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23.04.2019 04:13
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Reviewing Jay Gruden’s comments for insight into the cornerback position battle following Scandrick’s release On Tuesday Tress Way Jersey , the release of Orlando Scandrick brought a lot of clarity to the expected regular season depth chart at cornerback, but there probably isn’t room on the regular season roster to keep every young player that’s having a good training camp.To figure out exactly which CBs are most likely to still be on the team when they line upto play the Cardinals in September, we will examine Jay Gruden’s press conference comments from Tuesday.General comments about the young CBs on the roster:What am I taking away from this?I get the sense that Gruden is talking about five guys who are all making the roster.We know that Josh Norman is gonna start on one side of the field.Jay’s comments tell me that Dunbar will be starting on the other boundary.He talks about the ‘emergence’ (a significant and positive word when Jay Gruden uses it) of Danny Johnson and Fabian Moreau at nickel.I don’t think there’s enough in this comment to say which player is behind the other on the depth chart, though the fact that Moreau is a 2nd year player from last year’s draft, and Johnson is an undrafted rookie may give some hint about the depth chart — at least for the start of the season.He identifies the two Virginia Tech rookie DBs — Stroman (‘18 7th round pick used)and Adonis Alexander (‘19 6th round pick used) — as the other young studs; presumably, the backup boundary corners.Lest there’s any confusion about who’s ahead of whom there, Jay had comments about the player taken in the Supplemental Draft last month. That’s press conference gold right there... Jay specifically identified Alexander as the “sixth” corner, which means he sees five guys ahead of Adonis: Norman, Dunbar, Moreau, Johnson and Stroman.That’s pretty strong confirmation of the expected depth chart.Jay makes it clear that Alexander is not really going to be ready to play defensive snaps at the start of the season, which might open the door a crack for a seventh CB.Jay, in the press conference, reiterated his praise for the rookies, but his slight change of wording helps identify who seems to be the leading slot corner, and then tosses in one more name:Jay, this time, focuses on Moreau as the “inside” player.I may be reading too much into this, but I’m thinking that Danny Johnson is showing up as a bit more of an all-purpose player who can backup the boundary or the slot, despite his small size (he’s listed at 5’9”, 181 pounds).Johnson ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at the Combine, giving him the speed to work inside in nickle, and perhaps to run on the boundary with speedy deep-threat receivers as well.With Moreau (6’0”, 205 lbs) playing the slot most of the time, the Redskins will have the flexibility to mix up coverages by swapping playing both Moreau and Johnson in the slot to challenge offensive scheming, and to have Johnson available for boundary duty if needed.Jay Gruden kinda throws Ranthony Texada’s name out there as an afterthought, and the adjective he uses is “good” (rather than something more glowing).Usually, this would make me think Texada was on his way to the practice squad, but there are two things that make me think that Texada still has a shot at the final 53.The first reason is that Adonis Alexander probably won’t be up-to-speed to start the season, but almost certainly needs to be kept on the roster to protect him from being picked up on waivers without making it to the Redskins practice squad.That would leave a young CB group desperately thin.The coaches may opt for a 7th CB, at least to open the season.The second reason for thinking Texada has a shot is that Jay mentioned him one more time:This time Jay is lumping Texada in with Johnson, and the praise is — by Jay’s press conference standards — fairly effusive.He said this in the context that the surprisingly good play by these rookies forced or allowed the coaches to cut Orlando Scandrick.All of a sudden, I’m thinking that the coaching staff might start the season with 7 cornerbacks — especially since both Johnson and Stroman have punt return skills, which is significant for a Redskins coaching staff looking to improve special teams in general, and the punt return depth in particular.What would the CB depth look like if all my thoughts turned into reality?Keeping seven CBs would mean that the Redskins would have to make a cut somewhere else on the roster, and frankly, Texada would easily survive being waived and put onto the practice squad.But if the ‘Skins don’t think they can rely on Alexander to play early in the season, they may make the decision to hold onto the extra CB until the rookies get a bit of regular season experience and the coaches become confident about whom they can rely on.Let’s look at a few more Jay Gruden comments:Fabian MoreauI hear both excitement and concern in Jay Gruden’s voice here.He clearly is high on Moreau, but also doesn’t think Fabian’s ready for prime time... the player needs more work, more repetitions in practice, more snaps in the preseason.Moreau is a second-year player, but because he was injured at the time he was drafted Brandon Scherff Jersey , he got limited preseason work last year, and played mostly special teams in 2017.He needs a heavy dose of seasoning if he’s gonna play a significant number of snaps on defense in 2018.Look for Fabian to be on the field a lot against the Jets and Broncos.Danny JohnsonWhat I’m hearing is that this UDFA has impressed in camp; he’s showing