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So it's Joe Barry in the End

January 22, 2015 in Redskins Offseason, Redskins Personnel

The search started with a big letdown when it was reported Joe Barry is the new defensive coordinator.  But then a day or two went by and it was not official.  Then we got Vic Fangio to Ashburn and the world was once again right.  Until Tuesday when we were all crushed again when Fangio ended up in Chicago and Barry finally in DC.

Here are my thoughts and these could sound repetitive of what has been said over the past week.      joebarry

1- There were all kinds of defensive coordinator jobs open and only the Redskins talked to Barry.

It seems like all other hired guys got multiple looks from teams but not Barry.

2- I am going to pass on the 0-16 season in Detroit actually.

Most jump on this but I am not.  That was a horrible situation.

3- Again let's make this team more of Tampa 2006-2010 or whatever.

I am tired of this continually happening.  Still in shock that McCloughan was hired now and now wonder if he fits in with all the Bucs rejects in the end.

4- If it is true that Vic Fangio didn't take the Skins job because he was told he would have to keep Raheem Morris as secondary coach then Gruden should be fired immediately.

He is not fit to be a head coach.  Losing Fangio also lost Donatell in the end.  If Raheem is on the staff again I will be sick.

5- So supposedly they also like Barry because he is a ra-ra high energy guy.  And why Wade Phillips wasn't considered.

I hate this reason even if Haslett wasn't an in your face guy either.  I couldn't care less if the coach is acting like a maniac on the sidelines.  Those douches usually fail when giving more responsibility.

6- If Gruden made the call this just feels to me like he didn't want a former or potential head coach around in a big spot like this.     grudenhired

All assumption by me but it just has this feel.  Like Griffin not wanting Cousins around.   And if it was part of his reasoning it will end his coaching career most likely if Barry fails.

 

7- This has a common feel to me.

When Randy Edsall was hired at Maryland he needed a top defensive guy and couldn't get a coach like Randy Shannon.  He hired Todd Bradford from Southern Miss to everyone's shock.  Guess what.  Edsall had to fire Bradford after season one.  Just has this feel.

 

 

Redskins Thoughts of the Week:

January 16, 2015 in Washington Redskins

Here are my Redskins thoughts of the week:

– The biggest topic of the week is the search for defensive coordinator. On Tuesday we thought the search was over as it looked like Joe Barry had the job. It was reported by the NFL Network but not confirmed by our local guys. And as I write this Barry has still not been announced as the #1 man on defense. And this looks like another Jim Fassel situation. Meaning, I am guessing the Redskins gave Barry the impression the job was his and now have cold feet. Just like with Fassel (twice), fan reaction has been very negative at the potential of the Barry hire. My guess is another PR nightmare for the Redskins in the end even if they get their man. Every search for coaches turns up ugly for this team.

– One guy who had an ugly experience last season in the coaching search was Vic Fangio as the Redskins cancelled his interview hours before he was to leave for DC. The Niners didn't forget but maybe Fangio has as he could be the holdup to the hiring of Barry. Hopefully it is Fangio in the end of this and if it has to be because he has no other opportunities as a coordinator, so be it. His only negative with this organization may be he wasn't in Tampa between 2003-2009. That seems to be a must to get a job in Ashburn. Fangio's success in San Fran is obvious as 1st rounders through 7th rounders became solid contributors in his scheme.

– Breaking news yesterday was the hiring of Bill Callahan to a lucrative deal. Lucrative. Take that you cheap Cowboys! Guess we have the highest paid offensive line coach in the NFL now. And you know they love to taunt with that at the Park. Either way I am cool with this move over continuing with Chris Forrester. Nothing against Forrester but maybe it was time to move on from the zone blocking smaller lineman scheme with Shanny long gone. I am a Nebraska fan also but I won't hold that against Callahan in the upcoming season. With two rookies last season who saw minimal action and the likely pickup of multiple new lineman this job is going very important.

– Finally, the weekly thought on the quarterback position. GM Scot still is far from saying who will be the front runner as starter come training camp. And I understand because the talent is just not there based on what we have seen. But I still think in the end it isn't Robert Griffin under center (or in the Pistol formation) with the first team when camp starts. I just think that Jay Gruden is not a fan still and now instead of Allen and Snyder making final call, its McGloughan's now. Call me crazy but I think Gruden goes to him and gets him on his side concerning Griffin. I give it now a 50% chance that Griffin is the starter next season. And my guess is he ends up not on the roster come Labor Day. That instragram with the lion was pretty badass though. Joking.

