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Need to Know: A brawl, position changes and departures highlight the Redskins’ week

Aug 10, 2015, 3:57 AM EDT

Redskins line stretch camp 2015

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 10, three days before Washington Redskins open their preseason against the Browns in Cleveland.

The week that was

RICHMOND—The Redskins are back here today for a couple of days of practice before they travel to Cleveland on Wednesday. Here is a look back at what happened in the past week and my reaction to it.

‘It escalated very quickly’—It appears that the Texans were looking to start something to retaliate for Matt Jones mowing over one of their defensive backs on Friday. There is always a fine line on how much contact there should be in these joint practices and perhaps Jones crossed it. I’m not sure if a brawl involving over 150 players spread over two fields is exactly revenge but if the Texans are happy, that’s OK. It’s a good thing nobody got injured.

Scherff, Moses moves shuffle O-line depth chartIt looks like Brandon Scherff will start his NFL career as a guard. Although you never know what will happen it is likely that he will stay there. I’m not sure if the Redskins should be criticized more for using the fifth overall pick in the draft on a guard, a position of relatively low value, or if they should get credit for not waiting to make the move of Scherff to right guard and Morgan Moses into the right tackle spot. A little of both, probably.

Redskins waive Phillip Thomas—The Redskins aren’t exactly set at safety but they decided to move on without Thomas, their fourth-round pick in the 2013 draft. The organization thought he would develop into a starter but he missed his rookie year with a foot injury and when injuries created an opportunity for him to start last year he looked lost.

Colts claim Tevin Mitchel off waivers—The sixth-round pick suffered a shoulder injury that was going to put him out for the season. In order to get him onto injured reserve, the Redskins had to pass him through waivers, normally a routine procedure. But the Colts decided to claim him. Mitchel will now spend the season on the Indianapolis IR list and try to make the Colts team next year. It wasn’t much of a gamble since injured players are rarely claimed but Washington ended up losing a sixth-round pick.

Redskins add two to secondary, including former Virginia CBThomas was waived to help make room for cornerbacks Bryan McCann, a veteran with stints on five different NFL teams, and rookie free agent DreQuan Hoskey. The Redskins’ top four cornerbacks were nicked up and unable to practice and Mitchel was gone so they brought in some warm bodies to get through practice. But they will get a chance to make it.

DeSean Jackson leaves practice early with apparent shoulder injuryJackson didn’t last long in the joint practices. Early in Wednesday’s first session he went to the ground while trying to catch a pass and ended up with a sprained AC joint. The injury is not major and should only keep him out a couple of weeks. He did not, as some said, injure himself on a blocking sled that was near by. When Jackson fell he slid and wound up bumping the sled. By the time he made contact with the sled, the damage to his shoulder had already been done.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough 10:35; Jay Gruden news conference 2:45; practice 3:05

—It’s been 225 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 34 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 3; final cuts 26; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 45

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In case you missed it

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 10, 2015 at 7:50 AM

    He did not, as some said, injure himself on a blocking sled that was near by.

    Nonetheless, this is funny:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CLv6WXnWsAA4JJ9.png:large
    ~

  2. redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 10, 2015 at 9:22 AM

    If Schreff becomes a long term Redskins and regular pro bowler at Guard then the fact he was selected in the top 5 means very little to me. I’d rather the team assess the draft and take an elite player at a position considered too early than toe the line of some draft consensus and take a player at a less needed position for the team. The ideal right tackle just wasn’t there and maybe the Redskins could have traded back, however it was well known that the Giants were high on Schreff at #9 so there may have been little wiggle making such a trade without risk of losing a guy who is still much needed here even if it isn’t playing right tackle.

    Anyway Schreff right now came in better suited as a guard. He’s a powerful mauler that will give the team some nice holes this year in the running game. He plays well in space but is not the elite athlete like TW to play tackle. Maybe he can transition to the tackle position later but I’m happy with the decision to play him at right guard.

    • warpath1 - Aug 10, 2015 at 10:18 AM

      I see it as Long wasn’t going to cut it at guard, and Moses was further along than expected. Moses is bigger and has more experience so that’s why he is at tackle

      • ET - Aug 10, 2015 at 12:05 PM

        We can’t know for sure, of course, but my guess is that Long looks good at RG, Scherff looks better. Moses’ better-than-expected return makes this a logical move. Scherff at RT is almost certainly better than Moses at guard, but why not let everyone on the OL play to their strengths?

        Lauvao better watch out—I wouldn’t be surprised if Scherff swings over to LG next year, with Long and Moses on the right side.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 10, 2015 at 1:06 PM

        That’s some of my other questions about this position change: Was Long ineffective at guard the reason for the switch, was Moses that effective at tackle the reason for the switch, or was it a combination of both?

        • captblood3000 - Aug 10, 2015 at 3:28 PM

          Prior to McCloughan’s arrival, Gruden thought that both Moses and Long were ready to start this year. Scherff is McCloughan’s pick, and McCloughan said at his post-draft presser that he wanted thee Redskins to put their five best linemen on the field. I wouldn’t read anything more than that into this depth chart.

