L.A. 30 Washington 13 (Skins 5-8)

Postgame:

Kimberley A. Martin on Twitter

D.J. Swearinger repeatedly said #Redskins didn’t prepare well and the outcome of the game wasn’t a shock to him. “We out here practicing blah… It’s not surprising at all to me.” https://t.co/49H3sMzZgg

The front office needs to make that a team issued hat.

PFF Top 5:

  1. Edge Ryan Kerrigan, 81.0 overall grade
  2. Edge Junior Galette, 81.0 overall grade
  3. T Trent Williams, 80.7 overall grade
  4. CB Kendall Fuller, 79.5 overall grade
  5. RB Samaje Perine, 77.6 overall grade
It was a rough game for Norman, who gave up over 100 yards into his coverage for the first time in his career.

Looking ahead to next week, Washington will half-ass their way into FedEx Field to take on Arizona.

Who’s Coming Back: Safeties

Previously:  Defensive TacklesDefensive EndsInside Linebackers, Cornerbacks

This is the last part of a series in which I list who will make our 53-man roster next year. Having watched and charted almost every snap this season I feel somewhat qualified to blog an amateur opinion on the matter. Today’s position group is Safeties.

Washington kept four Safeties on their roster so that’s the number I’m assuming we will keep for next year.

Holy Lock To Come Back Next Year:

Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

DJ: He’s willing to make linebacker fills versus the run, has the range to play deep safety and is able to rob underneath routes. Man to man coverage is the one gadget missing from his toolkit.

Montae Nicholson: Wowed immediately with his range as a deep safety but was not prepared for most of the season to play in the box or in man coverage, which put DJ in a compromised position as the man-coverage safety.

When we tried to use Nicholson in man coverage he looked clumsy:

He went on concussion protocol after the Saints game and wasn’t able to iron out that issue.  If he can get it fixed by next season the starting FS job is his.

Will Most Likely Return Next Year:

Everett: Plays a press technique over Tight Ends which puts him in the trenches versus the run and keeps DJ out of man coverage:

Everett is a restricted FA this offseason.  PFF ranks him as the 73rd best safety in the NFL and the equivalently ranked contract pays $1.1 million per year which is about double what we could pay a rookie.  However, Everett has been serviceable in man coverage and his willingness to play in the box keeps DJ as the deep safety which helps to hide his flaws.  I would expect us to shell out the cash to keep Everett if it averages within the $1-2 million per year range.

50/50:

Cravens:  I’m throwing him in this category because I have no idea what is going on here. I’m not sure if he can get another chance or if he even wants one.  He is scheduled to make $1.2 million next year and if he was to be let go under normal circumstances he would count $700,000 against the cap.

Best of Luck In Your Future Endeavors:

DHall:  Takes horrible angles to the ball, lacks the speed required to play in the NFL, most coverage busts over the last two years have come with him on the field. Reputed to be a nice guy and has a cool beard.

Fish Smithson: Practice squad guy.  Gruden mentioned him as an option at safety in a recent press conference, but if he couldn’t pass DHall on the depth chart then there is a serious deficiency somewhere.  The only thing DHall could have had over him is knowing the calls.  Smithson is probably due for an Adderall infused offseason of digesting the playbook.

Who’s Coming Back: Cornerbacks

Previously:  Defensive TacklesDefensive Ends, Inside Linebackers

This is the fourth part of a series in which I list who will make our 53-man roster next year. Having watched and charted almost every snap this season I feel somewhat qualified to blog an amateur opinion on the matter. Today’s position group is Cornerbacks.

Washington kept six Cornerbacks on their roster this season so that’s the number I’m assuming we will keep for next year.

Holy Lock To Come Back Next Year:

Josh Norman: I’m going out on a limb with this one you guys.  He’ll be our highest paid player in 2018 and deservedly so.  Can play any Corner position.

Kendall Fuller: The ninth ranked Cornerback in the NFL according to PFF is slated to make just $827,000 next year.  Currently plays in the slot against 11 personnel but can also play Safety if needed.  Blows up any and all WR screens and can take away the deep throw.  He’s a do it all shut down Corner.

Will Most Likely Return Next Year:

Quinton Dunbar: Splits time with Breeland as the outside CB opposite Norman.  Has the speed and confidence to press WRs at the line and play trail technique on deep routes:

His aggressive style disrupts routes enough that QBs tend to come off and look elsewhere.  Horrible at stopping the run, possibly the worst on the team.  He was a developmental prospect that now has the skills to play Cover 2 flat and Cover 3 press-and-trail technique.

He is at the end of his rookie contract and made less than half of what Breeland did even though PFF has him ranked 23 spots higher as the 34th overall CB.

Fabian Moreau: Backup outside CB.  The third round rookie is slated to make under $800,000 next season.

