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Why there is no such thing as a 5 year rebuilding plan?

January 5, 2014 in Redskins Personnel, Uncategorized

Watching the playoffs last night reaffirmed one major thing from the Mike Shanahan era: he is a bigger liar than Keyser Soze. Shanahan's whole "5 year" plan is completely bogus and every year the playoffs proves that to be the case. Pretty much each and every one of these teams in the post season has had an extended down period (some quite some time ago), yet it didn't take them 5 years to rebuild and get back into playoff contention:

Indianapolis Colts:

-Colts were 2-14 the year Peyton Manning was injured and basically gutted their roster the following offseason. Sure you may still see Robert Mathis out there or Reggie Wayne (before he was injured), but this really doesn't resemble the perennial SB contender under Peyton Manning. They also instituted their own cap penalty when they cleared their roster and had nearly $40 million in dead cap. Despite that they are 22-10 over the past two years, and have two straight playoff appearances. They look to be a contender going forward as well.

Kansas City Chiefs:

-The Chiefs were 2-14 last year and they didn't even have the luxury of being able to draft a top QB for their futility. The Chiefs struggles go back further than last year as they've made just one playoff appearance since 2006, and have lost 12 or more games in 4 out of 7 seasons since. Andy Reid came in and turned that team around and finished 11-5 (and that is with resting most of their starters in week 16). They lost a close playoff game, but they definitely should be a tough team heading into next season.

Philadelphia Eagles:

-The Eagels were 4-12 last season, and were probably lucky to finish with that record. This year they started out 1-3 at the quarter point and 3-5 at the midway point (both just like the Redskins), but closed the season strong to get 10 wins and take the division. While it was a tough playoff loss, they look like the team to beat in the NFC East going forward. Chip Kelly's offense showed that it could work at this level and will be something that will be tough to defend.

New Orleans Saints:

-Now the Saints have been pretty good for awhile now, but that hasn't always been the case. When Sean Payton took over they were a 3-13 team with just one playoff appearance in 12 years. Payton got them to the post season the first year on the job and has gotten them back to the post season 4 times since. Payton's never lost more than 9 games in the season, and in fact just has one losing season (last year doesn't count for him) with the Saints.

Cincinnati Bengals:

-When Marvin Lewis took over in 2003, the Bengals were the joke of the NFL. They had just one season at .500, and no winning seasons since going 9-7 in 1990. From 1991-2003 the Bengals had 9 seasons with 10 or more losses. Lewis went 8-8 his first two seasons and 11-5 in year 3. Lewis has now been with the Bengals for 11 seasons and has just 3 losing seasons and just two have had 10 or more losses. He's now made the Playoffs 5 times including 4 of the past 5 years. The Bengals continue to look promising going forward as well with a deep roster and a very strong defense.

San Francisco 49ers:

-From 2003-2010 the 49ers had just one .500 record and zero winning seasons. Since Jim Harbaugh took over they are 36-11-1 and have made the playoffs each year, including going to the Super Bowl last season. The 49ers are considered one of the strongest teams in the NFL and there is little reason to believe they won't continue winning.

Seattle Seahawks:

-Seattle was a good team in the early-to-mid 2000's under Mike Holmgren, but they began to age quickly and went 4-12 his last season and 5-11 the next year under Jim Mora Jr. Pete Carroll took over and went 7-9 his first year, but in the weak NFC West that season that won the division. They upset the Saints in the playoffs, before losing the next week to Chicago. They went 7-9 the next season missing the post season, but have gone 24-8 over these last two years, and have the number 1 seed in the NFC.

Denver Broncos:

-Though the Broncos were strong even up the mid-2000's under Mike Shanahan, he didn't leave a lot to work with when Josh McDaniels took over. McDaniels made matters worse and really left this team devoid of a lot of talent when John Fox took over. Despite that Fox rallied his team year one behind Tim Tebow and made the playoffs and even won a playoff game over the 12-4 Steelers. The Broncos then brought in Peyton Manning and have had the number 1 seed in back-to-back years in the AFC.

All of these teams have had pretty quick and definitive turnarounds when they got a new coach in place. It perhaps wasn't always like the 49ers who went to the NFC Championship their first year and the Super Bowl their 2nd year, but they turned around struggling franchises. Though not mentioned you can go back further and find similar turn around's in the history of the Packers and Patriots. Carolina is the one team that struggled a little at the start under Ron Rivera, but since the 2nd half of last season (Rivera's 2nd year) the Panthers have been a really tough team to play and this wasn't some case of them sneaking into the post season this year. They earned the number 2 seed and definitely look like a strong team going forward.Though not a drastic turnaround you have to be impressed with first year coach Mike McCoy getting the Chargers into the post season in a tough division as well.

They Redskins might not be able to make the playoffs year one, but there is no excuse for playing meaningless games by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, and that has happened far too often of late for the Redskins. The Redskins need to find a coach who can win and not make excuses for their failures. These other teams found that, and there is no reason why the Redskins can't find that as well.

 

Is Kai Forbath worth keeping around next year?

December 28, 2013 in Redskins Personnel

Forbath came on last season and had a great run for the Redskins making his first 17 field goals of the season. His clutch kicking helped them win their first division title since 1999, as they went on a 7 game run to close out the season. While it was exciting to have a quality kicker, one question remained: could the Redskins live with his weak kick-offs.

Forbath had an accurate leg and even could kick with a little distance on field goals, but his kick-offs fell well short of where the Redskins wanted them to be. Not only did he have a poor touchback percentage, but his hangtime on his kicks was low. This meant even if Forbath was driving it 4-7 yards deep in the end zone it still might make sense for a good return man to take it out. The Redskins decided to roll the dice with Forbath again this year, and didn't try to fix the kick-off issue by bringing in a punter who could serve as a kick-off specialist.

