Before the Redskins offseason program gets too far in the rear view mirror, lets take a look back at what we saw, which was three OTAs and two minicamp practices, and see what we learned.Keep in mind the usual caveats here, that the workouts are held with no contact in helmets and shorts while the actual games are played in full pads with a lot of contact. And, because there are no pads and more contact you can tell a lot more about defensive backs and offensive skill positions than you can about other players, soHere are some takeaways, in no particular order.The competition for backup cornerback spots will be fierce. I thought this going in but it became more apparent every day that there is some talent vying for jobs there. One day Richard Crawford was flying around knocking down passes, the next week it was Chase Minnifield. And it was apparent that Kevin Barnes isnt going to give up his job without a fight. It looks like those players plus Brandyn Thompson and Morgan Trent will be battling it out for two, maybe three roster spots behind DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, and Cedric Griffin.The depth at running back is shaky. That is not so much in terms of talent but in terms of health. By the end of camp sixth-round pick Alfred Morris had to take a majority of the snaps as Tim Hightower, Roy Helu Jr., and Evan Royster all were spectators due to injuries. Perhaps this is one of those situations where they would have been in there if it was the regular season but there still is some concern. Availability will be the watchword at this position in 2012.Robert Griffin III has a long way to go. He has come a long way but that is just a start. It takes time, reps and more reps until the mind believes and can break down what the eyes see. Until what takes place in the classroom meshes with what he sees on the field, RG3 will have good and bad plays and good and bad days. He had his share of both in May and June.Pierre Garon will make your jaw drop several times this season. The Redskins really havent had a receiver who can make one-handed stabs of the ball on a regular basis in quite some time. Garon is one of those guys who can do that. His one-handed grab in the end zone during minicamp was the highlight play of the spring. Certainly, it is much more important for Garon to be productive from play to play than it is for him to make circus catches. Still, fans should get some thrills along the way in any case.Dont be surprised if Aldrick Robinson is a surprise player. Or something like that. With no offseason program to prepare last year, Robinson looked overwhelmed in training camp. He was so unsure of himself that his speed never was on display. That changed this year and Robinson has a good shot at making the roster and contributing.Neil Rackers and Graham Gano will battle for the kicker spot until the final cuts. It looks like Rackers is better from short distance and gets good height on his kicks. Gano can hit from a longer distant but he is inconsistent from short range and his low kicks are prone to being blocked. The early prediction here is that Gano hangs on but I wouldnt bet a dime on it.
Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 27, 2 days before the March 1 NFL franchise tag deadline.
—NFL Combine (3/2) 3
—Start of NFL free agency (3/9) 10
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 49
—NFL Draft (4/27) 59
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 195
Monday morning Redskins musings as free agency approaches
1. It appears that the Raiders are going to let Latavius Murray, who rushed for over 1,800 yards combined in the last two seasons, test free agency.
I'm told #OAK expects to let RB Latavius Murray go into FA. Source: "The door will remain open for a posb return after he tests his market."— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) February 26, 2017
I’d be surprised if the Redskins showed any interest. I’m not sure that they will be jumping into the RB free agent pool, at least not into the deep (expensive) end of it. They might draft a back to compete with Rob Kelley, Matt Jones, and Mack Brown. Chris Thompson will remain the third-down back.
2. Do you wonder why the Redskins have been reluctant to draft a safety?
It's a tough eval because it's such a scheme-specific position now in the NFL. Moneybacker, center fielder, big nickel box guy. https://t.co/TUxVO8GD4r— Doug Farrar (@BR_DougFarrar) February 26, 2017
Eventually, someone will need to figure out the safety position in the NFL. With all the spread offenses that safeties face in college the safeties have become more like additional corner. Also, the better defensive backs in college want to be cornerbacks because it pays better in the pros. The pool coming out is generally small to begin with and then it shrinks even further for each team due to the scheme factors that Farrar discusses. Su'a Cravens could be the solution to one safety spot for the Redskins but they continue to be in search of someone to pair with him.
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3. The Jets allowed C Nick Mangold to announce his own release. He was one of the best centers of the past decade; Mangold went to seven Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro twice. But I don’t see him being of interest to the Redskins. They are happy with Spencer Long and even if they weren’t, Mangold is 33 and he missed half of last season with an ankle injury. Those factors likely will make the Redskins steer clear.
4. Maybe some fans don’t care if they are getting information from the team through the media at the combine. Or at the Senior Bowl. Or anywhere. And it is the team’s option to have someone available or not during most of the offseason (a press conference prior to the draft is mandatory). But they are missing out on a chance to give their side of the story.
One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.
More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?
5. We have another D-lineman signed as the Panthers retained DE Mario Addison.
The #Panthers signed DE Mario Addison to a 3-year deal worth $22.5M, source said. At 29 years old, he had 9.5 sacks in 2016.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 26, 2017
Addison, who was with the Redskins for five games in 2012, also had six and 6.5 sacks the previous two year, not bad for a guy who has started just one game in the last three seasons. That average of just over $7 million per year sets another data point for the Redskins to use to try to retain Chris Baker. Addison is a 4-3 end while Baker is a 3-4 end so it’s not an apples to apples comparison but it will help figuring out what a reasonable contract is. Without seeing the details, it looks like Addison gave the Panthers something of a hometown discount as that’s a good price for a guy who was half a sack away from double digits.
In case you missed it
- A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Combine
- Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?
- Sunday six pack—Cousins' next step and a positive step for Doctson
This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.
The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.
It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis.
The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.
Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6.
With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too.
Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.
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