Analysis of the Redskins’ passing game, running game, defense and special teams in the loss at the Chargers
Week 14: Redskins fell to 5-8 with a 30-13 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers (Dec. 10, 2017)
Passing Game: D
Kirk Cousins was just so-so in this game. He went 15-of-27 for just 151 yards, a touchdown and a pick. Kirk was sacked just twice despite the Chargers entering Week 14 no. 5 in the NFL in team sack percentage. His Raw QBR was just 29.3.
Kirk’s worst play of the game was his first-quarter interception, which accounted for the lone play of the Redskins’ second offensive drive. Kirk made a bad decision off shotgun play-action. The ball went off Trevor Williams and into the arms of Kyle Emanuel. The ensuing Chargers drive started at the Redskins’ 29 and resulted in Travis Coons’ late-first-quarter 21-yard field goal.
But Kirk also was late or inaccurate on other throws. He averaged just 5.4 yards per pass attempt when kept clean in the pocket per Pro Football Focus. Kirk was far from the Redskins’ biggest problem in this game, but it’s not like he put the team on his back, either. He averaged just 5.59 yards per pass attempt for the game and led an offense that scored just six points, went just 2-for-12 on third downs and had just 201 total net yards.
- Redskins’ seventh offensive drive…resulted in a third-quarter three-and-out…Kirk was late getting to the flat on a second-and-nine one-yard shotgun completion to Samaje Perine.
- Redskins’ ninth offensive drive…resulted in a third-quarter three-and-out…Kirk fumbled the football right after a third-and-seven sack by Desmond King (who was not picked up by Perine) for a six-yard loss. There is a ball-security problem for Kirk on these sacks that has popped up in recent weeks.
But Kirk also had to work with a running game that again was hideous. And he was failed once again by his pass catchers way too often.
- Redskins’ fourth offensive drive…resulted in a second-quarter turnover on downs…Jamison Crowder had a drop on a Kirk third-and-four shotgun incompletion…the next play: a fourth-and-four shotgun incompletion on which Kirk overthrew Vernon Davis, who could have leaped or dove but didn’t.
- Redskins’ seventh offensive drive…resulted in a third-quarter three-and-out…a third-and-three shotgun incompletion saw Kirk get hit by Melvin Ingram and throw too high to Josh Doctson, who bizarrely went up with just his right arm.
- Redskins’ fifth offensive drive…resulted in a second-quarter punt…Kirk had Vernon Davis open to the left but didn’t throw to him on a third-and-two shotgun incompletion. So shame on Kirk for that. But the target, Doctson, ran a bad route, not staying in front of Casey Hayward, who nearly had a pick.
- Redskins’ ninth offensive drive…resulted in a third-quarter three-and-out…Davis had a drop on a Kirk first-and-10 shotgun incompletion…two plays later: Samaje Perine missed the blitz of Desmond King on the backside on a sack of Kirk for a six-yard loss.
The passing game was quite good on the Redskins’ third offensive drive. The drive’s second play, which was the second play of the second quarter, was a Kirk second-and-six 28-yard shotgun play-action-pop completion to Ryan Grant. Four plays later was Kirk doing a great job of running to his right, working off-schedule and finding Niles Paul for a leaping catch on a fourth-and-two 15-yard completion. And three plays after that was Kirk doing a great job of running to his right, working off-schedule and finding Vernon Davis on a third-and-11 23-yard shotgun touchdown pass.
Running Game: D-
The Chargers entered Week 14 just no. 28 out of 32 NFL teams in run defense this season per the Football Outsiders DVOA metric. And yet Samaje Perine had 17 carries for just 45 yards (2.65 yards per carry). 35 of the 45 yards came after contact according to Pro Football Focus, giving you an idea of how poor the blocking was. This was another game in which the Redskins’ running game came up so small, especially on first downs.
- Redskins’ eighth offensive drive…resulted in a third-quarter three-and-out…first play of the drive: a Perine first-and-10 one-yard under-center-handoff run.
- Redskins’ seventh offensive drive…resulted in a third-quarter three-and-out…first play of the drive: a Perine first-and-10 one-yard shotgun read-option run.
- Redskins’ first offensive drive…resulted in a first-quarter punt…first play of the drive: Arie Kouandjio got blown up on a Perine first-and-10 one-yard under-center-handoff run…four plays later: a Perine third-and-two shotgun read-option run for no gain.