Not every team does it, but there are more than a few teams that use their punters for kick-offs to allow them to keep a kicker who struggles in that department, but is strong with field goals. Instead of trying to go that route either through free agency, the draft or undrafted free agency, the Redskins decided to re-sign Sav Rocca to a two year deal. This was despite the fact Rocca struggled the year before and was getting up there in age. The result was horrible for the Redskins special teams.

Forbath hasn't really shown any signs of improvement with his distance or hang time and the Redskins have one of the lowest touch back percentages in the league as a result. Returners are getting numerous favorable kicks to return and they are taking advantage against a weak coverage unit. This is leading other teams to have great field position (or score) before the defense steps onto the field.

The Redskins plan to try to work with Forbath to improve his distance/hang time not only didn't work, but probably actually set him back. Forbath injured his groin in the first game of the season and missed the next couple games as a result. While he may have pulled his groin regardless, you have to wonder if trying to kick better kick-offs contributed to his groin injury. It's really not a stretch to think that Forbath over extended himself trying to make kicks that were unnatural to him. Not only did this lead to Forbath missing time and struggling on his kick-offs, but his accuracy was compromised early on in the season as well. He missed 4 of his first 9 kicks this season, including 2 kicks that were blocked and somewhat attributed to being too low. Forbath is a perfect 11 for 11 since that time, including making some tough kicks after bad snaps/holds.

The Redskins next year are going to have to decide if Forbath is worth it to bring on a punter who is a kick-off specialist. While they definitely need to replace Sav Rocca, the Redskins need to decide what is the best way to go. By relying on a kick-off specialist punter, you are limiting your options (though there will definitely be some to choose from), and maybe not bringing in the best available actual punter since you need them for a dual-role. Forbath has to show he's a worthy enough placekicker to warrant that special treatment. Forbath definitely has the potential to be worth it, but it will be interesting to see if the new Special Teams coach and head coach agree.

What do you think? Should the Redskins bring in a punter who doubles as a kick-off specialist? Or should they target the best punter and bring in an placekicker who can kick off effectively?

How many Redskins will be back in 2014?

December 27, 2013 in Redskins Personnel

The Redskins have a massive free agency class this year and will be bringing in a new staff which typically means a house cleaning is on the horizon. How many current Redskins (either on the active roster or reserve lists) do you think will be back next year? The number could be surprising. Here are my locks and players likely to come back:

Locks- these are players who are all but guaranteed to be here in 2014. Obviously something crazy could happen, but these are pretty safe bets

Offense: Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed, Trent Williams, Leonard Hankerson, Darrel Young

-I doubt there are any surprises on this list, with maybe the exception of Hankerson. The injury has him a little up in the air, but it also means he probably can't be traded. Hankerson is young and cheap, and when healthy has been semi-productive. It is very doubtful they let him get away.

Defense: Barry Cofield, Ryan Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo, David Amerson

-This is a pretty small list, some may be surprised I included Orakpo since he's an unrestricted free agent, but if he's not re-signed before the deadline to do so the Redskins will make him their franchise player to lock him up for next year.

Likely to be back- Players who are pretty safe bets to return, but not locks

Offense: Kirk Cousins, Roy Helu Jr., Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul, Aldrick Robinson, Adam Gettis, Tom Compton, Tyler Polumbus

-Now Cousins and Helu would be locks if there wasn't a chance they get traded. I'm guessing the Redskins will listen to offers on both at least and could look to make a deal or two. Paulsen hasn't been as good this year as a blocker and he's not a great receiving weapon which limits his value. He is likely back for another year, but he'll likely have to earn it in camp. Niles Paul's cheap contract and special teams ability makes him pretty safe, but a new staff could go in a different way. Guys like Robinson, Gettis and Compton should all be in camp, but they will have to battle for jobs. Polumbus shouldn't be a starter next year, but with some experience and how cheap he is, he should at least have a shot in camp to earn a back-up job.

Defense: Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston, Keenan Robinson, Brandon Jenkins, Bacarri Rambo, Richard Crawford, Chase Minnifield, Phillip Thomas

-Jenkins is close to a lock, but a new staff could maybe look to trade him if they don't think he'll fit the new system. Golston is pretty cheap and a solid back-up, he's also played in multiple systems so he's fairly safe. Robinson is young with some upside, but two injuries could make it tough for him to make it. Rambo, Crawford, Minnifield and Thomas will all get looks and it is likely at least 2 of them make it, but I'd hardly call them safe. Thomas is probably the safest out of all of them since he was the highest drafted and has some potential.

Likely to be re-signed: Chris Baker, Perry Riley, DeAngelo Hall and Reed Doughty

-Now a lot will depend on the new staff and the prices, but it is likely the Redskins at least try to bring these guys back. Baker has shown some promise, Riley is an above average starter (price is important here), Hall is having a nice year and would ensure a veteran is in the secondary, and Doughty in a back-up/ST role is pretty good, he's just been exposed because he's forced into far too much action on defense.

Not likely to be re-signed: Fred Davis, Josh Morgan, Rex Grossman, Santana Moss, London Fletcher (even if he wasn't retiring), Josh Wilson, Brandon Meriweather, Bryan Kehl, Rob Jackson, Darryl Tapp, E.J. Biggers, Nick Barnett, Dezmon Briscoe, J.D. Walton

-There could be a shot that a Grossman or Barnett come back depending on the coaching staff, but I don't think they'll be priorities. Same thing with guys like Meriweather, Wilson, Kehl, Jackson and Tapp. In the right circumstances they could be back, but with a new staff almost all should be playing elsewhere next year.

