Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 15, three days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL assemble in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.
Question of the day
We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.
This is going to make people mad so I’ll get it out of the way right off the bat—the coaching staff does not believe that the offensive line is the five-alarm dumpster fire that most fans seem to believe it is. Yes, there were too many sacks but the blame for many of them was on the quarterbacks, particularly Robert Griffin III and Colt McCoy, and the tight ends and running backs. As far as running the ball, they averaged 4.2 yards per carry, which is the NFL average.
Before you go straight down to the comments second and start angrily pounding on your keyboard, this doesn’t mean that there won’t be changes, even though every starter that finished the 2014 season is still under contract (technically, Tom Compton is an exclusive rights free agent but he is likely to be back since he has no other options). It’s just not going to be the wholesale changes that many out there want.
Trent Williams is not going anywhere. At under 300 pounds, Kory Lichtensteiger may not be the big body that Scot McCloughan would like to see in there in the long term. But with other issues throughout the roster and as well as Steiger played last year replacing him is a low priority.
In between those two is Shawn Lauvao and he is likely to maintain his starting job. He is more comfortable in a power-blocking scheme and indications are that the Redskins will switch away from being a zone-based team to more of that power blocking. Besides, cutting him would create $3 million in dead cap so he will stick around another year.
It is the right side where changes seem most likely to take place. It’s hard to see them paying 32-year-old Chris Chester $4 million in salary and bonuses and have Spencer Long, last year’s third-round draft pick, ride the pine for another year. If they aren’t confident in Long, they likely will find someone else who is younger and cheaper in this year’s draft.
Does Compton start at right tackle? He’ll be in the mix but I think that either a mid-range free agent or Morgan Moses, if his Lisfranc injury heals in time for camp, could end up starting in September.
What about draft picks? I don’t see them taking an offensive lineman with their first-round pick. If they take a guard or tackle in the second, he could have a shot at starting. Any linemen picked from the third round on is likely to spend the year watching and learning, barring an injury.
—It’s been 49 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 210 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL free agency starts 23; Redskins offseason workouts start 64; 2015 NFL Draft 74
If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
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