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Need to Know: Will the Redskins go without a true nose tackle in 2016?

Mar 24, 2016, 5:17 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 24, 35 days before the NFL Draft.

I’m changing around the Need to Know format a bit. There may be some more tweaks in the coming days and weeks; your comments are welcome.


—The Redskins last played a game 74 days ago. It will be about 171 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 25; 2016 NFL draft 35; Redskins training camp starts 126

Hot topic

It looks like the Redskins just might to into the season without a true nose tackle.

They let Terrance Knighton leave in free agency and he was the only big-body, 3-4 style nose tackle on the roster. They looked at a few in free agency, but either they didn’t like what they saw or the bidding go too high for them.

So now it looks like they might turn to the Redskins longest tenured player to play the position. At least that’s what Jay Gruden said yesterday. “But you still need to have a big nose guard in there that can stop the run and Kedric [Golston] can do that,” said Gruden at the owners meetings yesterday. “He’s proven to do that. He’s a 12- to 15-play per game kind of guy. And when you’re in base defense, really you’re looking at about 20 percent of the time nowadays is all you are.”

There are 64 snaps per team in an average game so 20 percent would mean about 13 snaps per game for Golston. That’s just about what he averaged last year.

The big question, so to speak, is his size. He’s not much over 300 pounds and the position typically calls for a player who is at least 40 pounds heavier than that.

Then again, Golston could just be a placeholder. It’s possible that they have a draft prospect like Andrew Billings, who could play 3-4 nose tackle and also end in other alignments, in their sights. We will see how it works out.

Fan question of the day

Jay Gruden indicted yesterday that Bruton and Duke Ihenacho will compete for the starting job at strong safety while DeAngelo Hall will be the free safety.

But it’s not as simple as that. Gruden said that all three safeties have the range and in-the-box ability to play either safety position. And he also mentioned that Bruton was a three-time special teams captain in Denver and he will certainly have a role there.

The bottom line here is that we don’t know any of the safeties’ roles at this point. It’s late March, about four months from the start of training camp. They have to take these players through OTAs and training camp to sort out their roles. Bruton and the others, and probably others who are not currently on the roster. I don’t think you can rule out any role for Bruton at this point, from starter to occasional defensive sub and special teams captain.

(Hit me up on Twitter with #NTK @Rich_TandlerCSN or here in the comments to submit a question)

Stat of the day

Alfred Morris averaged 100.8 rushing yards per game in 2012. The only Redskin to average more than in a season that was Larry Brown at 101.3 in 1972, but that stat carries an asterisk. Brown played in just 12 of the 14 scheduled games that season. He was held out of the last two to get him some rest for the playoffs.

In case you missed it

  1. troylok - Mar 24, 2016 at 6:16 AM

    I think you can do well in Barry’s version of a 3-4 without a mauler of a nose tackle. Having said that, this is the team being all about not showing their hand before the draft. They will take a nose tackle. They might take a couple.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 24, 2016 at 7:02 AM

      Agreed, there are too many quality rookies in this draft who can play NT to pass on them all.

      McGlue just doesn’t want to tip his hand now.

      • kgawgg32 - Mar 24, 2016 at 12:34 PM

        Well spoken…wink

    • Trey Gregory - Mar 24, 2016 at 9:21 AM

      There are multiple guys in the league right now, and multiple guys in the draft who can play NT or 4-3 DT. Im projecting here, but I think a couple guy in the draft could excel at being both. We may not NEED a true NT, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a DT who could do both well? That’s what I’m hoping for.

  2. cpst123 - Mar 24, 2016 at 6:43 AM

    I was surprised at the low percentage of plays that Pot Roast was in. I forget the number but thought it was 38%. Kedric is getting old but can probably play that low of a snap count and be effective. I just hope they don’t put Baker back there. He is much better beside the nose position that in it. Of course Pot Roast is unsigned and maybe this is negotiating. I can’t imagine paying a lot for someone who plays so few of the teams’ snaps.

