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.
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How will Su'a Cravens handle the switch to safety?
Finlay: Drafted in the second round in 2016, Su'a Cravens quickly showed his playmaking ability as a rookie. His Week 3 interception was the Redskins most important play of the season, spurring a four-game win streak, and showed he can read quarterbacks and make plays on the ball.
A gifted athlete and more importantly a smart football player, Cravens should be quite capable of switching from linebacker to safety in 2017. The team needs him to deliver, and Cravens will be motivated and determined to prove that he can play the position at the highest level.
Asked if Cravens is capable to be a safety in the NFL, multiple Redskins players said they had no doubt. "He's a safety," one player said. That about says it all.
Tandler: I’ve heard the same things from other players but if he’s a safety why didn’t he play safety last year on a team that desperately needed help there? He was listed as a safety on the official roster all year long. Cravens played scout team safety during practice most of the season. Why was he a linebacker? Perhaps that is more of a comment on the coaching staff than it is on Cravens’ abilities.
There are legitimate questions about his speed. He ran a 4.69 forty-yard dash at his pro day. There’s no question that he will be asked to defend receivers and some tight ends who are a full step or two faster than he is. Cravens can compensate as many strong safeties do but it’s something that opposing offenses will try to exploit.
Despite some questions, moving Cravens is worth a shot. It’s been a full decade since the Redskins have been settled at safety. If Cravens can solve half of the problem it would be a big step in the right direction.
More offseason questions:
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