On the bubble players (guys who should go to camp, but will have to work for a spot): Jawan Jamison, Chris Thompson, Evan Royster, Nick Williams, Maurice Hurt, Kai Forbath, Jose Gumbs, Trenton Robinson, Josh LeRibeus, Adrian Robinson, Nick Sundberg

-These are players who are under contract, but they probably have a pretty uphill fight to make the team. A couple will probably make it, but most of them probably won't be on the 53 man roster. Forbath may be considered a surprise here, but he's been in consistent and a quality special teams coach (and head coach) will likely value the ability to get touchbacks something he struggles mightily with. If they keep Forbath they must find a punter who can kick-off.

Likely to be cut early on: Adam Carriker, Stephen Bowen, Chris Chester, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Sav Rocca

-I think these are the players who will likely be cut as soon as a new staff is in place. Not only do they save money for free agency, but the Redskins should be able to find upgrades at every position.

Overall: 

If all the locks, and likely to be back (including the free agents) end up making it back that is 31 names, meaning the Redskins would need to add 22 players next year. Maybe they squeak out a couple more guys from the bubble names or the unlikely to re-sign free agents, but at the same time if a couple of those likely players aren't brought back for some reason (i.e. a Cousins trade) it could balance out. It's probably safe to say the Redskins will need to bring in 20 guys next year. Overall that isn't too much of a bad thing as you typically see 10-15 guys replaced every year, but the problem for the Redskins is they are missing quite a few starters.

5 Keys to the game: Cowboys vs Redskins

December 22, 2013 in Redskins Personnel

1. Don't turn the ball over:

-Turnovers have been an issue all year, but typically it had been 2 or 3 a game. That's bad enough, but last week the Redskins had 7 turnovers and basically handed the game to the Falcons. That is completely unacceptable and can't come close to happening if the Redskins want to win this game. Even 2-3 turnovers should be unacceptable this week, and the Redskins really need to find a way to play mistake free in this rivalry game. Cousins needs to make better decisions with the football because while he had a good game in general last week, he made two costly mistakes that didn't need to be made. alfredmorris

2. Don't allow any big returns (or other special teams blunders):

-Last time the Redskins played the Cowboys they allowed a punt returned for a TD a kick-off returned 90 yards and had a personal foul called on their special teams coach. That has almost been par for the course for this special teams unit, and they typically make at least one big blunder a week. It would be nice if for just one week they could avoid that and actually have at least an average game. The good news for the Redskins is Dwayne Harris is out for this week so he at least won't be able to give the Redskins problems again.

Play On the Clock: Mock Draft Simulator

3. Get pressure on Tony Romo:

-The Redskins defense isn't doing much right, but at least they are able to generate a solid pass rush. Sure it could be better, but between Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Barry Cofield and the rest of the defense the Redskins have gotten a solid number of sacks/pressures. Romo is one of the better quarterbacks at buying time in the pocket and still making good plays, but if you can still get consistent pressure on him, he has been known to make some poor throws.

4. Establish the run early:

-The Cowboys defense is just bad in general, but we've seen them really struggle against the run of late. This is a great match-up for Alfred Morris and he could be looking at 200+ against the Cowboys again. The Redskins need to get their ground game going to slow up the Cowboys pass rush and really open up things down the field for Kirk Cousins. If the Redskins can run the ball effectively early they should be able to jump out to an early lead and keep the pressure up on the ground.

5. Don't hold anything back:

-The Redskins are playing for pride and the chance to spoil the Cowboys season, now is not the time to be conservative. The Redskins should pull out all the stops this week to try and beat their biggest rival so that means everything is on the table. Whether it is going for it on 4th down, trick plays or even going for two the Redskins should consider anything in the right situation. It might not always be "by the book", but playing by the book hasn't exactly been successful for the Redskins this season (or in Mike Shanahan's tenure). The Redskins need to get creative and get the win for their fans.

 

Redskins 5 Keys to the Game Over the Chiefs

December 8, 2013 in Redskins Personnel

1. Protect the Football-

-Last week the Redskins didn't turn the ball over, but this week could be a bit tougher. The Chiefs defense is very good and has been quite opportunistic this season. In a game with poor weather and likely poor field conditions, the Redskins can't afford to give the Chiefs any freebies this week. The Redskins don't have the offense to win a game big, especially against a tough defense. They have to be smart with the football and not force the ball in tough situations. Robert Griffin III also needs to watch being stripped of the ball. Either when he's scrambling or being sacked, the Chiefs are going to try to get the ball out. This won't be easy given the conditions and the Redskins track record, but if they can protect the football it will at least give the Redskins a chance to win this football game.

2. Establish the Run Early-

-Yes the Redskins had over a 100 rushing yards last week, but most of that came from RGIII and the Giants clearly had no fear of him being a real threat to their chances of winning. For the Redskins ground game to work, they need Alfred Morris to get going again. Hopefully fullback Darrel Young will be good to go and give Morris his lead blocker back. Even if it is slow going to start the Redskins need to continue to stick with Morris. He's their number one weapon and like it or not the best chance of success for this team. In what looks like an ugly weather game, keeping the ball on the ground is the smart call and feeding Morris 25+ carries has to be the gameplan.

3. Slow Down Charles-

-Trying to stop Jammal Charles is next to impossible, but the Redskins need to at least try to slow him down. Despite their defensive woes, the Redskins have been able to hold some top backs in semi-check this season. It could be tough to do so this week though as Charles like LeSean McCoy can beat them on the ground and catching the ball out of the backfield. The Redskins can't ever expect a linebacker alone (be it an inside or outside guy) to cover Charles. They are going to have to bracket him or put a safety on him to try to slow him down. The good news is the Redskins should be able to bring a safety up in the box as the Chiefs aren't a team that will challenge you vertically in the air. The issue then becomes can that safety make the play and as we've seen with the Redskins safeties that shouldn't be counted upon. If they can hold Charles to under 120 combined yards they should have a good chance to win this game, but if he's terrorizing them for 150-200 combined yards, it's going to be a long day.