          It’s no disgrace for Long to lose out to the fifth overall pick in the draft. If Scherff or Corey get hurt Long is the next man up.

        • brucefan1 - Aug 10, 2015 at 6:27 PM

          Been trying the figure this out myself, and a lot of the info I’ve found points to Moses performing well enough to allow (force?) a move of Sherff inside, where his outperformed Long.

          If this is the case, then it’s is no big shock imho, cuz I felt Callahan’s praise of Long was noticeably unemphatic during OTAs. ( I think I called it “damned with faint praise”)

          Could be that Spence still has some work to do.

    • Skulb - Aug 10, 2015 at 4:35 PM

      I agree with you. Even a first overall pick on a guard is worth it if there`s long-term success from the pick. Didn`t Rich just write about all the first rounders who haven`t been re-signed since 2000? Anyone who gets picked and stays and does well is worth it, no matter how high. At least that`s one spot we don`t have to worry about for a decade now.
      And besides, Moses was supposed to be a beast at tackle when they picked him last year. He then barely got any playing time last season and got injured. I said right after the draft that I thought it was gonna be Moses and Scherff on the right side, if Moses lived up to last years expectations even half way. And since they`re both technically tackles the tackle spot was always going to the one who is fastest on his feet of the two. Apparently that`s Moses. And if that`s the case he`s the one who should play tackle and all is well.
      I`m just excited by this change because it shows a clear head running the coaching of the team. The right decision gets made and names and draft picks don`t matter, just the way it`s supposed to be. Now all I need is Baker to establish himself as defensive end and both my personnel predictions for the season will have become true.

      I might have to move my season prediction up a game to 7-9 if they keep going with sensible decisions like this:)

  3. berniebernard666 - Aug 10, 2015 at 9:58 AM

    okay Rich what you said made no sense. You said Mitchel had to pass through WAIVERS first before going on injured reserve…..but then you say that he is going directly onto the Colts Injured reserve. A player doesn’t get claimed on waivers directly to Injured Reserve or does he?

    Does Mitchel have to be claimed as a player and then pass through waivers again?

    • ET - Aug 10, 2015 at 12:16 PM

      Someone posted a few helpful links about this process a few days ago. Essentially, a rookie must make it through the first cutdown (to 75) in order to go directly to IR without the waiver process. The DC braintrust took a calculated risk and lost.

  4. redskinscaio - Aug 10, 2015 at 10:15 AM

    “… a position of relatively low value.”

    The guard position is a position of relatively low value? Maybe you could write a research paper, or editorial piece explaining why you think that, Rich. I would be very interested to read it. I mean no offense or disrespect to you either. I’m just respectively disagreeing.

    That statement however, is pretty insulting to the guards. Imagine getting on an elevator and the only other person there, is Lauvao. Pretty uncomfortable situation.

    Presently, I completely disagree with the idea that the Guard position is a position of relatively low value. Creating running lanes, and protecting the qb is of paramount importance. Having an elite guard to run behind changes the entire complexity of a football game. Also, add in the fact that it is rare to find a grown man who is athletic, stands 6’5” and weights over 300lbs… I’m hoping the SKins use their first pick next year on a left guard! I’m serious.

    A great offensive line with an elite guard will enable your talented running back to average over five yards a carry. An elite guard lets your team get first downs on third-and-shorts; It lets your team run the ball in the red zone… If I were to build a football team, I would want elite guards, I believe if your team wins in the offensive trenches, your team will win the football game. I am extremely happy the Skins drafted Sherff.

    • bangkokben - Aug 10, 2015 at 10:38 AM

      IF he is becomes an ‘ELITE’ guard, then you are justified. IF NOT, then your organization has drafted four guys in the last four drafts to play one position, What everyone fails to realize is that the organization needed a top five pick to solidify a position (RG) that should have been filled with LeRibeus, Long, or Kouandjio. McC gets the benefit of the doubt because he has a vision and track record but had this been a Bruce Allen draft, we’d still be reading the opinion pieces of how this team needs a real football guy.

      • skinsgame - Aug 10, 2015 at 11:42 PM

        I tried H A R D to convinceee you that Guard was worthy of a top 5 pick sometimes. You wouldn’t yield, as I recall. I don’t know if you are relenting on the point now or not…

        • bangkokben - Aug 11, 2015 at 9:26 AM

          My point is that it has historically not been done (last 30 years) and that there are reasons for it. Now, you got to make the most of what you’ve got in Scherrf. Remember the Redskins and McC defiantly stated that Scherff was going to play right tackle – as if to justify the pick – when they drafted him despite virtually everyone saying that he would be an NFL guard. There are reasons for that as well and for the record there haven’t been any “plug-in” right tackles taken that high in the last 30 years either. HISTORICALLY (in the last 25-30 years), the only right tackles taken in the top TEN have been failed left tackles.

          So now we’re at the beginning of Scherff’s career and seven to ten years from now the NFL narrative of drafting a guard in the top five will be the same with hopefully one addendum: “You don’t draft a guard in the top five unless he’s a Brandon Scherff.” But even then there will be guys like me that will say: “Remember? He was drafted as a tackle.”