What I Like About Scot McCloughan Hiring

January 9, 2015 in Redskins Personnel

  1. The draft will actually be a part of this organization.           scotmc

Shanny tried to use the draft unlike Gibbs, Cerrato, Zorn, Snyder but the Griffin trade crushed him.  Whoever you think was behind that.  But we know McCloughan will keep and probably look to add picks.  He did in his past and he is very clear that it is his way to go.  For those worried if he actually is in charge, will get their chance to see on draft day if Washington moves up to go for Winston or Marriota.  I am not saying GM Scot wouldn't take either but I can't see him giving up picks to move up.

2.  His stays in Seattle and San Francisco recently have given him relationships with two of the youngest most talented player pools in the NFL.

His focus will be the draft but guys he drafted before have and will continue to reach free agency at a good age.  Not an age we have been used to the past 15 years.

3. Speaking of free agency and age he was clear, real clear that 30+ year old injury ridden free agents are not his style.

I hate to pick on Jason Hatcher but I don't think he would be here if McCloughan was hired 12 months ago.  Priority looks to be using money on young players on their roster currently and keeping them.  Again, another easy one here to see if he had full final say once free agency starts.

4. It's early but it sounds like he is open at quarterback.

Only saying he expects the QBs to be on the roster but no determination has been made.  I think this is probably good for Gruden when it comes to him deciding who starts for him.  He should have the call but the GM is going to give him easier options in the end and hopefully not causing the usual circus around quarterbacks on a 3 win team.

5. I heard the press conference on the radio and on the funny side, I was happy we have a football guy who sounds like a mix between Super Dave Osbourne and Andrew Luck.

Maybe the Luck karma is finally on us since we missed out the first time.

 

What I don't like:

1. Nothing.  He is Bill Walsh x Bill Polian x Ron Wolf x Carmen Policy.  Just joking.  But I think it’s the right hire.

2. His troubled past worries me some especially in this twitter age.  How long before we hear he is drinking at the Ashburn Bonefish Grill?  Which could get ugly because he kinda looks like Lerch from the Junkies who hangs out there.

 

 

Thoughts on Bruce Allen's Press Conference

January 1, 2015 in Redskins Personnel

1. They could have sent comedian Bruce Bruce up there instead of Bruce Allen and we could have gotten more info on this team and the future. (also there is a chance he would be a better GM)

2. I thought it was odd he started by saying its only been 72 hours since they season ended as a reason not having much info. They should have been working on fixes the last 8 weeks.

3. Crazy that when asked if the team is in a better situation than when he took over 5 years ago he brought up the charitible foundation. That is great but promote that through twitter and facebook not as his every six month press conference.

4. If you didn't know everyone works hard at Redskins Park. Players, coaches, front office, etc. He liked mentioning that. Maybe we should go the lazy route in the front office then?

5. Found it crazy that he said it was Gruden's call to start Griffin in Minnesota. No way this is true. Just amazing.

6. I admire Rob Carlin and Grant Paulsen and others for going after him. I heard it and did not see it on TV yet and have to believe Tony Wyllie was freaking out. Probably took Carlin into a room like Larry Fishburne did the kid at the casino in 21 after he won a lot of money.

7. For those hoping for AJ Smith to be full time GM. Doesn't sound like it. Again they should have realized and started a new plan 6-8 weeks ago. That is why I think it will be the same staff/front office. With the only difference being no Jim Haslett of course.

8. Didn't realize how bad free agency was until they brought it up again. Allen tried to defend. I bet everyone had a solid laugh then. (back to the comparison to Bruce Bruce, this almost became a good stand-up routine for Allen).

9. Right now I would take any of these guys as GM over Bruce. They are the Packers football operations team

Ted Thompson, Executive V.P., General Manager & Director of Football Operations
Russ Ball, Vice President of Football Administration/Player Finance
Mike Eayrs, Director of Research and Development
Rob Davis, Director of Player Engagement
Matt Klein, Football Administration Coordinator
Adam Korzun, Director of Performance Nutrition
David Raih, Coaching Administrator
Melanie Marohl, Salary Cap Analyst
Linda Nuthals, Corporate Travel Manager
Sherry Schuldes, Manager of Family Programs
Lisa Waeghe, Executive Assistant – Head Coach
Diane Coron, Football Administration Assistant

10. Why can't we try and offer Ted Thompson the President role here at some crazy money? Doubt he would take it but we can offer him the same money they offered Jason Hatcher. Better return on investment on that at least.

11. I guess the company line on the defense of Griffin is that he is only 24. Young yes. Can't see receivers though is more important.

12. Finally, if you think this team is in bad shape today didn't help. It only hurt. Firing Jim Haslett only isn't going to fix much but to them they think its the difference from being the Eagles or Seahawks or so in their minds. Tell me one more time Bruce you have all your draft picks and $20 million in cap space. You could have 15 picks and $50 million. No one has any confidence these guys right now can use it correctly. And you clearly heard it first hand from the people who cover the team daily today.

