Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Upcoming Washington/New York Monday Night Football Has a Surprisingly Good Chance of Determining the Divsion

Washington is at 5-6 with a lot of problems, so I would be hard-pressed to call them a good, division-winning, or playoff-deserving caliber of team. That said, they might have a shot at at least two of those distinctions this year due to the relatively weak performance of NFC East teams combined with remaining schedules, particularly the amount of intra-divisional match-ups left on the Redskins' schedule.

Outside of the division, we have Ravens and Browns left. If we go 1-1 in those games, which seems likely, we're looking at 6-7 with 1 game against each other NFC East team left. Though they aren't guaranteed by any means, one has to think we have a good shot at sweeping the Eagles, who are in full-on self-destruct mode, and the Cowboys, than whom we looked much better on Thanksgiving. That puts us at 8-7 with the Giants game left. Obviously the Giants are the favorite, but with an NFC East game and how we looked against them last time, it is by no means assured, and beating them would likely result in both teams ending the year with 9-7 records and Washington having the tie-breaker over New York. How absurd would that be?

Giants (7-4) have a pretty tough road remaining, with the games other than ours being New Orleans, who is starting to look pretty dangerous, the 1-loss Falcons, the 2-loss Ravens, and a divisional game against the Eagles. If they go 2-2 against the Falcons, Ravens, Saints, and Eagles, they're sitting at 9-6 with our MNF game being the remainder.

Obviously that's a lot of if's and assumptions, but nothing outlandish. This MNF game could really matter. A Giants win borderline clinches them the division, while a Washington victory makes things very interesting in the NFC East from here on out.

In addition to that, Washington oddly enough holds a lot of key head-to-head tiebreakers owing to victories over Tampa Bay, Seattle, Minnesota, New Orleans, and Dallas, which comprise all the present 6-5 teams in the NFC as well as the 5-6 Cowboys. As such, if we manage to perform well from here on out but don't win the division, our taking a wild-card playoff spot is still very feasible.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Final Roster is Announced! Thoughts and Depth Chart Predictions

I was thinking of writing up a projected roster, but it didn't make much sense to do so when the last game was only a couple days away from the announcement, I didn't bother. Anyway, it was announced with a few surprises.

You can see the full roster (as well as IR, PUP, and now practice squad) at the now-updated official site.

There were a few surprises: Tim Hightower got cut, for instance. The noteworthy cuts include Hightower, WRs Anthony Armstrong and Terrence Austin, ILB Brian Kehl, OLB  Markus White, DE Darrion Scott, and OT Willie Smith.

The only draft pick that was placed on the practice squad was tackle Tom Compton

FS Tanard Jackson, unfortunately, was suspended indefinitely, to be reviewed no sooner than 2013 for substance policy violations.

CB Kevin Barnes was traded to the Dolphins for an undisclosed draft pick (I'd guess around a 5th)

A trade was in the works moving Armstrong to Miami in exchange for HB Steve Slaton. It fell through, but the Dolphins claimed Armstrong and cut Slaton, so it could still effectively happen.

The Redskins also claimed CB Crezdon Butler off waivers from Arizona. Even with Butler's addition, the Redskins have only 5 cornerbacks, with Hall supposedly playing some safety this year, and Cedric Griffin being somewhat of a CB/FS hybrid (as well as very bad, judging by this pre-season).

It's looking like Josh Wilson is the only player in our secondary who is going to be really good this year. Maybe Brandon Merriweather as well if we get lucky and he has something of a renaissance.

That is especially disappointing as our front seven, particularly the linebackers, should be very impressive, both in terms of the starters and depth.

The Redskins just released a new depth chart but that isn't a guarantee, especially for Mike Shanahan, who is known for being secretive in that regard. Here is how I predict it shaking out to start with or soon into the season:

QB: Robert Griffin III
QB2: Rex Grossman
QB3: Kirk Cousins
HB1: Evan Royster (to start the season, this will probably rotate)
HB2: Roy Helu
HB3: Alfred Morris
FB: Darrel Young
WR1: Pierre Garcon
WR2: Leonard Hankerson
WR3(slot): Santana Moss
WR4: Josh Morgan
WR5: Aldrick Robinson
WR5: Dezmon Briscoe
WR6: Brandon Banks
TE1: Fred Davis
TE2: Niles Paul
TE3: Logan Paulsen
LT: Trent Williams
LT2: Maurice Hurt (listed here, but it wouldn't surprise me if he were the pick to replace/stand in for Lichtensteiger if necessary too)
LG: Kory Lichtensteiger
LG2: Josh LaRibeus
C: Will Montgomery (if Montgomery were hurt, Lichtensteiger would move in, and he'd be replaced at guard)
RG: Chris Chester
RG2: Adam Gettis
RT: Tyler Polombus
RT2: Jordan Black

LDE: Adam Carriker
LDE2: Jarvis Jenkins
NT: Barry Cofield
NT2: Chris Baker
RDE: Stephen Bowen
RDE2: Kedric Golston
LOLB: Ryan Kerrigan
LOLB2: Chris Wilson
LILB: London Fletcher
LILB2: Lorenzo Alexander
RILB: Perry Riley
RILB2: Keenan Robinson
ROLB: Brian Orakpo
ROLB2: Rob Jackson (note: given their skillsets, I think it would actually make more sence to switch Jackson and Wilson)
CB1: Josh Wilson (may list it as D.Hall, but Wilson is our ace)
CB2: DeAngelo Hall
CB3: Cedric Griffin (Hall will probably man the slot with Griffin taking his outside spot in the nickel)
CB4: Richard Crawford
CB5: Crezdon Butler
FS: Madieu Williams (bleh)
FS2: DeJon Gomes
SS: Brandon Merriweather
SS2: Reed Doughty
SS3: Jordan Bernstine

K/KO: Billy Cundiff
P: Sav Rocca
KR: Brandon Banks
KR2: Niles Paul
KR3: Aldrick Robinson
PR: Brandon Banks
PR2: Santana Moss
PR3: Aldrick Robinson
LS: Nick Sundberg

Bold indicates my prediction for the game-day active 46. Of the inactives, the player that seems most likely to be active would be Logan Paulsen to function as a blocking specialist. If he were, it would probably be at the expense of Alfred Morris, whichever of Josh Morgan or Leonard Hankerson isn't starting (the present official depth chart indicates Morgan as the starter, but I expect Hankerson to, at least most of the time), or Richard Crawford. If they want to use Dezmon Briscoe, he could also be activated in place of Morgan/Hankerson, but I think he's the most likely odd man out. Backup offensive linemen are hard to predict as well, but Black is pretty definite as a swing tackle, and I think with his experience playing last year and some tackle/guard flexibility (since Lichtensteiger would most likely move to center if Montgomery went down, Hurt is likely as well. That said, both LeRibeus and Gettis have been learning Center as well as their natural Guard, so they could be active instead of Hurt (between the two, I'd probably put my money on Gettis, despite LeRibeus being drafted much higher)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Redskins trim the roster/We'll miss you, Cooley

Sadly, Chris Cooley, formerly the longest-tenured Redskin player (9 years), was released. He may have wanted to go somewhere he might find a starting job, but the writing was pretty much on the wall with his 3.8 million dollar price tag this season. Still, as unsurprising as the move is, it's a big disappointment. He was a great Redskin, and I held out hope that we'd hang onto him or he'd accept a pay cut. He'll get picked up by another team, and I wish him the best there. RG3 had a lovely tweet thanking Cooley for his work and helping teach him.