- Redskins’ fourth offensive drive…resulted in a second-quarter turnover on downs…Vernon Davis got wrecked by Melvin Ingram on a Perine second-and-four shotgun-handoff run for minus-two yards…two plays later: a Perine first-and-10 two-yard under-center-handoff run.
- Redskins’ third offensive drive…resulted in Kirk Cousins’ second-quarter third-and-11 23-yard shotgun touchdown pass to Vernon Davis…Perine went the wrong way prior to taking the handoff on a second-and-two under-center-handoff run for no gain…three plays later: a Perine first-and-10 one-yard under-center-handoff run…the play after that: a Perine second-and-nine shotgun read-option run for minus-two yards.
Four of Perine’s carries totaled 29 yards. The other 13 carries totaled 16 yards.
Here’s all you need to know: the Chargers removed Phillip Rivers from the game on a drive that started with 11:11 left in the fourth quarter. How often do you see a starting quarterback removed that early in a blowout?
The Redskins allowed…
- …the Chargers to rack up 488 total net yards of offense, including 354 in the first half.
- …the Chargers to not punt until the third quarter.
- …Phillip Rivers to go 10-of-15 for 122 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter, 5-of-8 for 134 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter and register a Raw QBR of 87.3 for the game.
- …the Chargers to rush for 174 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries.
There was bad play just about everywhere on the Redskins’ defense, but this was by far the worst game of the season for the Redskins’ secondary and actually was quite reminiscent of the Redskins’ secondary last season. Josh Norman gave up over 100 yards in coverage for the first time in his career according to Pro Football Focus (four receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown) and has been surprisingly mortal starting with the Week 10 loss to Minnesota. Bashaud Breeland got benched for Quinton Dunbar during this game. And D.J. Swearinger sounded off after this game for the second time this season about a lack of good practices and about guys not being prepared for this game.
- Chargers’ fourth offensive drive…Norman got beat by Tyrell Williams on his second-quarter first-and-10 75-yard touchdown reception on a Rivers under-center play-action bomb that accounted for a one-play touchdown drive.
- Chargers’ eighth offensive drive…resulted in Melvin Gordon’s third-quarter first-and-goal one-yard under-center-handoff touchdown run…the play prior to the touchdown saw Norman and Swearinger get beat by Keenan Allen on his second-and-seven 51-yard reception on a Rivers under-center flea-flicker bomb.
- Chargers’ second offensive drive…let’s call this the Hunter Henry drive…it started at their 8 and yet resulted in Rivers’ first-quarter second-and-goal eight-yard shotgun touchdown pass to Henry, who beat Deshazor Everett…third play of the drive: Everett got beat by Henry on his third-and-nine 20-yard reception from Rivers in the shotgun…two plays later: Breeland got beat by Henry despite committing pass interference on his second-and-10 14-yard reception from Rivers in the shotgun…the next play saw Ryan Anderson commit a stupid 15-yard unnecessary-roughness penalty after a Melvin Gordon first-and-10 five-yard shotgun-handoff run…two plays later: Norman committed a 10-yard facemask penalty on a Rivers second-and-six 14-yard offset-I completion to Travis Benjamin.
- Speaking of Benjamin…Chargers’ fifth offensive drive…resulted in Travis Coons’ second-quarter 36-yard field goal…Preston Smith had a big missed tackle in the backfield and Quinton Dunbar got blocked for multiple seconds on a Benjamin first-and-10 22-yard shotgun-handoff run on a reverse…two plays later: Austin Ekeler had a second-and-seven seven-yard under-center-handoff run.
- Chargers’ first offensive drive…resulted in Coons’ first-quarter 33-yard field goal…first offensive play of the game: Zach Brown got beat by Tyrell Williams on a first-and-10 34-yard reception from Rivers under center…three plays later: Breeland got beat by Tyrell Williams on a third-and-one three-yard reception on a hitch from Rivers in the shotgun…the next play: Zach Vigil had a missed tackle on a Gordon first-and-10 six-yard shotgun-handoff sweep run…the play after that: an Ekeler second-and-four six-yard under-center-handoff run.
- Chargers’ third offensive drive…resulted in Coons’ late-first-quarter 21-yard field goal…second play of the drive: Dunbar never turned around and kept running, allowing Allen to get open for a second-and-10 21-yard reception from Rivers in the shotgun.
