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Need to Know: Who’s up, who’s down as Redskins end offseason program

Jun 18, 2015, 5:11 AM EDT

RG3-passing-minicamp-06.16

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 18, 42 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

State of the Redskins

Here are some thoughts on the Redskins at the end of their offseason program. Note that the players have been in helmets and shorts and that only five of 11 practices have been open to the media.

—We still don’t know enough about the progress of Robert Griffin III to say if he will have a successful season. He has had good days in OTAs and minicamp like Tuesday and he has had some less than stellar days like Wednesday. He’s a work in progress and it’s impossible to say at this point how it will turn out. Stay tuned for Richmond and for the preseason.

—Griffin does seem to be more decisive than he did in the offseason practices and training camp last year. He rarely pumps the ball and looks confused. The question is whether he has advanced to being decisive enough to be effective in a real NFL game.

—While Griffin has had some issues, neither backup quarterback has made a compelling case that he could be the answer, either. Colt McCoy has been quite erratic, throwing a ton of interceptions. Kirk Cousins has been better but he hasn’t done anything to make me think that he could be the guy, either. It should be noted that both of the backup quarterbacks are working with other backup players so it may be a bit more difficult to shine.

—I get the feeling that Matt Jones will get a lot of touches when the season starts. He has been stepping in with the first team offense early and often. The coaches like the way he runs and the way he catches the ball. They will find ways to get him into games and get the ball in is hands.

—Trent Murphy could be the most improved returning player on defense. He has gotten stronger and he knows the game better. It’s hard to judge a player in his position without pads but he has been playing well.

—Again, it’s hard to tell in helmets and shorts but it looks like Brandon Scherff has work to do before he becomes a good right tackle and even further to go before he plays well enough to live up to his billing as the No. 5 overall pick. The good news is he’ll do the work. He is out there every day, working late with Bill Callahan. There usually have been other linemen with him but they vary from day to day. The constant is Scherff. He may not get there quickly, maybe not before the season starts, but he should get there.

Timeline

—It’s been 172 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 87 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 42; Preseason opener @ Browns 56; final cuts 80

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. mr.moneylover - Jun 18, 2015 at 6:12 AM

    Hopefully going up against jj.watt will help Brandon S. because week 1 he got a big task in stoping suh…if they feel Brandon S. not ready to start will they put Morgan Moses on that side ??? Do we have a better option that we don’t know about ???….give matt jones room he will bust out a 70 yard run…hes physical but he got moves like jamal Charles

    • abanig - Jun 18, 2015 at 9:11 AM

      Scherff will probably start at RT no matter what, but in the shocking event he doesn’t you’d either see Tom Compton, Moses or Willie Smith. One of these 3 isn’t going to make the team though.

      • captblood3000 - Jun 18, 2015 at 4:11 PM

        I think Scherff is a terrific run blocker but Moses, once healthy, is the better pass protector. They’re both works in progress.

        • abanig - Jun 18, 2015 at 8:10 PM

          Scherff was a good pass blocker at Iowa, he wasn’t elite, but you don’t go top 5 in the nfl draft if you’re not a good pass blocker.

          Moses has a lot more to work on than Scherff.

        • captblood3000 - Jun 18, 2015 at 9:39 PM

          I watched Scherff play terribly in pass protection in the 2014 Iowa-Maryland game. You can argue that game was an aberration, but Scherff will have to work against better pass rushers week in and week out in the NFL. And I would argue that Scherff’s deficiencies in pass protection were masked by Iowa’s run first offense and heavy use of two tight end sets. Iowa fell behind in the 2nd half against Maryland and that left Scherff without a tight end on his left shoulder.

          McCloughan is not naive about this. At his post game presser, he said Scherff might wind up at guard. If Scherff struggles at right tackle that could happen.

        • abanig - Jun 18, 2015 at 10:23 PM

          I watched the same game. I also listened to McCloughan describe how he is good at pass protection.

