June 30, 2010
Every offseason we hear all this preaching that the 'Skins need to value their draft picks and save them. By the midway point of every offseason, everyone is screaming for some player on the trading block and no one cares about the picks.
It's a vicious cycle that is occurring again this year. The 'Skins have unloaded two mid-round selections (and rightfully so) for Donovan McNabb and Jammal Brown, but how much more of the future are they willing to ship out to other teams?
The Chargers are rumored to want as much as first and third-round selections in the 2011 draft for Jackson, and Washington is in no position to give that much up.
Washington usually has a bevy of needs each offseason and that wouldn't be the case if they had more draft picks every season. Young talent sticks around longer, and the 'Skins rarely inject a ton of youth into their roster during the offseason.
The Redskins need a receiver, but to mortgage away the future isn't worth a player who might miss a good chunk of the season due to a possible suspension as a result of a DUI charge brought against him.
Jackson is a force to be reckoned with. He's big and tough. He has produced back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons and has yet to peak at 27 years old. There's a lot to like.
It's tempting to trade for Jackson, but the 'Skins should only do it if they can hang on to their draft picks. Which is unlikely.
That's why I'm calling TO to the 'Skins.
Something has to give because the current crop of receivers is not going to get the job done.
June 29, 2010
McNabb is the only player on the roster who has experience as a key component to a perennial play-off contender. Losing him can't happen if the Redskins want to make a serious push.
For starters, the depth behind McNabb is questionable at best. Rex Grossman, Colt Brennan, and Rich Bartel won't get anyone's vote of confidence. Grossman has faded since his days with the Bears while Bartel and Brennan have zero NFL starts between them.
If that's not an indicator that the season rests squarely on McNabb, then how's this?
Washington has little to boast of in terms of skill players on offense. They have one of the worst receiving corps in the league, and a stable full of has-beens at running back.
However, all those players become a whole lot better with McNabb under center. In Philadelphia, McNabb led the Eagles to three straight NFC Championships throwing to the likes of Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell, and James Thrash.
McNabb will elevate the play of the entire offense and give them something to believe in. Never in the past ten seasons has any QB been able to give the Redskins confidence that they can score 20+ points a game on a consistent basis. McNabb gives them that confidence.
Washington has been offensively challenged for much of the past decade, but with McNabb they finally have a QB who finds ways to make plays and score points. McNabb isn't without faults, but for the first time in what seems like forever, the Redskins have a leader they can depend on.
So long as he stays healthy.
2. The Offensive Line's Chemistry
This is essentially key 1a.
The offensive line's performance goes hand-in-hand with McNabb's health. If they can keep him upright, then consider their job done.
After several major injuries, McNabb can't move like he used to. He is aging and won't be able to take the pounding of a 46-sacks allowed season like the Redskins had last year.
Fortunately, the Redskins actually addressed their offensive line this offseason, bringing in six new linemen, including first-round pick Trent Williams and veteran Jammal Brown.
Williams and Brown will play left and right tackle respectively while free agent pickup Artis Hicks will play right guard. Casey Rabach and Derrick Dockery are holdovers from last season. Rabach will play center and Dockery, left guard.
The primary concern will be Williams at left tackle. Thus far, he has drawn rave reviews for how quickly he's adjusted to the pro game, but he will be lining up against a ton of big name pass rushers, i.e. Dwight Freeney, Trent Cole, Jared Allen, Demarcus Ware, etc.
With those nightmare matchups coming nearly every week, Williams will have to adapt quickly or the Redskins might have to have Brown move from the right side over to the left.
Overall, the line is light years ahead of last year's edition, and it doesn't hurt that Shanahan is a blocking whiz. His zone blocking schemes have long been the key to his success and it will be again this year.
3. The Transition to the 3-4 Defense
The Redskins were ranked 10th in total defense last season, but the numbers fail to tell the whole story.
Former defensive coordinator Greg Blache failed to make the most of his talent, employing an ultra-conservative 4-3 front that featured vanilla blitz packages and soft cover schemes.
Washington played tentatively on the defensive side; scared to give up a big plays. The results were not pretty to watch.
Not only did the secondary suffer several horrendous breakdowns in coverage in the second half of the season, but opposing teams averaged a 40 percent conversion rate on third downs.
The secondary's uninspired effort was the main cause for the defense struggling to get off the field on third downs. Too many times we saw a ten-yard cushion on a third-and-five.
Blache was fired at the end of 2009, and now the Redskins are turning to Jim Haslett and the 3-4 defense.
The 3-4 is presently in vogue in the National Football League. Everyone is using it to combat the pass-first trend that is taking offenses by storm. Thus, the 'Skins turn to Haslett, hoping to successfully adopt the 3-4.
Haslett has experience with the 3-4. He ran it in Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and at points in St. Louis. His version emphasizes versatility and aggressive play, something the Redskins are in desperate need of.
A major switch in defensive philosophies won't easy to undergo in just one offseason, but initial reports reveal that the Redskins are loving the new format after wasting away in Blache's system.