    • bowlregard - Aug 10, 2015 at 1:20 PM

      I remember the difference Tre Johnson made when he was healthy.

    • Skulb - Aug 10, 2015 at 4:43 PM

      I can explain this I think: he means the average amount people are paid in the NFL depending on position. Guard is in the lower end: $1-3 million. Tackle is among the highest: $8-10 million. I don`t think Rich means to say that guards are worthless, just that the NFL`s prices reflect how common it is for someone to be able to perform at any given position. The big thing with guards is that they don`t really need a quick step or notable speed, which is what is so unusual to find with big guys and why tackles get paid so much.

      • brucefan1 - Aug 10, 2015 at 6:39 PM

        I do agree with ciao that good play at ALL o-line positions is essential, but I think Skulb’s right about their relative values.

        It seems like a guy who can cut it on the end of the line — often playing in space, having to handle one of the NFL’s elite speed-rushers is a lot harder to do find than guys who do better with a helper on each side of them, like guards & centers do.

        It seems like many not-ready-for-primetime tackles can move inside and do well as guards. Very seldom does the opposite occur.

  5. redskinscaio - Aug 10, 2015 at 10:26 AM

    Rich,

    so the Colts claimed Tevers off waivers. Before the Colts can place him on their IR, don’t the Colts also have to pass him through waivers as well? And if they do, can’t the Redskins just re-claim him?

    Was this another mistake by the Redskins’ front office?

    • madness83 - Aug 10, 2015 at 11:23 AM

      I think the front office tried to get cute by half, though they were also caught in a numbers crunch (if having 90 roster positions can generate a numbers crunch – hang on and I’ll explain).

      He was actually waived with an injury designation. That’s because there is no IR available during training camp – it isn’t available until going into the first week of the season. I guess the idea is with 90 roster spots during the initial part of training camp, even players who are injured who you want to retain can stay hidden in the 90 spots and then you send them to IR heading into the first game. Not sure if that’s done at the same time as the final cutdown or not.

      The number crunch comes from the fact that none of the top 4 CBs could practice (and maybe top 5, depending on where you view Mitchell in the hierarchy). They needed bodies, and rather than sacrificing from another position group, they played with fire and waived/injury him. Maybe they never intended to bring him back, but odds are I’m thinking he would have been brought back once IR rosters were available. (I could be wrong on that being possible – there may be CBA rules to prevent it.) Or maybe they were thinking they’d hold out and re-sign him going into next off-season.

      I don’t know. Whatever it was, they’ve now essentially waived one of their draft picks.

      • bangkokben - Aug 10, 2015 at 11:48 AM

        You’re right about the numbers crunch. You can put guys on IR after the first cut to 75 which is only a week before the final cut this year. At least that is what I remembered from last weeks conversation on the same topic.

  6. gonavybeatarmy - Aug 10, 2015 at 11:52 AM

    I think we all get a little too obsessed about perceived absolute value when it comes to the draft. I know I do. I’ll be the first to admit that I was screaming at the TV and jumping up and down in joy the moment it was clear that Leonard Williams had dropped and was available for the Skins to draft in the first round. I then took my medication, quickly remembering that for the first time since the Berlin Wall fell we have one of the top GMs running things.

    If drafting Scherff so high ameliorates the overall prowess of the OL, who cares which position he plays? If playing him at RG makes plausible Moses as the long-term solution at RT, then that enhances the value (there I go again) of selecting Moses in the mid-round last year. Assuming they both stay healthy, the right side of the OL may now have a solution for the next half-dozen seasons. And, it’s highly likely Scherff would have been drafted by Reese with the ninth pick had the Skins drafted Williams.

    • bowlregard - Aug 10, 2015 at 1:22 PM

      They are starting to look like the Hogs, at least on paper.

      • Skulb - Aug 11, 2015 at 5:02 AM

        On paper the offense looks absolutely sweet. They just need to gel and find their rhythm. Blocking might still be the one weakness I can see on this offense, QB carousels excluded. Hopefully they can avoid getting exposed by it.

  7. Bob G. - Aug 10, 2015 at 2:15 PM

    I can understand the move on the right side of the OL and support the moves if this helps the team. Time will tell. My question is at LG. Is Long good enough to play the position or is Lauvao that good? I never hear much about him -positive or negative. Is he that average or is Long not good enough to play either LG or RG? I still think center needs to be upgraded as Cory gets pushed around by the bigger NTs.

  8. timwillhidetimwillhide - Aug 10, 2015 at 2:18 PM

    I’ve bin saying that the new CBA and the Rookie Pay Scale it changes the way teams will draft. With less money involved teams can draft a difference maker at any position and not pay allot for them like in the past where they could only draft LT, QB, DB, Pass Rusher, or elte WR, RB, because of the money being paid out. We got a differencemaker at #5 and he doesn’t cost allot like he would in the past.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 10, 2015 at 5:31 PM

      Great point about the current rookie salary structure resulting in early round selections according to position less critical.

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