4. Protect RGIII

-Griffin has been under heavy pressure the last few weeks taking multiple sacks in every game in this losing streak. These last two weeks the Giants and 49ers combined for over 10 sacks. That is just unacceptable. Now it's not all on the offensive line as backs and tight ends have been responsible for some missed blocks and Griffin needs to do a far better job of getting the ball away. The Chiefs are without one of their impact pass rushers in Justin Houston, but they still have Tamba Hali to get after the quarterback. Their defensive line is also very active and capable of getting interior pressure (where the Redskins struggle the most). The Redskins can't afford another 4+ sack performance this week by the Chiefs defense, and need to do whatever it takes to protect Griffin. Not only is it important if the Redskins want to win this game, but just to keep Griffin upright for the rest of this season.

5. Stop Making Stupid Mistakes-

-We are still seeing just way to many stupid mistakes by the Redskins as they try to execute plays. Whether it is running a poor route, dropping a pass, missing a blocking assignment, taking a bad angle on a tackle, missing a coverage assignment or perhaps the most prevelant one: committing a crucial penalty; the Redskins are playing sloppy football. The Redskins continually shoot themselves in the foot, and that is why they  have yet to play 60 good minutes in a single game this year. The penalties are the most troubling because many of them are fixable, and just really stupid mistakes. The worst are the high number of personal foul penalties which are basically all avoidable. Stupid mistakes aren't limited to the players though, as the coaching staff has made some really poor decisions lately, especially in regards to clock management. The Redskins have wasted too many timeouts, due to getting plays in late and getting everyone set. This should be basic stuff, especially for an offense that was together last season. The Redskins should also hide the red flag from Mike Shanahan after his embarrassing challenge call last week that wasted a crucial time out.

Where do the Redskins go from here?

November 11, 2013 in Redskins Personnel

The Redskins are sitting at 3-6 right now and while not out of the division things aren't looking too promising going forward. The Redskins would need at least 9 wins to have a legitimate playoff shot this year, meaning they'd have to go 6-1 down the stretch. It's not impossible, but it is definitely improbable given all the concerns on offense, defense and special teams this year. While the Redskins need to play to win, they also need to evaluate this team from top to bottom. The four main areas they have to look at are the following:

Coaching:kyleshanahan

-Well the big decision will of course start up top as to whether or not Mike Shanahan deserves another year. Perhaps the decision is just to bring in a personnel guy above him (though that could cause Shanahan to leave). If Shanahan is still here, do you offer him an extension or make him a lame duck coach? If he's a lame duck coach that could impact his decision making, and chances to hire certain coaches. Then again if you invest more money in him, Shanahan could still risk the future to win now and the Redskins would be further tied to him.

If the Redskins do keep Mike Shanahan around, they clearly have to make some other staffing changes. On offense perhaps they bring in a new offensive line or quarterback coach. They could also look to bring in a top offensive mind to maybe help formulate the game plan, though with Kyle Shanahan as the offensive coordinator, it's unlikely that Mike Shanahan will take power away from his son.

Defensively Jim Haslett hasn't had a lot to work with, but he clearly needs to go in an effort to shake up the defense. Ideally the Redskins would clean house among their defensive coaches and let the new DC (hopefully no one currently on the staff) have a say. Given how many have Shanahan ties that might not happen.

Special teams coach Keith Burns has easily the worst all around special teams in the league. Each week there are crucial mistakes that cost the Redskins points and field position. He might not have a ton to work with, but the results simply have to be better.

Impending Free Agents:

Names to keep an eye on: OLB Brian Orakpo, ILB Perry Riley, CB DeAngelo Hall, DL Chris Baker, CB Josh Wilson, ILB Nick Barnett, S Reed Doughty, OLB Rob Jackson, OLB Daryl Tapp

-The Redskins have a number of free agents this season, but most probably aren't going to even be consider to return. The Redskins have money to spend, but that can only bring so many players back, especially if they want to add any potential impact free agents.

Their biggest free agent decision is outside linebacker Brian Orakpo. Orakpo is one of the best defensive players the Redskins have and losing him would create a major hole in the defense. He takes on left tackles which is not a skill that even Ryan Kerrigan has shown he can do with any consistency. Orakpo might not be a star, but he'd be tough to replace. How he performs down the stretch will impact his contract demands and help make the decision to keep him pretty clear. Behind Orakpo both the top OLB back-ups are free agents. Neither could take over a starting role for Orakpo, but the Redskins need to decide how much they want to spend on that depth. Tapp maybe end up being the cheaper option.

Other key free agents are ILB Perry Riley and CB DeAngelo Hall. Riley continues to show he's a good starting inside linebacker, but he he good enough for a big contract will need to be answered these next 7 weeks. Hall is having his best year in a Redskins uniform (and perhaps his career), but he's had a number of down years as well. His contract demands shouldn't be as bad as they were in 2009, but the Redskins need to figure out how much they want to invest in Hall long term. If he keeps up his level of play it could be a good deal, but if he regresses the Redskins may move on. Josh Wilson has become the slot corner this year, though he still starts as David Amerson develops. If he comes back for less money he could be worth it, but the Redskins may look to upgrade. Back-ups Chris Baker and Reed Doughty could be back, but they have clearly shown they are only situational guys (and Doughty on special teams).

Possible Cuts:

Names to keep an eye on: P Sav Rocca, WR Josh Morgan (voided deal), OL Kory Lichtensteiger, OL Will Montgomery, OL Chris Chester, DL Adam Carriker, DL Stephen Bowen, ILB London Fletcher (voided deal), S Brandon Meriweatherr (voided deal)

-Even though the Redskins have a number of free agents they could look to add to the number by cutting a few players and voiding some contracts. Now the deals of Josh Morgan, London Fletcher and Brandon Meriweather will be voided, but the question is are any worth trying to redo the deal to keep them around. Currently that doesn't look at all likely.

