Quick Links

Offseason moves: The RG3 deal

746806.png

Offseason moves: The RG3 deal

While the offseason has another two and a half weeks to go, its safe to say that offseason personnel and coaching moves are pretty much over. There might be a minor trade or a waiver wire pickup here or there but the cake is mostly baked.So before training camp starts, lets take a look back at the five biggest moves of the offseason. Well count them down in order of how important they were. Earlier, we looked at the hiring of Raheem Morris and the roster decisions made at the start of free agency, the signings of wide receivers Pierre Garon and Josh Morgan, and the re-signing of London Fletcher. Today we wrap up the series examining the biggest move the Redskins made not only this year but one of the biggest in their history, the decision to trade for the draft pick that became Robert Griffin III.By the time the 2011 season ended it was apparent that the Redskins were, once again, in need of a quarterback. The decision to go with Rex Grossman and John Beck at the position was a disaster.Grossman started 13 games and while he had some good moments he turned the ball over at least once in every game. In all, he threw 20 interceptions and lost five fumbles. The Redskins were 5-8 in the games he started.They were 0-3 in Becks starts. The middle game of the three was the worst, a 23-0 whitewashing at the hands of the Bills. It was the first shutout of Mike Shanahans career as a head coach.Not only did the Redskins have issues at quarterback but they also play in a division where the other teams were rolling out top-notch quarterbacks every week. The Giants Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP, Tony Romo of Dallas is the king of the fourth-quarter comeback, and Phillys Mike Vick has the deadly combination of a rifle arm and blinding speed.Washingtons 5-11 record earned them the sixth pick of the draft. That was too far back to get either one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. There were some safe options out there, such as staying put in the draft and taking Ryan Tannehill or Brandon Weeden. Free agents like ex-Packers backup Matt Flynn were on the market.But without a bold move, the Redskins again would go into 2012 with the worst quarterback situation in the division and they would be stuck in that position for the foreseeable future.They had two bold moves in mind. One was to make a run at Peyton Manning if, as everyone expected, the Colts released him rather than pay him a 28 million option bonus. For a while in late January and early February many had Manning in burgundy and gold.But he was not the only option. During the NFL Combine in late February, Griffin allayed concerns about his height as he was officially measured 6 2-38 and blazed through the 40 with a time of 4.38. Along with his impressive film from his Heisman Trophy season at Baylor, the combine propelled him to the second pick in the draft behind Luck.The question became, who would draft him? The Rams had the second pick but they were committed to Sam Bradford as their QB. A number of quarterback-needy teams in the top half of the draft were said to be interested in moving up. Along with the Redskins, the Browns, Dolphins and others were mentioned as possible trade partners with the Rams.On March 7, the Colts released Manning and other teams quickly jumped ahead of the Redskins in the competition for the 36-year-old future Hall of Fame QBs services.With all parties wanting to get a deal done before free agency started on March 13, the Rams told any interested parties to make their best offer for the No. 2 pick. There would be no counteroffers; one big, the best one wins.The Redskins won by putting up their first round picks in 2012, 2013, and 2014 and their second round pick in 12. An organization desperate to find a franchise quarterback gambled a good chunk of its future that RG3 was the guy.

Quick Links

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!