Mike Shanahan thinks that the Redskins have come a long way since he took over as head coach. However, we are not seeing the results on the field yet because the team started from a deep hole.
The Redskins are 14-27 since Shanahan came in before the 2010 season with full control over player personnel. When asked why we see many NFL teams that are able to bring in a new coach and make the playoffs in a year or two while the Redskins have not been even in playoff contention in the second half of Shanahan’s three seasons.
“We were an older football team and we didn’t have a lot of draft choices,” said Shanahan. “When you don’t have a lot of players, when you don’t have depth through the draft and you cut all of those old players that mean’s you’re starting over again.”
Shanahan said that the Redskins released players with combined contracts worth “well over $100 million”. He noted that none of the players they released were picked up by other teams.
“That means you’ve gotten a little bit old,” he said.
“We started over again. Offense, defense. You take a look at the offense, there’s not one player who was here two years ago.”
Shanahan believes that the team is headed in the right direction and they are doing it the right way. “We’ve tried to do it through the draft and free agency, get a lot younger, get the right players and I see some tremendous strides.”
The Redskins were the oldest team in the league in 2009.
Just one season removed from an 11-sack campaign, the Browns released edge rusher Paul Kruger. Lacking depth at the outside linebacker position after the Junior Galette injury in July, Kruger might make sense in Washington.
Kruger signed with the Browns in 2013 for a big-money contract (5 years/$40 million) after a successful start to his career with the Ravens. In Baltimore, Kruger rushed the quarterback opposite Terrell Suggs, freeing him up for 15.5 sacks in four years. His breakout season came in 2012, when the Ravens won the Super Bowl and Kruger logged nine sacks.
While he never lived up to the money in Cleveland, Kruger did have a strong year in 2014 when he totaled 11 sacks. Last year, however, his sack total dropped to just 2.5, leaving few surprised by his release from the Browns.
What happens next for Kruger will be interesting. At 30-years-old, the former second-round pick out of Utah likely still has good football left, and could be available to a team on a one-year, incentive type deal.
Specifically in Washington, GM Scot McCloughan may be interested to inquire about Kruger. Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith are top-form outside linebackers, but after that, the Redskins roster boasts few sure things at the position. Trent Murphy is capable, not spectacular, and the fourth OLB spot could be manned by a player like Houston Bates or Lynden Trail. Even in a diminished role, Kruger can compete with the group behind Kerrigan and Smith.
Some on the Redskins staff hinted while in Richmond that the team would look outside the organization for help on the edge as cuts started to happen around the league. Kruger is just one name - and there will be plenty more - but he's a name that has some intrigue.
MORE REDSKINS: TIME TO BRING BACK POT ROAST?
When Terrance Knighton signed with the Patriots this offseason, word was the Redskins tried to talk him into staying in Washington up until the last minute. The man affectionately known as "Pot Roast" gave the 'Skins some good play at nose tackle in 2015, and the team and fans liked Knighton. But the big man with 96 career starts in seven years as a pro chose to go home to New England.
The Redskins, however, may get the chance to bring back Knighton after all.
Knighton has dealt with weight issues throughout his NFL career as well as debilating cluster headaches that forced him to miss games and practice time. In 2015, Knighton played well at times for the Redskins, but was not the high-impact player that he demonstrated with the Broncos in 2014. With the Redskins, Pro Football Focus rated Knighton at +5.7, good, but down significantly from his +18.7 in Denver in 2014.
MORE REDSKINS: WHO WILL MAKE THE 53-MAN ROSTER?
That said, Knighton would likely be a welcome addition for Washington. The team lacks a true nose tackle, and at 6-foot-2 and 300 lbs., Knighton fits the role well. Further, Knighton knows the players - especially his best friend from childhood Chris Baker - the coaches and the scheme.
Stopping the run cold be a problem for Washington this fall, and while Pot Roast will not change that on his own, he can be a good piece of a defensive line rotation. That assumes, though, that Knighton is in shape and ready to play. Pro Football Focus shows that Knighton has played 36 snaps this preseason, though he did not play New England's last preseason game against the Panthers.
The process of acquiring Bryan Stork has not been easy. After agreeing to a trade with New England for a conditional seventh-round pick, the former Patriots center was unsure if he wanted to be traded to the Redskins. Saturday, Stork relented, and said he looked forward to coming to Washington.
His stay won't last long. Chris Cooley reported the news first.
Stork's failed physical means the Redskins will not get the boost to their interior offensive line the club hoped for when they made the trade for the former Florida State center. Kory Lichtensteiger had a rough game Friday night in a win over the Bills, and while the veteran center likely would have retained his starting spot even with Stork on the team, GM Scot McCloughan preaches competition at every position. Stork's arrival would have brought that. Good news for Washington is that the team will get back their draft pick.
MORE REDSKINS: WHO WILL MAKE THE 53-MAN ROSTER?
For Stork, this could signal the end of the line. With four concussions in two seasons and now a failed physical, it makes sense why the 25-year-old was so seriously contemplating retirement after just two seasons in the league.
As a rookie in 2014, Stork started 11 games and played in a Super Bowl. The 2015 season Stork was limited to just six starts. The trend for 2016 looks like even less.