Thoughts and Observations on the Redskins win over the Eagles

December 21, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

1. Griffin played one of his better games of the last two seasons:

It wasn't perhaps his best statistical game of the last two seasons, but Griffin had one of his better all-around games since the 2012 season. While Griffin didn't light up the stat sheet the most important thing is he didn't make the negative plays that have plagued him of late. Of late Griffin has made costly errors with either holding on to the ball too long, missing open receivers, or making throws without using proper mechanics that led to errant passes. While Griffin displayed a couple of those mistakes in this game he balanced it out with some really positive plays as well. He not only connected on multiple deep balls, but he threw some nice intermediate routes which had been lacking in his game of late. Perhaps the biggest positive with Griffin is that he got rid of the ball before pressure arrived more than he has in recent weeks. It wasn't  a great game by any stretch, but it was a the first game in awhile where he played well throughout the game. Now I don't think this performance drastically moved the needle on Griffin's future as a starting quarterback in this league or for the Washington Redskins, but it definitely didn't hurt his case, which is a good step for the Redskins and Griffin.

2. The Defense deserves some nice credit:

The defense has been maligned all year and they by no means had a good game or "shut down the Eagles", but they came up with some key stops that limited Philly and put the Redskins in a position to win this game. The defense forced two key turnovers, both of which led to field goals. The 2nd turnover came on the Eagles final drive when they had been moving the ball and it looked like they were going to go ahead and get the victory. it was a big interception by the rookie Bashuad Breeland and gave the Redskins a chance to go down for the winning FG.

Another big area for the defense was holding the Eagles to FG attempts on three separate occasions. Twice the Eagles missed those kicks and it kept the Redskins in the game. While it is true that had the Eagles connected on those two missed FG's they would have likely won the game (obviously it would have changed the play calling down the stretch), the defense deserves credit for not breaking in those situations.

3. The Redskins limited their penalties:

The Redskins have been one of the most penalized teams in the NFL this year, but yesterday it was the Eagles making unforced error after unforced error. The Eagles committed a number of costly penalties that probably cost them the game (and a playoff berth). The Redskins on the other hand played a pretty clean game and didn't get into penalty trouble. Had they done what they typically have done and shot themselves in the foot it could have shifted the balance back to the Eagles and resulted in another Redskins loss.

4. What this game means going forward:

It's always great to get a win and use the positives from it to build for the future, and basically knocking off a division rival never hurts either, but this win should be kept in context. One thing I've heard is the idea that since the Redskins beat both the Cowboys and Eagles they can "play with everyone" or are "closer to the top than their record suggests". While both wins are nice of course, this should not be some sign that the Redskins are 1-3 pieces away from being a contender. The Redskins did a nice job in these particular two games, but in most games this season they've played extremely poorly and we've seen multiple faults show up. The Redskins need to take the positives from this game, but they need to recognize the greater picture and have a proper rebuilding effort in the offseason.

Even if they were able to win next week over the Cowboys, the Redskins are still a bad football team and need to look to the future and build a sustainable contending team. This win over  the Eagles is not some sign that a couple  big name free agent signings are going to fix all the woes on this team. This was a fun win, but the Redskins can't get overconfident going forward.

Three Things I Hope to See From Redskins Next Two Games

December 19, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

1. Continued development of Bashaud Breeland as a legit starting cornerback in this league.

I want him to keep battling guys like Dez Bryant and Jeremy Maclin one on one to get better.  We need a 4th rounder to come through as a starter because it just doesn't happen lately here.  And with the uncertainty of Deangelo Hall in the future and the more talk than action in David Amerson it will be a huge lift for the future of this defense if Breeland can play.  I still can't believe Amerson downplayed the game and skills of Odell Beckham, Jr.  Just shows how clueless some of these guys are.

Breeland can help make the corner spot the 4th or 5th need in free agency and the draft when everyone knows there are so many spots this team needs to develop better talent.  As for the secondary I would also get Philip Thomas back at free safety.  It is a joke he is playing strong and Ryan Clark is at free.  Not helping anything for the future of this team.  Again, clueless.

 

2. I skipped the quarterback spot amazingly as the first one.    Washington Redskins v Dallas Cowboys

A week or so ago I thought it would be best to go back to Kirk Cousins and see again what he has.  But that just isn't going to happen barring an injury with this organization.  So it is Robert for the final two.  Let him play these two and make a decision.  If he sucks and Jay Gruden is staying for sure then get rid of Robert.  My guess is Griffin will do whatever his agent can to get him out of DC.  Guessing the same will go for Kirk as well.