This does make my purely speculative talk of Alfred Morris as a potential HB/FB hybrid more feasible. Cooley was acting as the backup FB, and since I doubt Dorson Boyce makes the roster, it would probably be between a halfback like Morris or presumptive 3rd string (blocking) TE Logan Paulsen to back Darrel Young up.

Preseason game 3: Colts at Redskins

Luck vs. RG3 (sort of). Well, both played pretty well. Here are my thoughts from the game, upon watching and re-watching plays of note.

The game starts off with a surprise as Niles Paul was back there returning the kickoff instead of Brandon Banks. Odd for a tight end, but he did well, bringing it back around 40 yards. It made me wonder whether Banks' spot was either decided, for better or worse, or if he would be playing a lot as a receiver. He didn't get much offensive work, though. I think the Shanahans must like Paul, and are trying hard to find ways for him to contribute, between swtiching his position, all the work he's gotten, and now this. In addition, Chris Cooley's release was (sadly) announced today, pretty much assuring Paul a decent role as the backup tight end.

In addition, to that return surprise, Santana Moss was back on a couple punt returns. As much as I like Banks and want to keep him, Moss has always been an absolutely stellar punt returner, so now that we don't need him as the #1 receiver, I think letting him contribute on returns is a wise move.

With Hightower playing, Alfred Morris was still the starter, and had a great day. He still isn't a special talent or anything, but the offensive line opened holes for him today and he took advantage to the tune of 14 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown. When given opportunities, he'll consistently get a few yards and fall forward. He looked particularly impressive later in the game, though I'm not sure whether that's indicative of his wearing down the Colts' defense, or merely that he was going against less talented backups at that time. I was also pleased to see a good block from Morris at one point. If that's indicative of how he blocks, perhaps the halfback/fullback hybrid role I mentioned could be a good spot.

On that note, the offensive line had a great day in the run game, and was decent in pass protection, marking by far the best outing they've had this pre-season. The only line-up change was Chris Chester back for Josh LaRibeus and Adam Gettis at right guard. After the way he played last season, I can't imagine his presence having such a positive impact, but whatever the cause, it was good to see. Undoubtedly part of their success can be attributed to defensive generosity by the Colts.

The left side of the line blocked much better than the right, though, unsurprisingly. Maurice Hurt has been working hard and is starting to look like a fairly legitimate option. That said, he's not really ready to be a good starter, so if Kory Lichtensteiger is healthy and back to form, he and Trent Williams should be a good left side. Jammal Brown being put in the PUP list means for at least a quarter or third of the season, Tyler Polumbus (unless he loses the job to another backup) is going to be our right tackle; that doesn't bode well at all.

There were still blocking mis-cues, however, as the Colts' Freeman blitzed right through the middle of the line on two separate plays without being picked up, allowing free hits on RG3, one of which was particularly hard. You can't leave a pass rusher unblocked up the middle. Every coach down to Pop Warner teaches that you block inside out, so if you can't handle all the rushers, your quarterback has the maximum time to get rid of the ball or move.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Preseason Week 2 @ Chicago

The team, particularly the starters, looked a bit shakier this game, though there was some good as well. Notes below.

-Offensive line looked slightly better in the run game; it wasn't a great showing, but on certain plays they opened up good holes for Morris or Royster. On the other hand, in pass protection, they looked weaker this game, and RG3 had to do a lot of scrambling, and was still sacked 3 times. The weakest link was clearly Tyler Polombus at RT, who was routinely beaten by Israel Idonije (2.5 sacks, 1 FF).

-On the fumble, Trent Williams and Maurice Hurt doubled Julius Peppers on the weak side. Tight end Niles Paul released up field leaving Major Wright, who was sitting on the line of scrimmage, a free blitz at the quarterback. RG3 scrambled up past him, but Idonije, who was being single-teamed by Fred Davis on the other side, had gotten free by then and hit Griffin from behind. There were a lot of protection issues on that play. I have no idea why an obvious blitzer was allowed to run free. It looked like Chris Cooley was supposed to be helping Davis with Idonije, but barely got a chip on his outside shoulder as he got into Davis. Later in the play, Hurt seemed to switch in and help on a defensive tackle, and Williams let Peppers go, who ended up recovering the fumble. It was a terrible mess coming out of a 3-TE set.

-Brandon Banks did very well as a returner. Chicago has a top-notch coverage unit, but he still had multiple good returns, including a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown. He didn't get used much on offense this game, but I can't see the team cutting him. There was a Post article this past week saying that his showing in game 1 wasn't great, and blaming him for some of the missed opportunities, claiming he didn't get good separation and slipped on a would-be reception. I couldn't disagree with them more, as I said last week, as I think he looked very sharp and was hamstrung by Grossman's inaccurate throws.

-Aldrick Robinson was very elusive on a catch-and-run for a touchdown, but otherwise didn't look very impressive. I'd like to see him on the practice squad for another season. 

-We're going to have secondary problems this season.

-Cedric Griffin was getting beaten quite a lot again. He has been unimpressive at corner from everything I've seen.

-Richard Crawford, on the other hand, had an outstanding game. The 7th round pick was good in coverage and frequently had his name called as he made plays. Almost snatched a great interception but couldn't quite hold on. Based on what I've seen, I wouldn't be against him as our 4th or even 3rd corner; I haven't seen much from Barnes and Griffin has looked bad, which leaves him and Brandyn Thompson.

-Alfred Morris got an extended look with the starters, pretty much confirming my thoughts from last weak. Runs very hard, but a bit of a plodder. Will fall forward, so it wouldn't surprise me to see him get some short-yardage work, but I wouldn't expect significant work running the ball from him without a lot of injuries. Then again, no one knows what's going to happen with a Shanahan running game.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Notes from pre-season game 1

I've only watched the game once so far, excluding a few select plays, but here are the initial notes I jotted down during, cleaned up a bit for intelligibility. I want to re-watch to focus on specific players, like the rookie OLmen and Jarvis Jenkins, but here are my first impressions.

-We looked alright; better than the Bills, but not incredible. Defense looked pretty good, but quite a lot of offensive miscues (for both teams) and our blocking could really hold us back if it doesn't improve.

