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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—rebuilding the defense

Feb 13, 2016, 5:34 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 13, 11 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

The Redskins week that was

A look at five of the most popular posts of the week here at Real Redskins and at

Why haven’t the Redskins released RG3? —Some have complained that this post was unnecessary but when I get a question asked over and over again in the comments and on social media, I figure it’s best to write a post to flesh it out and send people to that. Over 100,000 people have read it so obviously there are plenty of people still wondering and/or interested in the topic.

Despite 2015 success, Vegas not high on 2016 Redskins—Those of you who like it when the Redskins are underdogs and under the radar should be happy this offseason. The Super Bowl odds discussed in this post come from and they have the Redskins with worse odds than every other team in the NFC East. I think that a healthy Romo (not a sure thing for 16 games) will help Dallas but I find it hard to see the Eagles and Giants, both with rookie head coaches among other issues, as favorites over a fairly stable Redskins team.

Who has the best chance of being the Redskins’ first pick?—Interest in the draft is high even though we are still almost two weeks away from the NFL Combine, which is more than two months before the draft. I can see the Redskins going to just about any position in the first round with the exception of quarterback, tight end, and offensive tackle. There would have to be a real steal at some positions like outside linebacker but it’s possible.

Jarrett: ‘He’s a mature guy for a rookie’—Kyshoen Jarrett was one of the most pleasant draft surprises in years. He was expected to play some special teams and fill in at safety here and there. But he became a Swiss Army knife, playing 616 snaps nickel corner, corner, and safety. If you can find one or two of those a year is the difference between good drafts and excellent drafts.

Will McCloughan try to build the Redskins’ defense through free agency?—I got an interesting question from a reader on Scot McCloughan’s plans for free agency. Last year he tried to build up the defense through some signings and they experienced mixed results. Will he give it another go and bring in veterans to bolster a defense that ranked 28th in yards allowed and in the bottom third in many other statistical categories? Or will he want to add some draft picks to the mix and have Joe Barry and company focus on developing them and some of the young talent already on the roster? A mix of both is likely but I suspect it will be more of the latter than the former.


—The Redskins last played a game 34 days ago. It will be about 211 days until they play another one.

—About 166 days until fullbacks and safeties report to Richmond.

Days until: NFL Combine 11; NFL free agency starts 25; 2016 NFL draft 75

In case you missed it


  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 13, 2016 at 8:03 AM

    This is a good write-up of Andrew Billings, covers the good and the bad.

  2. skinsgame - Feb 13, 2016 at 8:52 AM

    The Griffin story should be more interesting (if that’s possible) in another couple years. Once he is no longer under contract with the team and, really, once he’s out of the league. His little note he left hanging in his locker has the odor of a scorned woman, fresh out of a divorce. It’s a story that will keep on giving. Fake concussions and all.

    The story I found most interesting this week was the odds makers having the Redskins as underdogs to the other 3 NFC East opponents. Philly and NY will have new coaches and the Giants have begun purging their roster already. It seems impossible to me but, does Vegas think that the Redskins won’t be able to work out a deal with Cousins? Do they think that Cousins won’t play even if he’s slapped with a franchise tag? Or do they think the Redskins are just that bad? I’m guessing everyone counts Cousins as the starter, contract or not, and they think the Redskins are just that bad.

    • James McFullan - Feb 13, 2016 at 10:27 AM

      Those people always vote against the Redskins no matter how they did the year before. They just dislike seeing the Redskins winning.

      • bangkokben - Feb 13, 2016 at 10:52 AM

        This has nothing to do with dislike or voting. It’s business. Vegas thinks the Redskins are long shots and have the odds that way. In addition, Redskin fans aren’t the idiots from Dallas that will always bet on their team, nor are ‘skins fans entrenched in betting communities like the Giants and Eagles. The other fans in the division will bet more heavily on their teams keeping the odds lower than necessary for also long shots.

        • skinsgame - Feb 13, 2016 at 11:07 AM

          That’s an interesting point. Vegas is looking for where the money will come from and, perhaps, shaping it.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 13, 2016 at 3:13 PM

          “Vegas thinks the Redskins are long shots and have the odds that way.”

          Vegas (i.e. odds maker) use odds to even out the betting on both sides. This has nothing to do with what Vegas “thinks”. Like you stated, it’s business or more specifically a business strategy. The ones making the betters impact the odds. There is much inference from your statement that regional folks bet on their favorite teams. While you’ll have a portion of novice betters that may bet their money on their favorite, I seriously doubt it is as influential as you suggest. If there is any sound reason to bet against the Redskins is simply because the pattern of NFC East Champions have shown to have poor seasons the following year. Also despite what many locals that think of Cousins as a solid starter, many outsiders are not yet so high on him.

