Mar 19, 2014, 5:09 AM EDT
Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 19, 19 days before the Redskins start their offseason workouts.
Here are five thoughts on the state of the Redskins after a week of free agency.
1. A lot of special teams improvement will have to come from within. They signed Adam Hayward and Darryl Sharpton and they both should help and they will bring in a few others who have gotten it done on special teams. But if the kicking units are going to be significantly better this year players like Brandon Jenkins and Bacarri Rambo, who found themselves on the inactive list frequently because they didn’t have much enthusiasm for special teams, will have to step up. You can only bring in so many special teams hired guns.
2. The draft is a factor in Donald Penn negotiations. The Redskins have three other options besides Penn to play right tackle for them this year. They could stick with Tyler Polumbus, they could insert Tom Compton as their starter, or they could use their second- or third-round pick to draft a likely starter. It’s just not worth it for the Redskins to pay Penn at the higher left tackle rate with other, less costly options available.
3. The “deadline” to have a starting 22 together is April 7. That is the day that offseason workouts and if, say, Penn or Ryan Clark is going to come aboard it would be good to have him there for the start of workouts. Jay Gruden and company will begin to teach the new offense and defense and it will help to have all of the key players around by then.
4. The draft is shaping up, sort of. It’s still too early to say where the Redskins will go with their second-round pick, No. 34 overall. It’s likely to be a best-available strategy. But it’s important to keep in mind that needs shape each team’s assessment of who the best available is. It’s hard to see them drafting a quarterback, running back, or tight end, but all other positions are possibilities. However some, like offensive tackle and safety, seem to be more likely than others.
5. The Redskins have a pass rushing coach this year. I didn’t mention this in my post on the team emphasizing the pass rush in their defensive strategy but they hired a coach specifically to improve the pass rush. I talked with Brian Baker a few weeks ago and that’s basically his job description as the outside linebackers coach. He’ll be working mostly with Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan but you can be assured that the former defensive line coach will be handing out some coaching points to Jason Hatcher as well.
—It’s been 80 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 172 days until they play another one.
—Days until: Offseason workouts start 19; NFL Draft 50; Training camp starts 126
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