- Chargers’ sixth offensive drive…resulted in the end of the first half…Rivers had a second-and-10 15-yard shotgun completion to Allen, who was wide open in a zone hole…four plays later: Rivers had a first-and-10 20-yard shotgun completion to Tyrell Williams thanks in part to Matt Ioannidis stopping playing after being flagged for an offside penalty that ultimately was declined…final play of the second quarter: an Ekeler second-and-10 33-yard shotgun-handoff run to the Redskins’ 4.
Josh Norman, by the way, after the game vented to reporters (“I came here to win a championship. If we’re not doing that, what are we doing? Why are we here?”) and sounded off to The Washington Post about not shadowing Keenan Allen: “Anybody in the top position where I’m at, that’s what you do, that’s what you want. That’s why we’re here…It’s tough to actually go out there and see things happening and then knowing that there’s something that you can do, that you can’t. So it’s very, very tough. And I’m not throwing anybody under the bus. I’m not trying to ride over anybody. It’s just, my abilities dictate who I am and who I want to become. And your opportunity, a chance like that, you can’t miss it. Those are the sweet, sweet, sensational moments that you’ve got to have for yourself, that you want to be a part of this game. And it’s unfortunate that you can’t have that today. I’m just going to have a sour taste in my mouth knowing that.”
The Reskins did hold the Chargers to just 2-for-6 in the red zone, and Bashaud Breeland had a fourth-quarter third-and-two 96-yard pick-six of Kellen Clemens. Those factors account for the “plus” in the F+.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams (16) runs on his way to scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Special Teams: D-
Ben Kotwica’s special forces were abysmal once again this season. I don’t know how you don’t wonder about his job security at this point.
Nick Rose missed the extra-point attempt that followed Kirk Cousins’ second-quarter third-and-11 23-yard shotgun touchdown pass to Vernon Davis.
The Redskins allowed a Travis Benjamin 47-yard punt return in the fourth quarter during garbage time. The ensuing drive, though, resulted in Bashaud Breeland’s third-and-two 96-yard pick-six of Kellen Clemens.
Josh Harvey-Clemons committed an eight-yard holding penalty on a three-yard punt return by Jamison Crowder in the third quarter, giving the Redskins the ball at their 8 on a drive that resulted in a three-and-out.
Crowder’s terrible season on punt returns continued, as he averaged just five yards over three returns. He totaled just five yards on two of the returns.
Breeland averaged just 22 yards on four kickoff returns. He had a mere 16-yard kickoff return to begin the third quarter but did have a 35-yard kickoff return in the second quarter. But the most memorable kickoff occurrence in this game came in the first quarter when Byron Marshall stumbled and injured his hamstring as the ball bounced inside the 5. He was able to down the ball in the end zone for a touchback, but he was done for the game. The next play was Kirk’s first-quarter pick to Kyle Emanuel.
Tress Way averaged 43.4 yards and 37.3 net yards on eight punts. He had a fourth-quarter 27-yard punt to the Chargers’ 28 and a third-quarter 32-yard punt to the Chargers’ 41. He did place three punts inside the Chargers’ 20, including a third-quarter 56-yarder that was downed by Ryan Anderson at the Chargers’ 4.
Losses like these last two – 30-13 at the Chargers and 38-14 at the Cowboys – are the kind of losses that lead to a head coach who now is 26-34-1 over four seasons getting fired. Do I want Jay Gruden fired? No. I don’t think that he’s nearly as bad of a coach as others do. But it’s undeniable that his teams have had an annoying habit of just not showing up at times. Jay’s two-year contract extension last offseason, the injuries this season and the brutal schedule over the first 10 games of this season were supposed to mean that no major changes would be made for next Redskins season. But losing the last two games by a combined score of 68-27 and dropping six of the last eight games can change that. Everything should be on the table if the Redskins’ final three games this season are like these last two. I still believe that the 2017 Redskins were a playoff-caliber team that got ravaged by injury and schedule (and at the same time). But that opinion will change with more performances like the ones we saw in these losses at Dallas and the Chargers. The onus was on Jay, his staff and his players to compete and find ways to win at least two or three more games. Well, 8-8 now is the best possible record. The Redskins will not finish with a winning record for the 17th time in 25 seasons. 5-11 or 6-10 would not speak well for anyone. And if you know your recent Redskins history, you know that a double-digit-loss season means that change is coming. Every Redskins double-digit loss season over the last 10 years has been followed by major change:
- 2009 – Redskins went 4-12; Vinny Cerrato and Jim Zorn got fired; Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan got hired, and Donovan McNabb was traded for
- 2010 – Redskins went 6-10; McNabb was benched late in the season and traded to Minnesota the following offseason, during which Albert Haynesworth was dealt to New England
- 2011 – Redskins went 5-11; Redskins made the massive trade with the Rams for the 2012 draft’s no. 2 pick, which was used on Robert Griffin III; also, the Redskins spent big money to sign Pierre Garcon
- 2013 – Redskins went 3-13; Mike Shanahan was fired, and Jay was hired
- 2014 – Redskins went 4-12; Jim Haslett was fired and replaced with Joe Barry; Scot McCloughan was hired
The Redskins through 14 weeks of this NFL season have played the toughest schedule in the NFL per average opponent DVOA.
