...of course I did not get back in time to post, that indeed I took the Penguins tonight. Oh well, those of you that hate my guts can take pleasure that if the Caps come back and win, I lose another NHL par.
WR Devery Henderson, WR Donte' Stallworth, OT Jeremy Trueblood, DE Darryl Tapp, CB E.J. Biggers.
Early Draft Picks:
CB David Amerson, TE Jordan Reed, S Phillip Thomas, RB Chris Thompson, DE/OLB Brandon Jenkins. Redskins Rookie Forecast Offseason Losses:
OT Jammal Brown, DE/OLB Lorenzo Alexander, CB Cedric Griffin, CB D.J. Johnson, S Madieu Williams.
2013 Washington Redskins Offense:
All in for Week 1. That's the slogan Robert Griffin has adopted as he prepares to make it back for the season opener after tearing his ACL and LCL in a playoff loss to the Seahawks. There's no denying that the Redskins need Griffin on the field. Backup Kirk Cousins managed to complete nearly 69 percent of his passes in the regular season, but he looked lost when asked to take the field versus Seattle. Griffin, on the other hand, is a dynamic play-maker. He threw 20 touchdowns to just five interceptions as a rookie, completed almost 66 percent of his passes and rushed for 815 yards and seven scores on the ground. It's so difficult to stop him because he's such a pure dual threat.
Unfortunately, Griffin's weakness is his durability, or lack thereof. It wasn't a surprise in the least that he suffered multiple injuries during his rookie campaign. He's so brittle that it was bound to happen - and will likely happen again this upcoming season. There's such a small chance that Griffin will make it through all 16 games - even if he starts in the opener - so Cousins needs to be prepared to step in once again.
It would help if the Redskins upgraded the one major liability on the offensive line. That would be right tackle Tyler Polumbus, who surrendered eight sacks in 2012. The Redskins, however, didn't do anything to fix this spot, save for signing two bums as free agents: Jeremy Trueblood and Tony Pashos. It's crazy to say this, but Trueblood and Pashos are actually less talented than Polumbus.
Having said that, the other four positions up front are pretty strong. Blind-side protector Trent Williams can cut down on the penalties (8), but he allowed just two sacks last season. Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger has the same issue (10 infractions), but he's a solid pass protector. Right guard Chris Chester and center Will Montgomery are also very skilled; they each gave up only one sack each in 2012.
Both the talent up front and Griffin's threat as a runner open up so many opportunities for Alfred Morris. The rookie back seemingly came out of nowhere last year. He beat out Roy Helu and Evan Royster as the starter and then proceeded to rush for 1,610 yards and 13 touchdowns. Morris won't be as effective without Griffin - he gained just 3.2 yards per carry against the lowly Browns in the one contest that Griffin missed - so he'll need his starting quarterback to stay healthy if he wants to approach the 1,600-yard mark again.
As for the other skill-position players, there's not much to speak of. Griffin and Pierre Garcon worked well when they were on the field together, but that could be rare going forward, seeing as how they are both highly injury-prone. Garcon is still bothered by the torn ligament in his foot, so he's obviously not a good bet to last all 16 games. If he can't go, it'll be up to Josh Morgan and Leonard Hankerson to start outside again with Santana Moss still manning the slot. All three of those wideouts are incredibly mediocre, and their stats show it; they each accumulated between 510 and 573 yards in 2012.
Another hobbled skill player is tight end Fred Davis, who is coming off a torn Achilles. Davis signed a 1-year, "prove it" deal worth $2.5 million at the end of March. He could take the field at some point in 2013, but he won't be close to 100 percent. If that's the case, rookie tight end Jordan Reed will have to take on a relatively large part in the offense.
2013 Washington Redskins Defense:
Considering how decimated Washington's defense was last season, coordinator Jim Haslett did a tremendous job. The Redskins limited four of their final seven regular-season opponents to 20 points or fewer, which was a remarkable feat given how banged up the entire unit was.
It all started in Week 2 when two players in the front seven, Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker, suffered season-ending injuries. The former going down was infinitely more detrimental, given that he's one of the top pass-rushers in the NFL. Orakpo being out of the lineup left second-year Ryan Kerrigan to be the only player who could consistently get to the quarterback. Kerrigan registered 8.5 sacks, but no other Redskin had more than 4.5. The team as a hole finished the season with 32.
Carriker's absence also negatively impacted the pass rush. He's no Orakpo or anything, but he did muster five sacks in 2011 - a decent number for a 3-4 defensive end. Jarvis Jenkins, chosen in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, replaced Carriker. While he was solid in run support, he wasn't even close to being the same sort of pass-rusher; Jenkins failed to accumulate a single sack. In fact, the starting trio of Jenkins, Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen notched 3.5 sacks the entire year. Like Jenkins, Bowen helped stuff the run, but considering how pass-happy the entire NFL is right now, lacking a potent pass-rushing presence like Carriker up front really hurt.