Among the actual cuts they will likely come along the offensive and defensive lines. The Redskins have a lot of money tied up into the lines, but the lack of production from them have been extremely frustrating. The Redskins could look to clean house to clean up their cap and put themselves in the strongest position going forward. With the way the interior offensive line has played this season, all three starters are in danger of being cut (and probably should). Along the defensive line Adam Carriker has been too injured to justify anything beyond a league minimum deal for next season. Stephen Bowen has been able to fight through his injuries, but his play has hurt the Redskins and they simply can't afford him at that price.

Young guys to step up:

names to keep an eye on: WR Leonard Hankerson, G Adam Gettis, T Tom Compton, DE Jarvis Jenkins, CB David Amerson, S Bacarri Rambo

-The Redskins are going to have a lot of holes to fill next year (see above with the free agents and cuts), though they have a fair amount of money to spend it won't fix every position. The Redskins need some of their young guys to step up down the stretch to prove that they can fill these roles. Rookie tight end Jordan Reed has done an incredible job this year and is locked in as a starter (and a top target), but will anyone else show that they can earn a starting or key spot in the line-up?

Offensive linemen Adam Gettis and Tom Compton have a shot given that the Redskins could need up to four new starters next year along the line depending on cuts and how the rest of the season plays out. Neither has any NFL experience so the Redskins could look to give them some game action before the season is out to see what they have to work with. Wide Receiver Leonard Hankerson has shown some promise this year, but he's also disappeared at times. Can he become a solid number 2 receiver is a key question for the Redskins for the rest of the season.

Rookie corner David Amerson will likely be locked into a top 3 corner role again next year, but has he shown enough to prove that he can start and match-up versus some of the league's better receivers? He's flashed some potential, but he's also gotten beat quite a bit and made plenty of rookie mistakes. Rookie safety Bacarri Rambo could have an excellent opportunity next year, but he's been a mixed bag so far this season. He's going to have to show a lot for the Redskins to trust him with a starting role in 2014. Defensive end Jarvis Jenkins is going to be one of the more interesting cases, because he's also heading into his contract year. Jenkins missed his first year due to injury and this season the first 4 games due to a suspension. In between there have been flashes of promise and plenty of other times where he's struggled. The Redskins need defensive ends to flank Barry Cofield and will consider cutting Carricker and Bowen after this season.

 

Redskins 2013 Draft (CONDENSED)

March 8, 2013 in NFL, Washington Redskins Draft

Here is a GREATLY condensed version of the Washington Redskins 2013 Draft. If you want heights and weights and stats and youtube videos, get em yourself!

Free Agency – London Fletcher needs to return. Figure out what Fred Davis is doing/not doing. Beef up OL. Especially RT. With that out of the way…

The first three picks are intriguing. So many options…
Could look like this…

OPTION 1
#51 – SS – Jonathan Cyprien
#84 – FS – Phillip Thomas
#116 – CB – Leon McFadden

OR this…

OPTION 2
#51 – FS – Eric Reid
#84 – SS – Shamarko Thomas
#116 – CB – Leon McFadden

OR this…

OPTION 3
#51 – CB – David Amerson or Jordan Poyer
#84 – SS – Shamarko Thomas
#116 – FS – DJ Swearinger

Which option do you all like most? I'd take ANY OF THEM!!! Just so many interesting combinations of talent. I really think all 3 picks need to be in the secondary though.

EXCEPTION BEING. If Fred Davis hits the ground running come free agency, I might use #116 and try to steal Travis Kelce (TE) projected to go #94 if he's still available.

The bottom half looks like this… (I decided to roll the dice and go after some firepower, because 32 points a game, just isn't enough for me!!!)

#147 – RB – Kenjon Barner – Projected #153, but I don't want to miss out on this guy waiting for our next pick to roll around. Though we could check to see if those 8 teams need a RB and try waiting for pick #155… I guess… He's fast. Great hands out of the backfield. Always a threat to take it to the house. Could make a GREAT change of pace back from Morris. Possibly the lightening to Morris' thunder? Also has experience returning kicks/punts.

#155 – OL – Brennan Williams or another OL you like?

#181 – WR – Denard Robinson – I like Josh Johnson (CB) as well but I don't want to miss out on Denard Robinson. Dude is lethal. Not a #1, go to WR, but his versatility adds CHAPTERS, not mere pages to the playbook.

#212 – CB – Micah Hyde – Though I also like Marquess Wilson (WR) Brandon Kaufman (WR) and Rodney Smith (WR) with this pick…

Gives us… 1 CB, 1 FS, 1 SS in first 3 picks. Adds teeth to our secondary. BUNCH of big hitting, ball hawking playmakers in those first 3 picks.

Gives us a truly explosive finesse RB to compliment Morris, and a possible return man.

Gives us a 5th round OL (to add to whoever we nab in free agency)

Gives us a WR/RB/QB in Denard Robinson who is nothing more then a human highlight reel. Explosive to the MAX!!!

Gives us a sleeper pick of either an insurance CB or a BIG WR for the red zone.

Assuming we fix our OL in free agency, I think these picks make us a VERY good team! I'd be ecstatic with just about any combination of players mentioned here. (short of 3 FS and zero CB)

This is just my two cents.  Worth exactly what you paid for them.  No more.  No less.

My Redskins Pre-Draft Scouting Report

March 6, 2013 in Washington Redskins Draft

Here’s a list of prospects I think the Redskins need to seriously consider. I’ve included where they’re projected to fall in the draft, and why I think they’d look great in a Redskin uniform. I’ve also divided them into groups by where they’ll fall in relation to Redskins draft picks.

#42 – SS – Jonathan Cyprien – I think we’re more desperate for help at FS or CB, but Cyprien is a big hitter, and a playmaker, and would be a great value if still available at pick #51.

#49 – CB – David Amerson – He’s tall and long. He‘s one of the slower CB in the draft, but still has an impressive highlight reel.

