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Five reasons why we can’t close the book on the Shanahan era

Jan 2, 2014, 5:09 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 2, 68 days before the start of free agency.

Nickel coverage

The Mike Shanahan era is over. On Tuesday we took a look at some things that went well during the last four years. Yesterday was about what went wrong. Today, the question is what’s still up in the air?

In chronological order, five moves by Shanahan of which we don’t know the results.

1. The Redskins went into the 2011 draft missing picks in the third and fourth rounds but due to some wheeling and dealing they ended up picking 12 players including at least one in every round. Eight of them are still on the roster or finished the year on injured reserve and only one, top pick Ryan Kerrigan, is set as a starter. Some others need to step up in their fourth seasons to prevent this draft from being a bust.

2. The blockbuster trade to move up to get Robert Griffin III looked like a winner a year ago. Now with Griffin coming off of a bad season with two ACL tears highlighting his medical history and the final installment of the trade ending up being the No. 2 overall pick going to the Rams, it’s not so clear. Griffin will have to be stellar for many years to justify the price. He appears to be capable of doing that but we won’t know for a while.

3. In 2012 the Redskins gave Pierre Garçon a five-year contract worth $42.5 million with $20.5 million guaranteed. He proved to be valuable in 2012 when he could play and he was the offensive MVP this past year, leading the league in receptions. But that hefty price means that the team needs to get another solid season or two out of him. Out of all of the questions on this list, the confidence that Garçon will work out is the highest.

4. In 2012 Shanahan spent three draft picks on offensive linemen. But guards Josh LeRibeus (3rd round) and Adam Gettis (5th) and tackle Tom Compton (6th) have yet to play except for an emergency appearance here and there. LeRibeus was inactive for all 16 games this year. Is there any depth on the offensive line?

5. Tight end Jordan Reed looked to be a third-round steal when he started catching everything thrown near him in the first half of the season. But he missed the last six games of the season with a concussion. Reed will have to shake the injury bug if he is going to live up to that “steal” status.

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Stat of the day

—In 2013 Roy Helu was the Redskins second-leading rusher among running backs with 62 carries for 274 yards. The previous season that distinction went to Evan Royster, who had just 23 carries for 88 yards.


—Former Redskins cornerback Pat Fischer was born on this date in 1940.

Days until: NFL free agency 68; 2014 NFL Draft 126; 2014 Opening Sunday 249

In case you missed it

  1. kenlinkins - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    On number 2: My concern with the RG3 deal was the risk of losing 100% of out put on 4 draft picks with one injury vs. 50% in 2012, 33% in 2013 and 25% in 2014 or if RG3 became damaged goods in any of the next 5 years. The other side of that coin was the jack pot if RG3 didn’t get hurt vs. the odds that at lease one of the 4 players would get hurt (like Thomas). It seems I didn’t figure in the drama that one player could bring to the locker room and not sure if a new head coach can limit that drama going forward. Right now, IMO The Redskins are on the losing end of the RG3 deal, unless RG3 can return to 2012 form and provide the out put of 4 high draft picks (odds seem to be against that). Also, it seems that we have devalued Cousins for this year as trade bait and may have to play him again in 2014 to increase his value which would de-value RG3 (a Lose Lose deal). So, with that in mind, I would say that the Redskins have about a 1 in 6 chance to regain the edge in the RG3 deal (even without looking at who we missed out on). With odds like that I would close the books on the RG3 deal if I was the new coach and start by rebuilding the roster, We could have 40 to 50 new faces in camp this year. With that kind of turn over the new coach will be on the hook right away as he will not be saddled with as many Shanahan guys. If you can close the book on the RG3 deal, it would not be as hard to move forward, OR Am I forgetting the DRAMA RG3 could bring closed deal or not? (by closing the RG3 deal, I mean talking as I he was the only Redskin worth anything, down play his roll until he starts winning games again, have a Defense, WR RB O-Line or Special teams improvement worth talking about).

  2. internetcareer - Jan 2, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Anybody who talks about moving on from RG3 is a beginner and needs to take a course in Football 101. Griffin may or may never be as good as Aarron Rodgers but for certain Grif has an arm, legs, and he has a high learning IQ. It will be 2 more years to figure out if he will be very good or very great but who cares. What else will the SKINS be doing over those 2 years.

    Cousins? He has tremendous upside because he will outwork most QB’s in the filmroom and on the practice field. He is going to be a perfect fit for some team running the west coast offense because he is very accurate on those intermediate passes and short throws and is also very mobile. He just needs more than 4 NFL starts and some receivers who don’t drop passes.

    Nobody is SADDLED with RG3. The Skins and their new coach are lucky to have him as a potential franchise QB and Kirk Cousins as a strong backup. The QB spot is set for the next 2 years anyway.

    • kenlinkins - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      You mis-read my statement (or maybe I didn’t write it well) but I said close the book on the RG3 DEAL, not on RG3. The new coach should not allow the Redskins to become the “ALL RG3 show ALL the all time”. Limit his PR, media time, and do not have a press conf every time he thinks he should. Talk about tagging Orakpo, re-signing Riley and D. Hall, talk up any Free Agent signings, how you want to rebuild the O-Line, and Defense in general. Report on Thomas’s rehab, who you might like in the draft, when you Cut or allow Free Agents to walk tell us why they do no fit into your system, BUT do not allow RG3 to become bigger than the team again. This will show that the TEAM is moving on to the next step and RG3 is a part of the team but not the whole team. The RG3 deal was another coach’s deal and that deal is behind us, good or bad. He is still the starting QB for the Redskins and the best QB option we have but there are 52 other guys on the roster come Sept 7th and all must feel like they are a part of this team and have an impact of the out come of the 2014 season. I think a major Shanahan mistake in 2013 was starting RG3 against the Eagles due to RG3’s “All in for game one” PR. Cousins should have started, and if he failed the first few games, RG3 could have come in as the “Saver of the season” when he was ready to play. This would have protected RG3 and placed the heat on the coach (which is why he didn’t do it IMO). If the new coach plays his cards right, he can get the RG3 DEAL behind us and the value of RG3 in front of us for 2014, 2015, which in my mind is a WIn Win. IN other words I do not what the press talking about RG3’s injury or 2013 season or the players we missed out on. I want them talking about the moves the new coach makes and how he repairs the damage done by Shanahan in 2013. We can talk about RG3’s development as the 2014 season go on and I hope the new coach can do a better building a franchise QB than coach Shanahan and son did. (a AVG RG3 with a good Defense, better Special teams along with a O-Line that can pass block and WR’s who do not drop the ball should get us back to the NFC East crown).

      • Rich Tandler - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        Just FYI, RG3’s media access has been extremely limited since he has been with the Redskins. Can’t talk to him by his locker on the record, only once a week at the podium (the minimum required by NFL rules). Very few one on one interviews (in 2013, only national outlets got those, no local media did). Once a week in training camp, no talking to him as he walked off the field. Minicamp/OTA pressers required by league and, even if not, necessary due to crush of media there.

        Griff didn’t just call pressers on a whim. Most mandated or set up by team. By standards of other QB’s around the league, quite limited.

        • kenlinkins - Jan 2, 2014 at 7:07 PM

          Rich, You would know better than I on that, but it did seem that we were feed a lot of RG3 in 2013. Could it be it was the national media who keep running the same thing over and over? As I recall until the “Shanahan was going to quit” story that every time I saw the Redskins logo their was “news” about RG3 doing something (even then it was due to RG3). I hope for 2014 is less RG3 drama / media coverage and more wins. Archives

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