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Need to Know: McCloughan can’t be handcuffed by Redskins’ past mistakes

Sep 21, 2016, 5:38 AM EDT

doctson-vs-cowboys

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 21, four days before the Washington Redskins visit the New York Giants.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins press conferences, player availability after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until: Browns @ Redskins 11; Redskins @ Ravens 18; Eagles @ Redskins 25

Fan question of the day

Well, a guy named Art Monk worked out pretty well. But since that 1980 draft, Desmond Howard, Michael Westbrook, and Rod Gardner, all taken in the top half of the draft, clearly did not justify their draft positions.

But if Scot McCloughan allows himself to be paralyzed by the past then the future is doomed. He can’t be influenced by the failure of Marty Schottnheimer and Charley Casserly to pick the right receiver in the first round.

If he did that, why not look at first-round O-lineman Andre Johnson and say they shouldn’t draft on the O-line in the first? Kenard Lang and Bobby Wilson were both busts. Should the past dictate that McCloughan stay away from D-linemen?

You can find plenty of receivers drafted in the 20-32 range in recent drafts who are excellent contributors—Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins Kelvin Benjamin, and Brandon Cooks are examples from 2010-2015. If you’re McCloughan you look at this group and say, hey, I can find a stud in this part of the draft. You don’t look back at 2001 and worry about Rod Gardner.

As for the needs on the line it should be pointed out that they drafted an OL fifth overall in 2015 and a total of four offensive linemen from the 2014-2015 drafts are currently on the roster. It’s difficult to make the case that the area has not been addressed in the draft.

Yes, they do need defensive linemen. But Scot McCloughan doesn’t draft for need. He’s said it dozens of times. Many of those quotes are available here in this fine post by my friend Ben Standig. Here’s one of them:

“At a time when your roster is really strong and you’re a really good team, then you can start worrying about things on the back end. Right now, we’re going forward. We’re taking the best player and throwing them in there.”

If you make a habit of taking lower-graded players, guys who don’t fit your scheme or don’t fit the culture of your team, you are going to end up still having needs because the guys you pick don’t work out and soon they are gone.

Does that mean that you might go through a few years when an area like the defensive line isn’t as strong as you’d like to be? Certainly, especially when a free agent signing you are counting on, a player like Stephen Paea, is a bust and is gone before the season starts.

The hope is that the stronger areas of the team can carry you through so you can win some games and remain competitive while the building of the team is in process. Clearly the Redskins knew that they would still have work to do on the defense going into the season but believed that the offense, particularly the passing game, would carry them. So far, it hasn’t worked out. But would it necessarily have worked out better if they had taken DT Kenny Clark, the first D-lineman drafted after Dotson was picked, instead of the receiver? Possibly, but we’ll never know.

After all of the years that Redskins fans have been wishing their team had a real GM who wants to build the team the right way, well, here it is. It’s not all sunshine and fans can expect to scratch their heads on occasion wondering why McCloughan chose Player A, who plays a position that looks fine on the depth chart, instead of Player B, who plays a position of “need”.

There is no guarantee that McCloughan will build a Super Bowl winner in Washington. But he’s going to go about trying to do it his way and if you have a faint heart you might want to look the other way.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it 

 

  1. redskins12thman - Sep 21, 2016 at 6:00 AM

    Charley Taylor and Art Monk are the best two Redskins wide receivers ever and they were both first round picks.

    The offensive player grades from Sunday were generally positive although Cousins needs to improve his play; with a must win on Sunday (and the four subsequent weeks, there’s no time like the present).

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  2. colorofmyskinz - Sep 21, 2016 at 6:21 AM

    I agree with the “if you want a real GM” comment. However, if you are not going to draft your DLine, and you let go of DLine guys, you have to use free agency to sure it up, or end up where we are, worst Defense in the league for yards per attempt.

    We will go no where this year with this front 7 on our D. And honestly I add the safeties too and say our front 9 suck the way we are staffed.

    They need to bench Bruton NOW and place Nacho in. We need to move Sua to SS, and then place Nacho next to him. That is an adjustment we can make now. Dhall is a very lame excuse for safety.

    Get Murphy, Smith and Kerrivan on the field at the same time.

    A defense giving up an average of 35+ points per game leaves the team in a complete losing season with no chances of anything but hoping for .500. If we don’t fix this fast, this season will be over after next weeks loss.

    We are CODE RED right now and time for Gruden to call a spade a spade. We need change in the defense immediately of we are done in 206.

    Hail…

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    • Trey Gregory - Sep 21, 2016 at 12:00 PM

      Ihenacho isn’t a FS though. He can’t cover. You do not want that guy as the last line of defense in the passing game. I’ll take my chances with Hall there.

      Let’s hypothetically say Fuller come in for Phillips and Cravens moves to SS over Bruton. And let’s say they both play better. That’s a huge and immediate upgrade to our secondary. It fixes so many problems without taking a leader and very good cover guy out of the game. It’s two games man. Hall might need just a little more time to get it all figured out.

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  3. colorofmyskinz - Sep 21, 2016 at 6:37 AM

    Listen if we can’t get new talent then we have to use the best talent we have on defense and get them on the field.

    Simple changes that could have huge impact:
    – move Baker to DT/NT. He is not a great DE, average at best. Then add his arm injury and he is best fit to clog the middle not rush the edge.
    – place ziggy and Murphy next to him, give Lanier a shot on rotations
    – bench Bruton and Dhall
    – place Sua and Nacho at safety
    – is Spaight ok? Put him out there with Compton.