-Scab refs are atrocious. In addition to the aforementioned call on Garcon, and a number of other missed obvious calls or made ticky tack calls, they had one glorious moment of declaring a Bills' punt a touchback when neither the ball nor player who caught it ever made it within 4 yards of the goalline. The head ref looked furious when the Bills challenged that, and of course the call was overturned.

-Announcers were just as awful. Mis-pronunciations, calling players by the wrong names, and huge biases abounded.   
-RG3 looks good. He didn't blow me away, and it was pretty conservative; mostly short-intermediate throws, and not a ton of moving around. However, his release was lightning-fast, he made good decisions, and a flick of the wrist put a lot of zip on the ball. Pretty good accuracy, especially shining on longer throws. Only two incompletions, one of which was really a completion on a 15 yard sideline throw to Pierre Garcon which the refs ruled out.

-Kirk Cousins really impressed. Very poised, mostly good decision-making, good accuracy, though, unlike Griffin, looked a lot better on shorter throws than deep ones. A few examples of him trying to fit a ball in somewhere he didn't have the ability to, but on the whole pleased.

-Grossman looked downright atrocious. Bad reads, lazy throws, inaccurate; he underthrew Helu on about a 3 yard dumpoff pass. If I were making the call based on this game alone, I would absolutely put Cousins as our primary backup. That said, Rex is more of a known quantity and knows the offense well, so we'll need to see how those two look in the rest of pre-season.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Dawn of the RG3 Era

Thoroughly excited for the Redskins' first pre-season game in 15 minutes. Not thrilled to pay for pre-season, but living in Florida and suffering from severe Skins withdrawal, I of course ponied up, and will be recording for re-watchin and dissection purposes.

It was just announced that, with Chris Chester out, Adam Gettis is drawing the start at RG, which I'm happy to hear. I liked Gettis a lot before the draft, was happy we got him, and want to see how he plays. Of course, with 3 backup OLmen in (and a none-too-sure offensive line in the first place) I expect a fair amount of miscues and failed blocks, but still excited to see how he looks.

Also thrilled to see Leonard Hankerson getting the start opposite Pierre Garรงon, with Moss no doubt manning the slot. I want him to get the opportunity and feel a little vindication at all the beat writers, analysts, and reporters throughout the off-season who have been pencilling Josh Morgan in as a starter and/or claiming Tana gets cut. As I've said all along, the starters should be either Garcon and Moss, with Moss sliding into the slot and Hankerson coming in at the X in 3-wide sets, or, if Hankerson is impressive enough, Garcon and Hankerson with Moss in the slot. Morgan has some talent, but let him sit at the 4th receiver spot, not block Hankerson.

Also, apologies for the nearly postless off-season. I've been busy with other things and the lack of a season going on blunted my motivation, I suppose. I've still been actively (obsessively?) following the Skins and NFL, though, and hopefully will get back into regular updates now that football is starting up again. I may analyze some post-draft off-season moves and reports at some point, but right now am too psyched to watch the Skins.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

London Fletcher is back in the fold!

Great news on that front. No contract details available yet.

We've also signed safeties Madieu Williams and Tanard Jackson. The former doesn't do anything for me, but I'm very happy with the latter, whom we signed about 2 days after the Bucs released him, ostensibly for failing a physical (coming back from injury), but presumably also for off-field transgressions. Still, he can be quite a good safety, and is a true free safety, which we still lacked with Gomes, Doughty, Williams, and Merriweather, so if he's healthy seeing him start opposite Gomes or Doughty would be nice. It is additionally notable that his former head coach Raheem Morris is working with our defensive backs this year, so that probably had a hand in our knowing what we're getting in Jackson, signing him so swiftly, and his interest in joining the Redskins. Likely means one of the others (smart money's on Williams) will be cut before the season.

It's alarming to me with all the moves we've made at safety and wide receiver how neglected our offensive line has been. Look for some mid-round picks to be spent on guards or tackles.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Been Busy, Update

I've been very busy lately, hence the lack of posts. Hope to get back into a rhythm before too long.

To note, Demetrius (Demetress? Apparently?) Bell signed today with the Eagles, in light of Jason Peters' injury. His contract is 5 years, 35 mil, with a team option after year 1.

David Hawthorne has also been signed, by the Saints. Contract unknown.

Steinbach has been linked to the Seahawks and Bears, but no deal anywhere.

No new updates with Franklin, Rogers, McNeil, or Atogwe,

Team supposedly still wants both Fletcher and Hightower back, but nothing new to report.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quick hits, FA update

I would like at some point to make a long, well-written post regarding the salary cap penalty issue facing the Redskins and Cowboys, and how patently illegal it is, so perhaps I'll get around to that shortly. I also want to do an updated draft discussion, looking at players whom I think would well fit the Redskins' needs (even if, functionally, it's looking only at the 3rd round and beyond).

But, here are a few updates for now:

-Compensatory picks were announced. The Redskins were not awarded any. Big winners were Green Bay and Oakland (whose highest two picks, I believe, will both be compensatory, oddly enough).

-Finally a little trickle of refreshing new news in the dry, barren wasteland that is updates on London Fletcher's status. Nothing concrete, but it has been said that the team still wants him (and vice versa) and that talks are underway and/or have resumed. Hurrah.

-More and more speculation about RG3 potentially being the guy to take over Luck. As much as I am impressed and becoming more and more enamored with Griffin, and as much as I respect the opinion of NFL Films' Greg Cosell (who is among the analysts that, after detailed film study of both Griffin and Luck, believes that Griffin is a more talented, natural passer, and will be a stud in the NFL), I'm not ready to go that far. Great though Young Griff is, Andrew Luck is Andrew Luck, and has done nothing to be less impressive. I think some of it may be valid, but some of it is the media trying to build something up as exciting. While Irsay and the Colts are indeed likely doing their due diligence in considering both players, I would still be shocked if it weren't Luck at #1, and, love Griffin though I do, think that is how it should be.

It is encouraging and refreshing, though, how nearly-unanimously all sources and experts seem to agree that both are stellar prospects who are as close to can't-miss as possible. I don't remember the last time a quarterback coming out was pretty much free of concerns or question marks about how he actually plays, but both of these guys really are. All Luck is dealing with is the idea of "well, I guess he could have a stronger arm..." and Griffin's concerns all center around the fact that he played lesser competition in Baylor's conference and offense, and showed a huge improvement in his last season. Valid concerns, maybe, but I've heard nothing but good about his arm strength, accuracy, footwork, discipline, leadership, intelligence, work ethic, athleticism, and everything else. That is almost-unheard-of-rare.

-Last, just going to update the status of free agents. Most of the remaining contenders from the last update of my last post are still free, but because it had become cluttered, here's a fresh little look:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Remaining Free Agents of Note

Here's a little list of the remaining free agents to whom the Redskins have been linked or who would be a good fit for them. Ideally, I'll come back tomorrow and flesh this out, add some more, list the teams that these players have met with, etc.

