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Need to Know: Pressure is on Redskins’ Scherff to perform at a high level very quickly

Jul 22, 2016, 4:45 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 22, six days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.


—The Redskins last played a game 194 days ago. It will be 52 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

—Days until: Preseason opener @ Falcons 20; Final roster cut 43; Cowboys @ Redskins 58

Three and out

—It’s not just the expectations that come with being the fifth overall in the draft that make it necessary for Brandon Scherff to be a very, very good guard. Financial considerations are at play. His cap number this year is $4.8 million, making him the second-highest paid offensive lineman on the team. That goes up to $6.7 million in the last year of his contract. The fifth-year option for 2019 will be expensive. This year the option for an offensive lineman cost over $11 million. The number is sure to go up between now and when the Redskins will exercise it. He will have to be the caliber of an annual, automatic Pro Bowl selection to justify that money. There is no reason to think that he won’t get there but it needs to happen.

—I’ve pretty much given up trying to sort out the inside linebacker picture before we get into camp. Mason Foster and Will Compton will start. I’m pretty sure that Terence Garvin will make the team due to his special teams prowess. Beyond that, you can throw Perry Riley, Martrel Spaight, Adam Hayward, and Stephen Daniels in a hat and draw out two names and I could make a case for them to make the team. And I’m not counting Su’a Cravens, who will make the team but may or may not be counted as an inside linebacker. It’s going to be some fierce competition.

—On the other end of the uncertainty spectrum are the wide receivers. That depth chart appears to be set in stone. They will carry six and they will be Garçon, Jackson, Crowder, Doctson, Grant, and Ross. The only potential drama will come when the regular season starts and the coaches have to decide if Grant or Ross will be active. If Ross proves to be valuable as a returner it could be him most of the time; if not, Grant will dress and Ross will sit. There can always be surprises but I’m going to look for them elsewhere.

In case you missed it 

  1. redskins12thman - Jul 22, 2016 at 5:41 AM

    I didn’t realize how quickly Scherff’s salary escalated but that makes sense given how high he was drafted. For this season, I just want Scherff to play like he did last season and I will be happy.

    I have to believe Hayward is on the outside looking in especially with Gavin on the team; then, two of the other three make the roster depending on Riley’s level of play vis-a-vis the other ILBs making the roster.

    I wonder if someone will challenge Ross and Crowder for starting kick and punt return duties?

    • colorofmyskinz - Jul 22, 2016 at 8:51 AM

      I mentioned Hayward was going to get cut the day after the draft. Between all the ILBs, this was the correct way to go. Nice job Scot.

    • Trey Gregory - Jul 22, 2016 at 4:05 PM

      I hope someone bumps Ross of kick return duties so he’s either inactive on game day or off the team all together. He’s almost worthless. His only value is that, apparently, he’s our best kick returner. And that’s a sad state of affairs. Shouldn’t be too hard for someone to challenge him there. Hopefully a young guy with greater potential as an actual receiver.

      It sucks for Hayward that he was cut, but I agree, it was the right call. Garvin is an obvious replacement on ST. And he wasn’t going to beat out Foster, Compton, and Riley for a starting job. It would be nice if someone stepped up so we could cut Riley too. He’s an expensive failed experiment. But he’s just good enough to hold on with this group right now. It would be a mistake to cut him (because of the depth he provides) unless one of the young guys really shines and shows he can replace him this year. Because Riley is an expensive (and injured) backup ILB.

      • wvredskins - Jul 22, 2016 at 7:53 PM

        I believe in preseason last year Ross played pretty good. His potential is there, so I believe it would be stupid to get rid of him due to the fact that he does have potential and is a good kick off returner. Next year when its a good chance we dont have Garcon and/or Jackson, he might come in handy.

        • Trey Gregory - Jul 22, 2016 at 8:13 PM

          Yes. He played well in preseason. Against vanilla defenses and players who didn’t even make rosters. It’s unbelievable how many people get fooled by that every year. Ross would look like Jerry Rice if I was covering him. Doesn’t mean he’s actually good.