Guys particularly in need of a rebirth are safety LaRon Landry and corner Carlos Rogers. Both are better suited to an aggressive style, and Landry is moving back to his more natural strong safety position.
The front seven features a bevy of talented linebackers. London Fletcher is still unsure of who will team up with him in the middle, but the Redskins have a host of outside linebackers led by youngster Brian Orakpo who is coming off an 11 sack rookie campaign.
Yet the biggest key to a 3-4 is the nose tackle. Washington has to be hoping that Albert Haynesworth decides to show up ready to play because without him, the Redskins might not have another dominant force in the middle who demands constant attention.
The new scheme is a bold move, but it's one that should add some excitement to the defensive unit. The defense lost its edge in 2009, and it's up to this new tenacious style to bring that swagger back.
4. Consistency at Wide Receiver
June 28, 2010
June 26, 2010
June 22, 2010
Trent Williams guarantees he won't miss more than a day of camp. This guy sounds committed to showing up and playing hard. I like it.
On the other end of the spectrum, Albert Haynesworth is being sued by a Tennessee bank for failing to pay back a loan they gave him in 2007. Is there anyone who hasn't been screwed over by this guy? That's the second lawsuit filed against him in a month.
My take on the Jammal Brown trade and how it helps Donovan McNabb.
The 'Skins also added former Mr. Irrelevant, cornerback Ramzee Robinson over the weekend. If he even makes the team it will be as a special teamer.
Bruce Allen may not be the primary personnel evaluator, but he knows how to manage a cap and run a team professionally. He proved that by reaching out to the legends of the past this past week with the Redskins Alumni Charity Golf Tournament and also hosting them at practice last week.
Truly great to see the 'Skins associating themselves with guys who made the franchise relevant.
Patience in the Brown deal was the key according to Rich Tandler.
And predictions on the Redskins' 53-man roster for 2010.
June 19, 2010
Trent Williams and Jammal Brown can play either OT position. But plan will be to start with Williams at LT and Brown at RT. Could change.
So maybe the Redskins were simply concerned with the right side of the line. I initially thought that they might have decided that Williams would be better off on the right side. However, for now it appears that the 'Skins just wanted someone other than Stephon Heyer or Artis Hicks at RT.
The Twitter universe has just started some buzz that the Washington Redskins have traded for New Orleans Saints' tackle Jammal Brown. Jeff Duncan from the New Orleans Times-Picayune first reported the potential deal. However, the trade has not yet been confirmed and compensation for the Saints is uncertain (probable conditional draft pick).
Before sitting out last season with a sports hernia, Brown was a stud left tackle in New Orleans who protected Drew Brees en route to his 5,000 yard passing season in 2008.
Brown, a five-year veteran is a two-time Pro Bowler. He is only 29 so it appears the Redskins have taken a huge step forward in solidifying the offensive line, which has been far and away the biggest concern over the past two years.
Since Brown plays left tackle, it could mean the Redskins are considering using rookie first round pick Trent Williams at right tackle. Williams was projected by many before the draft as a right tackle.
Also, Adam Schefter reported Albert Haynesworth is probably not involved in the trade
More to come as it unfolds.
Update: Jay Glazer from Fox Sports tweeted the news officially moments ago. It's Brown to the 'Skins, pending a physical. Brown just landed in DC. A conditional pick based on Brown's performance in 2010 is what the 'Skins are rumored to be giving up.
Yet another explosive offseason move. Even with Shanny, the 'Skins have made two huge trades.
June 18, 2010
LB- Perry Riley (4th-round)
WR/KR-Terrence Austin (7th-round)
FB/TE-Dennis Morris (6th-round), T-Selvish Capers (7th-round), OL-Erik Cook (7th-round)
That leaves just first-round tackle Trent Williams as the only draftee unsigned.
Williams fired his agent earlier this week and he won't be able to hire another until next week, meaning he might not even begin negotiating for another few days.
Obviously, it's imperative Williams gets into camp on time to keep up. We'll see how committed he is to making football his first priority.
Elsewhere, LB Rocky McIntosh signed his tender. He wants a long-term deal to stay in DC, but so far nothing doing. I would bet the 'Skins want to see how he will fit into the 3-4 be it outside or inside.
Carlos Rogers is the only RFA who has yet to sign his tender.
Justin Medlock was cut this week, leaving Graham Gano as the lone kicker on the roster.
How about a contract buyout in the Haynesworth case? I think Albert is going to try and leave with every penny so that could be difficult.
Rich Tandler gives us an offseason in review for the 'Skins.
And I you all a little preview of how I think the 'Skins will fare this season on nfl.com.
June 17, 2010
Vonnie Holliday, Adam Carriker, Ma'ake Kemoeatu, Anthony Bryant and Howard Green are amongst the new faces who will be hunkering down up front in the Redskins new 3-4 scheme.
None of these players come close to the talent Haynesworth possesses, but they all are aware that if they play in their specific roles according to defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's new scheme, good things will happen.