If he can't get this offense going against the Eagles and Cowboys Defense he shouldn't be in this league.  Colt was solid against Dallas and Kirk was against Philly for most of those games.  If Robert can't show the same it's time to end it.  I don't care what they gave up or where he could end up if they let him go.

 

3. Stop the “we’re just gonna promote AJ Smith from consultant to a General Manager type position”.

I have started to hear this going around and could completely see this happen after the season.  I think this is another horrible Snyder and Allen call.  They need multiple outside personnel and scouting specialists to come in and fix this thing.

Remember when it was rumored that the Redskins were going to bring in Jim Fassel as coach twice?  And everyone flipped and made it clear to the Redskins it was a bad call?  That's what we need to do when it comes to AJ Smith.

It will be interesting to see how many Eagles and Cowboys fans are at FedEx the next two weekends.  That will show Snyder where he has this organization.  By the way Fassel would have most likely been a better call than Zorn of course.  We will never know.

 

 

5 Things to Watch for as the Redskins take on the Giants

December 14, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

Check out my breakdown of why the Redskins can win on BleedBigBlue.com

1. Will DeSean Jackson Play:

-Pierre Garcon was good as Jackson's replacement as the featured member of the Redskins pass offense last week, but he lacks the big play element that Jackson brings to the table. If Jackson can go this week it could be a major boost to the offense and give the Redskins a threat that will hopefully keep the safeties deep to allow for more running room for Morris. Even if Jackson  can only play on a limited basis he could be enough of a threat to open up other areas of the offense (though that hasn't always been the case this year). If Jackson can't go again then it will severely limit the Redskins passing attack versus one of the better pass defenses in the league.

2. How will Colt McCoy do with the injury:

-The Redskins are still sending Colt McCoy out there despite the fact that he was dealing with a neck injury all week. Now he's been cleared to play medically, but after taking a hit like that (and all the cumulative hits he has been taken) how will he fare against a pretty good pass defense. The Giants have done a nice job getting pressure, forcing INT's, and limiting completions this year and make it very tough on opposing quarterbacks to beat them through the air. Really only Matt Stafford and Andrew Luck have had really good (or great) passing games versus the Giants so if the Redskins go down early and the game is put in McCoy's hands he will have a tough task keeping the Redskins in the game. The good news is the Giants run defense is very porous so if the game is close the Redskins hopefully won't need to rely on McCoy.

3. Will the defense have an answer for the Giants passing attack:

-The last time these two teams faced off in Washington, Eli Manning had a monster game and torched the Redskins coverage unit. What's even scarier is star rookie Odell Beckham wasn't even active in that game (though the talented Victor Cruz was healthy). The Redskins secondary has been getting worse and worse (if that is even possible) and now they will be without safety Brandon Meriweather and their best coverage linebacker Keenan Robinson. If the Redskins can't find away to pressure Eli Manning he will have a field day against this unit. For the Redskins to win this game they will need Jason Hatcher (who is questionable and might not play) and Ryan Kerrigan to really bring the heat. If Hatcher can't go the rest of the defensive line has to step up, as does rookie OLB Trent Murphy. If you can get Manning off his spot and force him to throw it early that is how you can get those multiple Eli interception games. The Redskins can't hope to win consistently enough in coverage so it's going to be about bringing the heat. It will leave them even more exposed on the back-end if the pressure doesn't get there, but it's a risk the Redskins need to take.

4. Will we see improved blocking both in the run and pass games?:

-The Redskins blocking continues to get outmanned week-in-week-out. While much of the blame is of course directed to the offensive line, the backs and tight ends are becoming some of the biggest culprits. It's getting to the point now where if a back or TE is one-on-one with a blitzer you should probably just consider that a negative play and move on to the next down. These guys are getting beat every week for key sacks and losses in the running game. Combine that with an already undersized and talent deficient offensive line and you have a recipe for disaster. Of the Redskins 9 rushing attempts (by a back) last week there were maybe 2 or 3 that were correctly blocked. Even Alfred Morris's 12 yard run allowed penetration, but Morris was able to see it in time and adjust. You just aren't going to be able to establish the run if on just about every carry you have to dodge a defender or two in the backfield.

As bad as the run blocking is the pass blocking may be even worse. Tight ends and running backs are just whiffing at their assignments allowing free rushers to get pressure/sacks on their quarterback. The offensive line is good for 2-3 sacks allowed a game as well, and there will be a good 6-10 additional pressures on top of that. Right now with Trent Williams banged up the Redskins don't have one OL that they can count on to win 95% of the time and it's really limiting what they can do offensively. While much of the issue is just lack of talent (or injury for Williams), there are some communication and recognition lapses as well. We've seen multiple times in recent weeks, players getting confused about picking up stunts, which leads them to being late to get over and leads to either a pressure/sack/or offensive holding penalty. Delayed blitzers, particularly up the middle are also being recognized late and a guy will stay with his double team instead of picking up the free rusher. There are just too many fundamental breakdowns here, particularly for a group that is loaded with experience at 4 out of the 5 positions.

