It's been a while since we've done fan questions and you submitted some good ones to me on Twitter at @Rich_TandlerCSN and on the Real Redskins Facebook page. Let's jump right in.
What do u think is the biggest need atm and what'll be the draftapproach? Best available or need? #RedskinsTalk @Rich_TandlerCSN
— Ralf Peeters (@RalfPeeters) March 18, 2014
I got lots of draft questions, this is a good one to represent them. Right now, the biggest need is another safety but they won't wait for the draft to get that lined up. The answer is best available but it is important to note that the determination of what is best available is shaped by need. "Best" doesn't just mean the player's talents, it means a fit into the scheme and, yes, what the team needs. A running back, for example, is unlikely to emerge as the best available player when their pick comes up at No. 34 or in the third round at No. 66 because they don't need to take a running back that high.
That's a fair question and the answer is that we are going to have to see. I'm not going to dismiss the "handcuffed" argument out of hand. To me it makes no sense to have two first-round draft picks as your primary pass rushers and then not use them as pass rusher as often as they did. Until I see otherwise, I'll accept that that was Mike Shanahan's doing; he talked all the time about how he was involved in the defense. On a dry erase board, the defense can be better. We won't find out how it will translate on the field until September.
@Rich_TandlerCSN With Meriweather signed, if Ryan Clark signs, means no room for Doughty, right? #RedskinsTalk
— Steve in TN ™ (@sdo1) March 18, 2014
I would not rule out Doughty even though, as far as has been reported, nobody on the Redskins has contacted him about a new contract and that's with Clark's status being very much up in the air. But if Clark does come on board it's going to be difficult to find a spot for Doughty. With both starters at safety on the far side of 30 they would have to allow room for Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo, Jose Gumbs and a potential draft pick to develop. Unless they go out in OTAs and don't like what they see from the younger players, Doughty is unlikely to return.
RG3, RG3, and RG3. Next question. OK, seriously, while it's hard to overemphasize how important a Griffin return to something near 2012 form is, more needs to go right if this team is going to have a big turnaround. Just to pick two more among several issues, I'd say they need to rush the opposing passer better and the special teams need to improve to something near the league average. Note: I'm working on the assumption here that Griffin can't improve unless his protection improves. And also, in mid March, I would not completely dismiss the Redskins' chances of competing for the title in what is still, despite all of the free agency activity by the Giants and Eagles, a very weak NFC East.
@Rich_TandlerCSN which 2012 draft pick(s) has the best shot of earning a starting spot on the offensive line? #RedskinsTalk
— Rémy LeBeau (@Lil_Tem) March 18, 2014
I would say it's probably Adam Gettis. He has bulked up to around 315 and if he is given a fair shot he will have a chance to beat out Chris Chester at guard. Tom Compton could have a shot but their pursuit of Donald Penn doesn't indicate a great deal of confidence in him. Josh LeRibeus was going to get a shot at starting last year but he showed up out of shape and I'm not sure they will trust him again.
#RedskinsTalk hey Rich..any progress or word on field turf? Thanks
— HTTR (@Lifelongskinfan) March 18, 2014
The word on field turf is no. It is not happening, at least not anytime soon. Bruce Allen favors natural grass and Dan Snyder is inclined to follow his recommendation. And I agree--a well-maintained grass field is far, far preferable to playing on field turf. What happened in 2012, when for some inexplicable reason they failed to re-sod the field in midseason, won't happen again. Frankly, criticism of the condition of the field late last year bordered on ridiculous. It's as though every divot was some sort of land mine. A grass field is going to get a little torn up, it's OK, really. And, this just in, if it's snowing or raining players slip on both field turn and on natural turf. On more note, Snyder is not sticking with grass because he's cheap. It is considerably more expensive to grown and maintain a grass field than it is to install a carpet and replace it every eight years or so.