First, from us:
LB London Fletcher (We need to bring him back. He hasn't been linked to anyone else)
FS OJ Atogwe (We cut him, unlikely to return, could use his coverage ability though)
HB Tim Hightower (Would be a good get for his blocking and receiving ability, brings a different running style than Helu/Royster, wouldn't cost too much)
QB Rex Grossman (Likely guy we'd bring back to hold us over until RG3 is ready or back him up) Re-signed by Redskins
G Kory Lichtensteiger (He's coming back. Coming off an ACL tear but looked good before that. More important to us than he would be to another team) Re-signed by Redskins
SS LaRon Landry (Want him back but seeming unlikely) Signed by Jets (1 year, 4 mil)

OT Demetrius Bell, BUF (We've been linked to him, he would be a pretty good pickup to shore up the RT spot)
OT Marcus McNeill, SD (Aging but still pretty solid tackle, if we can't get Bell he might be worth picking up)
OG Eric Steinbach, CLE (Has the right physical profile for our scheme and has been a very good player in the past, though he was hurt last year)
LB David Hawthorne, SEA (Solid young LB. Could compete with Riley and ensure that we have at least a capable tandem when we lose Fletcher)
ILB Curtis Lofton, ATL (A very good young ILB but probably out of our price range unless we don't re-sign Fletcher (which would be bad))
OLB Manny Laweson, SF (Well-rounded and speedy 3-4 OLB who would be a useful rotational player backing up both Kerrigan and Orakpo, and getting on the field in packages)
NT Aubrayo Franklin, NO (Pretty good NT)
NT Shaun Rogers, NO (Great size, has been good in the past, should be cheap)
OT/G Geoff Schwartz, CAR (A decent guard, one of the few still unsigned) Signed by Vikings (1 year, $?)
ILB Jameel McClain, BAL (Solid, pretty young ILB to challenge Riley, or start next to him if we don't re-sign Fletcher) Re-signed by Ravens
LB Erin Henderson, MIN (See: McClain. Isn't getting a lot of interest including from his Vikings. Wouldn't mind picking him up even if we do re-sign Fletcher. Went to UMD.) Re-signed with VikingsQB Josh Johnson, TB (Surprisingly, we've been linked to him since re-signing Rex. He'll probably cost more than it makes sense for us to pay him, but I like him so if we could get him cheap, I'd support it) Signed by 49ers (2 years, $?)
NT Pat Sims, CIN (Good run stopper) Re-signed with Bengals
CB Tracy Porter, NO (Has shown some good play in the past, as well as some bad play. Young still, would be cheap, and we need some corners) Signed by Broncos (1 year, 4 mil)
LB Stephen Tulloch, DET (Very good ILB if we had to replace Fletcher. Probably out of our price range) (5 years, ?mil.. probably 40+)
OG Evan Mathis, PHI (would be a great fit and upgrade, supposedly top 2 teams are Ravens, Eagles) Re-signed with Eagles (5 years, 25 mil)
OG Mike Briesel, HOU (scheme fit but underwhelming talent. We've been linked) Signed with Raiders (5 years, 20 mil) 
C Chris Meyers, HOU (Scheme fit and very good player, would give us a glut of centers to figure out as Montgomery is already there and played badly when we tried him at guard) Re-signed with the Texans (4 years, 25 mil)
OT Eric Winston, HOU (Scheme fit and good player, we've been linked. Supposedly going to get a ton of money, lots of teams interested) Signed by Chiefs (4 years, 22 mil)
OG Travelle Wharton, CAR (One of the decent FA guards. We need OL help) Signed by the Bengals
NT Sione Pouha, NYJ (Good NT who could help us. Probably out of our price range) Re-signed by Jets (3 years, 15 mil)
FS Reggie Nelson, CIN (we could use a safety who is better in coverage) Re-signed by Bengals
CB Aaron Ross, NYG (We've been linked strongly) Signed by Jaguars (3 years, 15.3 mil)
CB Ronald Bartell, STL (One of the better remaining corners, not that that's saying a whole lot) Signed with Raiders (1 year, 3 mil)
C Scott Wells, GB (Very good center) Signed by Rams (4 years, 24 mil)
QB David Garrard, JAX (One of the better veteran QBs, would be willing to backup, we'll need a vet to either back RG3 up or be a stop gap while he gets ready) Signed by Dolphins
OG Robert Gallery, SEA (See: Wharton) Signed by Patriots

-Redskins sign CB Cedric Griffin, formerly of the Vikings. 1 year, $2.5 mil

-Fred Davis signed his franchise tender of $~5.5 mil

-Evan Mathis gone, I was really hoping to get him. Worse, the Eagles re-signed him at a pretty modest 5/25. I think we've a good chance to land Demetrius Bell, which should be a pretty good move, but there's not a lot else left out there on the OL, unfortunately.

-3:45 3/17: Redskins have around 14 mil in cap space this year as is. Freed up a couple mil re-structuring the contract we just signed Will Montgomery to a few weeks ago. I can't believe that DeAngelo Hall's contract is going to stay on the books the way it is.

-10:55am 3/20: Things all fully updated. Not a lot of targets left on the list. Bell is the only one I see as having much likelihood on the open market. We need to re-sign Fletcher and I'd like to re-sign both Hightower and Atogwe too.  Peyton signed with Denver.

-5:50pm 3/20: Added a handful more free agents that I think would be worth investigating that are either newly free agents due to cuts or I simply hadn't added earlier.

-11:50am 3/24
Again, all updated. News is coming in much slower now, some guys that wouldn't have been huge gets but I would've really liked to add (like Erin Henderson and Pat Sims) are gone, sadly. Lots of one-year deals. Still no word on Fletcher, and I've surprisingly heard nothing about Eric Steinbach. Demetrius Bell visited us but hasn't signed anywhere. If we could get him and Steinbach I'd be thrilled.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More Free Agency

Redskins signed Brandon Merriweather for 2 years, 6 mil.... I don't hate it, but I'd prefer Atogwe or Landry. Merriweather has talent but hasn't been very good. Hopefully Raheem Morris can get something out of him, though. It also indicates we could plan to go into next season without any more serious moves at safety, which would probably mean, I imagine, Merriweather starting at FS and DeJon Gomes starting at SS with Reed Doughty as a utility backup and package player. That's a pretty phenomenally unspectacular group unless Merriweather seriously turns things around or Gomes makes a huge leap in his sophomore season.

We're still considered to be in the Eddie Royal sweepstakes, though the decision hasn't come.

Nicks(TB) and Grubbs(NO) have both been signed and Eric Winston is receiving a lot of interest. Paul McQuistan, in whom we supposedly had interest, has also been re-signed by Seattle. I'm very much hoping that we pull off a deal with Evan Mathis, who has been linked to us, the Ravens, and might stay in Philly. We've also more recently been linked to former Texans guard Mike Briesel, who fits our scheme but does nothing to excite. Mathis would be huge for us. Other than that, Steve Hutchinson (who could help out but is old) and recently-released Robert Gallery are the notable options in free agency.

