It is crazy to look at how the roster has changed for the Washington Redskins in just three years, especially on offense. Credit has to be given to the personnel department especially Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen. But it also shows how bad the previous group of talent evaluators were, and how bad we really had it at fans. All you have to do is compare 2013 vs. 2010.
This is an overall 180 degrees in just three years. We can write 1000 words on how bad the McNabb deal ended up and that is on Shanahan unless we add that the 6th round pick from Minnesota ended up Alfred Morris. Not only is RG3 the franchise quarterback that McNabb was not at that point of his career but he has brought back the feeling of the first Joe Gibbs run in DC. Not only is the starting spot a huge upgrade but the backup is as well. Having Kirk Cousins has the backup over the Grossman/Beck combo says much about the moves Shanny has made in 3 years. He gave a lot up for Griffin but it is well worth it.
2010- Clinton Portis, Ryan Torain, Keiland Williams, Mike Sellers, Andre Brown, James Davis, Darrel Young
2013- Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Evan Royster, Darrel Young, Keiland Williams. Chris Thompson, Jawan Jamison
Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner pride themselves on finding backs and turning them into big time producers. 2010 the talent just wasn’t there up front following the eventual end of Clinton Portis’ Redskins career. Shanahan tried various backs but did not have one who could fill the permanent role. One interesting player was Andre Brown who did have success last season with the Giants but no one saw that coming.
Now the Redskins look to have one of the most solid backfields in the NFL. Alfred Morris was a true beast in 2012 as a rookie as he followed solid rookie seasons by Helu and Royster in 2011. Shanahan now looks to add a big play option to the mix that he has not really had in his time here with Thompson and Jamison. The coaching staff also should get credit for their development of Darrel Young as one of the better fullbacks in the NFL. 2010 he was a converted defensive player and now he is a key component in the NFL’s top rushing attack.
2010- Santana Moss, Anthony Armstrong, Terrence Austin, Roydell Williams, Brandon Banks, Joey Galloway
2013- Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, Joshua Morgan, Aldrick Robinson, Desmon Briscoe
I think the 2013 version of the receivers still has some question marks but the 2010 version was just horrible. The previous guys left Shanahan with pretty much just Santana Moss after missing on high picks Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas. Shanny brought in some veterans to fill the gaps but it took a few seasons to upgrade. Last season when Garcon played, the Skins won but his foot is still a reason for concern.
Shanahan drafted Hankerson and added Morgan, both have had moments but neither has jumped to be a true second option. But both have to be credited with their work in the running game which ranked #1 last season. Moss is still here and producing just as much but as the 3rd guy not dependent as the #1. A guy like Robinson would have been the 2nd best talent in 2010 but now the Shanahans can use him in certain packages to utilize his big play potential. Banks was a solid return guy in 2010 but he is gone now and everyone knows why.
On paper to start a season maybe this is a wash because a Davis and Paulsen are still here. Paulsen has truly developed to be more than a factor than the team probably figured. Davis is wildcard on what player you are going to get in 2013 coming off a major injury. I feel he can once again click with Griffin much like he started to before the Giants game. You can say Paul is still developing and has been a solid special teams guy and Reed has the potential to change this offense but he is an unknown. Cooley ended up having a big 2010 but I still would go with the versatility and potential of the talent we have now especially with the work they have done with Paulsen.
2010- Trent Williams, Jammal Brown, Artis Hicks, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Casey Rabach, Stephon Heyer, Erik Cook
2013- Trent Williams, Chris Chester, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Tyler Polumbus, Maurice Hurt, Tony Pashos, Jeremy Trueblood, Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis
I think the key here is the transformation and work of three guys that the Redskins have developed since 2010. Silverback has turned into one of the best left tackles in the NFL after some questioned Shanny taking him #4 overall. Montgomery has taken over for Rabach and also has become one of the better players in the NFL at his position. Lichtensteiger has been a good player that Shanahan brought from his Denver days and Chester’s play last season warranted the move to bring him in as a free agent.
The right tackle position still is an issue like it was three years ago. In 2010 many hoped former pro bowler Jammal Brown would solidify that spot but it never happened and good draft picks were lost as well as cap dollars. I still would take what we got now over 2010 by far and it is a credit to the coaching staff. The depth at left tackle scares me much like 2010, but there are plenty of guys looking to make their mark on the outside of the line.