skills, but when Jay uses the word “competitive” like this, in combination with a phrase like “solid all the way round”, it’s a signal that Jay is hedging his praise slightly, especially when Jay goes on to emphasize the player’s special teams ability.Jay is signalling that the coaches like Danny Johnson, but he clearly a backup — not competing for a starting role.PossibilitiesJay lacks guile, so he sometimes struggles when he prevaricates.In a single sentence, he talks about two different scenarios:i. We’ll go with what we have — right nowii. We’ll probably sign another CB — shortlyAnd — oh, by the way — if we need to, we have time to make a move.I’m hearing Jay say that he wants very much to believe that Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau and 3 or 4 rookies will be able to handle the cornerback position — but Jay isn’t really sure.He’s keeping all his options open.We’re gonna stand pat.For now.But we will probably bring someone else in.Shortly.But we like what we have.But if it doen’t work out, we can still make changes.I suspect they have DRC on speed dial.No matter how much ‘confidence’ Jay expressed in these players on Tuesday, I think the thought of relying on 3 or more rookies to fill out the cornerback depth chart is keeping Jay awake at night.Josh HolseyThe Redskins seem to be going out of their way not to give any details on Holsey or make any comments that commit to a course of action with him.It’s preseason, so the Redskins aren’t required to disclose injury details (note how bothered Todd Bowles was this week that Terrelle Pryor talked to the press about breaking his ankle).It sounds like Holsey may be out there and available in the second half of the season if needed, the same way that I have a packet of fairy dust that can get me out of trouble if I really need it.I’ll be surprised if Holsey sees an NFL field in 2018 regular season or playoffs. A nice holidayThe Redskins last played a game in Week 3.When the Texans beat the Cowboys in overtime Sunday night, that brought the entire slate of Week 5 games to a close — except for the Washington - New Orleans contest, which will be played on Monday Night Football.Without stepping on the field for two weeks, the Redskins have moved up in the divisional and conference standings.Sign up for FanPulse, our weekly Redskins survey.At the end of Week 3, when the Redskins beat the Packers, the Eagles were 2-1 and ranked first in the NFC East, and the Cowboys and Giants were both 1-2.It was so early in the season that nearly anything was possible.In the 6 games our division rivals have played over the past two weeks, they have gone 1-5, with the lone win being the Cowboys’ victory over the Lions, who went into the game 1-2.The five losses came against the Titans, Saints, Panthers, Vikings and Texans, who today sit at a combined 13-9-1.Getting lots of helpIt’s hard to imagine how Sunday could have gone any better for the Redskins.The team is in the division lead at the moment, but in a 16-game season there are a lot of ups and downs.Washington wants to be in the best position, not only to win the division, but to get a wildcard spot if they need to.In addition to all 3 divisional rivals losing, the Redskins ability to secure a wildcard spot at the end of the season was helped along by game results.The undefeated Rams, who will likely be the NFC’s top seed no matter what, handed a conference loss to the Seahawks, dropping them to 2-3, while the Lions took care of business with the Packers, dropping Green Bay to 2-2-1.Opportunity and riskAt the close of play on Sunday, not only did the 2-1 Redskins have a full one-game lead on the 2-3 Eagles and Cowboys for the division title, but Washington is sitting all alone in the 5th position in the conference Da’Ron Payne Jersey , with a great opportunity available on Monday night — though opportunity is always accompanied by risk.If the Redskins beat the Saints on Monday night, these good things will all happen:The Redskins resulting 3-1 record would increase the lead in the division to 1.5 games.The ‘Skins would vault into a tie for 2nd place in the conference with the Bears and Panthers.The Redskins would earn a potentially critical tiebreaker against the Saints, which could matter in playoff seedings or wildcard calculations at the end of the season.The Redskins would put up an important win against a quality opponent on prime time television, something the Redskins haven’t done often enough in the past.By contrast, a loss to the Saints would see the 2-2 Redskins’ division lead drop to a half-game, they would fall into a tie with Tampa Bay for 5th/6th seeding in the conference, they would lose position relative to the Saints for any end-of-season playoff seeding or wildcard spot, and suffer yet another loss on Monday Night Football.In a sense, because the Redskins are in a strong position in the division and the conference at the moment, the stakes are much higher than they would have been ifthe team was buried in the middle of the standings.The Redskins-Saints rivalryFortunately, history gives the Redskins a lot of hope for showing up and taking care of business on Monday night.The Redskins lead the overall series with New Orleans 17-9 in a rivalry that dates back to 1967.But this isn’ta cherry-picked stat that requires wins from the 1970s to favor the Redskins.Washington is 4-2 in its last 6 games against the Saints, with both losses coming in overtime.The Redskins are actually 4-1 in the last 5 games played in the Mercedez-Benz Superdome, with the lone loss being last year’s Week 11 game in which the Redskins had a 2-touchdown lead with less than 7 minutes remaining, but ended up losing in