5. Will anyone step up and make a play for the Redskins?:

-One of the more troubling things with the Redskins season is the fact that there is just a sheer lack of impact plays being made for this team. Sure there have been some big catches, big runs, and a few big plays on defense, but compared to other teams it just seems like the Redskins are lacking, particularly in crucial situations. How often are the Redskins in a 3rd and long play and they fail to covert? Or on the flip side allow an opponent to make a big conversion. The Redskins aren't a talented enough team to win and compete if they are giving up too many big plays and not making enough of their own. They need some players to step up and make impact plays in this game, and it needs to happen more frequently than it has been happening. That doesn't always mean it needs to be a 40 yard TD pass on offense or a turnover on defense (though both would be nice), but just plays that can swing the game in their favor.

Top 10 Redskins I Don't Want to See Back in 2015

December 12, 2014 in Redskins Offseason, Redskins Personnel

10.  Tyler Polumbus      tylerpolumbus
Just end it please.  Can't see him coming back no matter how bad the other options are at this point.  Rather see Shar Pourdanesh get a crack at right tackle.

9. Perry Riley Jr.
Take the cap hit and sell number 56 jerseys with the name Dead Money well spent.  I guess a lot depends on who is running the defense next season but if it’s a 4-3 set, I can't see him having a chance.

8. Chris Chester
Easy call to save $2.7 mil on the cap next season,  so see ya.  Started as a bad call then he looked OK in 2012 when everyone fooled us.  Time to use the cap space elsewhere.  Maybe Shar can move inside.

7. Brian Orakpo
Remember him?  Obviously no way they franchise him again but this is the Redskins and maybe Has can sell him again if he stays.  Now a legit injury concern maybe they can get him back on the cheap?  I would just cut ties.

6. Stephen Bowen
Same as Chester but add the Orakpo injury prone part also.  Shocked he made it through this season on the roster but then again they redid his contract.

5. Tracy Porter
Got 0 from him this season pretty much.  I pushed for them to look at Antonio Cromartie but instead they went Porter right away.  Give him a signed VHS of his Super Bowl pic 6 and release him.

4. Shawn Lauvao
Just get rid of any offense lineman not named Steiger or Trent and any 2014 free agency pick up not named DeSean.  It was doomed from the signing when no one knew who he was and the Browns laughed when we gave him $17 mil at 4:01pm.

3. Ryan Clark    
The first time around Clark was one of my favorites and it was an idiotic mistake to let him walk.  It would have made it so we didn't sign Archuleta and draft Laron Landry in the top 10.  But now it has been ugly each week.  ESPN will have a new full time talent by playoff time.

2. Pierre Garcon    kyleshanahan
Kind of a joke here.  They need him and he is worth the money.  I am looking out for Garcon and for his sake, another team would be great for him to help win.

1. Anyone who has had a say in the past drafts and free agency
See ya Bruce, Scott Campbell, Danny Snyder…well we can't get rid of him.  Everyone knows they need to revamp this whole department.  I doubt it happens but we have to keep hope.  Free agency last Spring was embarrassing although they will tell all about DeSean which was just luck.

Footnote:  I didn't add Robert Griffin on this and this doesn't mean I am a supporter.  But just like the Redskins I have no clue what to do with him. 

 

 

 

 

 

Redskins need to come up with a 3-year plan

December 11, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

Now some people may be worried from the title that a 3-year plan, implies that the Redskins can't compete for at least three years, that is not necessarily the case. A three- year plan is what every team should have regardless of where they are in terms of contention and roster development. Whether you are a team like the Broncos or Patriots with a veteran QB and on the cusp of a Super Bowl or a rebuilding franchise like the Raiders and Jaguars who are starting a rookie quarterback and figure to have a top 5 pick in next year's draft. What your team's priorities in that three year plan may be different as top contending teams may see a shrinking window, while rebuilding clubs may look to stockpile draft picks or cap money and prioritize youth and development. In the NFL three-year plans should be on a sliding scale so once a season ends you go from a 2014-2016 three-year plan to the 2015-2017 three-year plan. For teams that are well run, they can seamlessly transition from one plan to another, for team's not so well run there are major bumps in the road, and for the Redskins they show no signs of having any sort of long term plan so it is time to start.

