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Change in the air?

Dec 31, 2008, 10:12 AM EST

There was a lot of talk of change in the air at Redskins Park over the last few days. At his season-wrap up presser, Jim Zorn indicated that there would be changes.

But he also said that there wasn’t much of anything that he wanted to change.

He likes his quarterback, his offense, his job duties, his coaching staff, and his older players. The current player personnel structure, headed up by Vinny Cerrato, will stay intact.

Presumably there would be a major debate if someone wanted to change the carpet on the stairs at Redskins Park.

The team should stay the course in some areas. Staying with the same offense and the same quarterback for another offseason is a good idea. It would be good to see Zorn become more imaginative in his play calling but that will come as the team settles in. We’ve gone back and forth about Jason Campbell here but he’s the man with no competition and we’ll have to see what happens. I’d like to see a more solid Plan B in place than Todd Collins, who is too old, and Colt Brennan, who is too inexperienced. Perhaps letting Collins go and bringing in an experienced West Coast QB like Chris Simms would be the way to go here.

The offensive backs are likely to remain the same. Portis got $20 million in guarantees a year ago so he’s not going anywhere. There will be some noise about trading Ladell Betts but that probably won’t happen. Rock Cartwright is the special teams’ Mr. Everything and Mike Sellers is a deserving Pro Bowl pick at fullback (just don’t give him the ball at the goal line).

There may be some minor shuffling at WR—will a 34-year-old James Thrash be able to contribute enough on special teams to justify using a receiver slot? Other than that, any changes will come from increased (meaning any) production from Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly.

The offensive line may or may not get the upgrade that it needs. There is talk of Pete Kendall, an unrestricted free agent, returning. He’ll be 36 by the time next season starts. I like the guy and I’ll always respect him for standing in front of his locker after the Rams game and taking every question from every reporter. But it’s time to move on.

Is it time for Jon Jansen to move on? He shouldn’t start, that’s for sure. There would be a net cap hit of about $6 million ($1 million higher than I previously estimated). In 2009 his salary is “only” $1.3 million, a number you can justify for a backup. The foolishly-paid guaranteed money is water under the bridge and it may be better to wait until 2010 to release him. That may be an uncapped year and even if it’s not the hit will not sting quite as much.

At some point there has to be a youth movement on the O-line. They took Chad Reinhart in the third round last year and they need to see what they have there. Can Stephon Heyer develop the consistency and the run-blocking ability necessary to become a solid starter? If those two can start, that’s a 40% injection of youth into the aging unit. If a starting center can be found in the third round of the draft, that’s 60%.

On the other side of the ball, there isn’t much wrong that can’t be solved with a big, mean defensive tackle creating havoc in the middle of the line. That would help the ends get better pass pressure, which would, in turn, help the defensive backs play more aggressively and maybe get more than the occasional interception here and there.

Albert Haynesworth of the Titans fills the bill but he’s going to demand a ton of money. It’s a bit too early to say what might be available at pick #13 along those lines since the juniors haven’t yet declared but I have to think that there would be a quality DT there.

Talk of trading Carlos Rogers is foolish. Shawn Springs has to go, along with his $8 million cap number (the net cap savings would be around $6 million). Give DeAngelo Hall a reasonable contract and let Rogers play in the last year of his deal. If there is no new CBA in 2010, he’ll be a restricted free agent. There has been a debate on the message boards about whether to pay Hall or Rogers. As neither is going to warrant a monster contract, I’m not sure why it has to be an either/or situation.

 

 

  1. Joe in Raleigh - Dec 31, 2008 at 10:28 AM

    This would be an ideal year to add some youth to the backfield. Portis probably has one productive year before he ends up looking like Ahman Green. It would be good to have an explosive back waiting to take over when that happens.

    I don’t believe Haynesworth will be available. Teams don’t let game changing linemen walk. Even if he is, I doubt he’s that disruptive once he gets paid. I think we need to find a guy in the draft who is the NEXT Albert Haynesworth.

    Trading Carlos Rogers? Haven’t we already been through the old trade away a young corner routine? I hope we don’t re-visit that. Why turn the strength of the team into a weakness?

  2. dr wnc - Dec 31, 2008 at 11:08 AM

    A quiet change, would be nice. While Haynesworth would be an ideal addition I don’t believe he would be a good addition at this time.
    Changes which could come about seem to be more in the coaching staff then the players, due to promotions to other NFL teams, those dynamics will be interesting to watch.
    As for Rogers/Hall debate: Is the debate being media driven? Rogers is signed for 2009, Hall can be had at a reasonable price tag and Springs maybe finally open to a restructure which will make his numbers cap friendly. Hall, Rogers and Springs would be the best three CB tandem in the league, why not keep it intact.
    I like the idea of getting more draft picks by trading out of the 13th spot and continuing to use the draft for potential future stars, not immediate impact.
    If the plan works it’ll be known in 2009, see performance of Kelly,Davis and Thomas with the contribution of Rinehart.

    Some questions:
    How does the Cap work this year with 2010 being possibly uncapped. Can bonus money be spread out over the length of the contract or is it not allowed to go beyond 2010?