50/50:

Joshua Holsey: A seventh round rookie who backs up Fuller in the slot.  He could be replaced with an offseason acquisition or he could start as our Nickel CB if we move Fuller outside; both moves would make sense.  He is set to make $575,000 in 2018.

Bashaud Breeland: Made his name off of Dez Bryant and was one of the hottest young Corners until he ran into Antonio Brown.  Since then he’s been ok to good but not Shutdown level.  Doesn’t possess the fastest straight line speed and plays with a big cushion in Cover 3 because of it.  His technique is the polar opposite of Dunbar’s and QBs tend to throw his way often.  He has the ability to come off of his receiver and rob routes.  Not a good run defender but will occasionally stick his nose there.

Breeland made $2 million this year and is due for a new contract.  He is ranked as the 57th overall Cornerback according to PFF and the 57th ranked contract for CBs is $2.2 million (Bradley Roby) so I would expect a fair deal for 2018 to be in the ballpark of $2-2.5 million.  How they negotiate past that will decide whether or not he comes back.

Skins DEFENSE vs The Cowboys (II)

Formations

Versus this two tight end set we went with a Nickel front instead of the usual 3-4.  There are five guys playing at linebacker depth and I think it may have screwed with the Cowboys’ zone blocking.  Fuller (lined up over the near TE) is playing as a quasi-safety.  It was effective but ended up being just a one off.

Defensive Tackles: In the Nickel front McGee and Ion got the start on early downs, while Lanier and Ion got the start on late passing downs.  Hood was used later on and finished the game with the second highest snap count behind Ion.

Linebackers: Vigil and Brown on early downs, Harvey-Clemons and Brown on late passing downs.  As the game went on Vigil took some snaps from H-C.  Spaight came in when Brown had to leave with an injury.

What Happened

In the first half Offense and Special Teams screwed us.  Defense played phenomenal despite the other two-thirds of the team acting as saboteurs.

In the second half, zone double teams wore us down.  Ion and Francis struggled some while Hood and Lanier struggled a lot.

(FWIW Anderson needed to stay inside his block.) This half was the sequel to last game with most of the same characters up front.

After they softened us up they went to the air and picked on Breeland.

Continue reading “Skins DEFENSE vs The Cowboys (II)”

Who’s Coming Back: Inside Linebackers

Previously:  Defensive Tackles, Defensive Ends

This is the third part of a series in which I list who will make our 53-man roster next year. Having watched and charted almost every snap this season I feel somewhat qualified to blog an amateur opinion on the matter. Today’s position group is Inside Linebackers.

Washington kept four Inside Linebackers on their roster this season so that’s the number I’m assuming we will keep for next year.

Holy Lock To Come Back Next Year:

Spaight: Can play all three downs, had tackling issues early but seems to have overcome those.  Even if Brown and Foster come back his experience and knowledge of Manusky’s defense should guarantee him a spot on the depth chart.  He only counts $764,000 against the cap.

Josh Harvey-Clemons: [EDIT:  After reviewing the Cowboys game I’m going to have to bump him down to ‘Most Likely’]  A college safety that has freakish size and speed.  A project player who is currently relegated to late passing downs and has the ability to blitz.  He has 3 years remaining on his rookie contract and only counts $576,000 against the cap.

He’s behind Zach Vigil in playing time but long term I figure the coaches would rather teach a coverage guy to fit gaps than teach a gap fitter—like Vigil and Compton—coverages.  You can coach reads but not speed.

Will Most Likely Return Next Year:

Zach Brown (Resigning Zach Brown): The only thing standing between Brown and ‘Holy Lock’ status is his agent. Manusky schemed the entire run defense around Brown.

Brown also showed that he is the only guy in our front seven with the instincts and speed to chase down a mobile NFL Quarterback.

50/50:

If we don’t make an offseason acquisition, then one of the following,

Zach Vigil: Used on early run downs; a younger stronger version of Compton.  Unfortunately has Kerrigan type speed in coverage.

Will Compton: Knows the playbook inside out. Quintessential locker room leader. Excels at absorbing blockers and creating a path for Brown.

Compton’s serious downsides include lack of strength, pass coverage and inability to get off of blocks. His 2017 salary was almost $2 million, we could outfit a full two-deep around Zach Brown with that kind of cash. Even if he takes a pay cut we would still have younger, faster, stronger and cheaper options. He’s closer to 30/70 than 50/50, but he put on a clinic in that Seattle game and that’s preventing me from slotting him in the section below. I’d be surprised but not shocked if he stayed.

Mason Foster: If he’s healthy I think he comes back.  There are some rumblings about his Tweetstorm offending the FO guys, but he might be the best all around linebacker we have.

Best of Luck In Your Future Endeavors:

Otha Peters: Signed to the practice squad last month after Compton went to IR.  Hasn’t seen the field and lots of young guys are ahead of him which doesn’t bode well for his chances.  Might be able to hang onto a PS spot.