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Redskins fan questions: Rak, O-line, the draft and more

Feb 13, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

Redskins-O-line-vs.-Falcons

Haven’t done this in a while, answering your questions from Twitter and Facebook. Let’s jump right into it.

It’s too early to even make an intelligent guess. Those certainly are positions of need. But it’s better the fill immediate needs in free agency. If you wait until the draft you could end up on the clock without someone who represents good value at your positions of need. Bottom line, I could see them going any position with that 34th overall pick except QB, RB, TE, and, if they do have Brian Orakpo back in the fold, outside linebacker.

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I think all scenarios are in play. I wrote yesterday that they might want to jump up into the end of the first round to get an extra year of team control for the their top pick. I could also see them moving back and getting additional picks. When you have 20 unrestricted free agents you are going to have roster spots to fill and it’s better to fill the bottom of the roster with draft picks than with journeyman veterans. So they could grab some extra picks as well.

I’m trying to recall what was so great about that 2012 defense. Was it the No. 28 ranking in yards (18th this year)? The 32 sacks (36 last year)? Not to say that the ’13 unit was clearly superior but it is a stretch to say that the ’12 run had much to do with the defense. It was all about a healthy rookie QB named RG3 and a rookie running back named Alfred Morris. And even that team wasn’t that good. They were the 4th seed and one and done in the playoffs. If that’s the ceiling of what you want then I suppose you could stick with Rob Jackson at outside LB. I would think that most Redskins fans want better than that, something like 12 or 13 wins and a first-round bye. Players like Orakpo help you get there so that is why they need to bring him back.

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I also wonder about the retention of Chris Foerster. There may have been better options out there. But he didn’t pick what he had to work with. It’s remarkable that the Redskins were able to lead the NFL in rushing and in yards per play last year given the talent (and I use that word loosely) he had to work with. It wasn’t Foerster’s call to leave Tom Compton, Adam Gettis, and Josh LeRibeus on the bench after the season was lost. That was Mike Shanahan’s call all the way. One good thing about retaining Foerster is that he’s been on the practice field and in meeting rooms with the three 2012 draft picks and he should have a good handle on if they have to potential to contribute this year.

Let’s throw Bacarri Rambo into here since they are in similar situations. Remember last year when Niles Paul was talking about the team not having enough players who were enthusiastic about playing on special teams? Minnifield and Rambo didn’t show much enthusiasm for special teams. They both could have been active every week if they had balled out on special teams. When you’re a sixth-round pick or an undrafted free agent that’s how you earn snaps on defense. To answer the question, the amount of opportunity that Minnifield gets will be in direct proportion to the ability, effort, and enthusiasm he gives to special teams.

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I get that concern but it’s not really an apples to apples comparison. It’s not as though Bruce Allen and/or Doug Williams had final say on personnel. By the time Allen got there that power mostly belonged to Jon Gruden. Taking that into consideration, the Bucs were far from a disaster when Allen/Williams were there. They had three winning records and two playoff appearances in five years (and, yes, double-digit losses in the other two years). Allen/Gruden were fired after back-to-back 9-7 seasons. Around here that would be grounds for a contract extension, not a pink slip. And firing the coach and GM wasn’t necessarily the smartest move for the Bucs. That 10-6 season they had in 2010, two years after Allen was fired, has the look of a fluke. It’s their only winning record since Allen/Gruden left and it’s buried in three double-digit loss seasons.

  1. timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    I was thinking more of the lack of talent brought in during that time but thanks for the Response.

    • Jesse - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:00 PM

      Morocco Brown and Scott Campbell (personnel scouts in Wash) weren’t in Tampa Bay

  2. internetcareer - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Rich….why do people continue to ask these questions about which sexy pick the Skins will take with their first pick: cornerback or receiver. This is the team that is famous for drafting receivers and QB’s and safeties and cornerbacks and IGNORING the defensive line and offensive line. Yes..the same team that ignores the lines is the same team that has finished LAST in the NFL EAST 4 of the last 5 years. How about somebody other than me realizing that the interior of the offensive line, although not sexy, is more ESSENTIAL than those sexy picks.

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:01 PM

      I guess you’re just that much smarter than the rest of us! :)

      I certainly understand the importance of the interior line but I would be hesitant to take one with the 34th overall pick. I think that you can find interior OL later in the draft. Don’t have time to look it up now but I remember reading that Pro Bowl G’s and C’s are rarely top draft picks.