  3. Gabe - Dec 31, 2008 at 11:31 AM

    I agree 100% that a big DT is a frequently-ignored aspect of why our pass rush is so weak. We simply never collapse the pocket, so the opposing QB can ALWAYS step up, away from the outside rush.

    Haynesworth probably won’t be available, but drafting a DT might be cool.

    Assuming we still have a 1st rounder, that is.

  4. Jeff - Dec 31, 2008 at 11:59 AM

    Great analysis, Rich.

    I’d only add a prospect at RB. I love Portis, but I don’t trust his body to hold up for 16 games anymore. It might be time to look at a tandem attack, to spare him some reps. If we can get a hungry hammer to back him up, I think Betts is completely expendable and one of the few players the Redskins could trade and get some value in return.

  5. Kyu Kim - Dec 31, 2008 at 12:03 PM

    Hey Rich can you go tell Jason La Confortera or whatever his name is on the Washington Post to shut up about the whole “keep Springs, go Rogers” chant cuz I agree with everything you said here!

  6. jlbarnett - Dec 31, 2008 at 1:02 PM

    Gabe: Haynesworth will be available. His making the Pro Bowl triggered a clause in his contract where the Titans can’t franchise him.

    Nice to see someone point out that Hall and ROgers aren’t an either or situation.

    I wouldn’t mind Kendall being resigned as a backup as I think he can play both guard slots and center.

  7. Rich Tandler - Jan 1, 2009 at 6:43 AM

    dr, in 2009 teams will only be able to prorate signing bonuses over a maximum of five years rather than the six that they can now.

    There are other changes, the primary one being that June 1 has no significance. All remaining bonus money for a player cut or traded in 2009 will be charged to 2009, regardless of when that player is released. That means that if they want to release Jansen, they have to pay for the mistake of signing him to that long-term extension this year.

  8. dr wnc - Jan 1, 2009 at 10:18 PM

    Thanks Rich,
    Which means Jansen will be a Redskin next year, hopefully as a solid back-up or with an improved performance, possibly due to an injury free off season workout program instead of a rehad program.

  9. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    Good analysis as usual. Thank you Rich. IMHO, the Skins would be best off if they do the following:

    a) resign Jansen as a backup only. Get one of the young guys to step up.
    b) resign Hall
    c) don’t trade Rogers
    d) draft potential starter for the d-line with their 1st round pick or some pick via trade
    e) don’t pursue Haynesworth. He has a troubled past and who knows if this would trouble him again if he gets out of his groove that he is found in Tennessee
    f) drop Collins and find a new backup QB with experience in the WCO as you suggested
    g) test the waters for free agent WR Boldin or Johnson. if they can be had for reasonable deals, attempt to upgrade the WR position since we still have no idea if Thomas or Kelly is going to work out
    h) don’t trade Betts. develop Betts into the tandem back for Portis. Betts is solid and the Skins should be utilizing him more to save reps on Portis

    Happy New Year and best of luck to the Skins in 2009.

  10. Turbo - Jan 4, 2009 at 1:00 PM

    This is my first blog entry on Real Redskins or any Redskin blog for that manner. For frequent readers, I will profile myself like this. Redskin fan since 1972. Childhood hero was Billy Kilmer. If your out there Billy, Id love to drink a glass of whiskey with ya. My most memorable Redskin game was the Redskin Denver superbowl. See you around the blog

  11. Rich Tandler - Jan 4, 2009 at 1:08 PM

    Welcome, Turbo. Thanks for dropping by, hope to see you around a lot!

  12. Turbo - Jan 4, 2009 at 1:25 PM

    Thanks, In this business, you can only go so long when you keep saying he’s improving, he’s learning, he’s developing. Jason Campbell in my estimation is a average to slightly above average quarterback. I dont see what he does on the sidelines, but in what little I can gather by looking at him on tv and gather from the media, he dosnt appear to be a leader. Quarterbacks have to be leaders. I saw Colt Brennan during the preseason, and I was stunned by his ability. Give this guy a shot. What say you?

  13. Rich Tandler - Jan 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM

    Turbo, I say talk to me about that in 2010. Brennan isn’t ready.

    As to Campbell, to a man all of his teammates that I’ve spoken with respects both his ability and his leadership. There are many leadership styles and Campbell is more laid back. But he has the respect of the team in the huddle.

  14. Turbo - Jan 5, 2009 at 5:15 PM

    By the way Rich, I need for you guys to send some bodyguards down here to south Texas for me. Im deep in enemy territory.

    I know Rich, I dont know the guy. He just has that far away look on the field sometimes.

  15. Anonymous - Jan 8, 2009 at 1:24 PM

    I’m a huge Auburn fan that follows our alumni in the NFL (spare time of course :-).

    Regarding Campbell: the few games I saw this year, it looked like his only consistent target was Coolly (who was getting mobbed most of the time) and the OL was atrocious.

    Campbell has always had to work on not holding the ball too long. But he moves well in the pocket, can be a dual threat and IS a great, though quiet, leader (was at AU).

    I’d use a high first round pick on Andre Smith (con: he’s a UA guy; pro: but is really good anyway)

  16. Anonymous - Jan 9, 2009 at 2:30 PM

    This is how the Redskins need to improve this offseason the draft….

    http://www.fanzak.com/fzrants/2009_NFL_Mock_Draft_10

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