    These changes would have large impact and might reduce 7 points per game average on points allowed. It could give us a chance to win a few games.

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  4. garg8050 - Sep 21, 2016 at 6:38 AM

    “Best player available” is great in theory. Especially if your team is fairly talented and balanced. Picking in the lower half of the first round, BPA makes sense. However, in certain instances, you may need to draft a slightly lesser player for a glaring deficiency, ie the defensive line.

    Since the ‘Skins did not address the d-line, I was hoping to see 7 or 8 men in the box to stop the run and more blitzing to get pressure on the QB. Our CB’s are the strength of our defense (still feel that way despite Breeland’s early struggles). We need to play more man-to-man, and force the issue. We’ll give up a few big plays, but we’ll also get more sacks and turnovers. And we won’t be facing the likes of AB, Bryant, or OBJ every week. Only chance this defense has. Otherwise, the “bend but don’t break” will kill us this year.

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    • Trey Gregory - Sep 21, 2016 at 2:56 PM

      We’re a zone team man. It’s what we do. Switching to man coverage would be a complete departure from what they’ve been practicing and building. Plus Norman is an elite zone corner. He’s not bad in man but that’s not what he’s great at. We will get picked apart if we just stack the back and play man coverage. It won’t solve anything.

      And BPA is the only way to go at this point. There’s needs all over the roster. The biggest need this team has is better talent across the board. We shouldn’t settle for lesser talent. That’s how players like JJ Watt and Aaron Donald get passed on.

      Maybe some people’s expectations were too high for this season? Maybe McCloughan knows this is only year two of a five year rebuild and he wasn’t trying to make a roster to win the division. Of course he wants to win, but he has the long-term in mind. Making sure this team has the best possible players in 3 years is more important than adding a rookie to the D-line for 2016. I feel he could have handled the 4th round better, but that he did great in rounds 1-3. Scot knows where this roster is. He knew we weren’t making a SB push in 2016. So why sacrifice the future for maybe an extra win or two in 2016? Maybe. Because there’s nothing to say a rookie D-linemen actually helps us.

      These things take time guys. We should expect to have a good team in 2019 and roll with the punches until then. Obviously we should demand to see consistent progress. But with the entire team, not just one position group. And this team has made progress since Scot arrived. And I do believe it’s overall better than last year.

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  5. garg8050 - Sep 21, 2016 at 6:45 AM

    By the way, I don’t believe Rod Gardner was a top 10 pick….somewhere mid 1st round.

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  6. Skinsfansince68 - Sep 21, 2016 at 7:11 AM

    They say fans are fickle, and some skins fans are the worst. Cousins has had a rough start and we have read to death How all of you are a better GM then Scot. Get over yourself. I for one am glad to finally have a real GM. Building an every year contender takes time. When he got here he said it Would take 4-5 years to build a real contender. I mayhave drank the kool-aid, but IN SCOT I TRUST. I am times of frustration driving fans back to the dan/vinny way of doing things.

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  7. colmac69 - Sep 21, 2016 at 7:19 AM

    Gardner was selected in 15th(skins only had 5 picks)

    They could had santana moss who went to jets in 16th or reggie Wayne who went to colts in 31st

    Regarding the gm he got a few things wrong elsewhere as well.however he got more decisions right than wrong and has bn involved in building teams that become successful ie seattle and San Francisco

    Perhaps last yrs success came to quick in the re-building process and fan expectations are lot higher than the gm,s regarding this season.

    After the mass hysteria surrounding cousins display it’s time to move on and look ahead to the giants game.

    Would also add that couple of crowder,s punt returns were really gd (but it got lost in the wash surrounding cousins)..he actually threatened to break one.special teams in general bn pretty solid over the two games

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  8. abanig - Sep 21, 2016 at 7:34 AM

    The redskins have gone through years of not drafting a DL high thus, it is a major need. Maybe Dr. Scotie doesn’t like that but taking Doctson over a DE/DT like Vernon Butler, Jaran Reed or A’Shawn Robinson has proven to be a major mistake that most Redskins fans saw coming on draft day.

    The only reason I’ve ever seen that he didn’t like thee guys in round one was they aren’t great pass rushers well that’s all fine and well in theory but when you don’t have many DL who are stout in the run game, that becomes a major issue for the ILBs.

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    • ET - Sep 21, 2016 at 10:51 AM

      I don’t have a problem with not drafting a DL in the 1st, but I don’t like that it took until the 5th—and that we bailed on the 4th round entirely. Not an uncommon complaint around here. I find it hard to fault the Cravens and Fuller picks, though, which leaves the 1st and 4th rounders as the potential “what if” picks. That and Scherff v Williams in the previous year (a decision I’m ok with, but perhaps problematic for some).

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      • nikoknight - Sep 21, 2016 at 11:11 AM

        I too am okay with the Scherff selection. This is all speculation, but I think Scot wanted a safe pick with his first pick ever as the GM of the Redskins. He viewed Scherff as a guy who is going to be here for the next 10 season, and may even make a pro bowl or too. Those are great guys to have within the organization. Hindsight, maybe Williams was the “better” pick, most certainly more of a difference maker.

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    • Trey Gregory - Sep 21, 2016 at 12:08 PM

      I don’t think anything has been proven after two games. It takes a couple years to really evaluate a draft class. Doctson has barely seen the field. Along with plenty of the top rated DTs and DEs in the 2016 draft.