Brandon Carr(DAL), Cortland Finnegan(STL), and Eric Wright(TB) have all been signed as well, meaning we aren't going to get a ton of CB help in free agency. We're still likely to bring someone in but we've been linked to people like Aaron Ross, so it's looking more like depth.

Kyle Orton(DAL), Chad Henne(JAX), Luke McCown and Jason Campbell(both CHI) have all been signed, making a return of Rex Grossman look like our most likely option as a vet to pair with RG3.

We're still interested in Fletcher, and there hasn't been any word of him talkin with anyone. We need to bring Fletch back, bottom line.

Stay tuned for more updates.

UPDATE 5:24: Steve Hutchinson signed to a 3 year deal by the Titans.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Free Agency underway

Even with the stupid unreasonable 18 mil cap hit we have to take this year (more on that another time), we can still be active FA players. After cutting Sellers (I'll miss you, Big Daddy) and Atogwe (bleh :\), we have close to 20 mil free, and could free up more through some other re-structures or cuts (Guys like Cooley and his ~4mil or DHall's team-leading 8.5 mil cap hit are prime candidates) and, given our team's creativity with the cap and willingness to give money to players in exchange for flexibility, up to 30 mil would be fairly reasonable if we really wanted.

Now, my ideal scenario still involves signing Vincent Jackson(with a little back-loading could probably have around a 9 mil cap hit for the first season with us) and Cortland Finnegan (maybe 6 mil), both of whom have been linked to us and expressed interest in going to the same team. I want to re-sign Fletcher (maybe a 4-5 mil cap hit for year 1), Landry (3-4 mil, his will probably be just a 1-year deal, maybe with an option of sorts), and it sounds like we're re-signing Carriker (maybe 1.5-2 mil), all of which could be accomplished by taking up somewhere in the low to mid 20 millions. After that, I'd be happy with just small moves and filling thinsg out, only remaining big named I'd be interested in would be Atogwe if we could bring him back cheaper (especially if we don't keep Landry) or an offensive lineman, such as guards Carl Nicks from the Saints, Ben Grubbs from the Ravens, or, perhaps cheapest and best fit, Evan Mathis from the Eagles, or newly-released scheme fit right tackle Eric Winston from the Texans.

That all said, I undoubtedly won't get what I want.

Free agency developments after the jump

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Predicting the quarterbacks

With so many moving pieces in action, this is both more important to help me get a sense of things, and more futile because something changing at the top will change everything else, and there's a lot of unpredictable things yet to come. That said, I took the liberty of sort of mocking out where I think quarterbacks are likely to sign/get drafted. I did this a couple days ago before the Redskins-Rams trade, though that just re-affirmed what I had projected. The one I'm presently beginning to doubt more is Peyton Manning as the way he's hanging out in Denver and, accourting to reports, still has no meeting scheduled with Miami is calling that one into question.

Still, here they are:

Peyton Manning: Miami... he could go a lot of ways, but I think this is the most likely with the team's very obvious interests, t the weather, and him already having a home there. Plus, there's no real reason they can't/wouldn't sign Reggie Wayne to play opposite Marshall and Dallas Clark for Peyton to throw to.

Matt Flynn: Seahawks... Deep-pocketed owner who I think will work hard to get Flynn. Harder than the biggest competitors

Andrew Luck: Colts... duh.

RG3: Redskins... If the Seahawks and Dolphins are out of contention, and the Rams and Vikings aren't abandoning their QBs despite some stupid predictions, it's either Browns or Skins for RG3. I think the Skins want him more.

Kyle Orton: Redskins... I think there's a good chance that if the Skins go with a QB in the draft they also get a stopgap-capable vet, and Orton is one of the best available. They fall back on Rex if they can't get another, but I think they probably can.

Ryan Tannehill: Seahawks. If they don't sign Flynn, or perhaps even if they do, they might look to a rookie and Tannehill seems possible.

Three firsts, a second, and maybe more for RG3?

Lots of people have been waiting to hear from me with bated breath on this matter. Let me just say, I oppose it wholeheartedly. I really like RG3, and he's been growing and growing on me. Had a very impressive year, you rarely hear anything negative about him (you hear question marks regarding being a Big 12 or spread offense QB, or not having been so great for as long as other people, but never really hear about things he does poorly), he's extremely athletic, incredibly well-spoken and charismatic, and by all accounts a very, very hard-worker and good leader. Super. That's great. I love the idea of the Skins having him as our QB of the future, as I've been saying all along.

That said, there's a point at which it isn't worth trading up. I'm all for being aggressive and taking some risks, but no matter how impressed you are, you can't be 100% sure RG3 is going to be a top QB in the league. Keep in mind, he isn't even the top pick this year (obviously providing the Colts still take Luck first overall and we take RG3 second, but if the trade rumors are true, that seems a foregone conclusion). Until mid-way through this past NCAA season he wasn't really even on the first round radar.

Some people say you can't put a price on a franchise quarterback. I understand that a franchise quarterback is a massively important thing to a franchise. That said, yes you can, Heath. Even ignoring the fact that you can't be positive RG3 is one, the expression is wrong in and of itself.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gregg Rosenthal's Free Agents to Avoid; or, Told You So


Top spots are occupied by Marques Colston, Pierre Garcon, and Mario Manningham, for pretty much the exact reasons I've been opposing the idea of the Skins pursuing them. To quote:

1. Marques Colston, Saints wideout

The surgeries are well documented. I’m less worried about the injury risk because Colston has only missed ten career games, including three in the last three years.

I’m more concerned that you will have to pay for his past production and that production matches up with the game’s elite receivers since 2006. You aren’t likely to get anything close to that production unless you also have Drew Brees throwing Colston the ball.

Brees’ pinpoint accuracy and trust in Colston creates a lot of plays that aren’t there because Colston doesn’t get much separation. Ultimately, he’s a possession receiver.

2-3. Pierre Garcon and Mario Manningham, wide receivers

I’m listing these two together because they are in many ways the same guy. They can look like No. 1 receivers for stretches, but they make way too many mental errors and drop too many passes to invest big money on. Those mental errors are only going to pick up from Peyton and Eli Manning.

Garcon and Manningham are borderline No. 2/3 receivers that will get paid like No. 1 receivers.