      Just because you’re not spending your first- and second-round picks on the interior OL doesn’t mean it’s being neglected.

  3. captblood3000 - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    The Cowboys used their 2013 first round pick on center Travis Frederick. Unless you can get a “can’t miss”, perennial pro-bowler in an interior lineman, you shouldn’t pick one that early. Frederick was expected to go in the third round. For me, the good news is that the COWBOYS made that pick.

    That said, the Redskins’ O-line has to get bigger, and not just to accommodate Gruden’s offensive. I think they were outmanned when they had to play catch-up. Consider Justin Tuck abusing Chris Chester in the first Giants game last year.

  4. Stephon Gantt - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    Do you believe that B Orakpo is worth top money in free agency he doesnt make top money plays let him test free agency and see what we have in Brandon Jenkins

  5. kenlinkins - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Rich, It would seem that many Redskins fans are concerned about paying Orakpo $11 million in 2014 by using the TAG. While I understand that TOP Starting QB’s, Good LT, Fast cover CB’s and Pass Rushers w/ Sacks earn top dollar in the NFL, Redskins fans seem to be disappointed with Orakpo’s results to date. Now thinking with your Football Brain (and not your Redskins fan brain) do you believe that Orakpo is sitting on a break out year or are you saying that in the case of the Redskins, due to poor roster building, player development, lack of back ups in key areas that the Redskins have no choice but to Tag Orakpo in 2014 and that it is just the smelly part of re-building a team what was 3-13 (24-40 the last 4 years)?

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:29 AM

      That’s close. I do think that Orakpo can make more sacks and plays if he rushes more, something that could happen if the coverage by the secondary improves and if the Redskins play with a lead more often. But even if he doesn’t, he’s a very good player at a key position and the Redskins don’t have anyone to take his place. If they have to overpay to keep him (and I don’t think he’d be overpaid with the franchise tag), so be it. It’s up to Allen to sort it out.

      I’d say that giving Jenkins some chances this year to see if he’s a viable replacement. If he is, let Rak walk after this year. If not, tag him again and give finding a replacement another shot.

  6. kenlinkins - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Rich: Could it be that you feel that Brian Orakpo is under valued by many Redskins fans because he has not been correctly used by our DC? I have heard it said that it seems like he is playing with his hands tied. That he is not allowed to use all of his skills due to his assignments in the Redskins 3-4 system? Could it be that his skills have forced the DC to use him in a way to protect other weakness in our other players? This would make a lot of sense to me and point to great needs in other defense areas then is understood by us who feel Orakpo lack of numbers makes him a poor value.

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 14, 2014 at 3:24 PM

      Let me answer that by previewing something out of an article I’m posting tomorrow. Of all of the 3-4 OLB’s who had more sacks than Orakpo, every one rushed the passer more often than Orakpo, most of them a lot more. Mario Williams had three more sacks than Rak but he rushed the passer 184 more times. If Orakpo had rushed the passer as often as Williams and kept the same sacks per rush ratio he would have had almost 17 sacks. So, yes, if sacks are what they want out of Orakpo they will use him differently and, as I note in tomorrow’s post, Haslett has indicated that he will. He doesn’t say it flat out but indicates that Rak in coverage was Shanahan’s way of using him.

  7. alextwrs - Feb 15, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Any chance we can move Rob Jackson to MLB with Perry Riley? He seems to fit the mold as his coverage skills are much better than RaK/Kerrigans, and his 4/5 ints a yr ago really stood out to me. He is not a pressure guy and we need help in the middle, is it that much of a jump. I think he is coachable, and this might save us a lot of time and effort finding a replacement for London. This would obviously mean Rak is resigned and Jenkins the backup on each side. I say get creative with the blitz packages and use the Jenkins kid the same way pete in seattle used his blevy of pass rushers.

  8. alextwrs - Feb 15, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Hey did I see Xavier Nixon starting for a playoff team after we cut him, I thought he was one of the better UDFA signings we have had in the last five or so years. I could of sworn I saw him with a horse shoe on the side of his helmet in week 8, starting at RT. He had the size and pedigree and he fell to us (for whatever character/work ethic reasons) and we still couldn’t find a home for him in a rotation or anything? Polumbus that good he doesn’t need a break?

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