          He was bad and almost invisible when he played against real competition in the regular season. There’s a reason he’s been on more teams than years in the NFL. He’s not good and he really doesn’t have much upside. It’s a bad sign when the only good thing you can say about a guy is, “he played well in the preseason a year ago.”

          Yes, Garcon and Jackson are probably leaving. But Ross is not the answer. Doctson, Crowder, Reed, Paul, Grant, maybe another draft pick, or an UFA not currently on our radar are the answers. We don’t need 8 starting caliber receivers on this team guys. We’re downright spoiled right now but it will be OK if we lose a couple. I would rather give that spot to a young guy with real upside, or a reliable vet, than a lost cause. Seriously, I would prefer Andre Roberts if he came back at Ross’ price.

        • lorcanbonda - Jul 23, 2016 at 8:57 PM

          Trey — your being a little rough on Ross. He didn’t just look good, he looked phenomenal. He has DJax speed. If he improves similar to a lot of young players, then he has a pretty good shot at being a legit deep threat.

          It depends on how hard he worked in the off-season to learn the position — the raw talent is definitely there.

        • Trey Gregory - Jul 24, 2016 at 3:42 AM

          I’m not trying to be a pain in the ass, but I’m really not being hard on Ross. He’s not a good receiver, and he’s not that young. He came into the NFL, undrafted, in 2013. He went undrafted and was bumped around from 4 teams (5 if you count the time we cut him) because he’s not special.

          He’s fast. That’s the only good thing anyone can ever say about him. But there’s more to being a good receiver than speed. There’s hundreds, if not more, of very fast athletes who work at Best Buy (or wherever) because there’s more to it than being fast.

          I just spent a few min comparing Andre Roberts 2015 stats to Ross. They’re stunningly similar. But fans couldn’t kick Roberts out of town fast enough and everyone is so optimistic about Ross. Because he pulled the fleece over your eyes in the preseason. When his entire career was on the line, and he faced his last opportunity to achieve what he worked so hard for his whole life: he balled out. Against the guys working at Best Buy. In game where defensive coordinators don’t really scheme and that the good players use as warm ups. This literally happens every single year. A guy shines in a glorified scrimmage and fans get sold on this romantic idea that we found a diamond in the ruff. All of our draft picks will be amazing (Keith Marshal anyone?) and some obscure undrafted free agent is going to take us to the Super Bowl!

          But reality should have set in when you saw him play real games. Because he did actually get reps when Desean was hurt, and he was AWFUL. He may have Desean speed but he’s not Desean. A good receiver has to read the defender pre snap to determine the best way to get open, then he has to get off the line, then he has to run the proper rout, and then maybe he has to know the proper option rout depending on what the defense does, then he has to get open, then he had to actually catch the ball. Let’s not even get started on blocking and all that. There’s a lot more to it than running really fast in a straight line. What’s the point of that speed if he’s never open? And he wasn’t open. We can tell that from his whopping 8 receptions. He’s small, plays timid, and becomes invisible on game day. He’s a waste of a roster spot we could use to develop a receiver with better physical gifts and more upside.

          Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson are young receivers with potential to be great. Be excited about them. Amari Cooper and Kevin White are what young receivers with potential look like. OBJ and Jarvis Landry are emerging guys fans can safely get excited about. Corey Coleman and Will Fuller are young receivers with potential to become great deep threats. Not Rashad Ross. He’s the guy who rings you up at Best Buy.

        • John - Jul 24, 2016 at 10:09 AM

          Ross looked good in preseason because played against Larry, Mo and everyone’s favorite Curly. When the season came around, he had trouble with routes and learning the playbook. He has speed, but that’s all he has to offer. Guys like that are dime a dozen.