The rest of the list is pretty irrelevant to the Skins.  The #3 and 4 spots are occupied by offensive tackles Jared Gaither and Demetrius Bell, who are feasible since we likely need a new right tackle to replace Jammal Brown and UDFA Willie Smith isn't ready, but neither is really a great option and I haven't seen the Skins linked much if at all to either one. Depending on what happens with trading picks away to move up in the draft, I expect that to be the place we address the right tackle position, which would be a good move for us.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Good free agency fits for the Redskins

Carl Nicks
Evan Mathis
Ben Grubbs

Chris Meyers

My first priority in free agency is offensive guard. We need at least one guard and a tackle, and there aren't many tackles on the market, but there are some great guards. If we could get Carl Nicks, Ben Grubbs, or Evan Mathis, it would be huge. Nicks and Grubbs are a lot bigger than the typical ZBS Shanahan offensive linemen, but good enough and athletic enough despite that (especially Nicks) to excel anyway. Mathis, at just over 300, is an even better fit, though he is older and less proven. Still, any of the three would be an immediate and huge upgrade for our offensive line. I mention Meyers since he's the only center that interests me. It's not as big a need with Montgomery (and Lichtensteiger being a fit at center too), but Meyers is such a fit for the ZBS, which he has been playing in in Houston, that I felt the need to list him. I doubt it would happen since we just re-signed Montgomery, but if it did, he'd still help us out.

Brandon Carr
Courtland Finnegan
Brent Grimes

I've been harping for quite a while on how much the Skins need to upgrade at corner. With Stanford Routt off the market and Lardarius Webb a restricted free agent, that leaves these three. Grimes is older and very likely to get tagged if Atlanta doesn't reach a long-term deal with him first, so he's less likely and less of an interest, even though he had a stellar year. Brandon Carr is my top pick, both because he's good and because he's young (26). The Cowboys are closely linked to Carr. Finnegan (28) would also be a player I'd be very happy for us to get. If we can't get any of those guys, luckily the draft is actually very well-stocked with promising corners, but I'd feel good about having one less thing to focus on in the draft (if we trade up for RG3, who knows what picks and how many we'll have left?) and having corner filled with a proven commodity.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Notable impressive combine performances

Just gonna keep a sort of running tab of combine performances which really catch my eye and/or are likely to help the participant's stock a lot:

Wide Receiver
Stephen Hill (6'4, 215): 4.36 40 yard dash, 39.5" vertical leap, 14 reps of 225, 133" broad jump, 6.88 3 cone, 4.48 20 yard shuttle, 4.43 60 yd shuttle
Tommy Streeter (6'5, 219): 4.40 40, 33" vert, 17 reps, 125" broad jump, 7.08 3 cone
Chris Owusu (6', 196): 4.36 40, 40.5" vert, 19 reps, 129" broad jump, 6.85 3 cone, 4.11 20 shuttle, 11.22 60 shuttle
AJ Jenkins (6', 190): 4.39 40, 38.5" vert, 12 reps, 124" broad
Ryan Broyles (5'10, 190): 21 reps
Junior Hemingway (6'1, 225): 4.53 40, 35.5" vert, 21 reps, 124" broad, 6.59 3 cone, 3.98 20 shuttle, 11.16 60 shuttle
Kashif Moore (5'9, 180): 4.42 40, 43.5" vert, 19 reps, 126" broad, 6.82 3 cone, 4.05 20 shuttle
Jerrell Jackson (6', 192): 4.62 40, 41" vert, 22 reps, 127" broad, 6.82 3 cone, 4.11 20 shuttle, 11.08 60 shuttle
Devin Wylie (5'9, 187: 4.39, 39"v, 17 reps, 123"b

Robert Griffin III (6'2.5, 223): 4.41 40, 39" vert, 120" broad
Andrew Luck (6'4, 234):  4.67, 36"v, 124"b, 6.80 3c,  4.28 20s, 
Russell Wilson (5'11, 204): 4.55, 34"v, 118"b, 6.97 3c, 4.09 20s
Jacory Harris (6'3, 203): 4.72, 37"v, 113"b, 7.10 3c, 4.40 20s
Jordan Jefferson (6'4, 223): 4.65, 36.5"v, 14 reps, 116"b, 6.81 3c, 4.06 20s

Offensive Line
Donald Stephenson, OT (6'6, 312): 4.94 40, 35.5" vert, 19 reps, 114" broad jump, 7.52 3 cone, 4.78 20 shuttle
Adam Gettis, G (6'2, 293): 5.00, 31.5", 112" broad, 7.99 3 cone, 4.65 20 shuttle
David Molk, G (6'1, 298): 41 reps
David Decastro, G (6'5, 316): 5.43, 29.5" v, 34 reps, 98" b, 7.30 3c, 4.56 20s
Cordy Glenn, T/G (6'5, 345): 5.15, 23.5"v, 31 reps, 93" b, 8.13 3c, 5.00 20s
Matt Kalil, OT (6'7, 306): 4.99, 27"v, 30 reps, 7.33 3c, 4.65 20s

Defensive Tackles
Dontari Poe, NT (6'4, 346): 4.98 40, 29.5" vert, 44 reps, 105" broad, 7.90 c3, 4.56 20s
Loni Fangupo, DT (6'1, 323): 5.18, 31.5"v, 36 reps, 99"b, 7.94 3c, 4.62 20s 
Mike Martin, DT (6'1, 306): 4.88, 33.5"v, 36 reps, 119"b, 7.19 3c, 4.15 20s
Kenall Reyes, DT (6'4, 299): 4.95, 34.5"v, 36 reps, 113"b, 7.13 3c, 4.53 20s
Brandon Thompson, DT (6'2, 314): 31"v, 35 reps, 100"b, 7.97 3c, 4.71 20s
Fletcher Cox, DT (6'4, 298): 4.79, 26"v, 30 reps, 103"b, 7.07 3c, 4.53 20s

Defensive Ends

Bruce Irvin, DE (6'3, 245): 4.50, 33.5"v, 23 reps, 123"b, 6.70 3c, 4.03 20s
Nick Perry, DE (6'3, 271): 4.64, 38.5"v, 35 reps, 124"b, 7.25 3c, 4.66 20s
Jake Bequette, DE (6'5, 274): 4.82, 34"v, 113"b, 6.90 3c, 4.07 20s 
Whitney Mercilus, DE (6'4, 261): 4.68, 32"v, 27 reps, 118"b, 7.17 3c, 4.53 20s
Shea McClellin, DE (6'3, 260): 4.63, 31.5"v, 19 reps, 118"b, 7.07 3c, 4.33 20s

Zach Brown, OLB (6'1, 244): 4.44 40, 33.5" vert, 116" broad
Ronnell Lewis, OLB (6'2, 253): 4.68 40, 31" vert, 36 reps, 112" broad, 7.09 3c, 4.4 20s
Nigel Bradham, OLB (6'2, 241): 4.64, 37"v, 24 reps, 121"b, 7.18 3c, 4.37 20s
Demario Davis, OLB (6'2, 235): 4.61, 38.5"v, 32 reps, 124"b, 7.19 3c, 4.28 20s, 11.65 60s
Mychal Kendricks, OLB (6', 240 ): 4.47, 39.5"v, 24 reps, 127"b, 4.19 20s
Lavonte David, OLB (6'1, 233): 4.65, 31.5"v, 19 reps, 119"b, 7.28 3c, 4.22 20s
Miles Burris, OLB (6'2, 246):  37.5"v, 31 reps, 121"b
Tank Carder, ILB (6'2, 236): 4.69, 34.5"v, 19 reps, 121"b, 6.89 3c, 4.18 20s, 11.53 60s
Luke Kuechly, ILB (6'3, 242): 4.58, 38"v, 27 reps, 123"b, 6.92 3c, 4.12 20s, 11.43 60s