#51 – REDSKINS DRAFT PICK

#52 – FS – Eric Reid – He seems to relish the big hit. Sometimes at the expense of failing to wrap up the ball carrier and the occasional senseless penalty. Has been compared to Laron Landry (a household name for Redskins fans)

#54 – OL – Barrett Jones – I hate to spend an early round draft pick on an OL.  HOWEVER, since redshirting in 2008, Jones has started 49 of the past 53 games, earning action at right guard (25 starts), center (14 starts) left tackle (10 starts). He’s quick. He’s intelligent. He’s versatile. PS. He played his final game of his college career against Notre Dame with numerous torn ligaments in his foot. How’s that for being tough!

#55 – CB – Jordan Poyer – He’s big. He’s physical. He hits hard. He helps out in the run game. He’s got WR hands. He’ll most likely fall between our draft picks, but I would love to have him at CB.

#70 – FS – Phillip Thomas – 20 career turnovers. (13 interceptions, 6 caused fumbles, 1 recovered fumble) He had 8 interceptions last year, and returned 3 for touchdowns. Kid is the absolute best safety in the draft that NOBODY has heard of. Maybe because of playing in Fresno State?

#77 – SS – Shamarko Thomas – He plays like Sean Taylor. He wears Sean Taylor’s old #21. At 5-9, 213 pounds, he’s shorter then some coaches would prefer but he’s ALL muscle. He’s a pit bull with an unofficial 4.26, 40 yard dash.

#83 – CB – Tyrann Mathieu – I don’t like the idea of investing 2nd round pick on a pothead who has spent more time during the past year in police custody then on a football field. A 5th or 6th round pick, MAYBE. But he can’t expect to go this high (No pun intended) Nobody is that dumb. Not even on pot.

#84 – REDSKINS DRAFT PICK

#89 – FS – Bacarri Rambo – He’s a turnover creating machine. Unfortunately he likes to gamble. He’s a high risk, high reward pick. Big hits. Big turnovers. Big plays getting burnt the other way as well. Like Mathieu, he has his share of off field issues.

#94 – TE – Travis Kelce – IF Fred Davis hits Free Agency running, I like the 6-5, 255 pound kid out of Cincinnati as his replacement. He’s big. He’s described as a ‘violent blocker’, but he moves well and has GREAT hands. I like the idea of RG3 having a big target down near the goal line.

#99 – FS – Tony Jefferson – 22 tackles for losses in 33 starts. Reliable tackler. He has good awareness and GREAT instinct. Diagnoses and closes on plays quickly.

#100 – CB – Blidi Wreh-Wilson – Zone coverage specialist with good hands. Floating between rounds, but if he falls to pick #116, he could be a great value.

#114 – FS – DJ Swearinger. – In college he played both zone and man coverage. He’s also played CB, FS, and SS. He’s a big hitting ball hawk, that can play any position in the secondary.

#116 – REDSKINS DRAFT PICK

#117 – CB – Leon McFadden – He’s quick. He’s got great hands. He moves well with the WR through the route, never giving up on the play. Would have to use pick #116 to get him though.

#121 – ILB – Jon Bostic – CBS Sports ranks him as the 4th best ILB in the draft. If we could scoop him up with pick #147, he’d be a great value. Especially if he could spend a year learning from London Fletcher before the veteran retires. Once London Fletcher has been resigned, I think it will be the perfect time to start grooming his protege.

#122 – OL – Jordan Mills – Assuming we don’t address our OL concerns in Free Agency, having an extra option might not hurt. When it comes to corners and safeties, this was by far the weakest round.

#125 – OL – David Quessenberry – Assuming we don’t address our OL concerns in Free Agency, having an extra option might not hurt. When it comes to corners and safeties, this was by far the weakest round.

#132 – FS – TJ McDonald – Good speed for a “lights out hitter”. Covered slot WR, played ‘centerfield’ and blitzed in college. Aggressively attacks the line when he reads run.

#147 – REDSKINS DRAFT PICK

#153 – RB – Kenjon Barner – 4.52, 40 yard dash.  A threat to score every time he touches the ball.  Shifty.  Finesse runner with excellent speed, both straightline and in and out of cuts.  Reliable hands out of the backfield and has experience as a return man.  Could be lightening to Alfred Morris' thunder.

#154 – FB – Lonnie Pryor – As a RB Pryor gained 2,281 yards and 20 touchdowns his senior year of high school. Bulked up to play FB, per coaches request. Gained 134 yards on just 5 carries in the 2012 Orange Bowl.

# 155 – REDSKINS DRAFT PICK

#155 – SS – Robert Lester – Good speed. Excellent ball skills. Closes on run plays and underneath pass routes very quickly.

#156 – CB – Terry Hawthorne – A 4.44, 40 yard dash, fluid footwork and a physical defender who doesn’t shy away from contact. Very physical. History of being injury prone.

#158 – FS – Josh Evans – Aggressive attacker and a sure tackler. A rare combination. Always trying to rip the ball out of the WR hands, even after the completion.

#160 – OL – Brennan Williams – Long arms and an athletic build. Relatively quick. A little rough around the edges. With good coaching, could be an eventual starter. Would be projected a little higher had he not missed the last 4 games of his senior year and the NFL combine with a torn labrum.

#170 – ILB – AJ Klein – Excellent diagnosis skills. Able read and react quickly. Not as athletic as some would like, yet he ended his college career tied with the FBS record, with 4 interceptions returned for touchdowns. Could be a bit of a sleeper. Might fall to #181?

#177 – CB – Josh Johnson – Physical in bump and run coverage. Excellent awareness. Good hands. Confident in man coverage. Often left on an island at Purdue. Not often fooled. Violent tackler and run defender, not afraid to undercut and out-physical a WR.

