The Redskins are off to a disappointing 2-5 start to the season, and it is clear that Robert Griffin III isn’t 100% and able to carry the team like he did a year ago. With Griffin under-performing the Redskins need some other players to step up and fill that void. While obviously the Redskins want everyone to play better, what is most important is that a number of the younger players step up. Not only can it help them for the rest of this season, but it can be especially significant going forward. That is not to say this is writing off this season, but just the importance for the young guys to prove they belong is greater. Here are some of the key young players who over these last 9 games need to prove themselves:
-Look we know the Redskins are going to be shopping for a wide receiver with Josh Morgan and Santana Moss both free agents, but the question is how many do the Redskins need. Hankerson has been inconsistent this season and hasn’t stepped up his game like many hoped. While he may not be a long term solution for the team, the Redskins desperately could use him in a 3rd or 4th wide receiver role next year. It will be tough to bring in more than one receiver given all the needs the Redskins have so Hankerson has good opportunity to carve out a spot for himself next year.
-Like Hankerson Robinson has an opportunity to establish a strong role for himself going forward. Robinson has shown tantalizing speed, but he just can’t seem to utilize it enough to make him effective. The Redskins will almost certainly bring him back on his exclusive rights contract next year, but for him to definitely make the team he will need to prove he can be more than just a deep threat (who doesn’t even have the best hands).
-Tyler Polumbus hasn’t been as bad as he was a year ago, but he’s still nothing more than a stop gap option. The Redskins could be tempted to try 2012 6th round pick Tom Compton for a stretch this season to see if he can be the long term answer there. The problem with making the move to Compton though is if he doesn’t produce and is worse than Polumbus, you are putting your franchise quarterback at a greater risk. So before the Skins make a move they have to be sure that Compton can at least adequately protect Griffin.
-Gettis is another late round 2012 pick, that would make the Redskins lives a lot easier if he managed to step up his game this year. With both guards Kory Lichtensteiger and Chris Chester struggling, the Redskins would love if Gettis could emerge as the solution. Unfortunately the same concern that surrounds Compton, surrounds Gettis: would a move to him put Griffin at a greater risk?
-The Redskins 2011 2nd round pick has now missed a season due to an ACL injury and been suspended for four games this season due to PEDS. For Jenkins to shake the bust label he needs to have a strong rest of the year. The Redskins also desperately need to see Jenkins pick up his game to firmly take over a starting spot next year. The Redskins could be looking to cut one or more of Adam Carriker and Stephen Bowen, so they need guys to step up along the line. If Jenkins can’t show that he’s a starter, the Redskins may be forced to bring in one or two guys this offseason.
-Baker signed a 1 year restricted tender this past year, but now the Redskins need to figure if he’s worth a longer investment. Baker has shown some versatility playing both defensive end and inside at the nose spot. He’s probably not a starting option, but the Redskins could need some serious rotational help next season.
-Rambo looked awful the first two games of the year, and was not only benched, but even made inactive. He got another chance in Denver and had a pretty good game for a rookie. The Redskins are going to need to revamp their secondary next season, and if Rambo could earn a starting spot it would make their job a lot easier. He’s going to get some more playing time from here on out and has a real good shot of becoming a starter if he keeps playing like he did versus Denver.