      Can everyone stop freaking out about how the GM screwed up? Ever think that maybe you guys had significantly higher expectations for this season than he did? Maybe he realizes he’s in year two of a 5 year rebuild and isn’t going to derail that process by taking a DL prospect he doesn’t like just so we can have a slightly better run D for a season he knows won’t end in a championship? Maybe McCloughan expected this team to only win 6-7 games and they’re right on track to do that. These things take time guys.

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  9. Skulb - Sep 21, 2016 at 8:04 AM

    I’m sorry to say this, but this reminds me of someone using campaign quotes from politicians to somehow prove a point. When it comes to this Redskins regime, and with politicians I might add, I decided long ago to ignore everything they say (during the off season_ and pay attention to what they do, sort of like interpreting the behavior of a dog.
    No matter how many times Scot says “BPA”, he drafted need in this very draft when he took Sudfeld in the sixth. They were always going to take a dev QB in the draft. But he probably wasn’t BPA. Of course he might have been, but that wasn’t why they drafted him. They drafted him because they wanted a dev QB behind Kirk and Colt and were going to take one somewhere. And you could make the same case for Cravens, even though he may well have actually been BPA. But they also had a glaring need at nickel after Jarrett’s injury, so to pretend this wasn’t a need pick, whatever Scot McCloughan says, is both quaint and touching.

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    • Trey Gregory - Sep 21, 2016 at 3:01 PM

      A player’s position will add value to being BPA though. A QB is far more important to the team than any other position so they’re going to get drafted before other guys even in a BLA scenario. “Best” is a relitive term. Like, the guy who could potentially help this team out the most in the long-run. QBs are going to win that 10 out of 10 times. I really have. I issue with taking a 6th round QB. It’s not like the 6th round was a gold mine of talent.

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  10. celeoinc - Sep 21, 2016 at 8:26 AM

    Play calling on defense and offense are killing us. Sure we don’t have the best talent and the QB played poorly the first two games, but we have no business in being 0-2. Reduce the penalties in half we are talking about 1-1 easily. What hurt the most about this Cowboys loss is that we rarely beat NY, much less in NY.

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  11. sidepull - Sep 21, 2016 at 8:29 AM

    2015

    Gallete lost for the season.

    I just keep remembering him saying he was going to put the pieces around Cuz to enable him to be successful. That may be BPA but I gotta say it sure looks like the guard and the wr picks for the past two years justified his trying to give Cuz more of a chance to grow in a system made for him.
    Sure to me Leonard Williams was the pick. I was so freaking upset but I understood. The second round pick, Smith, I feel is going to just get better.
    I mean that was a really good draft. Crowder, Jarret…
    Hes no afraid to part with his own mistakes, or others. Its about competition.

    2016
    Not in any specific order,
    Gallete lost for the season
    Lost a great pick from last year Jarrett.
    Goldson, Culliver, Pot Roast gone.
    FA other teams throwing money all over the place. Giants spending spree.
    Redskins add Reyes and Hood hoping to at least provide some depth. To me big whoop but it is what it is.
    Point is Redskins hang on to their money.
    They decided to move Murphy and he adds weight. After last week I gotta say that is the best I have seen him play. More Murphy. More of that Murphy anyhow.
    Norman becomes available. Most teams have spent money but the Redskins find a way to get it done. He is the biggest defensive addition they have had in a while.
    This year Scot had me hoping C first round, Kelly specifically and when Indy snagged him I was thinking Ok now its maybe a WR just because of the whole issue with Djax and Garcon coming to a head after this season. Not a bad pick.
    They franchise Kirk. This in itself is a big deal. I look at Kirk right now and what we are seeing, the inconsistency, may be what Scot has seen and decided to withhold. Maybe he knew in advance it could be this way, that they were in for a rocky road if Cuz doesnt prove out this season. What were we expecting to see?

    I can why the guy might want a drink. Its a job where you are certainly not going to make everybody happy. And he is not here forever. Its just been a short while. Hes done a great job. Years of mismanagement, good old boy system is no overnight fix.. Its going to be awhile. Last years NFCE was nice. But that was short lived. Now the coaches have to find a way to turn this around pretty quickly.

    What worries me is the hire of Gruden by Allen and then Grudens hire of Barry. It smacks of that good old boy system, the last of it really. When and if they dont cut it here, its still Bruce Allen and his connections that worry me. Not Scot. I know Bruce hired Scot. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut. I wonder, in a fantasy world, if Belchick was the coach here, what would this team, with all its players, look like?

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    • renhoekk2 - Sep 21, 2016 at 9:28 AM

      So what happens next year when they are sitting there with the 12th pick in the draft and the Best Player Available is obviously a WR or CB that fell down the draft board for some reason? Two positions that are good value at the top of the draft, But two positions that we don’t really need to take a player at and he pulls the trigger and takes one, because that is what he does. Is that really going to help fix the problems? Yes in a theologian way it makes sense because you got an outstanding football player that will contribute for years (hopefully), but does it really help your team if the front 7 is still terrible and teams are still scoring 30pts a game against you? Or you still can’t run the ball on offense?

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      • sidepull - Sep 21, 2016 at 10:21 AM

        A lot can happen between 2017 draft and now. I have no idea what he will do. I always love having great lineman on both sides of the ball. Hey I dont know what position he drafts or if its going to fix problems or not. What I do know is that what has gone on here for years is not working. I do know I dont want them to go backwards and have Scot book and be at the mercy of Allen and Snyder. I WANT defense. But theres that.