  2. smotion55 - Jul 22, 2016 at 10:50 AM

    I thought Scherff played well and did not here anything otherwise. He should get better and have pro bowl caliber years. So I am not so sure He would qualify for being under pressure. Just his hard work and tough guy attitude should let everybody know he will do everything he can to improve and if need be he could slide to another position on the line if needed , but pressure not so much. The pressure is on the guys on this roster like Hayward { they just cut} was so maybe on the line Long , LeRiebis, Lichenstieger, , Lauvao, on D-Line Murphy, Paea ,and Riley at LB. If Moses did not come back from injury and play lights out in camp Scherff would by at right tackle for the 2nd year and then maybe a little pressure but who knows he might have been very good there by the end of last year.

    • John - Jul 22, 2016 at 12:11 PM

      While the original thought was to play Scherff at RT (short term until Moses or another Tackle came along), he would eventually be at guard as that is his natural spot. Moses came on because he was no longer a swing tackle. All they had to do was give him time to develop, put him in a spot and leave him there. Now that the two of them have been together for a season and are young and can grow together, let’s hope they get to be like Grimm and Jacoby.

    • Trey Gregory - Jul 22, 2016 at 3:59 PM

      No guys, Rich is right about the pressure. Because of where he was drafted and his pay (which is a result of where he was drafted). The right guard is the least valuable position on the line. Most teams wouldn’t even draft a guard in the first round, especially a right guard, and certainly not top 5. But McCloughan didn’t either. He drafted a right tackle. Scherff didn’t do well there so he got moved to guard. So he basically has to be one of the best right guards ever to live up to the #5 overall pick. That’s pressure. And they might have to move him to LG eventually to get more value out of him. But there’s obviously a question about if he can do it or else he would be playing there and Long would be trying for RG. The LG has to be more agile and powerful than the RG because he’s the one who traditionally pulls on run plays. To establish the point of attack. The RG generally just blocks his guy. And the right side is usually where the TE lines up.

      I think Scherff is a great player with tremendous potential. He seems like a good guy too. But this is reality because of where he was drafted. He has to improve his run blocking and have an amazing career to live up to his billing.

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jul 22, 2016 at 4:04 PM

        I’ll add:

        Remember when people made fun of the Cowboys for using a 1st round pick on a center (Travis Frederick)?

        • Trey Gregory - Jul 22, 2016 at 8:55 PM

          Fredrick is a center, not a guard. Center is arguably the 2nd-3rd most position on the line, and one of the more important on the offense. And he was taken 31st, not 5th overall. That’s a pretty big difference. And honestly, only people who don’t really know football would make fun of a team for drafting a solid center prospect at the end of the first. Indy drafted a center in the first this year and everyone applauded them.

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jul 22, 2016 at 10:53 PM

          I brought that up in agreement with your comment, Trey.

      • lorcanbonda - Jul 23, 2016 at 9:01 PM

        I like the way McCloughan chooses the players, but lets Gruden choose the playing time and position. It takes pressure off of Gruden to play Scherff as a right tackle even though he is receiving such a high pay. Plus, he didn’t feel pressure to start Johnson or a few other McCloughan acquisitions just because he brought them in.

        The pressure is on Scherff only if he wants to keep getting those $5-$6 million annual paychecks. Beyond that, I’ll take the Hogs 2.0 — it’s just hard to imagine such a thing without a Riggins in the backfield.

        • Trey Gregory - Jul 24, 2016 at 3:47 AM

          Well the pressure is on because he’s going to keep getting those paychecks for 3-4 more year, regardless of his play. Unless he gets cut, which would be disaterous for us and him. And I have a hard time imagining Scherff being anywhere near bad enough to cut.

          This is really quite simple. He is a very expensive RG (including how valuable the #5 overall pick is). He’s probably going to have to transition to tackle (which I don’t think is a good position for him) or at least LG to not be considered a guy who was over drafted. Even then, he will have to be a pro bowl caliber guy. If he stays at RG, he might have to be the very best RG to ever play for people to not consider him over drafted. And it has nothing to do with him. He didn’t select himself that high. It’s just the reality of where he was drafted, the money that comes with that, and the position he plays.