  2. hk2000 - Jun 18, 2015 at 8:47 AM

    Rich you always emphasize how hard it is to draw a conclusion one way or another, but did you consider that even if they’re actually playing in pads with full blown contact, it still is hard to tell whether a good defensive play is actually a bad offensive play or vice-versa? until the team plays against another team, it’s almost impossible to tell if we had any improvement on either side of the field.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 18, 2015 at 10:56 AM

      I agree – There have been too many instances where a player shines in OTAs only to disappear or decline when the pads come on. Game situations are the real measure. I’ve learned to be receptive of good performances in OTAs but only hold it as a footnote because nothing has been proven yet by any of these players.

      • hitmeimopen - Jun 18, 2015 at 12:11 PM

        I recall thinking that I was really fast at early season practice only to find that once the pads went on I became invisible – unable to distinguish myself from the pack.

        • abanig - Jun 18, 2015 at 12:30 PM

          Cooley said the OTAs and mini camps matter.

    • Darren - Jun 18, 2015 at 8:57 PM

      Exactly!!!

  3. abanig - Jun 18, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    I like hearing about Scherff’s work ethic. I think he’ll get there as well. Most fans don’t understand that that switching from LT to RT is not an easy task, but he’s as hard a worker as they come so he’ll get there.

    I love hearing good things about Matt Jones, I think he’s going to shock people and that this will sadly be Morris’ last year in DC. We’ll probably draft another mid round back next year if Thompson, Reds or Tre Williams don’t blow the coaches socks off this season.

    I think Trent Murphy is going to have a great second season. I predict:

    65 tackles, 7 sacks, 8 QB hits, 30 QB hurries, 40 QB pressures

    • ET - Jun 18, 2015 at 10:57 AM

      I don’t think Murphy had a bad year last season, and he’ll continue to improve. Trent’s stats last season compare quite favorably to, say, Khalil Mack’s if projected across the entire year. I’ve never understood the harping about Murph’s rookie production—very few players become sack machines in their first year, and his run coverage was outstanding. Murph, Kerrigan and Smith should make a fine OLB unit in the near future.

  4. Scott talbert - Jun 18, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    I’m not worried about Shereff he’s going to be good. If Jones gets touches fine but Almo is a top5 back I hope we resign him during the year or next off-season!

    • abanig - Jun 18, 2015 at 10:05 AM

      Depends on the contract demands. I wouldn’t pay him a McCoy or Murray type contract.

      • bangkokben - Jun 18, 2015 at 11:24 AM

        Nobody is going to give him that type of contract.

        • abanig - Jun 18, 2015 at 1:50 PM

          Never say never.

          What’s your limit on Morris’ contract?

          I’d say he deserves a 4- year, $16 million contract.

        • bangkokben - Jun 18, 2015 at 1:54 PM

          Those are my exact numbers right now but that assumes that he is the featured back this year and that he makes his average season production. The only ways it goes up is if he rushes for 2000 yards or averages over 5 yards a carry or he suddenly becomes a legitimate pass catching option.

        • abanig - Jun 18, 2015 at 2:02 PM

          Here’s the thing, I love Alfred Morris, but I think the fanbase has to relaize what the front office and coaching staff already knows. Alfred Morris has already peaked as a running back. I don’t foresee Alfred rushing for more yards than he did as a rookie in his late 20s, so why pay him any more than $4 million a year in a next contract?

          And if Matt Jones shows he could be like Morris or better then I’m sorry, but you let Morris walk and you make Jones the feature back from 2016-2018.

        • bangkokben - Jun 18, 2015 at 2:15 PM

          They let Terry Allen leave and allowed the unproven Stephen Davis take the roll. So, yes it has been done before and successfully. But $4M can easily fit under the cap and what we don’t know about Jones is how durable he is. (He may the Jordan Reed of running backs for all we know.) Morris has proven that he is durable and the next four years are usually prime years for a back. It is the years after that there are downhill.