Before I get into the Redskins specifically, why do I suggest the Redskins should (and the whole NFL) should adopt a 3 year sliding plan model? Well it's simple, that is how the NFL is set up. Everything about the NFL's structure points to having a three-year flexible game plan as the way to conduct business. With non-fully guaranteed contracts like other sports, NFL teams can get out of contracts sooner than the total number of years. Typically when a 4-7 year long term contract is signed, a player is "locked" into being with that team for the first three years. In that three year window it is very difficult for a team to get out of a deal without taking a significant cap hit (relative to the contract). So when an NFL team signs a free agent for 5 years, they know that it is essentially a 3 year deal with in essence a "buyout" for the final two years. As that contract progresses, that window for that player becomes smaller. Pierre Garcon is the perfect example of this type of situation. Even if Garcon was a disappointment in his first two years the Redskins weren't going to get rid of him in the third year as they would have taken an $8.4 million cap hit compared to his $9.7 million hit for being on the team. Now though entering next season that debate is very different as the cap hit for cutting/trading him is $4.4 million compared to $9.7 million. Now if the player still proves their value then you "pick-up" the final two years of that 5 year contract, but if not you have an out. For some mega-deals it can be more of a 4 year window where you really have to keep a player, but by in large it is a 3 year window that players should be viewed by. When looking at a free agent or re-signing a player, a team needs to consider how that player fits into their three year plan and what can be expected of them in that time frame. Those extra years can be nice, but really they are meaningless unless a player produces in the initial 3 year window.

Draft picks can also be judged on a three-year window with the way the CBA is set up. All draft picks are signed to a very reasonable 4 year contract, with first round picks the team having the option of a more expensive (though typically cheaper than free agency) 5th year if they want it. Despite the 4 year terms and the possibility of a 5th year option, the first three years are key for draft picks. The NFL is not a developmental league, where they draft a player and season them in the minors for a couple of years like the NHL or MLB. They don't have any sort of developmental system like even the NBA with their D-League. Players have a short window to show they can play in this league and for draft picks it is typically no more than three years. That is not to say that there can be any developing for young players, but they have to do it as part of the "major league" roster. Whether that means learning on the bench or with game action, you have to prove you are worthy of a 53 man roster spot. The first three years are key also because, that is when teams are first confronted with making a long term decision on a player. Regardless of what round a player is drafted or how well they are preforming they can't even think of renegotiating a contract with a team or signing an extension until after being in the league for 3 years. The same is true for whether or not teams will pick up a 1st round pick's 5th year team option. Teams have to decide to pick it up after three seasons, otherwise a first round pick will be entering a contract year in their fourth season if it isn't picked up. For the vast majority of players you know what you have after three years of NFL experience, there can be some late bloomers from time to time, but overall you have a good understanding of a player's ceiling and floor after that time frame.

So the three-year sliding window makes sense from how the league is set up, and for most teams that is how they conduct business. For the Redskins there seems to be very little semblance of a real long term plan, much less a three-year plan of knowing the long-term goals of this team. Whether this team views itself as a contender or a re-building team you need to have a plan in place to execute for that strategy, the Redskins don't seem to be taking either approach and it is costing them. Each and every move seems like it is in a vacuum with no real indication of a greater plan. The Redskins also don't stick with a game plan year-in-year-out, alternating between aggressiveness and conservative approaches. Nor do the Redskins show an understanding of spreading out your resources across various position groups. This has left the Redskins at a point that even when they do make a good move (drafting Ryan Kerrigan, signing Barry Cofield, signing DeSean Jackson), it's mitigated by the four wrong moves they made with it or the lack of a game plan.

Take the DeSean Jackson signing the Redskins made this offseason. Signing a young dynamic wide receiver, who is under 30 years old and one of the top 15-20 receivers in the league, looks like a tremendous signing in a vacuum. Jackson is a big time playmaker who can stretch the field and can be a major piece in a high-powered offense. The problem is the Redskins really weren't in a contending position, and they just weren't going to have a high-powered passing offense. Even if Robert Griffin turned the corner and reached the heights of his development this year, the Redskins weren't going to be a team that threw the ball 650-700 times this season. Because of that it not only puts a cap on Jackson's value, but it also means that in a crowded pass catching group with Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts and Jordan Reed someone is going to see their value fall dramatically. So while Jackson has been every bit the weapon as advertised and is playing at a Pro Bowl level despite the issues at QB, Garcon and Roberts have seen their value's plummet. This is a perfect example of taking one step forward, but two steps backwards for the Redskins. Jackson is a great receiver and individually he's earning every penny of his pay check, but it means the Redskins have too much invested in their WR group and just aren't getting enough of a return on that investment to justify it. This was a move that was not made as part of a long term plan, and in the long run that will cost the Redskins some, and it likely means that Garcon will be playing elsewhere next year.