Playing-time and production observations:
- Trent Williams started and played on all but four of the Redskins’ offensive snaps, but you’ve got to wonder now with the Redskins’ playoff hopes officially done if he will be placed on injured reserve with the ailing right kneecap that will require surgery. And you can ask the same question regarding Morgan Moses, who started and played on every Redskins offensive snap despite his ailing ankles.
- The Redskins’ other three offensive-line starters in this game – right guard Brandon Scherff, center Tony Bergstrom and left guard Arie Kouandjio – played on all of the team’s offensive snaps.
- Byron Marshall suffering a hamstring injury on a first-quarter Chargers kickoff resulted in Samaje Perine playing on 80 percent of the Redskins offensive snaps despite a stomach illness and LeShun Daniels, who was signed to the practice squad on Nov. 15 and then to the active roster on Nov. 21, playing on 10 offensive snaps.
- Josh Doctson played on 92 percent of the Redskins’ offensive snaps in leading all Redskins receivers in offensive snaps for a fifth consecutive game. And yet he has 16 receptions for 199 yards and two touchdowns on 29 targets over those five games. He’s playing as much as a no. 1 receiver, but he isn’t producing like one.
- Jamison Crowder played on 82 percent of the Redskins’ offensive snaps. Ryan Grant dealt with an ankle injury and was in on 60 percent. Brian Quick, off being inactive for the Week 13 loss at Dallas on Thursday Night Football and having played on just 34 offensive snaps the entire season, played on 23 offensive snaps.
- Vernon Davis played on 84 percent of the Redskins’ offensive snaps. And while he had a second-quarter 23-yard touchdown reception, he finished the game with just two receptions on seven targets. Davis now has just four receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets over the last three games.
- Josh Norman, D.J. Swearinger and Deshazor Everett were the three Redskins who played on every defensive snap for the team.
- Bashaud Breeland got benched for Quinton Dunbar during this game. Breeland played on just 39 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps. Dunbar was in on 65 percent. Breeland tweeted after the game, “Blame me…At this point it’s a mind game.” Kendall Fuller was in on 47 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps.
- Zach Brown played on just 78 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps due to a foot/toe sprain. Zach Vigil played on 93 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps and appears to have moved ahead of Martrell Spaight, who was in on just 15 defensive snaps off playing on just eight defensive snaps in the Week 13 loss at Dallas on Thursday Night Football. Spaight was inactive for the win over the Giants on Thanksgiving night due to an ankle injury suffered in the Week 11 overtime loss at New Orleans.
- Preston Smith actually played more than Ryan Kerrigan: 64 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps versus 58 percent. Junior Galette played on a season-high 49 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps and yet tweeted after the game, “Free 58…..” Here’s something that you may not realize: Galette per Pro Football Focus has recorded just one fewer pressure than Smith has this season, despite the fact that Smith has played on 288 more total snaps and 95 more pass-rushing snaps than Galette has.
- Matt Ioannidis led all Redskins defensive linemen in being in on 72 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps. Ziggy Hood was in on 56 percent. Stacy McGee was in on 43 percent. Anthony Lanier II was in on 42 percent. A.J. Francis was in on 36 percent.
- Chris Carter suffered a fractured fibula on Travis Benjamin’s fourth-quarter 47-yard punt return.