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  12. pillenwerfers - Sep 21, 2016 at 8:42 AM

    Have to throw the flag (sort of) on one of those 1st round busts. Bobby Wilson won the Super Bowl for the Skins when they played the Dolphins. In the last game of the season (against Dallas, I think) late in the 4th qtr., with the Pokes inside the five, and needing a touchdown to win, they went for it on 4th and less than one. Wilson shot the gap and dropped the running back for a loss — Skins take over and run out the clock and get into the playoffs, and go on to win the Super Bowl. I’ll trade a first round bust for a Super Bowl win anytime!!

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    • Rich Tandler - Sep 21, 2016 at 8:48 AM

      @pillenwerfers Sorry, I have to throw a flag there. Wilson was drafted in 1991. The Redskins last won the Super Bowl his rookie year. There were no critical regular season games as they went 14-2 and rolled to home field throughout. They beat Miami in the Super Bowl in 1982, when Wilson probably was in middle school.

      You must have Wilson confused with someone else, although I’m not sure who.

      Bust.

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  13. renhoekk2 - Sep 21, 2016 at 9:01 AM

    Make what ever argument you want. Fact is there were and still are holes all over the starting roster. And the only upgrade to the starting 22 through FA and the draft are Norman and Hood. And they fell into Hood. I doubt when they signed Hood it was to be a starter. You can’t count Bruton because obviously he is not an upgrade and should not be starting. But our 4th WR and 4th CB are pretty good. And that 3rd string QB has potential. If there were this many glaring holes in the roster, and if Mike Shanahan who supposedly had control of the roster ignored them for two years, people would be shouting for his head. But now we’re told Scot has a plan and we just need to be patient. You know by the time we get around to finding players at DL, ILB, C, S, RB that Scot likes, holes will start popping up at other positions. Then what?

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    • redskins12thman - Sep 21, 2016 at 9:30 AM

      Safeties and Nickel positions are the Redskins painpoints that needed to be addressed last week.

      Bruton, Phillips and Hall got very low marks for second game in a row. Cooley says Bruton and Phillips should not be playing and team should instead try Ihenacho and Blackmon inferring it couldn’t be worse; I guess Cooley hopes that Hall’s game improves but he doesn’t have faith that Bruton and Phillips are turning around any time soon.

      Compton, Foster and Smith also got very disappointing up and down / below average reviews.

      The best Redskins defensively were Norman, Jenkins (limited snaps) and Murphy.

      Cravens showed well, but the problem with his game is that he bites in play action, getting fooled every single time.

      As a team, they don’t play the sticks very well in 3rd and long situations and have gotten burned on several conversions that are basically inexcusable. The fact that the coaches did not correct this by week two is inexcusable as well. Missed assignments continued to be a problem.

      We’ve all talked about D-line, but Safeties, nickel and ILB play need to improve! Perhaps the weaknesses show up more due to the lack of pressure although Kerrigan and Murphy did get some…

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      • ET - Sep 21, 2016 at 12:36 PM

        Good points. Ultimately, Barry needs to be more willing to switch things up, whether that’s a coverage scheme, a DL alignment, or subbing in new players for ineffective ones. Barry should get a few props for throwing Murphy in as a lineman and getting Cravens some snaps. But his *good* adjustments have been outweighed so far by situations where an adjustment or wholesale change was needed. Whether it’s slot coverage, third-and-long schemes, man v. zone opportunities, shading coverages or blitz packages, there are multiple missed opportunities at both the player level (Philips, Bruton) and scheme level (3rd down packages, coverage adjustments for AB, Beasley, Bryant). I’m not reflexively anti-Barry, but I’d like see some tangible adjustments moving forward.

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        • bangkokben - Sep 21, 2016 at 12:51 PM

          You just mentioned some tangible ADJUSTMENTS. What you and everyone wants is tangible RESULTS. That is almost entirely up to the players. The wholesale emphasis of stopping the run opened the team up to the bootleg — which they were eviscerated on. It’s hard for me to tell if this is a coaching issue or a player issue. Surely, everyone knows the boot is a possibility and every player has a run-pass responsibility on every play. DBs and the contain men can’t forget (Ceelo Green’s definition) their responsibilities. What I’m trying to say is that when players don’t do their job it makes it hard to determine if the scheme is wrong because the guys are executing it properly.

        • ET - Sep 21, 2016 at 1:16 PM

          No, seeing Phillips sit in favor of a different slot corner, seeing Norman covering the opposing #1 WR consistently and/or seeing DHall give Breeland more consistent coverage help are examples of ADJUSTMENTS I’d like to see, which may or may not produce the desired RESULT. I acknowledged that Barry has made some adjustments I like—and I believe those produced good results, so I expect to see more of the same.

          I do agree, however, that it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint whether something is a player or scheme issue—though I’m inclined to believe the scheme is generally sound if well-executed. Obviously a player like Antonio Brown can blow things up no matter what—but it’s more problematic when a rookie QB is 22-30 with no turnovers and clutch execution.

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 21, 2016 at 2:34 PM

          I have to side with what Ben is saying here. I think the scheme is fine and the execution is bad. I would be interested to hear some more specifics on the adjustments you want, but any adjustments I can think of would still fail if the players execute in the same way.

          We’re a simple cover 2/cover 3 team. Having Norman man up on ansigle receiver throws a huge wrench into that. Or focusing on any other receiver. It’s not about who matches up on who, it’a about covering your zone.

          The zone is getting blown up partially because these guys are biting way too hard on play action. I understand the desire to stop the run but there has to be more discipline and balance.