Overall you can point to the Redskins not having a long term plan, but one of the worst areas for the Redskins this has shown up of late is the safety position. Since their big signing of O.J. Atogwe in 2011 (a signing that lasted just one year and cost them a pretty penny), the Redskins have all but ignored the safety position. Their big "signing" since then has been Brandon Meriweather, and they have tried to combine that with other stop gap signings (Madieu Williams, Tanard Jackson, Ryan Clark) or mid-to-late round draft picks (Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo, Jordan Bernstein). That is just embarrassing for this team as those are the high water marks of their investment in the position group. Where was the plan for this group to be anything above awful, much less average? It's one thing to try stop gap players for a year or try to develop young guys, but they just haven't done that. The Redskins will once again head into the offseason needing to make a major move(s) at this position. That is just inexcusable to ignore a position group for so long.

For all moves, be it signings, re-signings, or draft picks the Redskins need to adopt a three year plan and weigh how they will impact the team and their cap in that time frame. Until Washington adopts that style of game plan they won't ever get out of the cellar on any sort of consistent basis.

Redskins' issues start at the top

December 10, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

The Redskins sit at 3-10 with three weeks left to go, and there is a real possibility that they end up at 3-13 for the 2nd straight season. Much of the fan ire appears to be pointed at first year head coach Jay Gruden, and while some of it is deserved he shouldn't be the one held most accountable. The person who deserves the lion's share of the blame (other than Dan Snyder but we can't fire him) is President and General Manager Bruce Allen. Allen had played 2nd fiddle to Mike Shanahan over the past 4 seasons, but with the coaches departure this offseason he decided to promote himself to head of personnel duties as opposed to bringing in a top scouting/personnel mind from another organization (or promoting from within). This has led to the Redskins having perhaps one of their least productive offseasons (which is saying something) in recent memory.

It wasn't supposed to be this way as the Redskins were finally out of the cap penalty (though Mike Shanahan did leave them with some bad contracts to deal with), and they could be more aggressive on the FA market. This was supposed to be the year that really jump started the Redskins and got them to progress going forward. Instead these moves set the Redskins back going forward and their record hasn't seen any sort of improvement. Here is a look at some of the Redskins moves and how it worked out for them:

Wide Receiver: Signed Andre Roberts and DeSean Jackson

-Roberts was a good initial signing by the Redskins on paper as they didn't need a big free agent splash with Pierre Garcon manning one wide receiver spot. With the Redskins not figuring to be a major passing team they didn't need to get into the Eric Decker or Golden Tate markets. Roberts  should have served as a solid number 2 receiver for the Redskins on paper at what looked to be a fair contract and price. Roberts hasn't lived up to that billing though perhaps it's not entirely his fault given that he hasn't had the opportunities.

Later in the free agency period DeSean Jackson was released and the Redskins decided to bring him into the fold as another weapon. While Jackson has been great, it now means that the Redskins are spending way too much money on the receiver group. What makes it even worse is it's not a diverse receiver group with guys of really varying different skill sets or that can really complement each other. Jackson is the best of the bunch, but a lot of routes that he's good at are routes that Garcon and Roberts could do as well, and it forces them to do things they aren't as strong at. Jackson's presence will likely force the Redskins to look to move Garcon this offseason.

While the Redskins couldn't predict that Jackson would end up being released, they spent way too much money on a position group that just doesn't return a major impact unless you are a team that throws the ball 650 times a year or have an elite pocket QB. Neither applies to the Redskins so the value of the receivers is clearly lessened. Also by signing Jackson late the Redskins aren't going to have money to carryover to their cap this year, which will lessen what they can do in this free agency period.

Offensive line: Signed Shawn Lauvao, retained Kory Lichtensteiger, Tyler Polumbus and Chris Chester

Shawn Lauvao was a starting guard in Cleveland and was hitting free agency at a pretty young age. Without knowing how he did in Cleveland one would think that he would have a robust free agent market. So the Redskins giving him one of the highest paid interior lineman deals this offseason would make sense. Unfortunately it made zero sense because Lauvao really struggled in Cleveland and was not highly thought of as he entered the free agent market. Whether you looked at how the Browns fans/bloggers/beat writers viewed Lauvao, took a look at advanced stats, or analysts (some of whom were former front office guys), Lauvao was widely considered to be one of the worst free agent guards on the open market. Given his age someone was going to take a shot on him, but ideally it would be a cheap, short term deal without a guarantee that he'd be a starter. The Redskins thought otherwise and opened up their check book for Lauvao, and he has been just as bad as everyone else feared. This has been a major bust for the Redskins and will cost them either a dead money hit or dead weight on the roster.