The Redskins’ offense played this game without:
- Tight end Jordan Reed (inactive for a sixth consecutive game due to a hamstring injury suffered in the Week 8 loss to Dallas)
- Center Chase Roullier (inactive for a third consecutive game due to a fractured hand suffered in the Week 11 overtime loss at New Orleans)
- Receiver Maurice Harris (inactive due to a concussion suffered in the Week 13 loss at Dallas on Thursday Night Football)
- Receiver Robert Davis (inactive)
- Guard Kyle Kalis (inactive)
- Running back Chris Thompson (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 21 due to a fractured fibula suffered in the Week 11 overtime loss at New Orleans)
- Running back Rob Kelley (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 14 due to an MCL sprain suffered in the Week 10 loss to Minnesota and ailing ankle)
- Center Spencer Long (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 21 off being inactive for a three of the previous four games due to two knee injuries that emerged in the Week 7 loss at Philadelphia on Monday Night Football)
- Left guard Shawn Lauvao (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 21 due to a stinger that was aggravated in the Week 11 overtime loss at New Orleans)
- Receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr. (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 21 due to an ankle injury)
- Tackle T.J. Clemmings (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 16 due to an ailing ankle)
- Running back Keith Marshall (placed on injured reserve due to a torn right patellar tendon suffered in practice on July 29; the 2016 seventh-round pick out of Georgia spent all of last season on injured reserve due to an elbow injury suffered in the preseason)
- Tackle Kevin Bowen (placed on injured reserve due to a labrum injury suffered during training camp)
The Redskins’ defense played this game without:
- Safety Montae Nicholson (inactive for a third consecutive game due to a concussion suffered in the Week 11 overtime loss at New Orleans)
- Defensive lineman Terrell McClain (inactive for a third consecutive game due to a toe injury suffered in the Week 11 overtime loss at New Orleans)
- Linebacker Mason Foster (placed on injured reserve on Oct. 28 due to a torn labrum suffered in the Week 2 win at the Rams; he missed the Week 3 win over Oakland but then played the next three games with the injury before going on IR)
- Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (placed on injured reserve on Oct. 19 due to a Lisfranc injury suffered in the Week 6 win over San Francisco)
- Linebacker Will Compton (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 14 due to a Lisfranc injury suffered in the Week 10 loss to Minnesota)
- Defensive lineman Arthur Jones (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 11 due to a shoulder dislocation suffered in the Week 9 win at Seattle; the Redskins signed him on Nov. 1)
- Safety Su’a Cravens (placed on the reserve/left-squad list on Sept. 18; this off being placed on the exempt/left-squad list on Sept. 3 due to contemplating retirement; he also suffered a meniscus injury in the preseason-opening loss at Baltimore and underwent surgery on Aug. 15)
- Linebacker Trent Murphy (placed on injured reserve on Aug. 12 due to a torn left ACL and MCL suffered in the preseason-opening loss at Baltimore)
- Defensive lineman Phil Taylor Sr. (placed on injured reserve on Sept. 2 due to a torn left quadriceps tendon suffered in the preseason win over Cincinnati on Aug.27
Redskins special teams remained without Dustin Hopkins, who was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 18 due to a right-hip injury.
ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano raised some eyebrows in the Kirk Cousins contract situation (#ChaChaCha) on Dec. 7 in noting that “there’s nothing in the collective bargaining agreement that says what happens if a team wants to franchise a player for a fourth year in a row, so hypothetically, if Cousins were to play out 2018 on a $34 million franchise tag, and Washington wanted to franchise him again in 2019, they’d probably have to have some sort of hearing on whether they’re allowed to do that and what it should cost. Hypothetically (and we’re really stressing that word here), another 44 percent salary increase would make Cousins’ 2019 franchise tag about $49 million…As for the transition tag, there are no limits on how many years in a row that can be applied – as long as the team can stomach annual 20 percent raises. So if Washington were to use the transition tag on Cousins in 2018 and he didn’t get the long-term deal he wanted and played for $28.8 million, it could transition him again in 2019 for $34.6 million and again in 2020 for $41.5 million and on and on until the end of his career (assuming, of course, those rules don’t change in the next CBA, which would start in 2021).” A few thoughts:
- The first thing that I thought of regarding all of this, and I’m surprised that this hasn’t come up more since this Graziano piece came out, is the 2012 Drew Brees case. Brees in July 2012 won an arbitration hearing that included the NFL Players Association’s position being that the CBA is intended for a player to be franchised no more than three times, regardless of which team places the tags. Brees was tagged by the Chargers in 2005 after his rookie contract expired and then was tagged by New Orleans after the 2011 season. I have always assumed that the Brees case served as precedent for why a team can’t franchise-tag (or, presumably, tag period) a player more than three times. The Graziano piece and much of the discussion that has followed it haven’t even mentioned the Brees case.