#181 – REDSKINS DRAFT PICK

#192 – RB – Zac Stacy – 1,193 yards and 14 touchdowns his senior year. Injury prone (mostly small injuries) He’s not fancy. He’s not explosive. But he’s a good solid back. The kind Mike Shanahan could possibly turn into a pro bowl RB.

#197 – WR – Rodney Smith – 6-4, 225 pounds with a 34.5” vertical leap. If he plays as big as he is, he could turn into a stud. Especially inside the red zone.

#207 – WR – Denard Robinson – 4.43, 40 yard dash and a 36.5” vertical leap. He’s spent time at QB, RB, and WR. Willing to return kicks, and has even discussed playing CB. I WANT THIS KID IN A SKINS JERSEY. Him, RG3 and Alfred Morris in the backfield. Could be unstoppable. I’d be willing to spend pick #181 on Denard Robinson.

#212 – REDSKINS DRAFT PICK

#213 – CB – Micah Hyde – 77 and 66 yard interception returns for touchdowns in 2010. I like his highlight reel. Good hands. Good speed. Good range. Could be a good insurance pick.

#217 – OL – Braden Brown – Long athletic frame. Ideal NFL tackle. His only downside is he’s a more impressive pass blocker then run blocker and we run the ball about 60% of the time.

#222 – WR – Marquess Wilson – Not quite as big as Rodney Smith, but quicker. Better hands. And he plays bigger then he really is.

DEEP SLEEPER

#236 – WR – Brandon Kaufman – 6-5, 216 pounds. In 42 games, over 4 seasons, Kaufman recorded 221 passes for 3,731 yards, and 33 touchdowns. That’s almost 17 yards per catch. Besides his size, he has deceptive build up speed on deep routes and reliable hands, even with off target throws.

In conclusion…  I want David Amerson (CB) Barrett Jones (OL) Jordan Poyer(CB) and Phillip Thomas (FS)…  Unfortunately they are all projected to go within 20 picks of each other so the odds of landing even two of the four seem slim.

#51 – SS – Jonathan Cyprien – Though as said before, I would be okay with David Amerson (CB) Eric Reid (FS) Barrett Jones (OL) or Jordan Poyer (CB), but if Cyprien is available, he's the best bang for your buck.

#84 – FS – Phillip Thomas – If he's still available, I love this pick!

#116 –  CB – Leon McFadden – Though depending on the Fred Davis negotiations I might go with Travis Kelce (TE) and nab a CB or two later in the draft.

#147 – IRB – Kenjon Barner – Projected #153, but I like him a lot.  Don't want to miss out on this guy.

#155 – OL – Brennan Williams

#181 – WR – Denard Robinson – I like Josh Johnson (CB) but Denard Robinson is too potent a weapon to let slip through our fingers.

#212 – CB – Micah Hyde – Though I like Marquess Wilson (WR) Brandon Kaufman (WR) and Rodney Smith (WR) as well.

These are just my two cents.  Worth exactly what you paid for them.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

*** All stats taken from http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/prospectrankings ***

Redskins Post-Game and Post-Season Recap

January 7, 2013 in Washington Redskins Post Game Recap

By Staff Writer John Manuel:

After the playoff loss to Seattle Seahawks, here's the top five postgame observations for Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin and their future:

1. I will get to the "should he have been taken out or not", but first the game itself.

Seattle dominated the Redskins after the first quarter and deserved to win Sunday.  They did to us what we did to Dallas the week before and ran Marshawn Lynch to control the game.  Add to that Russell Wilson's ability to be unfazed and make plays.

It is crazy to think that the Redskins somehow still had a lead in the 4th quarter and an obvious chance to win.  After the first two drives by Washington, the Seattle defense came together and limited what the Redskins could do.  Add to that starting twice inside the 10 in the second half and the Redskins were doomed.

Seattle has a very good chance now to go to Atlanta and knock off the Falcons next.  The Seattle team that the Redskins faced was much different than the Cowboys, Eagles or Browns wins during the streak although we all should be thrilled to win 7 in a row and to be NFC East Champs.

2- Now to the big debate.  Mike Shanahan is getting killed since the game ended Sunday in leaving Robert Griffin III in the game.

What's your feelings on Shanahan's decision to keep RG3 in the game?

What's your feelings on Shanahan's decision to keep RG3 in the game?

I think it’s a lot easier to criticize Shanahan knowing now the Redskins lost the game and RG3 is most likely hurt worse than when the game started.  But during the game he had to go with who he thought could win him the game.  Griffin has electrified DC all season and even at 60/70/80% if Shanahan felt he was the one to win the game, he should be out there.  Big Ben does this all the time and he has 2 rings.

Is it Shanny's or Griffin's fault that Hankerson short armed what would be a huge play?  That Will Montgomery suddenly started to struggle in shotgun and pistol snaps?  It is easy to say Kirk Cousins should have been in there since now we know the Redskins lost.  But I think Griffin seeing all types of defenses all season compared to Cousins was the better option versus a team like Seattle.

If RG3 has a torn ACL (and that may be the case by the time this is up) it is a very tough pill to swallow.  But he will be back and he will be Robert Griffin III still.

3- I think the biggest play of the game was the play when Brandon Browner got called for illegal contact versus Pierre Garcon.

It was 14-3 and Garcon got by Browner causing Browner to foul him and actually fall to the ground.  But as Garcon was going free, Griffin was unable to get the deep ball off because Seattle had pushed the o-line back into Griffin.  An easy touchdown turned into a five yard penalty and the game was never the same.

The other game changer was the two missed turnovers in the first half.  One was when Doug Baldwin was able to break up a would-be interception from Reed Doughty.  Doughty was great Sunday at making plays at the line of scrimmage but really needed to pull that one in.  The other was the mis-hand off between Wilson and Lynch.  The ball went free and Madieu Williams as we have seen all season was a second late in getting to the ball allowing Lynch to get to it eventually and run with it.  Two tough misses for a team that strived the past two months getting turnovers in key spots.