      • John - Jul 24, 2016 at 9:54 AM

        He drafted a guy who played tackle in college and they thought they would try him at tackle because Polumbus, etc., were not getting the job done but then reality set in where he is really a guard and with the emergence of Moses, a true tackle, Scherff was moved to his more natural position, guard. They’ll probably leave him at RG as he and Moses have what Bugel used to call a marriage going on where they can develop and grow together like Grimm and Jacoby back starting in 1981-1982.

      • John - Jul 24, 2016 at 10:04 AM

        Most teams are “right handed” because most NFL QBs are “righties” as such, the right side of the line is oriented towards the run, where the left is more important for pass protection. Scherrf with his short arms and compact build is better for battling in a phone booth as opposed to being on the move. His short arms will give him fits with long guys like Preston Smith or an Aldon Smith (part of why a guard and not a tackle). Hence his being on the right side.

    • Rich Tandler - Jul 22, 2016 at 8:07 PM

      @thunder, don’t forget that two links in a post holds comments for approval.

    • Trey Gregory - Jul 24, 2016 at 3:54 AM

      I don’t even mind the people who are cautious about Cousins. Or the people who aren’t sold and want to see more. It’s reasonable. But Cowherd was talking like a moron. And I’m sure it was an act. He’s just appealing to the lowest common denominator because he knows it will get people worked up. Simplistic hot takes always do. He just went right down the checklist of every negative comment about Cousins on Twitter when a new article is posted. He’s a professional troll. That’s what’s frustrating. Or that haters see it and feel affirmed because someone with a platform said it. He’s like the Nancy Grace of sports talk.

  3. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jul 22, 2016 at 3:16 PM

    Sorry to hear about your dog, Daisy, Rich. My condolences to you and the family.

  4. Richard Raymond - Jul 22, 2016 at 6:02 PM

    Why is Jackson not thrown to, seams he is open most of the time and not seen by

    • Rich Tandler - Jul 22, 2016 at 8:06 PM

      He was targeted 49 times in basically seven games. That’s 112 targets over 16 games, plenty for a speed receiver like Jackson.

  5. smotion55 - Jul 22, 2016 at 6:58 PM

    I’ll take 4 Scherff’s instead of 1 RG3 all day long, not only does this kid come with his lunch pale he brings what this locker room has lacked in attitude tough and great work habits. If he plays for 10 to 12 years and 3 pro bowls I will take it every time period.. This team had gotten so far away from having big nasty’s on both lines it was about time they paid attention to it.

    • Trey Gregory - Jul 22, 2016 at 7:01 PM

      Well I think we would all take just about any player over a guy we spent 3 firsts and a second on, only had one good season, and then was cut after four years. That’s not saying much.

      Why do people keep finding it necessary to bring up RG3? He’s off the team guys. Move on.

    • lorcanbonda - Jul 23, 2016 at 9:07 PM

      Well, you can thank Scherff for creating the final situation to let RGIII go. He was the blocker who allowed the first sack in the preseason game against the Lions last year. If you remember, the Detroit defender bull rushed Scherff so fast that he wasn’t ready at all. That first sack was the one that gave RGIII the concussion. Nobody wants to talk about it, but by the brand-spanking new NFL procedures, RGIII should have been taken our then. You saw him get up shaky, but he shook it off and tried to keep playing.

      Scherff settled down after that play, but the damage was done.

      • John - Jul 24, 2016 at 9:44 AM

        Even if your hero RG3 had not been concussed against the Lions, the general consensus was that his poor QB play would have landed him on the bench within the first 4 games last year.

        He’ll be sucking in his suckiness in Cleveland this year and out of the NFL before to long. Archives

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