Josh Robinson, CB (5'10, 199): 4.33 40, 38.5" vert, 17 reps, 133" broad jump, 6.55 3 cone, 3.97 20 yard shuttle, 11.65 60 shuttle
Jamell Fleming, CB (5'11, 206): 4.53, 34"v, 23 reps, 125" broad, 6.71 3c, 3.97 20s, 10.75 60s
Stephon Gilmore, CB (6', 190): 4.40, 46"v, 15 reps, 123"b, 6.61 3c, 3.94 20s, 11.15 60s
Coty Sensabaugh, CB (5'11, 189): 4.42, 37"v, 14 reps, 122"b, 6.60 3c, 4.06 20s
Coryell Judie, CB (6', 194): 4.48, 37"v, 126"b, 7.33 3c, 4.25 20s
Justin Bethel, CB (6', 200): 4.58, 39.5"v, 19 reps, 131"b, 6.79 3c, 4.30 20s
Ron Brooks, CB (5'10, 190): 4.37, 38"v, 12 reps, 120"b
Casey Hayward, CB (5'11, 185): 4.57, 34"v, 19 reps, 119"b, 6.76 3c, 3.90 20s, 11.10 60s

Christian Thompson, FS (6', 211): 4.50, 31.5"v, 18 reps, 122"b, 7.33 3c, 4.13 20s, 11.72 60s 
George Iloka, FS (6'4, 225): 4.66, 34.5"v, 20 reps, 124"b, 7.03 3c, 4.03 20s, 11.75 60s
Corey White, SS (5'11, 206): 4.55, 37.5"v, 15 reps, 126"b, 6.72 3c, 4.22 20s
Eddie Pleasant, SS (5'10, 211): 4.63, 33.5"v, 22 reps, 116"b, 7.12 3c, 4.28 20s
Sean Richardson, SS (6'2, 216): 4.52, 38.5"v, 22 reps, 128"b, 7.01 3c, 4.44 20s

Lamar Hill (5'11, 212): 4.40 40, 33"v
Ronnie Hillman, (5'9, 200): 4.45, 37"v, 17 reps
LaMichael James, (5'8, 194): 4.45, 35"v, 15 reps, 123" broad, 6.88 3 cone, 4.12 20 yard shuttle
Chris Rainey (5'8, 180): 4.45, 36.5"v, 16 reps, 120"b, 6.50 3c, 3.93 20s, 11.06 60s
David Wilson (5'10, 206): 4.49, 41"v, 132"b, 7.09 3c, 4.12 20s, 11.59 60s
Doug Martin (5'9, 223): 4.55, 36"v, 28 reps, 120"b, 6.79 3c, 4.16 20s, 11.29 60s
Robert Turbin (5'10, 222): 4.50, 36"v, 28 reps, 122"b, 7.16 3c, 4.31 20s

Tight Ends
James Hanna (6'4, 252): 4.49, 36" vert, 24 reps, 122" broad, 6.76 3 cone, 4.11 20 shuttle, 11.43 60 shuttle
Michael Egnew (6'5, 252): 4.62, 36"v, 21 reps, 131"b, 7.03 3c, 4.32 20s, 12.07 60s
Evan Rodriguez (6'1, 239): 4.58, 36"v,  18 reps, 119"b, 6.94 3c, 4.28 20s, 11.43 60s
Drake Dunsmore (6'2, 241): 4.64, 35.5"v, 21 reps, 117"b, 6.73 3c, 4.03 20s, 11.47 60s
Orson Charles (6'2, 251): 35 reps
Ladarius Green (6'6, 238): 4.53, 34.5"v, 16 reps, 124"b, 7.12 3c, 4.47 20s, 12.08 60s

I think the list is pretty complete now. If you find any performances impressive that I have omitted, post them in the comments for me to consider, but the drills are all done and I have all the positions (no ST specialists did anything impressive in this regard), so enjoy.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quarterback priorities

There will be some more and longer posts forthcoming as we make our way deeper into and past the NFL combine, and as free agency starts to unfold. I've been following the combine to the best of my ability so far (busy weekend out of town), and am in the process of drafting myself up, both based on the combine and many other sources, lists of draft and free agency prospects in which I have interest, primarily offensive linemen right now because they (as well as tight ends, which I don't anticipate needing) are the ones at the combine so far. I'm still gathering, pruning, and researching that group, but in the process I've been giving more thought to the all-important quarterback position and want to give a quick update, sort of detailing my preferences for the Redskins QB going into next year:

1. Andrew Luck- Something of a pipe dream, perhaps, but still an idea I salivate over. I am and have been really high on Luck and if we somehow got him, I'd be thrilled.

2. Robert Griffin III- I always was intrigued with him and said I'd be fine with him in the absence of Luck, but he's really grown on me. In addition to the obvious physical ability and compatibility his mobility would provide with Shanahan's love of the bootleg, he has really, really impressed me in interviews and what I've read about him in regards to his work ethic, intelligence, and leadership. While Luck is still my draft crush of the year (Von Miller last year, Russell Okung in 2010, Brian Orakpo in 2009, and Calais Campbell in 2008), I'd be overjoyed if we ended up with RG3, especially if we don't have to sell the farm to move up in the draft to do it.

3. Ryan Tannehill- Unfortunately, his injury prevented Tannehill from participating in the Senior Bowl which Shanahan and co. coached, but he still looks like a good prospect and a good fit for the Redskins' offense. I wouldn't want him at 6, but if we could get him in the second round, that would be great, and moving up into the late-ish first round would be good too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Uploaded pictures

Handful of the  pictures I've taken at a few Skins games over the last couple years, in the slideshows to the right and bottom. Most of them aren't really edited like the Hankerson photo at the top of the page, but happy to have them accessible on here now. Check 'em out.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Quick LaRon Landry update

I know I haven't posted much recently. Partially that's due to news and updates to the Redskins, draft prospects, and the NFL in general being slower since the season ended, giving me less to talk about, and partially that's due to my being busy. I've seen a couple articles, though, dealing with Landry recently about an interview he gave, and I wanted to make note; in the past I've said I very adamantly think that the Skins should re-sign Landry but that his apparent refusal to get surgery is a huge red flag, and that it was a situation which I felt must have some more undisclosed information because it did not make sense. Well, more information has come out.

According to Landry, though the initial exam did lead to a doctor recommending surgery, second opinions had some doctors saying that it wasn't necessarily the best bet. Landry said he's opting for PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma treatment, which he had on his shoulder last year) and something I know nothing of called biological matrix to heal his Achilles. Landry says that he doesn't want to get surgery because it can require up to a year and a half of healing and doesn't necessarily ever result in full range of motion returning.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

LaRon Landry

Small update here.