          But we’re also getting best in seam routes. I think that’s because of inexperience. Bruton, Hall, Phillips, Cravens, Fuller, Everett and Blackmon are all inexperienced at the positions they’re currently playing. And they’re inexperienced playing together. So when a receiver runs along the boundary between two zones, they sometimes get confused about who should cover him. Adding more inexperience to the equation isn’t likely to fix that in my opinion. I’m all for trying Fuller in the slot and Cravens at SS but we might still see the same problems.

          The best thing we can do for the secondary is find a way for our D-line to play better so they don’t have to cover as long or be as focused on stopping the run. But since our D-line isn’t likely to get much better, we will probably deal with this all season regardless of what we try. Talent trumps all.

    • sidepull - Sep 21, 2016 at 10:46 AM

      Scot likes the RB Jones, maybe even one of this years picks. Its not his fault if the coach runs a pass first offense that so far has not featured much rushing. They tried having Hall switch positions ala Woodson but that isnt exactly looking like a stellar decision. C is a debacle, DL needs help and man o man do we need safety and ILB help. Agreed they seem to have so many holes and I swear I think they are snake bit.

      We have an organization that trades the farm for RG3. We get nothing for him. That debacle cost the Redskins the ability to fill holes via the draft….that hurt badly. Scot didnt do that and he cant change that overnight.

      This is what irks me:
      Giants go out and buy a D and now look good. We do it and Haynesworthless, Archuleta, Sanders, Orakpo, on and on we get nowhere. The Redskins hit on London Fletcher.
      Eagles pawn McNabb on us, they cant find a QB anywhere and unload Foles, give up picks for Wentz after they have Bradford already they unload him to the Vikings and come out with picks…makes me sick. The eagles d has teeth and Wentz looks Ok now.
      Dallas has Defense on drugs and they field a team that beats the Redskins at home with a rookie QB and RB. Made me f’ing disgusted.
      I am impatient. Its hard to grasp the misfortunes of this franchise sometimes. I am not ready to pin it on Scot. The guy just got here.

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      • theismann7 - Sep 21, 2016 at 12:41 PM

        Orakpo was a Redskin’s first round pick…number 13 to be exact.

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        • sidepull - Sep 21, 2016 at 1:21 PM

          Sorry. Was going on and got carried away.

    • chimps000 - Sep 21, 2016 at 11:24 AM

      renhoekk- I see exactly what you see. Norman is the only real upgrade on the starting 22. I’m not sure hood is an upgrade over broken down jason hatcher and pot roast. Bruton looks like a downgrade of dashon goldson.

      Scott inherited our three best players in reed djax and Trent williams. He got Norman in free agency, and that deserves some credit (along with Bruce Allen), but a top of the market expensive free agent signing doesn’t merit the same credit as hitting in the draft.

      I want to believe in mcloughan, but I need to see more than what I’ve seen so far. I think 3 years is a reasonable amount of time to give scott a grade.

      Matt jones finally showed signs of the ability to be a successful NFL runner in the cowboys game. Obviously crowder and Preston smith were hits. Sherff at least is contributing, although yes he was very likely a whiff- as someone else pointed out, how much more impactful is he really over a journeyman like spencer long.

      Our 3rd round DB fuller who supposedly should have been a first rounder can’t get activated for games, and the guy who supposedly beat him out looks bad through two games.

      Doctson and Cravens I withhold judgment, but if they aren’t contributing by the end of next year (my 3 year time table for he GM) then we have a problem. But those guys may turn out to be difference makers.

      Trey says it takes 4-5 years to rebuild. I don’t agree- the modern NFL is constantly rebuilding, and teams are substantially different in 2 years, much less 3 or 4. The quarterback is
      the key with all the rules changes, and that’s the decision that scott needs to get right.

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      • ET - Sep 21, 2016 at 12:51 PM

        “Sherff at least is contributing, although yes he was very likely a whiff- as someone else pointed out, how much more impactful is he really over a journeyman like spencer long.”

        Scherff may not be an All-Pro or Pro Bowler (yet), but he came in and played every offensive snap but one last season. He lead the entire team in snaps as a rookie, in fact (source: redskins.com). He played well and with attitude last season, and he’s still getiing better. Once he’s paired with a respectable center, Scherff will stand out. Spencer Long, meanwhile, is still very much a work in progress.

        So, while you may not like him, Brandon Scherff ain’t a whiff—not by a long shot.

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        • bangkokben - Sep 21, 2016 at 12:57 PM

          No. He’s not a whiff. He’s a two-out single with no one on base down by one run in the bottom of the ninth and the pitcher’s spot on deck. His impact is going to need help to make a difference.

  14. bangkokben - Sep 21, 2016 at 9:41 AM

    There was NOBODY in the draft that could’ve changed the outcome of the first two games. Say what you want about the defense, the running game, or whatever; but it seems like everyone posting here knows that any rookie 21st pick in the draft wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the first two games or would’ve been drafted for such a purpose but everyone is still using the results of the first two games as evidence that someone else should’ve been drafted. Chad Johnson “Child pleases” to all y’all and EFF the draft. It’s a tool — just like the lot of us that think it’s the be all and end all to success on an isolated Sunday.

    Kirk Cousins plays like he did at the START of last season, the Redskins are at least 1-1 and leading the league in most passing statistics. The run game and the defense still would suck. In order the Redskins defense to improve they are going to need improvements in the players they HAVE on the roster.

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    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Sep 21, 2016 at 9:58 AM

      Players and coaches.

      Agreed on the draft…what player could they have picked in 2015 who would have changed the outcome?

