NFC East: andrew hawkins

With so many toys at Jay Gruden's disposal in Robert Griffin III, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson, how does Alfred Morris fit in offense?

In his three years as the Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator, Gruden had two 1,000-yard rushers in Cedric Benson (1,067 in 2011) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (1,094 in 2012). The Bengals ran for 1,788 yards, 1,745 yards and 1,755 yards in Gruden’s three years as coordinator.

But he also had A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Andrew Hawkins and Mohamed Sanu at receiver. In the playoff loss to the San Diego Chargers, he got pass-happy.

“Jay sees the offense through the eyes of the quarterback, and having played the position, he has a great deal of respect for the position,” said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said at the NFL owners meetings in this Washington Post story. “He’ll say these guys are the luckiest guys because he would’ve given his right arm – left arm, I guess – to have the opportunity to be an NFL quarterback. So, he really is conscientious of that. He really has things unfold through the eyes of the quarterback."

Because he sees things as a quarterback, will he rely more on the passing game? It has been an argument used against Jason Garrett for his years as the playcaller with the Dallas Cowboys. Sean Payton was a quarterback and he leans more to the pass with the New Orleans Saints.

It’s only natural.

But Morris offers Gruden a better running back than what he had in Cincinnati. He rushed for 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns as a rookie in 2012. He followed that up with 1,275 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013.

Was it a function of Mike Shanahan’s scheme and the coach’s ability to find running backs anywhere and everywhere?

The NFL is a passing league these days, but Gruden can’t get away from Morris and become too pass-happy if the Redskins want to be successful.

Britt, Hawkins on Redskins' radar

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10
If the Redskins upgrade at receiver, it might take a reclamation project to help them do so. According to multiple sources, the Redskins are interested in Tennessee receiver Kenny Britt, whose career to date has been marked by an inability to maximize his so-called potential.

A team source also said the Redskins are interested in restricted free agent receiver Andrew Hawkins. They also could be in on free agent running back Darren Sproles, according to Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman.

None of these names should be surprising given that the first two have been attached to the Redskins for some time. Hawkins played for Redskins coach Jay Gruden in Cincinnati. Hawkins is restricted, but the Bengals gave him a low tender. That means the Bengals would have the ability to match, but the Redskins would not have to surrender any compensation because he was an undrafted free agent.

If the Redskins sign Hawkins, it likely would mean the end of Santana Moss' Redskins career. They still feel he can play, but Hawkins is younger and faster. He's caught 86 career passes in three seasons, although he missed eight games this past season with a high ankle sprain.

If nothing else, Hawkins, who turned 28 on Monday, is a terrific story, as this Sports Illustrated article can attest.

Britt is a classic case of signing a guy just in case he finally achieves what many thought he might upon being a first-round pick in 2009. He's caught 157 passes in five seasons but never more than 45, and in three seasons he's played in 12 games or fewer. He tore his ACL in 2011, and the knee has reportedly been an issue since that time. Britt also has had multiple run-ins with the police since entering the league and was suspended for one game in 2012 after an arrest on suspicion of DUI.

At one point the Redskins were thought to be interested in receiver Hakeem Nicks, too. But that interest might have cooled.

Redskins mailbag: Part 2

February, 8, 2014
Feb 8
Tried to get to as many questions as possible; tough to do. But in part 2, the topics include free-agent Bengals who might tempt Jay Gruden; Brian Orakpo; Chris Baker and positions the Redskins might target in the second round of the draft.

How you feeling? Giants-Bengals

November, 11, 2012
As the New York Giants prepare to play the Bengals at 1 p.m. ET today in Cincinnati, here's one reason for Giants fans to feel good and one reason for concern.

Feeling good: Sure, Eli Manning and the Giants' passing game are in a slump. But did you know that three of their last four opponents -- Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Dallas -- rank first, second and fifth, respectively, in pass defense so far this year? Lots of quarterbacks, even the very good ones, would slump against a schedule like that. The only other team the Giants have played in their last four games is Washington, which has a rotten pass defense but always seems to give Manning trouble. Anyway, the Bengals rank 19th in the league in yards per game allowed via the pass, and Manning and the Giants' receivers ought to be able to get on track in this one.

Cause for concern: The flip side of that is that the Giants' defense ranks 26th against the pass and 19th against the run, so the Bengals can also look at this game as an opportunity to do what they want to do on offense. The Giants' defense is relying lately on its ability to force turnovers. They are tied with the Bears for the league lead in interceptions with 17, and their total number of takeaways (26) is second only to Chicago's 28. Cincinnati has turned the ball over 16 times this year, but if the Giants can't force Andy Dalton interceptions, he could pick them apart with superstar second-year receiver A.J. Green deep and little speedster Andrew Hawkins underneath.