The Redskins had two No. 1 picks this spring. One, of course, is quarterback Robert Griffin III, who they took with their top pick in the draft, the second overall.Their other first choice, judging by how quickly they contacted and signed him, was free agent wide receiver Pierre Garon. Even though the Redskins had just found out that they were getting slapped with a 18 million salary cap penalty they still made the former Colts receiver an offer he couldnt refuse and the deal was done within an hour of the start of free agency on March 13. They showed how much they wanted him by giving him a five-year, 42.5 million contract.Thats a lot of money for any receiver, especially considering Garon does not have a 1000-yard receiving season on his resume and he never has caught more than 70 passes on a season.He spent his four years in Indianapolis either playing behind or playing second fiddle to the likes of Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison so his lack of a big season is understandable. But big free agent contracts are usually given out based on proven production, not on potential. The Redskins rolled the dice with Garon.He said that he did not feel that his contract put him under any added pressure. You know, anytime you play in the league, theres pressure. If youre a sixth- round pick or if youre a first day free agent, you know its pressure no matter what, he said. Everybody has their own pressure. Free agents just have to go out there and make plays, do this and give it your all every time you play and thats all you can do. Mike Shanahan believes that Garon and Josh Morgan, another receiver with so-so career stats who signed a contract worth 12 million over the next two years, have something to prove. When you do bring a player in or two players in that have played and played well, its a welcome addition to your football team because they are better players that are proving themselves or youre hoping they are better players that are proving themselves.The Redskins will be looking for big plays out of Garon. If he can pull off plays like his 87-yard touchdown catch and run against the Bucs last year just a few times in 2012 he will go a long way towards earning his contract.Last year the Redskins lacked a player who could score from anywhere on the field. In fact, that has been a glaring hole for them for many years. They have not been able to score from outside of the red zone and when they get close to the goal line they struggle to punch it in. That combination has made the Redskins offense among the lowest scoring in the league year in and year out.Shanahan and the organization recognized that need by making priorities of bringing in Griffin, who was one of the most accurate deep passers in college football a year ago, and Garon. As with many plans and strategies executed by the Redskins in years past, it looks good on paper but well have to wait and see how it plays out on the field.Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.
Much of the Redskins offseason has been focused on players like Josh Norman and Kirk Cousins, or the addition of guys like Terrelle Pryor and Zach Brown. Further down the roster, however, is where games are won. Here's a look at three players that will have the opportunity to make a big impact in 2017.
- Kendall Fuller - Let's be honest: the second-year Hokie had a tough rookie year. He started the season injured, and probably wasn't all the way up to speed when he began playing Week 4. Early on he produced at a good level for a rookie, but quickly, the league saw how to beat him. In a November game against the Vikings, Fuller repeatedly got beat on the inside by Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs. After that, the Redskins coaching staff looked elsewhere for a slot corner. 2017 is a new season, and Fuller will be a full year removed from his knee injury. He still has good vision and hips, an NFL pedigree, and should have the first crack at the slot corner role. If he can produce like many expected from him in 2015 - when he was an assumed first-round pick - Fuller could make a big difference for the Washington defense. Third round draft pick Fabian Moreau might also push for snaps at corner, once he gets healthy.
- Stacy McGee - A new addition to the defense, McGee might be the answer Redskins fans want at nose tackle. Last season was by the far the best of McGee's career, and he emerged as a strong run stopper in Oakland. With his frame, and Jim Tomsula's coaching, McGee might play a big role this fall. His biggest hurdle? Staying healthy. In four seasons in the NFL, McGee has only played 16 games one season. Last year, he was limited to just nine games.
- Spencer Long - A free agent at the end of the season, Long comes in to 2017 looking to prove he can be a top tier center in the NFL. He excelled in pass blocking and calling the assignments on the Redskins line, but his run blocking could improve this fall. The literal centerpiece of a strong, young 'Skins line, 2017 will be a big opportunity for Long. Don't forget Washington moved up to draft Chase Roullier from Wyoming in the 6th round, and he played center and guard in college. Life in the NFL always has pressure, and Long will be facing some.
Always something on social: Enjoy the weekend folks.
See you Tuesday fam pic.twitter.com/NINvMBljUT— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayCSN) May 26, 2017
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Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.
It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.
—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75
The Redskins week that was
How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.
Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.
Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.
For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.
Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.