      OTOH, I can name one from 2014 who would be making a difference, but that’s spilled milk now.
      ~

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      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Sep 21, 2016 at 9:59 AM

        Err, make that 2016 and 2015 drafts
        ~

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      • bangkokben - Sep 21, 2016 at 10:09 AM

        Yep. Leonard Williams would likely have had made a different outcome and Chris Chester was still under contract last season when they let him go. He presumably could’ve played last year and Long play right guard this year. Hard to see THAT changing the results negatively enough on offense to effect the outcome of the games but maybe it would’ve.

        But the point is that you can’t change the past, you have to find solutions for the present and griping about personnel moves is just b1tchin’. We got guys here that don’t post unless they’re complaining.

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  15. smotion55 - Sep 21, 2016 at 11:47 AM

    I have been told and believe to some extent that everything after BUT is Bull –it. This last draft was deep with D-Linemen and you even wrote how they would and should pick a linemen early. Round 2 and 3 would have been just fine. I am just fine with the 1st round pick and believe he will be a very good player for a long time.

    The biggest question is ; does this GM slot positions into certain rounds and take potential game changers in front of availability and need. The receivers and d-linemen were clearly very deep in the early rounds. He always says Bigger , Stronger, Faster, and then reaches for Craven’s who did not have a set position at this level and a CB that has been hurt in college. I believe they both will work out and as you say BUT it just seems that he passed on several D-Linemen that were rated higher at the time for possible potential in the future.

    As bad , confused , out of place and just lousy the defense has played the lack of good D-Line play and pressure has been the biggest disappointment this year, mostly because it was the same last year also and NOTHING was done to improve it.

    I am not sure Joe Barry has the personal to play in either 3-4 or 4-3 and even if he did would he actually know how to coach them.

    How far ahead is this GM thinking. Not his Coach or QB, and the 3rd year should be the difference maker anyways with new GM.

    8-8 still a stretch now. 0 and 3 to start will be UGLY and they will be compared to Cleveland all next week.. UGLY

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    • Trey Gregory - Sep 21, 2016 at 3:05 PM

      You’re not sure if we have the players to play in a 3-4 or 4-3? Really?

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  16. redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 21, 2016 at 6:50 PM

    I quest we could steer the subject of this team into asking if a few changes in the draft could have changed the outcome of a few games. However, it not as much about the losses as the performances. The fact is a playoff caliber team came into our home and dominated the game from the late second quarter on. A team with little hope to sniff the playoffs coming into our home with a rookie QB and a rookie RB coming away with a win.

    This is about how the coaching staff boasted how they had answers for the D-line without the draft. They claimed they had the answer for the NT by shifting a few DEs there. They had a replacement for the right DE vacancy. I believe most those plans on the line collapsed with another loss of Gallate.

    This is also how we invested 19 million for a QB that was outplayed by a rookie counter part in his stadium.

    It’s about how you should not expect to cover your way out of defense deficiencies and how the D-Line and safety position looks many seasons away from not being a liability. Even the coverage unit is struggling. The Carolina GM seems to be the smart guy in the room at the moment by reporting they prefer to invest in the D-line over DBs. The redskins went in the opposit direction this year.

    What many feel at this point is that the team has opened the season with consecutive home loses compiled by having no answer to a franchise QB and a defense that is many years out from being respectable.

    Sure we are talking about a few games here but it appeared to me the team committed investment around a QB that has let us down thus far.

    I just want to see Cousins improve along with seeing the young players they invested in show promise. I want to see some real commitment in the running game. There is still time for all this to happen.

    As for the season; I have no idea why many here we’re seeing to think this team could match or improve on last seasons success. The schedule was so much more difficult and there are still too many questions and holes on this roster

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    • Trey Gregory - Sep 21, 2016 at 9:14 PM

      I agree with most of that. I think some of the issues are more about time than philosophy. Just haven’t had enough time to fix everything. And some people had way too high of expectations.

      But even with my lower expectations I’m mad/disappointed because of the execution. Just like you said. They’re not playing to their potential. It’s sloppy and bad. If they just played to their potential we would be 1-1 and I’m happy.

      But a couple different draft picks wouldn’t have made a huge difference. I mean, maybe a stud RB could take some pressure off Cousins, but the O-line still needs to block. A better DT would go a long way, but a rookie may not contribute much this year and there’s still plenty other issues on the defense. You’re dead on there.

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      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 21, 2016 at 10:31 PM

        No doubt about there being just too many roster issues to fix in a few seasons. I, like you, had a very reserved expectation about our wins and losses. I didn’t feel the team did enough to be able to match last season’s success. The schedule just amped up and I expected all NFC East teams to improve this year.

        My biggest concern is Cousins and the lack of more commitment to the run. The lack of a run game has been an issue that I viewed started with Gruden’s arrival but has followed Gruden all his career in the NFL as a coach. I think he have a few promising running backs we need to get more involved in the offense. I dislike the imbalance of passes to runs.

        The defense is what I thought it would be. Breeland looked like his beatdown on Monday effected him mentally Sunday. I think he’ll rebound and show he is an above average CB. However, two very good CBs isn’t going to fix the issue at the line and it never was.

        We have some young players performing well. Guys like Crowder and Cravens give us some hope. I very high on Preston Smith, but he really needs an edge rusher on his side to help him thrive. If Murphy continues to play well, in an area I agree with you, which is at nickel DE then that’s a big plus. It’s going to take time and more time than this season can provide

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        • Trey Gregory - Sep 21, 2016 at 11:34 PM

          Well, again, I agree with all of that. I don’t want to repeat what you just said but I’ll try to add.