  3. sidepull - Mar 24, 2016 at 7:27 AM

    The draft is going to fix this issue. If not, its just more of the same old same old, the Redskins institute a 3-4 D and only once in all the years they have run it, only last year did they have a true NT. I really pin my hopes on the D unit as a whole to generate pressure on the oppositions QB. N T or not, if they can’t do that, its going to be a long season. Gallette, Kerrigan, Smith. Baker I hope we get some pressure before the QB can get to that secondary.

  4. redskinsnameisheretostay - Mar 24, 2016 at 8:02 AM

    “He’s proven to do that. He’s a 12- to 15-play per game kind of guy. And when you’re in base defense, really you’re looking at about 20 percent of the time nowadays is all you are.”

    Who’s he trying to fool here, seriously? Kedric is an aging low-to-mediocre career producer and the coach is telling the media he could fill the position that only a few players 50 normally pounds heavier can manage? I recall Kedirc playing the NT some last season and it certainly wasn’t something to look forward to watching in 2016. You might as well consider moving to a 4-3 before throwing out that nonsense.

    NT will have to be the #1 draft need in the draft or this team may be considering a shift to 4-3 next season. Barry has experience running that defensive formation so I’ll buy that assumption over something as outlandish as Kedric being NT.

    • babyteal1 - Mar 24, 2016 at 2:03 PM

      Cedric would be a disaster at NT. He shouldn’t even make the team at this point. Hopefully our draft solves that.

  5. 226thebeatdontstop - Mar 24, 2016 at 8:03 AM

    The Redskins could not stop the run with or without a nose tackle last season. As much as it sounds good that Kendric Gholston is the longest tenured player he did nothing to consistantly stop the run.

    All the talk about how smart Compton and Mason are may be true but that intelligence didn’t stop the run .

    They need strength,speed ,and youth up front,other then Baker I don’t see any other guys currently on the roster that can help

  6. Trey Gregory - Mar 24, 2016 at 9:46 AM

    Let’s just get one of these stud DTs in the first round and the rest should work out. Most of these guys can play 0 and 1 technique. So we would have a talented NT and DT in sub packages. Sounds like a good deal to me. I wouldn’t even be upset if they drafted DT in their first two picks.

    • bangkokben - Mar 24, 2016 at 12:50 PM

      If you haven’t seen this yet about the Galette’s contract:

      Good work by the FO.

      • skinsgame - Mar 24, 2016 at 1:07 PM

        I saw that last night and was stunned. Two things stand out about it: 1st is the shrewd deal for the team and 2nd, the faith Gallette has in himself. Both are impressive.

      • Mr.moneylover - Mar 24, 2016 at 1:59 PM

        Not surprise he want this to be his new home and he always have confident in his skills…he made Rex Ryan defense top 5 by him getting double digits sacks soon when he left Rex Ryan defense was rank at the bottom so it shows what hes capable of when he’s on the field…JG said he never had guys like Ryan kerrigan or Chris baker to play next to him it can lead to him getting more sacks or like can make ryan kerrigan job a lot more easy if they decide to double team him… O-linemen will have to play them honest witch is one on one if not its gonna be a even more risk to get they QB killed Redskins just gotta sure up that middle witch they plan on doing

        • babyteal1 - Mar 24, 2016 at 2:04 PM

          Your brother…brother

        • babyteal1 - Mar 24, 2016 at 2:08 PM

          Rob Ryan

  7. bangkokben - Mar 24, 2016 at 11:21 AM

    One way to stop the run is to get rid of the GIGANTIC NT that kept sealing off the backside from his teammates by simply not being able to move out of the way. Whoever replaces Pot Roast will be an upgrade – eventually.

    • skinsdiehard - Mar 24, 2016 at 12:10 PM

      Another way to stop the run is get a new defensive coordinator. Joe Barry is an idiot in that he could not see until it was too late that teams were running at the Skins out of nickel formations. The Skins defense played nickel (2-4-5) way too often or were ineffective. They need new nickel personnel for sure or a new DC.

      • bangkokben - Mar 24, 2016 at 12:38 PM

        Blaming Barry is ridiculous. The defense was better last year than it was the past three seasons except against the run, which is also why Knighton is out since he was supposed to rush from one of the tackle positions in nickel. You’re right about the ‘skins not being able to stop the run in nickel – 4-2-5, btw, since the OLBs rush as ends with their hands in the dirt.

