable chess players—three, four, five moves ahead. That’s a mighty contrast to Snyder (one move) and Los Shanahans (two to three moves, max).

    Even if the Year One results are unspectacular, I’m feeling pretty damn good about the long-term strategy that seems to be in place.

    • shermanp79 - May 23, 2014 at 7:25 AM

      AGREE 100% !!!!! Archives

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