          Cousins is very concerning. I planned on winning 7 games WITH him playing well. Then losing some close ones. But I do wonder if this is a decline or a slump. And if there’s an explanation/way to fix it.

          One obvious way to me is to ask him to do less. We lead the league is pass attempts. So I agree, the lack of balance on offense is a major concern. I like Gruden but he needs to prove he’s more disciplined. We basically have a QB calling plays, or at least helping to make the game plan. Jones, Kelley, and Thompson all need more touches. Even if it’s not working that great but ESPECIALLY if it is working like on Sunday.

          I thought Breeland will be fine but now I don’t know. Having Norman shadow OBJ is a complete departure from our system and could cause even more problems. Norman isn’t shutting OBJ down, but now we ask the other DBs to move around and I guess play more man? Because how do you play zone if OBJ crosses the field and Norman goes with him? Unless everyone else plays zone while Norman plays man. But what a cluster.

          Murphy needs those reps. Smith, Murphy, and Kerrigan need more opportunities to pin their ears back and rush all at the same time. That would be the positive of more man coverage. Cravens and Fuller probably both need to see the field more sooner than later too.

          But it really comes down to if Cousins can do better. We have to score 30+ points a game to win. That only happens if he gets better and it only happens if we run more to keep the opposing defense balanced, set up play action, and keep our D fresh.

          I can’t help but think the reported relaxed environment in camp and lack of preseason reps contributed to this. Like that our team just wasn’t mentally ready to start the season. They may not hit their grove until week 4. By then, the locker room could be so toxic that it doesn’t matter. Some of these skilled players who are known for being bad teammates, that’s why I don’t like them. The stuff Keenan Robinson was saying. Yes, we need more talent, but so much of success in the NFL is about a tough mindset and a positive mental attitude. I don’t like that our young guys might be getting exposed to that kind of negativity. It’s contagious and could infect them for their career. I’ve seen it happen in real life too many times.

          If they have an opportunity to bring in some veteran leadership through free agency, I think they should try it. Just the leadership might be worth it over their actual ability if it helps everyone else play better.

          But lastly, to beat a dead horse, McClougan hasn’t had enough time to fix everything and it probably still won’t be fixed by next season. But the current guys must keep improving and at least play to their ability. That has to happen.

        • chimps000 - Sep 22, 2016 at 8:56 AM

          trey- you say that having Norman man cover obj all game could have a negative impact on our zone defense scheme, but our zone defense has been atrocious. Either these players aren’t able to execute joe Barry’s scheme, or the scheme doesn’t fit the personnel- either way, why not play more man?

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 22, 2016 at 1:48 PM

          Well the first and biggest reason I can think of to not abandon our zone scheme and change it predominantly to more man is because they spent all offseason preparing go play mostly cover 2 and cover 3. They capable of playing any scheme but they should go with what they prepared for. If you think guys are making mental errors now, try asking them to completely change the way they operate in a week.

          You can play with your corners in man and the rest of the defense in zone. I’m not opposed to that. I’m also not opposed to man coverage. I just personally like zone better. I don’t like man coverage unless you really have a good defense. I mean top level talent across to board. Otherwise you open yourself up to all kinds of issues. Man (and the blitz while we’re at it) is more aggressive but it’s also more susceptible to big plays. It’s simply harder for QBs to pick apart a zone. But zone will give up more short passes. It’s the whole bend but don’t break philosophy.

          There’s a reason they always point out during a broadcast when a team is playing 1-on-1 man vs. a receiver. The WR usually wins. It’s the best matchup for the offense. Why would we want to give them the most favorable matchup?

          It will be easier for our other players to get confused if we do a man scheme too. I just don’t think they should abandon everything they’ve worked toward because we don’t have a good defense. We don’t have the talent to have a good defense. It’s going to give up points regardless. So let’s build toward the future and get them reps in the scheme we want to play. We’re not really developing the young guys if they’re doing what they did in college and not what we want them to do in the NFL.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 22, 2016 at 7:42 PM

          Great read Trey but on Chimps point the talent really doesn’t suit a zone we are missing a key slot corner and are safeties also make it difficult. Maybe we move Hall back to slot and the zone coverage gets better but then we have a hole at safety. I say lets just go with Fuller at slot and while it may not be pretty early it’ll get him the.experience he needs for next season. Otherwise if you are sticking to the same lineup and your best cover guys by far are one the edges then move to man

          I prefer man coverage over zone IF you have the talent on both sides to run it. It may actually help Breeland work his way out of his funk

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 23, 2016 at 2:17 AM

          I shouldn’t have said I prefer zone. That’s not really true. It’s more complicated than that and it completely depends on the personnel. But for our group, yes, I prefer zone.

          It’s funny you brought this up. Because I’ve been thinking about it all day since I wrote that (because, yes, I think about this stuff all day). We might have better personnel for man right now. I think Breeland is a more natural man corner, our safties would do better in man, and Norman is a more natural zone corner but he’s good enough to play man.

          The problem is run D. I’m worried it would get worse. Those covering in man usually face away from the QB and focus on the single receiver. So they don’t notice short dumpiffs or a draw play. Also don’t react as fast to the run. A receiver may take them all the way down the field and they never know a run happened. But in zone they face the QB. They watch and react to the QB while keeping receivers in their periphery. So they can instantly react to a draw, run, or dumpoff.

          However, we could run Seattle’s cover 3 scheme and not miss a beat. We already run some cover 3. But Carrol mixed it up a bit. He has his corners play tight press coverage as long as the receiver runs straight up the field. If he cuts inside then the CB drops into zone. Everyone else plays zone while the corners essentially play man unless the receiver moves out of their “zone.”

