Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 12, 63 days before the start of NFL free agency.
Five thoughts on the 2015 Redskins
—We won’t know if the 2015 Redskins had a good season until we see a good chunk of the 2016 season. In isolation, a 9-7 season with no wins over a team that finished with a winning record and a playoff spot by virtue of winning a very down NFC East is not a great accomplishment. But it they are able to consolidate their gains and build on this year and win double-digit games next year then 2015 or at least post a winning record and content for a playoff spot will have been a very valuable stepping stone. Back-to-back playoff seasons have eluded this franchise since 1991-1992. But if they slide back to six wins or worse then 2015 will have been a fluke of a weak schedule and a weak division.
—Both Colt McCoy and Jay Gruden had high praise for quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh. McCoy said that he was the team “MVP” even though he wasn’t a player. Gruden said that his presence “was a big benefit to all of us.” The more I look at the quarterback play this year compared to last year and how much smoother the whole offensive operation was in 2015, I have to wonder why in the world they came up with the idea that they could do without a QB coach in 2014.
—The position I am going to watch very closely is the offensive line. Based on pass protection you could make a case that they should stand pat. But looking at how poorly the run game went, wholesale changes could be in order. On top of that, Gruden and Scot McCloughan need to decide if they are going put Kory Lichtensteiger and Shaun Lauvao, both of whom missed a good chunk of the season with injuries, back in as starters. It will be an interesting puzzle to put together.
—Will DeSean Jackson be back? This is a tough one. In 2015 he was a rare weapon at times and he can be a waste of well over half a million dollars of cap space per game at other times. Cutting him would save a net of $6.75 million in 2016 cap space. What Gruden and McCloughan will have to figure out is how much the presence of Jackson had to do with Kirk Cousins scalding-hot finish to the season. Because if he wasn’t providing some benefits beyond his 30 receptions for 328 yards and five touchdowns for his $9.25 million cap hit then there needs to be a serious cost-benefit analysis applied to his situation. And I don’t want to hear that he was injured; if he hadn’t blown off a lot of OTAs and hadn’t taken it easy in camp after suffering a mild shoulder sprain he probably would not have suffered the hamstring pull a few plays into the season (that’s by his own admission, by the way).
—I’m somewhat skeptical of talk that DeAngelo Hall will be a starting safety next year. He just turned 32 and he has missed more games due to injuries in the last two years (20) than he has played (12). His salary jumps up to $4.25 million next year, giving him a cap hit of just over $5 million. Given that confidence in his ability to be able to make it for the majority of the 16 games has to be fairly low it’s hard to justify that salary cap expense. Perhaps a redone contract with a lower base salary and some per-game roster bonuses would be a better fit.
—The Redskins last played a game two days ago. It will be about 243 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL combine 43; NFL free agency starts 63; 2016 NFL draft 107
In case you missed it
- Gruden on RG3: "He handled it like a pro"
- Gruden impressed by Hall, thinks he can become a top safety
- Jay Gruden "demands more" than the Redskins losing in first round
- Redskins' Paul hopes to be back for OTAs
- Keenan Robinson: 'RGIII's career is far from over'
- Griffin packs, leaves poem in quiet end to RG3 era in Washington
- Kirk Cousins on his Redskins future: 'I do feel believed in here'
- How serious is Junior Galette about a DC return? Look at his tattoo
- Report: Dan Snyder wanted RG3 to stay with Redskins for all of 2015
- With season over Redskins' draft slot is now set
- Reed sets playoff records in Redskins' loss