          They could give Morris a $6M signing bonus and break down the salary at $1M, $2M, $3M, then $4M. I think they can break the bonus up $3M, $1M, $1M, $1M. This essentially gets Morris for two more years with Jones as the starter in 2018 – assuming they like both for the near future.

        • abanig - Jun 18, 2015 at 9:37 PM

          True, good points. I just think Skins need to come to the realization that out of Griffin, Williams, Kerrigan and Morris; the one most likely not to be signed to a second contract is Morris.

          The only caveat being if Griffin falls on his face and shoes no improvement. If that happens, Griffin will be cut in March.

      • berniebernard666 - Jun 18, 2015 at 9:17 PM

        here is what I am going to do. I am going to let Scott M handle the contract negotiations with Alfred Morris. I don’t think I am going to worry about it. Especially since its a year away.

  5. bangkokben - Jun 18, 2015 at 11:22 AM

    Thanks Rich for the details. 42 days before training camp, ugh. Enjoy the down time.

    • berniebernard666 - Jun 18, 2015 at 9:15 PM

      yea Richard enjoy yourself in the Air conditioning because in 6 weeks you’re gonna sweat about 10 pounds off every single day while watching that afternoon practice.

      • Rich Tandler - Jun 19, 2015 at 5:13 AM

        There’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Seriously.

  6. cowboyhater - Jun 18, 2015 at 1:10 PM

    I’m a bit concerned to hear about Shereff, but a learning on the job Shereff is better than what was out there before. It will still be an upgrade, plus he will only get better once he learns all of the DE’s moves throughout the season. With the emergence of Jones, this will make Morris possible trade bait during training camp. Players will go down, and teams get desperate.

  7. kenlinkins - Jun 18, 2015 at 1:38 PM

    Wow, Jones hasn’t even taken a snap in pads yet and far too many Redskins fans have him moving Morris out of the starting line up! While I too believe that this years draft class will be good I also understand that it will take time. As for me, I am going to wait and see just what they can do in a few preseason games before I start talking trade deals. It will be interesting to see just how many holes the new GM has plugged, which players jump out of the pack, and if they can turn the increase in roster talent into WINS! IMO we will see a few failures but over all the Redskins should be a better team in 2016.

    • cowboyhater - Jun 18, 2015 at 2:34 PM

      You read too much into comments…..no one is pushing Morris out the door, what makes sense is if you are not going to resign a player when they are on the last year of their contract, smart organizations find ways to maximize their value for a player. Why let him walk for nothing in return….get something for him or any other player that has value. I love the kid….seems to have a great heart, and work ethic which is so valuable to any team. I say keep both, but for a team that is in rebuilding mode you also have to be smart.

      • abanig - Jun 18, 2015 at 7:30 PM

        Easier to write on a blog than to do in real life. In order to get something in return for Morris, they’d have to trade him now and they’d have to have a trading partner. Or, they’ll have to let him leave via free agency and not sign a comparable player and get a compensatory pick back for the 2017 draft – probably a 7th round pick.

  8. mr.moneylover - Jun 18, 2015 at 4:04 PM

    I really like the idea jay gruden did…not practicing today on the field but having film study and working out in the gym….theres nothing better then to have players who know what to do then to have players who look lost on the field…Trevor matish said it best most teams dont go as hard in practice then the redskins do its more mental with this team its whose taking notes in the film room ? Whose staying in they playbook ? …film study benefits players so much ask rg3 he didnt know what makes him uncomfortable in the pocket until he seen it on film and plan on getting better during the break at it…QB coach matt C. Didnt know rg3 can get hot until he seen rg3 connect 10,12,15 straight passes but end up slippin up a lil bit but see it on film and correct it….its all about the protection and finishing drives in the red zone witch they working hard at fixing

    • Scott talbert - Jun 18, 2015 at 4:25 PM

      After 97 we let Allen go but we went with skip hicks and big country played FB. It taught him with lower pad level that’s what helped him breakout in 99.