For the rest of the line the Redskins decided to trot out four returning starters, with the only competition being cheap free agents, incumbent back-ups or rookies. This was just a really bad strategy as outside of Trent Williams this group of returning starters is really bad. Most teams would have looked at the production of these players and their salary cap hits and made the decision to cut bait with them to clear up the cap going forward. Chester and Polumbus in particular could have saved the Redskins a good chuck of money that could have either been invested in other linemen or saved to use on the cap this year. Instead the Redskins kept all three and their play has been very suspect to say the least. Not only is it continued bad play from this group, but it is  another waste of money.

Defensive Line: Re-signed Chris Baker, Signed Jason Hatcher, Signed Clifton Geathers, Restructured Stephen Bowen

The Redskins made a smart re-signing in bringing back Chris Baker on a solid contract. Baker isn't a star player and is never going to carry the unit, but overall he gives good snaps and is a pretty solid run defender. This really could be one of the better moves of the front office, which is a pretty bad sign of where this team is overall. Clifton Geathers was a cheap signing to bolster the DL depth, he stuck around for a little while, but didn't do much. No real harm here, but he also didn't help either.

Jason Hatcher was the big offseason signing and he was supposed to bolster the Redskins pass rush. He was coming off a strong 3 seasons, including a break-out, Pro Bowl year in 2013 (albeit in a 4-3 defense). Hatcher was a late bloomer and already over 30 making him a risk for a long term high money deal. This is particularly an issue for a team that probably isn't ready to compete. The Redskins ignored the warning signs and made him one of the offseason's highest paid defensive linemen, giving him a big money 5 year deal. Hatcher has been good, but he's not living up to this contract and given that the Redskins don't look any closer to competing it's going to be tough to justify this deal.

As for Stephen Bowen, the Redskins re-structured his deal for this season as he was high priced and coming off a late season micro-fracture surgery, unfortunately they didn't do anything in regards to his 2015 cap hit. So while they did reduce his 2014 number, the Redskins will still have to pay money in 2015 for cutting him. Had they cut him last year (and if you really wanted him back re-sign him at a league min rate) it would have been better long term.

Linebacker: Franchised Brian Orakpo, re-signed Perry Riley, Signed Adam Hayward, Darryl Sharpton and Akeem Jordan

The signings of Hayward, Sharpton and Jordan were cheap and while they didn't work out it is hard to fault the Redskins too much here.

As for the Redskins big move to Franchise Orakpo while it's been very disappointing, it was still the right thing to do. Though Orakpo's injuries this year shortened his season and limited his effectiveness the Redskins couldn't have let him walk this offseason for nothing. He was coming off a very good year, was sub-30 years old and played the premium position on defense. To let him walk without compensation is not a smart move for a team. Now obviously this backfired on the Redskins and hurt them because it was a significant cap hit for below average production, but there wasn't another pass rusher they could have signed to replace Orakpo, and the only benefit would have been the saving of the money.

Perry Riley was even worse of a move for the Redskins because while he didn't make big money like Orakpo, the Redskins did give him a multi-year deal and pay him despite the fact that he's never showed anything above average production. He was a big liability on defense for the Redskins the year before, and they rewarded him by paying him more money and giving him more years. He's a young player so you hope that it clicks with him at some point, but it's tough to improve a bad defense when you bring back struggling players and pay them more.

Defensive backs: re-signed DeAngelo Hall, re-signed Brandon Meriweather, signed Ryan Clark, signed Tracy Porter

Re-signing Hall was the right move as while he maybe wasn't going to have as strong of a year that he had in 2013 again, he was signed at a reasonable rate and would hopefully help break in some of the young corners. Hall wasn't playing at a high level when he was injured, but his loss is still a big one for the Redskins. Coming off two Achilles injuries, the Redskins don't know what they will have in Hall next year. This contract could cost them some dead money if they need to end up cutting Hall, but it was still the right move at the time.

Bringing back Meriweather was not so much a smart move. Meriweather was a major liability last year and his head hunting tactics made him a target for league punishment. Given his erratic play he wasn't what you would consider a good mentor for young safeties, and he's not a great stop gap option because he looks to be a guy you just can't count on. The signing of Ryan Clark was a similarly odd move, not that he was expected to be a star, but just given that the Redskins brought in two stop gaps to a position that desperately needed an influx of talent and production. If the Redskins had maybe brought in a young safety early in the draft it may have made some sense, but they didn't they ignored the position completely and instead relied on Phillip Thomas (coming off an injury) and Bacarri Rambo (coming off an awful year) as the "next wave". Neither was a real waste of major resources, but combined it's a pathetic effort to bolster a major weakness on defense.

The Redskins other free agent signing for the secondary was signing Tracy Porter to a two year deal. The Redskins needed a 3rd corner, particularly a guy to work the slot and they settled on Porter for that role. Though Porter has had some good production in the past, he's struggled to stay healthy and has really been inconsistent throughout his career. Bringing him in was risky enough, but giving him a two year deal was a really bad decision by this front office.