That's all in the past, however. Both Orakpo and Carriker are back, meaning that for the time being, Haslett doesn't have to devise crazy blitzing schemes to cover up the glaring deficiencies and injuries in the secondary. The front office still felt that it needed to add upgrades, however, as it spent two early selections on defensive backs. The first was cornerback David Amerson, who was regarded as a top-10 prospect a year ago. He was torched consistently in 2012 though, which prompted his fall in the ensuing draft. Perhaps the coaching staff will be able to get the most out of him.
Amerson will have some time to learn, as he'll play behind DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson in his rookie campaign. Wilson performed well last season, while Hall was cut in the middle of March and then re-signed to a 1-year deal in April. Hall has been overrated for quite some time now; he always seems to post a high interception total, but he gets torched in coverage more often than not.
The second early-round rookie is safety Philip Thomas. Finding some help at this position was much more crucial; one of the starters, Brandon Meriweather, is incredibly brittle. He played just one game last year. He was out for quite some time and then came back in Week 11, only to tear his ACL. He's currently slated to start next to the pedestrian Reed Doughty, but Thomas can break into the lineup with a strong camp and preseason.
Speaking of young players taking over, the Redskins better hope that 2012 fourth-rounder Keenan Robinson can develop because long-time veteran London Fletcher was awful in the middle of Washington's defense last season. Fletcher should have retired, but he's currently penciled in as a starter next to Perry Riley, who's a pretty decent defender.
2013 Washington Redskins Schedule and Intangibles:
The Redskins have an awesome fan base, which makes it strange that they are just 12-21 as hosts the past four years. They were just 5-4 in 2012, compared to 5-3 on the road.
Washington has a weak kickoff return specialist (Niles Paul), but their punt returner, Richard Crawford, did a decent job at the end of the year. The Redskins covered well.
Kai Forbath proved himself as a viable solution at kicker. He nailed 17-of-18 tries in 11 games, including 11-of-11 from 40-49. He hit his only attempt from 50-plus.
Sav Rocca isn't a very good punter. He ranked near the bottom in net average and attempts inside the 20.
The Redskins don't have that difficult of a schedule. They battle five teams that made the playoffs last year: Green Bay, Minnesota, Denver, Atlanta and San Francisco. Outside of that, they have several easy contests against the Raiders, Chargers, Lions, Chiefs and other teams of that nature.
2013 Washington Redskins Rookies:
Go here for the Redskins Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.
2013 Washington Redskins Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
2013 Washington Redskins Analysis: The Redskins' 2013 season solely depends on Robert Griffin. If he can make it back on time and stay healthy for most of the year, Washington will probably be in the playoffs. If, however, Griffin is constantly in and out of the lineup, it's likely that some other team will win the division. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like there's a good chance that Griffin will make it through the 2013 campaign unscathed.
Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Redskins are missing their first-round pick because of the Robert Griffin trade. This is unfortunate because they're desperate for some help in their secondary. A receiver must also be obtained because Griffin doesn't have much to work with outside of Pierre Garcon.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Considering that Washington didn't have a first-round pick to work with, the front office did a solid job of finding players who could improve the roster.
The Redskins were desperate for secondary help going into the weekend, which is why they acquired three defensive backs to help them stop Eli Manning. I wasn't a big fan of David Amerson in the second round, but Phillip Thomas (No. 119) and Bacarri Rambo (No. 191) were both tremendous steals. Thomas was taken a round later than expected, while Rambo could have easily gone off the board 100 selections earlier.
I didn't like two of Washington's picks. Jordan Reed was a luxury selection, while Chris Thompson was just unnecessary, especially when the team obtained Jawan Jamison two rounds later. Still, the Redskins undoubtedly improved their chances of repeating as NFC East champions by bolstering their defensive backfield.
2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
51. David Amerson, DB, N.C. State: C+ Grade
David Amerson had an outstanding 2011 campaign and was once considered a top-15 prospect. And then 2012 happened. Amerson was picked on quite often. He probably should have been chosen in the third round, but he does fill a big need, regardless of whether Washington plans on using him at corner or safety.
85. Jordan Reed, TE, Florida: C Grade
I don't think the Redskins have enough selections to make a luxury pick like this. Jordan Reed doesn't fill a need whatsoever, but he'll be an intriguing long-term weapon for Robert Griffin. However, Washington's secondary is terrible and is in desperate need of several upgrades.
119. Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State: A Grade
I'm positive I mocked Phillip Thomas to the Redskins in the third round, so he's a slight steal in the middle of the fourth frame. Thomas is a versatile safety, which is exactly what Washington needs considering Brandon Meriweather's injury concerns.
154. Chris Thompson, RB, Florida State: C- Grade
Surprise, surprise, Mike Shanahan used a late-round pick on a running back. I don't know anyone who considered Chris Thomas a draftable prospect, but I don't want to be one to question a Shanahan running back pick.
162. Brandon Jenkins, DE/OLB, Florida State: B+ Grade
The Redskins found out the hard way how important rush linebacking depth is when Brian Orakpo went down in Week 2 last year. Brandon Jenkins is coming off an injury of his own (foot), but he'll provide a solid Plan B in the event of another player getting hurt.
191. Bacarri Rambo, S, Georgia: A Grade
The Redskins did a great job of coming away with two steals at the safety position on Day 3. Bacarri Rambo should have gone in the third or fourth round. Washington will love his instinctive play.