        • hail74 - Feb 13, 2016 at 4:03 PM

          Perhaps your final sentence is correct but as someone who lives outside of the Delmarva I can assure you there are plenty who think higher of him than some on the inside. Nfl network already has him as their top FA QB too. Granted that’s not saying much when you consider its really only him and fitz. However I doubt Vegas views an oft injured Romo or whomever philly throws in there as better than cousins.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 13, 2016 at 4:32 PM

          My point about Cousins was in response to the suggestion that because he is not signed is cause for the odds against them in the NFC East. If anything, most making bets already assume he’ll be resigned. I know I would.

          I also live outside the Delmara. I won’t speak for all NFL fans outside of that area but what I can tell you is most I speak to consider him middle of the road right now with potential. I rarely find someone who doesn’t speak kindly of Cousins but I also rarely find someone that fears him as a QB.

        • hail74 - Feb 13, 2016 at 6:05 PM

          I think that’s a pretty fair assessment.

  3. robert herrera - Feb 13, 2016 at 9:12 AM

    It would a no brainer to pick up a defensive player at 21 but looking at mock drafts and rumors, Ezekiel Elliot might be at 21. He is a great running back all NFL teams love to have. Redskins should take him only if he is still on board. Besides that the Redskins should pursue defensive players that can hit and stop the run which has been a problem in 2015.

  4. James McFullan - Feb 13, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    Here’s what the Redskins should do in free agency and the draft. Sign Lamar Miller RB, Tashaun Gipson FS, and Damon Harrison NT. Cut DHall, RGIII, Andre Roberts, and Kory Lichtensteiger. Then if Robert Nkemdiche and Jaylon Smith are both around at the 20th pick, the Redskins should trade their 2nd, 4th, and 6th for the pick and then draft Nkemdiche at 20 and Jaylon at 21. Then in the 3rd round draft Nick Martin. Run game is fixed, better OLine, move Dashon Goldson to SS and Tashaun Gipson at FS and with Culliver back, the coverage should be better. With Nkemdiche, Jaylon, Damon Harrison, the Redskins should be better against the run and better at pressuring and sacking QB’s

    • MC12 - Feb 13, 2016 at 10:38 AM

      So no team is giving up the 20th pick for a 2, 4, and 6. You would need to throw in another 1st in there at some point. Vinny might have loved the though of giving up the 20th overall for that but no real GM will.

      • James McFullan - Feb 13, 2016 at 11:02 AM

        According to the chart that calculates the value of draft picks it would be fair, but the Redskins could also throw in a 2nd or 3rd round pick in from 2017.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 13, 2016 at 3:37 PM

          That’d start to become too expensive giving up 2 2nd round picks for a late 1st. What happens if that 2nd round pick ends up being one of the 1st 5 on the board?

        • James McFullan - Feb 13, 2016 at 6:36 PM

          That was my point, a 2nd 4th and 6th would be a fair trade for a late 1st round pick.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 13, 2016 at 7:01 PM

          It’s hard to know what a team would take. My thinking is the 2nd needs to be an earlier selection, ~10th before the Jets would bite. Maybe a 2nd pick, 4th this year, and 4th next year would be middle ground. My hunch is Scot is not yet ready to trade up for a player in the draft. He probably wants a stronger roster before doing so.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 13, 2016 at 3:35 PM

      You won’t fix the running game with Lamar Miller. You are only going to overpay for a running back with good speed but little wiggle I seriously doubt he’ll ever produce to the level of what it would cost to sign him.

      I like the idea of signing Harris at NT but that’s going to expensive to make happen. I don’t see this GM spending high dollar for multiple free agents. Let Miller go play elsewhere.

      You draft deal looks really pretty and all but I don’t see Jets willing to trade down to a late 2nd to go along with a 4th and 6th. The Redskins would probably have to sacrifice something more in the line of a 2nd this year and another 2nd in one the following years and that would be just to get the trade negotiation started.

      • hail74 - Feb 13, 2016 at 4:06 PM

        I agree and would prefer not to sink to much cost into the RB position. It’s one of if not the easiest position to transition from college to pros.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 13, 2016 at 4:45 PM

          I agree it’s a position that really is more instinctive than any others when purely considering running the ball. Of course the transition from college to pros in working on catching out of the backfield and particularly blocking tends to require more work.

          Adding Miller could certainly provide a thunder and lightening duo with Matt Jones. However, I don’t see where the offensive scheme is committed enough to the running game to incorporate both. Thompson and Jones are still developing and while both will never possess Miller’s speed, I think Jones already has better cutting ability than Miller and Thompson is becoming reliable as a 3rd down back. Why disrupt that development unless you don’t think either will get better next season?

        • hail74 - Feb 13, 2016 at 6:09 PM

          Absolutely, although I wouldn’t complain if they drafted a Kenneth Dixon type.

        • James McFullan - Feb 13, 2016 at 6:54 PM

          The only problem is finding a running back in college that is good enough to produce in the NFL.