One of the things with which I have received the most disagreement is my evaluation of strong safety LaRon Landry. In this "what have you done for me lately" league, I always choose to remind that Landry was the favorite to win DPOTY through the first half of 2010, prior to his season-ending injury, and even in his injury-riddled  and -slowed 2011, he was still the Redskins best defensive back.

That said, another, more in-depth analysis can be quite enlightening, and I would highly recommend the following article on Landry's value by Advanced NFL Statistics' Brian Burke on behalf of the Washington Post's Redskins Insider blog:

Burke analyzes Landry's contributions in terms of EPA (Expected Points Added) and WPA (Win Percentage Added) compared to a hypothetical league-average player. While I would highly recommend reading the article, the following is one excerpt:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A look at the Redskins Free Agents this offseason

This is a look at impending Redskins free agents with the approximate grade I would give them on their value and as players.

LB London Fletcher: A-. Grade-wise, this one is tricky. Fletcher gets an A+ as a player/team-mate. One of the smartest, most well-respected guys in the league, and incredibly productive and effective in his own right. More like a B- in value, though, because he'll be 37 before next season. Seems to have a bit left in the tank, and is tied with Ronde Barber for the longest active playing streak, having never missed a game, but his age has to catch up to him before too long. Much more valuable to the Skins, and wants to come back.

SS LaRon Landry: A- Absolute stud at SS, dominant player, game-changer when playing. A bit of a blockhead and sometimes not focused on what he needs to do which allows him to get burnt in coverage even though he has the physical ability to stay with and challenge any wide receiver, tight end, or running back in the league. Still young, raw potential to be a HoFer, but the last 2 years there have been big injury concerns. Last year he was the DPOTY through the first half but then couldn't play the second half of the season, and this year he was extremely impactful when he played but was hobbled much of his time on the field and missed more than half the season. Great player but something of a gamble with health and brain. Definitely a SS, not a FS.

TE Fred Davis: B+ Totally outstanding receiving TE who is very physically impressive and excelled despite our offensive mess. Very fast, very strong. Sometimes effective but inconsistent as a blocker. His value is hurt by the fact that he's on thin ice with drug suspensions, but helped by the fact that he's a good guy, not a head case, and is very young.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

DeAngelo Hall

I've mentioned before my desire to replace DHall in the starting lineup. Opinion on him varies as many football-savvy people consider him terrible (largely due to metrics, a lot of the time, and the way he performed at the end of his time in Atlanta and then in Oakland), with casual fans often thinking he's a great corner. Among Redskins fans, the opinions are similarly diverse with some hating him and blaming him for being childish and getting burnt (particularly by Dez Bryant, twice) and others calling him our legit #1 corner for a few years, as evidenced by his Pro Bowl berth last season. Most of what comes out from the team about him is positive about his overall abilities and play (if negative about specific games or instances).

Often the truth is somewhere in the middle, as was the case last year, in my opinion. Hall simply did not deserve to go to the pro bowl, and got there largely on the back of his 4-interception whipping of Jay Cutler. However, he was indeed a good corner for us. He's often been inconsistent, and is definitely prone to giving up big plays, but he's also had a penchant for making big plays to offset that, and is undeniably talented, both in terms of physical attributes and ball skills.

This year, however, he's simply been awful. His bad facets-- proneness to being burnt and making mistakes, occasional immaturity-- have been amplified while his positives-- ability to make huge plays, create turnovers, energize a team and change a game-- has been a fraction of what it was in past years. There have still been flashses, like his beautiful one-handed interception against the Giants in their week 15 routing (pictured to the left from this Washington Post article), but such examples have been few and far between.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Systematic, quantifiable look at Redskins' needs going forward

The Redskins Insider blog at the Washington Post put this piece up the other day.

It's a good read, as most of Burke's contributions this year have been. Sometimes his conclusions are a bit wonky but either way ti's interesting information to factor in. He uses "advanced statistics" to examine and evaluate players and teams, in this case the Estimated Win Percentage (EPA) that each player/position group gives. To excerpt his recommendations:

Assuming Fletcher and Landry are absent, the numbers would put the team’s needs in the following order: QB, OL, S, ILB, WR, CB, DL, TE, RB. Place kicker is a need as well, but it’s a position hard to slot with the others in terms of impact. It should never be a primary need, however, because the true skill of the league’s best and its replacement-level kickers are not as far apart than at the other positions.

Now, I think Fletcher is all but certain to be back and expect Landry to as well, so-- coupling that with the fact that safety woes are due much more to injury than personnel-- you can safely drop safety as a need. I would also raise cornerback and lower wide receiver because, as I've intimated, I've really lost confidence in Hall's ability to be a positive impact, and a top-notch corner would be the big missing piece in our defense. Meanwhile, even if the unit wasn't great this year, we have young guys like Leonard Hankerson(IR), Niles Paul and Terrence Austin who need a chance to show what they can do before we focus on burying them behind new options. All in all, the Skins have 5 draft picks at receiver going into their second or third year in 2012. That may or may not prove to be a good group, but either way it isn't as pressing a need right now, in my opinion. Furthermore, you have to think that with a competent quarterback throwing the ball the receiving group would've had a better showing.

Still, excepting the above and some of my espoused desire for a bottom-heavy, potato-shaped NT, my priorities are very closely in line with Burke's conclusions about the team based on EPA.He groups the DL and I think doing what I said at NT and allowing Cofield to play both NT and DE depending on package and down could be good for both positions and remove any DL need. It all depends on who is available in free agency and the draft and value, though.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Draft update

Been meaning to write up a revision based on final draft order, but haven't gotten around to it. I'm still not going to go in-depth at the moment (though hopefully soon), but to update, the Redskins are a confirmed 6th overall in the draft behind Colts, Rams, Vikings, Browns, and Bucs, in that order. Also of note, the Raiders pick 17th, and we have their 4th rounder from the Jason Campbell trade.

I was also going to mention in my update that it was starting to sound more like Landry Jones would be declaring despite my last draft post expecting otherwise, but he just announced that he is indeed returning to school, so no addendum is needed there. In other words, as predicted, it is now confirmed that Barkley and Jones are not coming out, while Luck is. Griffin is expected to but still hasn't announced one way or another.

Here's hoping that the Browns don't go QB in the first and that the talk of the Rams giving up on Bradford is meaningless, as I expect it is (both for financial and football reasons). Obviously that leaves the possibility of a Dolphins or Seahawks team trading up to be above us as well, but if someone trades up it's quite possible it would be the Redskins, as more and more people are starting to predict. I think Shanahan wants a QB for the Shanaplan and that he's willing to make moves to get him, I'm just hoping that someone else isn't willing to way overpay to take the big two before we're able to get one.

Also of note: As I've been expecting, Shanahan said he'd like to bring Fred Davis back.