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Don't be afraid to say it--the Redskins are rebuilding

Don't be afraid to say it--the Redskins are rebuilding

A reader left a comment on yesterday’s post about the Redskins not having any NFL starter caliber players under contract in the middle of their defense:
Is it time to consider using the “R” word? (rebuild!)
That is a term that hasn’t been used much in reference to the Redskins. If you asked Bruce Allen or Jay Gruden if the Redskins are rebuilding they would try to convince you otherwise.

But let’s look at the facts here:

  • The team went 3-13 last year
  • They have a new coach
  • About 20 of last year’s players are going to be free agents
  • A half dozen or more players who are under contract could get released for performance and/or salary cap reasons.
  • Allen himself said recently that he sees 20 new players on the roster and that he is disappointed in the lack of depth on the team.

If that doesn’t add up to a classic rebuilding situation, I don’t know what does.

The fact that the Redskins are rebuilding does not mean that that fans should tune out until, say, the 2016 season. For one thing, rebuilds don’t take that long in the NFL these days. No, you’re not likely to see the Redskins prepping for the Super Bowl a year from now. But some smart free agent choices (and the Redskins have some $30 million in cap space to pay for those choices) and a few hits on draft picks and they could very well be respectable and perhaps even competitive in what still should be a weak NFC East division.

One thing that the Redskins have going for them that other rebuilding teams don’t have is a quarterback. Assuming that Robert Griffin III can regain the form he showed during his rookie of the year performance in 2012—or even something close to that—the Redskins have a building block that most teams in the Redskins’ situation just don’t possess.

Griffin also has a solid running back to hand off to in Alfred Morris, a left tackle to protect his blindside in Trent Williams and a go-to receiver in Pierre Garçon. And all four of those key players are under contract for at least two more seasons.

Of course, you need more than four studs on offense to make a deep playoff run. That’s what the rebuilding is all about.

Allen and Gruden may choose to call it something else. But it it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's, well, a rebuild.

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Redskins interview another former Chargers defensive coordinator

Redskins interview another former Chargers defensive coordinator

The Redskins continue to cast a wide net in their search for a new defensive coordinator. On Thursday, they interviewed John Pagano, who was recently let go as the defensive coordinator of the Chargers.

Pagano, the brother of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, has been coaching with the Chargers since 2002. That year he started as a quality control coach and then he was the linebackers coach from 2005-2011. The Chargers fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, a current Redskins coach and another candidate to run the defense in Washington, after the 2011 season and Pagano was promoted into that job.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

In Pagano’s five seasons with the Chargers, the performance of the defense was respectable. In terms of total yards, San Diego was in the top 10 twice and only once were they ranked worse than 20th.

The Redskins fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry on January 5. The list of candidates they have interviewed includes Mike Pettine, Gus Bradley, Rob Ryan, Manusky, and Jason Tarver. They are expected to interview former Jets and Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman on Friday.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

None of the candidates they have interviewed have accepted positions with other teams so they are all still in play. There is no timetable for the team to make a decision, although the sense is that the process is coming to a close and will be concluded in the near future.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: How long is too long in the Redskins' defensive coordinator search?

Need to Know: How long is too long in the Redskins' defensive coordinator search?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 20, 97 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 40
NFL free agency starts 48
First Sunday of 2017 season 233

Will Pleasant push the defensive coordinator search to a conclusion?

Is the Redskins’ search for a defensive coordinator taking too long? Joe Barry was fired two weeks ago yesterday. The Redskins have made it clear that they want to be very thorough in their search. But taking time creates problems and one just popped up. Assistant defensive back coach Aubrey Pleasant apparently has the option to follow Sean McVay to Los Angeles. But the Redskins want to hold on to him.

The problem is that they don’t want to sign Pleasant to be, say, the cornerbacks coach and tie the hands of the incoming defensive coordinator. They already would like the new guy to keep OLB coach Greg Manusky and ILB coach Kirk Olivadotti. Locking in a third position coach might made it very hard to persuade a quality coordinator to come on board.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

However, they can’t hold Pleasant, who is a young, energetic coach who relates well to the players, back indefinitely. Presumably McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips have a bigger role in mind for him and they won’t wait forever for him to get things resolved in Washington.

But it’s not like the Pleasant situation will need to be resolved by the close of business today. We’re talking days, not hours. How many days? They could lose him due because of the Redskins’ deliberate process if it stretches into sometime early next week. I think the chances are strong that there will be a decision on the new defensive coordinator by, say, the close of business on Tuesday.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

I’ll wrap this up with a quick round of laying out the $100 in casino chips on the various defensive coordinator candidates. Things have changed since I did it on Monday. I’ll still make Greg Manusky the favorite but I’ll drop him down five bucks to $35. I’m downgrading Mike Pettine down to a $10 wager; I’ve heard that the organization was not impressed with his interview. I’m more than doubling the wager on Gus Bradley to $25. It’s been a few days since reports that the Chargers were pressing him for a decision and yet he remains in play. I’m going with $10 on Dennis Thurmon, who is from the school of the aggressive style of play that Jay Gruden is looking for. Rob Ryan gets not a cent and the remaining $20, including John Pagao, who interviewed yesterday, goes on the field.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.