    • Skulb - Jun 19, 2015 at 9:05 PM

      Figuring out how to have positive turnover and sack ratios is what is needed. It`s not that the players aren`t goo enough, but too many negative plays over a season will sink anyone. And the Redskins had a ton last year. Off the top of my head I seem to remember -12 for TOs and -22 for sacks. It was hideous and you can`t win with those stats.

  9. berniebernard666 - Jun 18, 2015 at 9:07 PM

    all I know is that while watching some Griffin throws in practice this week, he is hopping around sometimes and throwing off his back foot. I don’t understand if the coaches simply cannot teach properly or if Griffin has such a hard head he is going to do what he wants.

    He threw off his backfoot last season and was inaccurate. He likes to bounce up and down a lot instead of setting his feet. He likes to JUMP a lot while throwing. In fact last year he dislocated his ankle on one of those JUMPING UP throws.

    I really think the Captain Kirk is going to get his “fair shot” after a few games into the season because Griffin still is all about “swag” and talking about “HIS GUYS” instead of waking up, smelling the coffee. and then proceeding to ask the coaches how to taste that coffee. He needs to focus on RG3 and not “his guys”.

    • mr.moneylover - Jun 19, 2015 at 1:06 AM

      Well from what I herd and seen robert Griffin had his best practices in the two mini camp practices hes looking better then last year and thats all you can ask for from a QB that never played in a drop back system you cant expect him to be prefect because cam newton neither is colin kapernick all he can do is progress day by day week by week and thats what hes been doing since the QTAs…some reporters said robert didnt look as sharp on wensday but they was practising red zone drills witch you got a smaller window to throw the ball to complete a pass but overall he did a ok job he wasnt horrible…sad part about this is kirk cousins or colt mccoy havent looked better then rg3 they actually look worst both QBs threw a bunch of INTs unlike those two robert is listening and learning and is on an up spiral kirk&colt both look like they dont deserve to start…we will see how things look in six weeks when they come back

      • Skulb - Jun 19, 2015 at 8:55 PM

        The thing with Griffin is that his fundamentals really are weak. Or at least they were last season and traces of some of it can still be seen. Optimism is like a professional requirement from these people during the offseason and preseason. What happens on game day is what really matters, most of all to Griffin. He needs to be at least average this season. It`s his fourth one and he`s been getting worse over time, which is not very promising. A slight drop in form after his stellar debut season was to be expected, particularly with the injuries. But we weren`t witnessing a slight drop last year I think. More like a fall off a cliff. If he indeed is a track runner who has accidentally put on a football suit then he may yet prove to be the most expensive draft bust in NFL history. At least playing an average game without any more injuries the coming season is an absolute must for him to avoid any more of this talk. And for the Skins too I think. Starting another QB hunt is just not what this team needs right now.
        As for the second stringers it`s always hard to judge them because they`re up against other backups and reserves. If they do better than Griffin his defenders will say its because Griffin faces stiffer opposition on the practice field. And if Griffin does better his defenders will say that the second stringers should be doing better against weaker opposition. They just can`t win against the RGIII hype seems like. When it comes to sample size on game days they are still about even to my mind. It depends whether you want to include Griffin`s debut year. if you do then he wins the contest easily. If you don`t he`s if anything worse. And he`s been injured way too much, and that absolutely needs to stop whether he really is injury prone or not. He has to play with lower physical risk even than last year to do this I think. Some of the hits he takes are just not good.

    • mr.moneylover - Jun 19, 2015 at 1:17 AM

      Sorry dude, but I think kirk cousins will be the third string QB…kirk cousins hasnt shown he wants to start…kirk cousins still throwing INTs even in practice…some reports said rg3 looked better then he did last year around this time…kirk cousins didnt help his case when he threw away our season last year and he still not making a good impression on coaches…no praise for kirk no praise for colt but praise for rg3 and progress…let’s see if that change in training camp

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