overtime.In short, the Redskins have historically played well against the Saints and in the Superdome.Incidentally, Jay Gruden is 2-2 in games after the bye, with the two victories coming in ‘16 and ‘17.Monday Night FootballThe huge monkey on the back of the Washington Redskins franchise is the team’s consistent failure to win on Monday nights, a trend which has continued in the Jay Gruden era.Last season the Redskins lost to Kansas City on MNF in Week 5 in the game that featured the famous Doctson non-drop.The key turning point in that game seemed to come when Josh Norman was lost to a rib injury.The other loss came against the Eagles, on the road in Philadelphia in Week 8.In 2016, the Redskins also lost twice on Monday night, starting the season with a home-opening beatdown at the hands of the Steelers, and going on to lose at home to the Panthers late in season.In 2015, the eventual division champion Redskins lost at home, 19-16 to the Dallas Cowboys.Only in 2014 has Jay Gruden’s team found any success on Monday night.After losing to Seattle at the beginning of October, the Redskins managed to get a road win against Dallas at the end of the month, getting their lone Gruden-era MNF win, 20-17 behind 299 passing yards and one rushing touchdown from Colt McCoy.That win was so long ago, that Desean Jackson amassed 136 receiving yards while Alfred Morris, Roy Helu and Silas Redd all got carries at the RB position in that game.In short, if the Redskins are going to take advantage of the huge opportunity that sits in front of them, they will have to break the long history of failure under the bright Monday night lights.Execution matters more than historyThe ghost of past prime time failures won’t matter nearly as much as the team’s ability to execute on the field.Everyone knows how dangerous the Saints offense, led by future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, is.Everyone knows that Mark Ingram rejoins his team this week, after serving a suspension for the first four weeks.Ingram and Kamara may be the most dangerous running back duo in the NFL.But the Redskins have some pedigree of their own.Led by the DHogs — Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioaniddis — the Redskins bring the league’s top ranked defense, which is also #1 against the pass, to New Orleans.Allowing just 278 yards per game overall, and just 187 ypg passing, the Redskins have blanketed opponents’ ability to move the ball through the air, and have also been pretty good against the run, giving up 90 yards per game on the ground — 6th best in the league.Of course Quinton Dunbar Jersey , yards don’t win games, points do.The Redskins have the top-ranked scoring defense, giving up 14.7 points per game — one of only six teams in the league to hold its opponents to less than 20 ppg. The Redskins rank 3rd in the NFC in point differential at +20, meaning that — while the offense hasn’t lit the world on fire, the team as a whole has managed to be about a touchdown better than their opponents over the first month of the season.To beat the Saints this week, the Redskins are going to need their top ranked defense to shut down one of the best running back pairs in football, and a QB who, literally, by the end of the game, will almost certainly be the most prolific passer in the history of the league.But the Redskins should have the horses to do it.In addition to the DHogs, the Redskins have a good OLB unit, featuring Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith, and a young but talented cornerback group, led by one of the NFL’s best in Josh Norman.Although Zach Brown has looked a bit off, suffering all season long from an oblique injury, Mason Foster has stepped up and played like a man on a mission.At safety, DJ Swearinger has brought his usual passion and mouth, and backed it up with some flashy play.On the other side of the ball, the Redskin offensive attack has been led by Adrian Peterson, who is 5th in the league in yards per game, and tied for 2nd in the league for rushing touchdowns per game, having crossed the goal line 3 times in 3 games.Alex Smith, meanwhile, has the 7th best QBR among signal callers with at least 10 passing attempts.Jordan Reed is 6th in the NFL among tight ends in receiving yards per game, while Chris Thompson is ranked 5th among running backs.The only real concern seems to be at the wide receiver position, where Doctson, Crowder and Richardson seem to be struggling to establish themselves in the pass game.Even that could change on Monday night.The Saints currently rank 30th against the pass, giving up 311 receiving yards per game to the Bucs, Browns, Falcons and Giants, who combine for a 6-12-1 record on the season.While TB leads the league in passing, and Atlanta is in the top-10, the Browns and Giants both rank in the bottom half of the league in passing, which indicates that the Redskins 20th rated passing attack should be able to find enough success against the porous Saints defense to allow the running backs and defense to lead Washington to a road win on Monday Night Football.There’s a great opportunity available for the Redskins in Week 5; the rewards for a win tonight are huge.The Redskins have the league’s highest rated defense for total yards per game, passing yards per game and points per game, along with two of the best running backs in the league in rushing and receiving, and a quarterback who is 71-32-1 since 2011.Playing with three different teams, Alex is averaging 11 wins and 5 losses per 16 games.The Redskins have put together a team that can win a huge game on the road on Monday night.Now is the time to do it.

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