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Don’t be afraid to say it–the Redskins are rebuilding

Jan 31, 2014, 11:55 AM EST

RG3-fumble-vs.-49ers

A reader left a comment on yesterday’s post about the Redskins not having any NFL starter caliber players under contract in the middle of their defense:

Is it time to consider using the “R” word? (rebuild!)

That is a term that hasn’t been used much in reference to the Redskins. If you asked Bruce Allen or Jay Gruden if the Redskins are rebuilding they would try to convince you otherwise.

But let’s look at the facts here:

  • The team went 3-13 last year
  • They have a new coach
  • About 20 of last year’s players are going to be free agents
  • A half dozen or more players who are under contract could get released for performance and/or salary cap reasons.
  • Allen himself said recently that he sees 20 new players on the roster and that he is disappointed in the lack of depth on the team.

If that doesn’t add up to a classic rebuilding situation, I don’t know what does.

The fact that the Redskins are rebuilding does not mean that that fans should tune out until, say, the 2016 season. For one thing, rebuilds don’t take that long in the NFL these days. No, you’re not likely to see the Redskins prepping for the Super Bowl a year from now. But some smart free agent choices (and the Redskins have some $30 million in cap space to pay for those choices) and a few hits on draft picks and they could very well be respectable and perhaps even competitive in what still should be a weak NFC East division.

One thing that the Redskins have going for them that other rebuilding teams don’t have is a quarterback. Assuming that Robert Griffin III can regain the form he showed during his rookie of the year performance in 2012—or even something close to that—the Redskins have a building block that most teams in the Redskins’ situation just don’t possess.

Griffin also has a solid running back to hand off to in Alfred Morris, a left tackle to protect his blindside in Trent Williams and a go-to receiver in Pierre Garçon. And all four of those key players are under contract for at least two more seasons.

Of course, you need more than four studs on offense to make a deep playoff run. That’s what the rebuilding is all about.

Allen and Gruden may choose to call it something else. But it it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s, well, a rebuild.

  1. darrynhyman - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    We have had 33 draft picks over the last 4 years under the Shanny rebuild and the fact that we still are rebuilding speaks to how bad we have been with talent evaluation. The scary part is that Brown and Campbell are still here evaluating talent. We have heard that they have been handicapped and ignored, but that is a little sketchy being as though they both have been there for many years and elected to stay despite of being ‘ignored’. I don’t think anyone was knocking down their door to acquire their services. Unfortunately, we could be rebuilding for quite some time…

    • Bryan - Jan 31, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      We can call It rebuilding, but I look at we have some cash we have early 2nd in early 3rd n if so many juniors coming out we should be getting a 1st round n 2 nd round talent if Bruce does him homework. I’m telling u if we get some interior bulk on online n get another wr that will do half of garçon I think the offense will be top 10 not only in yards but points. As far as defense this team made playoffs with no safeties that were worth a darn so let’s bring in a stud n draft another. Sign hall. Riley baker orackpo n get another quality corner I don’t see why this team couldn’t or shouldn’t be playoff bound, I didn’t say Super Bowl but hell just think the team representing the NFC in Super Bowl we had them on the ropes n let them off. I’m being optimistic but at same time I believe some truth is in tht statement.

      • internetcareer - Jan 31, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        I prefer the term RE-TOOL…but perhaps we are just mincing words. The Skins won’t be a great team next year but being pretty good could win the NFC EAST because NY is about to have to rebuild their defense and offensive line. Dallas is only one year away from a rebuild…and Philly had a Cinderella season when D.Jackson and L. McCoy were completely healthy. So we now know when those 2 are healthy: 1st place But when those 2 are injured: LAST PLACE just like in 2012. So if the Skins stay healthy, get a dominant interior O. lineman and a 6’3 receiver like Decker..suddenly they could catch fire and be back to 10-6 with that schedule we have.

  2. colmac69 - Jan 31, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    Its so easy these days to jump from being 5-11 to 10-6 like skins did then bak to 3-13…look at chiefs the last two yrs…new coach..big turnaround in players and 11-5 record…what skins have to do is get team that b consistent and challenging for playoffs every yr like patriots..saints..san fran..green bay..pitts burgh….with the div not as strong as some others its up for grabs if we make the right moves…time will tell

  3. skinsdiehard - Jan 31, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    It’s not a rebuild unless you are starting over at quarterback. Everyone knows that. It’s easier to bounce back from off-years when the QB is in place. Look at the Steelers. However, I agree with darrynhyman in the first post. We are in trouble with Scott Campbell evaluating our talent. Cerrato often mentioned Campbell as the architect of their draft board. Time and again we heard Cerrato, Gibbs and Shanahan say that they followed their board. Well, the board must be crap under Campbell. I dont know how he has kept his job. Jarvis Jenkins was overdrafted, Helu was overdrafted, Niles Paul, Perry Riley, Leonard Hankerson, Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis, Phillip Thomas, Dejon Gomes (my god) and Evan Royster. These were critical misses by Campbell. Those are players and positions in the draft where the team should have better results. Morroco Brown missed E.J. Biggers, Josh Morgan, Dez Briscoe, Chris Wilson, Madieu Williams, Billy Cundiff, Tanard Jackson, Jerome Murphy, O.J. Atogwe, Josh Wilson, Sav Rocca, Sean Locklear, Stephen Bowen, John Beck, Joey Galloway, Roydell Williams, Ryan Torain, Rex Grossman, Josh Bidwell, Ma’ake Kemoeatu, Artis Hicks, Phillip Buchanon and Anthony Armstrong. Not a stellar track record for Campbell or Brown.