      • James McFullan - Feb 13, 2016 at 6:53 PM

        The thing that Damon Harrison isn’t a household known player like Ndamukong Suh, and he even said he wants to be making 5 million a year, that’s only 1 million more than Pot Roast made so that is very reasonable. Plus Miller probably won’t demand that much in free agency, because their are better running backs than him like Matt Forte or Chris Ivory, and statistically he has never had seasons where he put up big numbers because the dolphins seriously under used him. Plus I don’t trust Matt Jones to be the number 1 running back because of fumbles and injuries. Plus Miller has never had a really good OLine to block for him.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 13, 2016 at 7:35 PM

          Hmm! 5 million is certainly a less amount than I’d expect. I expect he’d at least shoot for a top 10 salary which puts the starting price tag around 6.25 million and ending around 10.25 million. I think the market is going to drive it up higher than 5 million a season. He might want to play for a select few teams. Maybe he is looking for a team with super bowl aspirations.

        • James McFullan - Feb 13, 2016 at 7:57 PM

          He wants 5 million, but I guess the market could make him decide he is worth more. But even if the Redskins offer him 6.25 million, that is only 2.25 million more than Pot Roast, and he has put up numbers that suggest he should be paid more that Pot Roast.

      • James McFullan - Feb 13, 2016 at 7:52 PM

        While I agree that Scot McCloughan normally wouldn’t trade up in the draft until they had a stronger roster, but players like Nkemdiche and Jaylon Smith don’t come around that often and even when they do the chances they fall to the bottom of the 1st round are even rarer. I feel the Redskins are very close, with Reed and Niles Paul together along with Garçon, Crowder, and DJax plus Matt Jones and Chris Thompson (and Lamar Miller if the Redskins sign him, like I hope they do) the pass and run game should do well, if everyone that I mentioned can stay healthy for the entire season. Then if the Redskins add Nkemdiche and Smith in the draft along with Damon Harrison and Tashaun Gipson, and with Junior Galette and Chris Culliver back, the Redskins should be much better at stopping the run, pressuring and sacking QB’s, along with covering recievers better. So the starting lineup would look like this on Offense: OLine: Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger (or Nick Martin if the Redskins draft him), Brandon Scherff, and Morgan Moses QB: Kirk Cousins RB: Lamar Miller/ Matt Jones FB: Darrell Young WR/TE: Jordan Reed, Niles Paul, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, and Jamison Crowder. The Defense should look like this: DLine: Robert Nkemdiche, Damon Harrison, Chris Baker LB: Junior Galette, Preston Smith, Ryan Kerrigan ILB: Mason Foster, Jaylon Smith DB: Chris Culliver, Bashaud Breeland, Kyshoen Jarrett, Quinton Dunbar, Tashaun Gipson, and Dashon Goldson. Then Special Teams should look like: K: Zach Hocker P: Tress Way KR: Rashad Ross PR: Jamison Crowder.

    • Berto - Feb 13, 2016 at 8:39 PM

      Vinny Cerrato.. Go away!!

      • James McFullan - Feb 13, 2016 at 10:18 PM

        Vinny Cerrato brought in big name players who were way past their prime, the people I’m saying the Redskins should get are all younger than 30 by a few years, and all these players would help the Redskins win. Plus all the players I said the Redskins should get are not super expensive big name players, they are all team players who want to win and won’t cost the team a fortune to get.

        • HB - Feb 14, 2016 at 8:20 AM

          Big name or small name just bring impact players!

        • James McFullan - Feb 14, 2016 at 3:31 PM

          Lamar Miller changes the the game, teams have to account for his ability to run and catch out of the backfield, Damon Harrison commands double teams and that is still not enough, Robert Nkemdiche looked unblock able at times in college and with the right coach he will be a consistent All-Pro, Jaylon Smith is everywhere on the field and can stop the run, get to the QB, and cover tight ends, Tashaun Gipson can cover tight ends one-on-one and play deep coverage in the middle if the field, Nick Martin can move DLineman in the run game and can hold DLineman in the pass game and with a good OLine coach, aka Bill Callahan, he can team up with the other Redskins OLINE and make the Hogs 2.0. In all, the Free Agents and Draft picks will help the team win for a long time, and this year should only cost around 20 million this year, for 6 people. After cutting certain people and restructuring some contracts, the Redskins will have enough money to pay Kirk Cousins and pay Damon Harrison, Tashaun Gipson, Robert Nkemdiche, Jaylon Smith, Lamar Miller, and Nick Martin.

    • renhoekk2 - Feb 15, 2016 at 2:15 PM

      This sounds like a Cerrato plan. Sign FA’s and trade away draft picks. Scot M has said several times that the draft is the life blood of the team. No way he giving away three picks to move back into the first round. What if Martin is not available in the 3rd rd? What’s plan B? Archives

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