  8. JOHN BALASCIO - Mar 24, 2016 at 11:23 AM

    I believe potroast will be back but on a 1 year deal. This way when they draft a nose tackle there will be a good veteran to help groom him for a year.

  9. romosmicrodongs - Mar 24, 2016 at 11:33 AM

    Hey Rich, with Michael Sam in the news and the skins needing DE badly, do you think he is worth a look? We could probably get him dirt cheap and he could provide depth.

  10. skinsdiehard - Mar 24, 2016 at 12:07 PM

    Let’s hope McCloughan is making the decisions and not Gruden. No way in hell Kedric Golston should start on any NFL team at NT or anywhere else on the field. Ludicrous. DHall is not a safety at 180 lbs. That’s why teams ran the ball at the Skins out of nickel formations because they knew the Skins and Barry and Gruden wouldn’t asjust. Gruden is showing that he is not a very smart coach.

    • bangkokben - Mar 24, 2016 at 12:44 PM

      Once again connecting dots that don’t exist. When exactly did Hall become safety? Yet the problem existed well before moving him there. The Redskins were chewed up by the Packers in these situations because the Redskins had no replacement for Kyshoen Jarrett. Barry does need to get better at adjusting in game, though. Maybe he’ll be fine with a healthy roster. Seems like he did a fine job adjusting to the injuries and ailments to Galette, Ihenacho, Hatcher, Knighton, Kerrigan, Culliver, Breeland, Hall, Riley, and Robinson; or maybe not.

      • ET - Mar 24, 2016 at 5:29 PM

        Barry’s not without his flaws, but he and the other defensive coaches deserve a huge amount of credit for keeping a functional, competitive unit on the field. Given the number of major injuries, particularly in the secondary, it was pretty remarkable. If they can upgrade the personnel somewhat and keep players reasonably healthy, this defensive could be interesting. Really looking forward to seeing what Smith and Galette can do this season in particular.

    • Mr.moneylover - Mar 24, 2016 at 1:46 PM

      He won’t be the starter if anything Kendric gholston got to make the roster and if he’s on the roster he will come in on downs like 3&1 or 4&1 if they feel a rookie is doing his job better then he will be cut

      • bangkokben - Mar 24, 2016 at 2:04 PM

        You’re spot on, $. Another thing that Kedric did that no one else did was play special teams. They should be able to find someone to that but Golston comes in short yardage and goal line and is inspiration to the young guys like Will Compton and an example to the young what can happen to a low or undrated guy if he gives maximum effort. He should be celebrated for surviving this long in the league as a sixth round draft pick on one franchise with four different head coaches. Instead fans look at him as the weak link in this organization (which he is not). Frank Kearse should’ve beat him out last year, but didn’t. Maybe this is the year that someone can replace him. Fine if that happens but Kedric Golston is an example of hard work beating out talent that doesn’t work hard. Would you rather be Kedric Golston or Ziggy Hood or Kentwan Balmer?

        • kenlinkins - Mar 24, 2016 at 5:58 PM

          IMO you have a great read on Kedric. I posted last year that he should not make the 53 man roster but when he did I watched him very close. He added value to this team, he played hurt, he did everything asked of him and when he did make mistakes he did it a full speed trying to make a play. Guys like that have a value as back ups, he is a gamer who never quits on a play and gets fired up with passion. You can count on him. I was wrong on him last year and think he has a better than even shot of making this team again. Is he a true NT, NO, but would he go play that position and give great effort if asked, OH YEA< 100%….

    • Trey Gregory - Mar 25, 2016 at 2:34 AM

      Lol. Gruden is not a very smart coach and Joe Barry is an idiot. Says SkinsDieHard. Well, I’m sold. Obviously you know more about football than two NFL coaches.

      Maybe they stayed in the nickel because they were limited on personnel after years of awful drafts, awful free agent signings, a salary cap penalty, and no first round picks for RG3. Oh, and a ton of injuries. Maybe DHall was 180 because he came into the season, off an Achillies tear, as a corner and was moved to safety midsession. He wasn’t doing well at corner and we needed safety help.