I also should add the huge 3rd down conversion in the first quarter down 14-0 when Wilson was able to avoid pressure and get the ball to Zach Miller who made a nice catch and run to convert.  Would have given the Skins a good chance to grab solid field position with a Crawford return.

4- My player of the game is simple.

Other than Barry Cofield's head knocking the ball out of Lynch's grasp at the goal line, no one protected the lead like Sav Rocca yesterday.  Rocca had his best day of the season and was able with two huge punts keep the Skins in the lead until midway through the fourth.  If Washington pulled this game out, Rocca would be a hero.

I also continue to be impressed with Niles Paul's ability to get down on punt coverage all day.  Leon Washington was someone I was very concerned with and the special teams did a great job controlling him on kickoffs and punts.  I still love what Alfred Morris brought especially in the first half.  And I feel Reed Doughty and London Fletcher came to play.  Other than that unfortunately not many others stood out Sunday.

5- Although losing a home playoff game is tough (crazy thing is I was at the last one versus the Bears in 1984) this success has to be looked at as a success.

No one predicted the team to win the NFC East and that is what they did.  I think the Redskins now are a year ahead of schedule but a lot will obvious hang on the health of their star quarterback.  But we do have a younger nucleus to go with into 2013 and that hasn't happened in years.  Griffin's rise to stardom should be a huge factor in Washington's ability to attract better talent to Washington in the coming seasons.

We also must not forget that this team was unfairly crushed with a huge cap penalty hours before free agency and that the battle over that is not over.

Finally, I hope that London Fletcher has not played his last game and that he will return next season.  Although he hasn't had the winning success of Redskins of the past, he should be up there with the Riggins, Monk, Theismann and Greens’ of Redskins history.

 

 

Redskins Keys to the Game vs. Seahawks in Playoffs

January 4, 2013 in Washington Redskins Keys to the Game

By Staff Writer John Manuel:

Playoffs are here for the Washington Redskins, so here are my keys to the game and what to watch for in Sunday's Playoff battle against the Seahawks:

1. This matchup brings us the two hottest teams in the NFC.

The Redskins have won seven games in a row while the Seahawks have won their last five.  Both teams win streaks have come against solid opponents as well.

The Skins used their win streak to capture the NFC East crown while the Seahawks just missed out catching the 49ers and are the wildcard.  Seattle has dropped Washington in their last two playoff appearances but those games were in Seattle.  I think this plays a major role Sunday.  Earlier in the season Seattle struggled on the road but their recent play has shown them to be a much better road team.

Good news for the Skins is that both Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch have had much better statistical performances on turf than grass this season.  And we all know by now that the FedEx Field surface is far from turf.  This could play a major factor Sunday.

2- The key matchup all of the NFL world will first look at is between the two rookie quarterbacks.

Both Robert Griffin and Russell Wilson deserved Pro Bowl nods as rookies.  RG3 made it and Wilson didn't, but if it went the other way around it would have been hard to argue.  Both quarterbacks have shown poise in big games and have produced in big games.  Much will be made about Griffin's knee, but I think he is better than most feel.  I have confidence in him in the pocket and he showed last week he could still be a running factor as he ran for over 60 yards.

Unlike last week’s game versus Dallas I cannot see quarterback play being such a huge factor in who wins Sunday.  I don't see either Wilson or the Seattle game plan putting him into situations to make mistakes like Tony Romo did.

3- One of the biggest factors why the Redskins have won seven in a row is that they have not faced any top notch defenses during that stretch.

Philly, Dallas, New York, Cleveland and Baltimore were far from stellar on the defensive side of the ball.  Seattle is a different story.  Up front they can get after the quarterback and on the back end they have two corners who can man up on receivers.  "Drip cup" Sherman and Brandon Browner are the best corner pair Washington has faced all season and will challenge Redskins receivers like Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan to get open.

Griffin will need his mobility in this game to make time for his guys to break open.  Browner and Sherman, as well as Earl Thomas are very opportunistic so RG3 must protect the football as his has done all season.

4- Both teams like to run the football and both teams have shown they can run the football.

Seattle has been successful when they go into "Beastmode" with Marshawn Lynch and the Redskins cannot let him get going Sunday.  It could be a long day for a defense that has played much better recently if Lynch can move the ball down the field.

They have to get Wilson into 3rd and longs and not 3rd and shorts so stopping Lynch will surely benefit.  As for the Redskins, once again it will be key for Alfred Morris to pound an opposing defense.  The Skins ran well against the Seahawks last season without the force that is Alfred Morris.  Sunday they must continue to ride Mo' Diesel like the Gibbs teams did on their first runs.  Morris has not hit any kind of rookie wall and seems to be getting stronger like Riggins did in the past.  We have to like that.

5- Finally special teams have a couple concerns for me.

Cobra Kai finally had a miss last week, but I am still confident in him as our kicker.  I am worried about the Seahawks being able to block a kick especially with Red Bryant in the mix.  He got us last year and it’s a concern for Danny Smith's crew.

Also, as I have mentioned in the past I really wish the team brought in a kickoff specialist and this week one is clearly needed.  Leon Washington is dangerous and I would rather not give him the opportunities to break one.  Forbath's kickoffs will give him the chance to burn the Skins.  And I was very happy with Niles Paul last week on kickoff returns.  When Dallas had the momentum, Paul came up with a great return that put the Redskins at a good starting point.  He and Richard Crawford need to do the same again.

This is the toughest opponent the Redskins will have faced since going on the streak, but I am confident not only our game plan will work but our quarterback and others can win this game.  Good news is that the last draft has put us in great position for years to come, but I still would love to see this team go far this year.  I see it being a battle and the Skins coming out victors, 17-16.