The 'Skins are widely expected to use a 3-4 as their base defense, which means the defensive line must be strong at the point of attack. Sacks and gaudy stats aren't the objective for the group. Their goal will be to fill gaps and occupy bodies at the line of scrimmage, leaving the linebackers free to stop the run or rush the passer.
The new Redskins defense could best be described as organized chaos. The front seven must create as much havoc as possible in the hope of forcing more turnovers and sacks. The defensive line in this scheme must give the linebackers plenty of open field to work with.
Haynesworth would give Washington the perfect body to anchor the line, but since Haynesworth seems completely against sacrificing his stats, he likely won't play at the nose tackle position.
Haynesworth refuses to play in a 3-4 because aside from Richard Seymour and Jay Ratliff, there are almost zero defensive linemen in a 3-4 who post high sack totals. Haynesworth doesn't want to be a space-eater, he wants to make plays.
Fortunately, the Redskins prepared for life without Fat Albert this offseason. Kemoeatu and Green both have experience playing the nose tackle position, both having learned the 3-4 under the guidance of defensive guru Rex Ryan.
Granted, neither player can measure up to Haynesworth yet both have a work ethic and a team-first mentality.
Assuming Kemoeatu fully recovers from an Achilles injury that forced him to miss the 2009 season, he will start at nose tackle. However, the defensive line is expected to consist of a rotation of players each week.
Holliday and Carriker are both prototypical defensive ends for a 3-4. Holliday is a grizzled vet who has the size (6-5, 285) to hold the edge for whichever linebacker lines up to his outside. He will split time with Kedric Golston at one DE spot
Carriker was projected to be a 3-4 end out of Nebraska and though the former first-round selection has yet to meet expectations, he is only entering his fourth year as a pro. Injuries are a huge concern, but should he remain healthy, Carriker will be able to draw frequent double teams with his 300-pound frame.
The other end who will see time is longtime Redskin Phillip Daniels. Daniels is respected in the locker room and having his presence is vital to keeping the players in sync. On the field, he is still a contributor coming into his 16th season.
Daniels is another guy who will command attention with his size (6-6, 305), giving the Redskins four players who should combine to help control the line of scrimmage.
Throw in youngster Rob Jackson who saw some playing time last year, and Washington has to feel confident that they will have a good defensive line anchoring the 3-4.
Three down linemen don't have to rack up sacks. All Carriker, Holliday and the rest of the unit must do is create opportunities for the rest of the defense.
Should Haynesworth play, it could only get better, but at this point Washington has to feel that they don't have to have him on the field in order to win.
June 16, 2010
After all, Haynesworth has shown little to no commitment to the Redskins' organization since inking a deal that guaranteed him over $40 million.
Throw in the fact that it is now the norm for disgruntled stars to make every effort to avoid training camp and all offseason activities (see Brett Favre and Darrelle Revis), and we shouldn't be batting an eyelash over this.
Haynesworth doesn't care for preparation nor does he care to play in a 3-4. He has shown little interest in being a team player, and has done nothing to prove to Mike Shanahan that he will improve upon last year's uneven performance.
Haynesworth is an enigma for several reasons. The 'Skins would love to be rid of him, but Haynesworth has already claimed a huge portion of his guaranteed dollars and might be too talented to outright cut.
Upside is the name of the game in this scenario. If Washington believes that Haynesworth's production will be worth his belly-aching, then they will keep him around. Add in the fact that they have already shelled out big money for his services, and the 'Skins might feel inclined to keep him.
On the other hand, Haynesworth was blasted by his teammates today, a sign that the players are no longer willing to tolerate his selfish demeanor in the locker room.
Haynesworth's lack of involvement with the team is well documented. The Post's Redskins Insider has a great excerpt on just how invisible Haynesworth has been:
"Haynesworth missed all but one day of Coach Mike Shanahan's 47-day voluntary program, including six days of minicamps, 13 organized team activities and 28 days designated for lifting, according to a copy of the team's offseason schedule. In March, he attended Shanahan's introductory session to inform him he planned to train on his own."
That's pretty bad in today's NFL where coaches demand near perfect attendance for offseason activities.
However, Haynesworth is incredibly talented and the Redskins know this. They will lose big time if they cut him or trade him at this point.
However, will they lose even more in terms of team chemistry should Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan decide to keep him around?
June 9, 2010
Furrey pulled in 98 passes for 1086 yards in 2006 with the Lions, but has caught just 102 balls in the three years following 2006 (61 of those came in 2007).
Furrey has spent most of his career under the direction of offensive guru Mike Martz. Furrey began his career in St Louis with Martz, and then followed him to Detroit after Martz was fired from the Rams.
Martz is known for his vertical passing schemes, and Furrey benefitted as a slot receiver over the middle as guys like Roy Williams, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Clavin Johnson drew safety help deep, leaving Furrey free to operate underneath.
Furrey played with the Browns last season catching 23 passes for 170 and zero TDs. He also spent time at the safety position in Cleveland.
Ryan was the biggest name cut today by head coach Mike Shanahan. He signed a contract earlier this offseason to compete for time as a blocking tight end.