228. Jawan Jamison, RB, Rutgers: A Grade
Another running back? You don't say! Jawan Jamison was given a third-round grade from the draft advisory committee. He fell because he's a small back with a slow 40, but he plays faster than his 4.6. This is not a need, but I love the value here in the middle of Round 7.
Well, the ride was fun while it lasted. Robert Griffin had an exhilarating rookie campaign which saw him help lead the team to seven consecutive victories to close out the regular season. Unfortunately, Griffin tore his ACL and LCL in a playoff loss to the Seahawks, and it's unclear if he'll be ready in September.
Redskins sign WR Devery Henderson
Redskins sign WR Donte' Stallworth
Redskins sign QB Pat White
Redskins re-sign QB Rex Grossman
Redskins re-sign CB DeAngelo Hall
Redskins re-sign TE Fred Davis
Redskins sign DE Darryl Tapp
Redskins sign CB E.J. Biggers
Redskins re-sign OT Tyler Polumbus
Redskins re-sign ILB Bryan Kehl
Redskins sign OT Jeremy Trueblood
Cardinals sign DE/OLB Lorenzo Alexander
Redskins re-sign P Sav Rocca
Redskins re-sign DE/DT Kedric Golston
Redskins cut CB DeAngelo Hall
Redskins tender NT Chris Baker
Redskins re-sign DE/OLB Rob Jackson
Redskins re-sign FB Darrel Young
Redskins cut CB D.J. Johnson
Two Safeties: Washington's secondary is an absolute mess. Help is needed everywhere, including both safety positions. Madieu Williams is a mediocre free agent, while Brandon Meriweather can't ever get healthy enough to see the field. Drafted Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo
Two Cornerbacks: Two cornerbacks must also be added. Josh Wilson is just OK, while DeAngelo Hall and Cedric Griffin are set to hit free agency (Hall was cut in March). Luckily, there will be plenty of corners available in Round 2. Signed DeAngelo Hall and E.J. Biggers; drafted David Amerson
Right Tackle: The biggest hole on Washington's front is easily right tackle. Jammal Brown is always hurt, while backup Tyler Polumbus performed miserably in his absence. Signed Tony Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood; re-signed Tyler Polumbus
Inside Linebacker: Keenan Robinson barely played last year, so the Redskins don't really know if he'll be able to play alongside Perry Riley once London Fletcher calls it a career. London Fletcher to return
Left Guard: Another offensive line upgrade is needed here. Kory Lichstensteiger, who isn't very good, happens to be a free agent. Re-signed Kory Lichtensteiger
Wide Receiver: Robert Griffin loved depending on Pierre Garcon, but he needs other weapons to work with. Santana Moss turns 34 in June. Signed Donte' Stallworth and Devery Henderson
Rush Linebacker: The Redskins will need depth behind Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan if Rob Jackson leaves via free agency. Re-signed Rob Jackson; drafted Brandon Jenkins
Punter: Sav Rocca's contract is going to expire in March, but he needed to be upgraded anyway. Re-signed Sav Rocca
Defensive Line: With Kedric Golston and Chris Baker set to hit free agency, Washington should acquire some depth in this area. Re-signed Kedric Golston; tendered Chris Baker
2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
E.J. Biggers, CB, Buccaneers. Age: 26. Signed with Redskins
E.J. Biggers took over for a suspended Aqib Talib in Week 6 and played surprisingly well in coverage. He's a liability in run support, however.
Jeremy Trueblood, OT, Buccaneers. Age: 30. -- Signed with Redskins
Darryl Tapp, DE, Eagles. Age: 28. -- Signed with Redskins
Devery Henderson, WR, Saints. Age: 31. -- Signed with Redskins
Donte' Stallworth, WR, Patriots. Age: 32. -- Signed with Redskins
Washington Redskins Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Darrel Young (RFA), FB, Redskins. Age: 26. Re-signed with Redskins (3 years)
Darrel Young is one of the better fullbacks in the NFL. He was a terrific lead blocker for Alfred Morris this past season.
DeAngelo Hall is a pretty overrated player. He's viewed by many as a top corner because of his high interception totals, but his tendency to get torched frequently is overlooked. Hall is also often penalized. He does make plays though, so he's a decent starter, but nothing more.
Fred Davis, TE, Redskins. Age: 27. Signed with Redskins (1 year)
Already an overrated player, Fred Davis tore his Achilles in October. He won't be completely healthy next year.
Rob Jackson, DE/OLB, Redskins. Age: 27. Re-signed with Redskins (1 year)
A former seventh-round pick, Rob Jackson made the most of his opportunity when Brian Orakpo went down with a season-ending injury. Jackson was solid in coverage.
Kory Lichtensteiger, G, Redskins. Age: 28.
Kory Lichtensteiger was OK at times when blocking for Robert Griffin, but he was penalized 10 times in 2012, which is a ridiculous amount.
Jammal Brown, OT, Redskins. Age: 32.
Jammal Brown missed all of 2012 with a hip injury. He's always been injury-prone, and at 32 (in March), he can't be counted on as a starter anymore.