- Even if for some reason the Brees case doesn’t serve as precedent, of course, continually tagging Kirk for seasons to come in order to keep him here would be lunacy given the cost. But being allowed to continually tag Kirk would at least give the Redskins added means of retaining Kirk’s rights and not losing him for nothing via free agency after the 2018 season.
- I don’t, by the way, at all dismiss the Redskins placing a franchise tag on Kirk this coming offseason for a third consecutive year. The people who say that there’s no chance of this happening or that the Redskins can’t or wouldn’t do this are in la-la land. If the Redskins truly want to keep Kirk, but he truly doesn’t want to be here, then they’re only option is a tag (franchise or transition) to at the very least retain his rights and perhaps even have him for another season. Of course, what should happen is the Redskins making a massive-money representative-of-the-market long-term-contract offer to Kirk as soon as their season is over. But what “should” and what have happened in this scenario have been two very different things. The only thing that’s for sure in the #ChaChaCha is that nothing is for sure.
CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora, who used to cover the Redskins for The Washington Post, broke concrete details of the Scot McCloughan arbitration hearing on Sunday morning. We learned that McCloughan will be in D.C. for three days beginning on Dec. 18 for the arbitration hearing. We learned the exact money figure that he is seeking – the $2.8 million that were remaining on his contract at the time of his firing this past March 9. We learned that “evidence about the availability and consumption of alcohol by other Redskin team personnel on club property is likely to come out at the hearing. The NFL has league-wide policies against the consumption of alcohol at team headquarters. McCloughan’s case includes evidence and testimony from the highest reaches of the club, including owner Dan Snyder and team president Bruce Allen.” We learned that “McCloughan contends that he did not drink on the job and very rarely drank at all.” We learned that the hearing is being decided by arbitrator Peter Harvey. A few thoughts:
- The truth in this situation matters. A lot. The Redskins fired their general manager just two seasons into his tenure, despite those two seasons being the franchise’s first back-to-back winning seasons since 1996-97. The “why” behind that is a big deal and should not be dismissed as “old news.”
- Scot’s contention that he “did not drink on the job and very rarely drank at all” is going to be contradicted big time by the Redskins. Obviously, one side is telling the truth and one side is not. I’m guessing that the Redskins are going to have multiple people testifying that Scot drank and/or was drunk on the job. How he combats that will be the key to the hearing. I don’t know how he disproves what multiple people will be saying.
- If Harvey rules in favor of the Redskins, then what? Will the many people who have painted the firing of Scot as being nothing more than a function of Bruce’s jealousy take any of that back? Or will those people look the other way on the result of the hearing? I heard of Scot’s drinking being a problem again about five months before he was fired. Do I know for sure that what I heard was accurate? No, which is why I didn’t bring it up on the air at the time. But I have talked to many people about the Bruce-Scot saga. The picture that I have put together is far more gray-area than the one-sided narrative of “Evil Bruce did Scot dirty.” If Scot truly was done wrong here, then he deserves every penny of the $2.8 million. But if the Redskins win this hearing, then certain people need to check themselves on what they wrote and said back in March.
- There’s a school of thought that says that the Redskins should just write the $2.8 million check and be done with this whole situation, which has been ugly and embarrassing and brought a lot of bad publicity. I do get that sentiment. But I also get wanting justice to prevail. If the Redskins truly are in the right on this, then why should they just give Scot the $2.8 million in what would come off to most people as an admission of being in the wrong?
- All of that said, Bruce at the very least deserves criticism for hiring Scot in the first place. And I say that as someone who was thrilled when the Redskins hired Scot in Jan. 2015. But the guy’s history with alcohol was well known. So Bruce at a minimum should take heat for the hiring.
- Scot’s player-personnel legacy with the Redskins remains very mixed. His free-agent signings were mostly busts: David Bruton Jr, Chris Culliver, Jeron Johnson, Stephen Paea, Kendall Reyes. Spending a 2015 third-round pick on Matt Jones, a 2016 first-round pick on Josh Doctson and a 2016 second-round pick on Su’a Cravens all look really bad. But moves like signing Vernon Davis and drafting Preston Smith (2015, second round), Jamison Crowder (2015, fourth round), Kendall Fuller (2016, third round) and Matt Ioannidis (2016, fifth round) all look good. Scot also deserves credit for some key in-season signings during the 2015 NFC East-winning season (Dustin Hopkins, Will Blackmon, Mason Foster, Pierre Thomas). Scot’s player-personnel hit rate over his two seasons with the Redskins wasn’t great. But he had enough hits to where his player-personnel moves on their own didn’t warrant him being fired.