    • Bryan - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      How can u say Riley was a miss the dude has done nothing but improve. Helu was 4th rounder n has done decent hen given the chance. Hanker son time will tell, Thomas had injury so don’t know yet. Most of those people u claim r misses r later round people n if u get a third to do anything I think that’s decent. As far as fa I think shanny had a certain type of person he wanted and that’s what he went with n didn’t care what scouts said. Speaking if shanny he brought people in and figured I’ll make them fit where this day n age u change things to make ur players fit and be successful. I hate mcnabb but even he has said that bout shanny . Let’s c what gruden n Bruce do. I believe they will take suggestions better than our former redskins mascot shanny

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      Thanks for chiming in, welcome.

      If you want to believe that Shanahan had no input in the draft board and just followed what Campbell set up, all I can do is tell you you’re wrong. Ditto as far as Shanahan following Brown’s recommendations. Shanahan often went way off the reservation to make his draft picks and pursue free agents. That is well known around Redskins Park.

      Certainly there are reasons to be concerned about the Campbell-Brown-Allen triumvirate. There is no guarantee that things will be better, there’s no track record there. But the last four years are all on Shanahan. Sometimes he took their advice when he happened to agree with them but he often did not.

      One other note–perhaps many of the draft picks who you list as busts just weren’t properly developed by the coaching staff. There’s a lot of luck involved in the draft. But it comes down to taking whoever you draft and giving those players proper instruction and an opportunity to succeed. That’s coaching and that’s Shanahan and the assistant coaches he hired.

      • stevea53k - Jan 31, 2014 at 8:10 PM

        Rich … I luv ya … but

        1. Where were your articles during the last year or two telling us that,
        “as far as Shanahan following Brown’s recommendations. Shanahan often went way off the reservation to make his draft picks and pursue free agents. That is well known around Redskins Park.” ?

        2. It is fair to point out the importance of,
        “taking whoever you draft and giving those players proper instruction”,
        but at the same time you’ve got to highlight that Shanny’s O-line coach is our current O-line coach,
        his D-coordinator is our current D-coordinator, and his DB coach is our current DB coach.
        So if Shanny’s drafted players were not coached up, we might be in deep trouble.

        :-)

      • kenlinkins - Feb 1, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        I could not agree more with the question of “why didn’t these picks get coached up”. I can only guess that Coach Shanahan believed the people he drafted already had the skills required to run his system (both O and D) and didn’t want to spend time working on teaching (i.e. coaching) the younger players at their positions. It seems that Coach Shanahan believed in “SYSTEMS” or his system and making players adjust into them and this is what he spend his time on. IMO this would lead to many players with big holes in their games or “one trick pony” types, which we saw last year. I think Jay Gruden can gain ground by working to correct some of the faults of the players who have flashed and or untie their hands and use the skills he has in house if he can not up grade the position this year. Giving a little control back to the players to make plays would help, sure, there will be mistakes but I think that some of the talent on this team has yet to be found. As for rebuilding, it is true, we are 2 years away from a solid team and that is an easy statement to make when you are about to replace 20 players on a 53 man roster. (there is no way to get all 20 correct in one year).

    • internetcareer - Jan 31, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      skinsdiehard…huh? No…I mean HUH? Perry Riley a critical miss? are U watching the games? He LED the Skins in tackles. MORE TACKLES THAN ANYBODY ON THE REDSKINS! more tackles than Patrick Willis on the 49ers….. more sacks than any D. LINEMAN on the Redskins..and an interception. and U think they missed on that draft pick? WOW!

  4. darrynhyman - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    When you break it down, it’s pretty depressing isn’t it…

  5. ajbus1 - Jan 31, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    Great write up Rich! I tried to make another post on yesterday’s thread on the middle of the D, but my phone wouldn’t cooperate. I totally agree that it is a rebuild and nobody wants to say it. They never want to use the “R” word and I don’t know why we’re all so afraid to admit it. There was a lot of criticism of Shanahan and what he did but now the same decisions aren’t as bad? Doesn’t make sense. Bad moves are bad moves. We should all be glad it’s a rebuild even though the near future is bleak. I see the world through burgundy and gold colored glasses but I’m excited, even if I have to test my patience again. Especially when we have the (re)building blocks you mentioned.

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