          Part of the equation is the single high free safety. This allows one more player in the box vs the run, so theoretically our run D should improve. But it’s also a simple system for the FS. From Pete Carrol’s own mouth he said all a free safety has to do is play the post and seam and he will succeed in his scheme. Hall can do that. Sua Cravens is also a sort-of-Earl-Thomas type player in that he can be a linebacker or SS. We have the personnel for this scheme. Rush 4 at least, cover 3, then 4 in the middle to either help rush or cover the underneath routes. We can do that. With Smith, Baker, Murphy, and Kerrigan. Then Fuller, Cravens, Compton, and Foster.

          I also agree we should start Fuller. He will take his lumps but we’re already taking lumps. Let him get reps and learn. If Phillips and Bruton start and have another bad game on Sunday the only way forward is to replace them with Fuller and Phillips.

  17. Greed - Sep 21, 2016 at 10:57 PM

    Let’s not blame every personnel move on Scott , yes he is the gm bit grudent has major input too , I think Scott is balancing what’s doing best for the team & given gruden players & positions he wants on the roster , basically given gruden rope to hang himself but also building a competitive team, we’ve heard Scott’s motto of not drafting for need but best talent available, for instance free agency starts gruden announces that pot roast won’t return then all of sudden reports of a last ditch failing effort make a run at resigning him before the pats, then GRUDEN says he’s moving away from the traditional NG cause they were only in base D 20% of the time & k ghoulston could manage 15-25 snaps WTF no GM thinks like that. That’s a coach with an over inflated ego thought, so 2 games in your answer at NG is out for season run D is putrid your light & undertalented on the DLine the guy you made a push to resign ( pot roast) is out there but you still won’t sign him IMO Is because he has a strong personality remember when gruden issued the ( code red ) it was pot roast who said ” what DA hell is a code red” also a fan asked him who was his favorite redskin QB he replied RGIII , gruden doesn’t like to feel threatened why he hired Barry over Phillips, the draft reaks of gruden with the need at dline or safety what the pass happy coach wants a WR , and the reason he was forcing those plays to Doctson cause he has the same plan for Garcon this year he had for Alf last yr when he slowly but surely got replaced by Jones, my point GRUDEN IS AN EMOTIONAL EGOTISTICAL COACH when it comes to the players he wants , Scott didn’t hire him so he going to find a balance to give him what he wants , so that way when he FIRES him there will be NO EXCUSES , I’ll just wait to hear GRUDEN’S famous lines “IN HINDSIGHT WE DIDNT GET THE JOB DONE”

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    • redskins12thman - Sep 22, 2016 at 10:32 AM

      I have a favorable opinion of Gruden as best as I know him from afar. He seems genuine and I really want Gruden to succeed, but I do feel that the team has not started the 2016 season as well prepared as it should; too many self-inflicted mistakes, lack of understanding by key players on how to execute the offense (e.g., red zone) and defense (e.g., 3rd and long, 4th down) relative to most other NFL teams.

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    • Trey Gregory - Sep 22, 2016 at 1:07 PM

      So instead of not putting all the personnel decesions on McCloughan, the GM and the one with final say, you’re going to put it all on Gruden. Brilliant.

      And you actually don’t need a NT to have a good run D. If the other players on the front 7 (particularly the interior line) were good it wouldn’t be an issue. It would be nice to have one and everything, but it’s not necessary.

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      • Greed - Sep 22, 2016 at 7:24 PM

        First of all READ what I said , don’t give SCOTT all the blame , and sir gruden has final say on who stays and goes on the 53 it’s in his contract that was established when he took the job when Bruce was the GM and reiterated during the rg fiasco so no I’m not putting it all on gruden its Scott working with gruden to give him what he wants , connect the dots pass happy offensive coach alrdy talented enough at receiving positions and lacking talent the team just so happen to draft a wr in first round where in Scott history has that happens? Even in S.F. when he drafted Vernon Davis they were alrdy stacked on defense , & speaking of him again we needed a blocking the after the disaster last yr at the position he brings in pass catching the now turns out to be a gd pickup so far but that was clearly Scott working WITH gruden to give him the players at the positions he wants, 2. the key to 3-4 defense & any corrdinator on any level of coaching will tell you NG is the key & starting point of run D look at look at dick lebeau, Dom capers , wade Phillips , bill belicheck teams they all had good or outstanding NG/Not it the staple of the defense and its the INTERIOR of the INTERIOR line SIR , so its very necessary

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        • Rich Tandler - Sep 22, 2016 at 7:31 PM

          Sorry, that’s incorrect. McCloughan has final say over the 53. And Bruce had it in Jay’s first year.

        • greed - Sep 23, 2016 at 1:38 PM

          ok rich ! Am i incorrect abov gruden having some say on the roster ? Cause he clearly speaks like he does. Am incorrect in saying scott works with gruden to get the players in position that gruden feels he needs? My point is lets not cast all the blame on scott gruden has input and say although not final but he does has s6e personell authority

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 23, 2016 at 1:47 PM

          You said Gruden has it written in his contract that he has final say over the roster. Yes, that’s incorrect.

        • greed - Sep 23, 2016 at 2:33 PM

          ok trey thanks for pointint that ov a whole day after rich , my point is gruden has input too it a team effortt scott doernt just draft or sign players without gruden having some kowledge or input , if there is a disagreement on personel ok scott has final say , have we heard of any disagreements ? NO , So AGAIN my point lets not place 100% on scott

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