      I wasn’t always thrilled with Gruden and Barry’s playcalling. But I often got the feeling they did it to try and mask the deficiencies of the roster. They were playing it safe in a rebuilding year where the NFC East title was never out of reach. But they got more aggressive when there was no other choice. Really not that stupid.

  11. smotion55 - Mar 24, 2016 at 12:15 PM

    I can see good points in these comments that I agree with, they are not going to show there hand and since this GM loves bigger, stronger, faster I think he will get a guy that can play both ways with some pass rush also and give more than Pot Roast did. If what he did was all they wanted then he would still be here. This year is very strong for Tackles and we should get 2 if we can that can play more then 15-20 snaps.
    Teams that run no huddle or 4 minute offense will try to keep the out of shape Pot Roast guys on the field longer and get them tired by half time. This defense will play to the ability of the players, and stop the run will still be high on there list with the new DTs they get. At least 1 DT and 1 DE early in the draft minimum for me

  12. kgawgg32 - Mar 24, 2016 at 12:29 PM

    Andrew Billings!! Draft him! He’s the beast we need in the middle with all the other dudes that can rotate in at the DE/DT positions on passing downs…check his tape on YouTube, I called Brandon Scherff last year and I knoooow we can’t go wrong with Billings with the first pick! #hail #httr

  13. bangkokben - Mar 24, 2016 at 12:54 PM

    Griff has signed a two-year deal with the Browns. We may get to see him sling it at FedEx next year.

    • Mr.moneylover - Mar 24, 2016 at 2:02 PM

      Yea they on our schedule for next year…I feel bad for him because the roster around him is bad and it could be a sign to just get rg3 killed until Carson wentz is ready to start

      • bangkokben - Mar 24, 2016 at 2:07 PM

        Yeah, and fans thought it bad here? That roster has been gutted of any talent. At least there is Joe Thomas, for now.

        • James McFullan - Mar 24, 2016 at 7:39 PM

          Yeah, but the problem is Joe Thomas can’t block everyone on the field, and even if he could, RGIII would still run into a tackler.

    • James McFullan - Mar 24, 2016 at 2:04 PM

      The only problem is he’ll break after the first game with the oline that Cleveland has.

  14. James McFullan - Mar 24, 2016 at 1:09 PM

    Redskins mock draft: 21: Andrew Billings NT 53: Nick Martin C 84: Keith Marshall RB 120: Cyrus Jones CB

    • Mr.moneylover - Mar 24, 2016 at 1:42 PM

      I think they will go after Maryland CB Sean davis …I’m hoping they draft Keith Marshall as well he’s a beast

      • kenlinkins - Mar 24, 2016 at 6:08 PM

        Seems everyone came up with the same idea about Sean Davis (he cannot play CB but might make a very good SS) at the same time. Early draft simulators had him as a UDFA as a CB, not some have him as a 2nd or 3rd round pick at Safety. Seems like he will make some money after all….. Also, I agree on Keith Marshall, he is worth the risk of a 3rd or 4th round draft pick.

  15. Mr.moneylover - Mar 24, 2016 at 1:39 PM

    I think they get one…to many DL players coming out the draft that can pass rush and stop the run…I think they get one and groom him…IDC were Trent Murphy play this season all I know is he need to show some kind of progress and he showed none in year 1 and year 2…if he gonna play DE then he needs to play that position the best way he can cause he sucked as a pass rusher…Preston Smith will be backing up junior gallette and Ryan kerrigan…they needed O-linemen last season they drafted 2 …this season they need D-line help I expect them to go after 2 in the draft

  16. Freddie Dempsey - Mar 25, 2016 at 4:35 AM

    Burton will compete with Duke for starting SS position. Unless we draft a top safety early in draft. But you never know. Hall could always go back to corner oppisite Breeland with Duke at SS and Burton at FS. To many possibilities with Jarette and Cullver and Dunbar. Still need to go get a big bad mean hitting machine of a safety. Look at Clemson and or West Virginia for a fourth round pick at safety. HTTR Archives

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