Quick Links

Need to Know: The Redskins' third option

rich-bisaccia-2.png

Need to Know: The Redskins' third option

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 4, 66 days before the start of NFL free agency.

Nickel package

“We’re going to look for someone who is a leader first and it could be on the offensive side of the ball, defense or special team,” Bruce Allen said after Mike Shanahan was fired on Monday. “There have been a couple special teams coaches who have made great head coaches.”

So into the debate over an offensive coach vs. a defensive guy jumps a third option. Allen interviewed current Cowboys and ex-Bucs and Chargers special teams coach Rich Bisaccia (pronounced Be-sach-ia) on Friday. This wasn’t a cursory interview for an old associate (the two worked together when Allen was the GM in Tampa Bay) or an attempt to pick the brain of a coach for a division rival. Bisaccia seems to be a legitimate candidate for the job.

Here are five quotes about Bisaccia:

1. "Oh, my goodness. You have to talk to the man,” said Bucs Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp. “You can see the passion and fire in him. He has the ability to touch the star player or the kid who has no shot. The man is special. I love Rich.''

2. “He's full of energy, and he's genuine,” said Bucs safety John Lynch. “And he can tell some great stories.”

3. “He’s one of these guys who just has an infectious personality, and I think that’s a really important trait for all coaches,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. “The players play as hard for him as I’ve ever seen any players play for any coach.”

4. “I would say to sum him up, he’s a guy that you would go to war for,” said Chargers linebacker and special teams ace Bront Bird. “He’s a true leader of men. His intensity, passion and most of all knowledge of the craft brings out the very best of his players.”

5. "He's an excellent coach,'' said Jon Gruden, Bisaccia's boss for eight seasons while with the Bucs. "He's as versatile a coach as I've been around. He could coach any position. I strongly considered making him our defensive line coach when Rod Marinelli left town. I let him coach running backs, and he did an outstanding job.”

Like Real Redskins on Facebook!

Timeline

—On this date in 1983, Mark Moseley was named the NFL MVP for the 1982 season. He is the only kicker to receive the award.

—Days until: NFL free agency 66; 2014 NFL Draft 124; 2014 Opening Sunday 246

In case you missed it

Tarik talks about the coaching search

Quick Links

Robert Kelley, Su'a Cravens, Colt McCoy among Redskins who'll have new numbers in 2017

Robert Kelley, Su'a Cravens, Colt McCoy among Redskins who'll have new numbers in 2017

The next time Robert Kelley plows over a helpless linebacker, he'll do it with a new number on his uniform.

The second-year running back is switching from No. 32 to No. 20, according to Redskins.com. And he's not the only returning player who'll take the field in 2017 with a new pair of digits.

Su'a Cravens will no longer be No. 36 for Washington. Instead, he'll change to No. 30. DJ Swearinger will be taking over No. 36 after coming over from the Cardinals, a number that he reportedly purchased from Cravens for $75,000

Then there's Colt McCoy. McCoy has donned No. 16 for the past three seasons, but he's throwing it back to his college days and will now rock No. 12.

MORE REDSKINS: THE ULTIMATE REDSKINS DRAFT PREVIEW

Finally, second-year corner Kendall Fuller only spent one year with No. 38. As he hopes to improve in his sophomore campaign, he'll be doing so with No. 29.

As for the free agents, Terrelle Pryor will be replacing DeSean Jackson in more ways than one when kickoff rolls around. Not only will the ex-Brown have to shine as a top receiver for Kirk Cousins like Jackson did, but he'll also be sporting Jackson's No. 11.

New linebacker Zach Brown, meanwhile, is now No. 56, linemen Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain are Nos. 92 and 97 respectively and Brian Quick will keep No. 83 from his Rams days.

For a complete list of all the changes, click here.

RELATED: IS REUBEN FOSTER WORTH THE RISK?

Quick Links

How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

christian_mccaffrey_running_usat.png
USA TODAY Sports Images

How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

Do the Redskins have a draft need at running back? It depends on who you ask.

Jay Gruden seems to be very happy with incumbent running back Rob Kelley. Here is what he had to say last month about the second-year back, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane, last month:

“Oh, man, I love Rob Kelley,” Gruden said. “I thought he played great. You throw a rookie free agent into the fire like that and see him play and compete. Not one time did I feel like it was too big for him. Not once. That’s a hell of a thing to say for a kid out of Tulane who only had a couple of carries his senior year. He came right in, he competes on every play.”

[Related: Full Redskins Seven-Round Mock Draft]

Kelley played in 15 games last year and rushed for 704 yards and scored six touchdowns. He started the last nine games and if you project his numbers in this games out over a 16-game season you get about 1,050 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s not Ezekiel Elliott or Le’Veon Bell production but it’s good for a team that is going to rely mostly on the pass.

Gruden also praised third-down back Chris Thompson and backup Mack Brown. In a telling sign, he acknowledged that 2015 third-round pick Matt Jones is still on the roster but he didn’t have much good to say about him.

Why, then, do you see so many draft analysts listing running back as one of the team’s most urgent needs? Mark Maske, who is the Post’s national NFL writer but also a former Redskins beat reporter, has them taking Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey in his mock draft. “There certainly are issues on defense for the Redskins,” writes Maske. But there also is a need at running back.”

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said that the Redskins “obviously” need a running back as his rationale for mocking Florida State’s Dalvin Cook to Washington at No. 17.

So, what is it? Is Kelley adequate for the Redskins’ needs considering they call pass plays on over 60 percent of their offensive snaps? Would they run more often if they had a back like McCaffrey or Cook? And if they did run more would the offense improve?

I think that running back is like several positions with the Redskins. If they have to get through the 2016 season with what they have they will be OK. But if there is an upgrade on the board when they are on the clock they won’t hesitate to make the pick if he’s the best player available.

We will see what happens if, say, McCaffrey is still on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 17 and top defensive targets like Rueben Foster and Haason Reddick are off the board. That will be the true test to see how committed Gruden and the rest of the organization are to Kelley, Thompson, and company. 

More Redskins: When the talent is there, Bruce Allen has looked past red flags before