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Need to Know: Five Redskins thoughts including special teams improvement

Mar 19, 2014, 5:09 AM EDT

Hester-vs-Redskins-special-teams

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 19, 19 days before the Redskins start their offseason workouts.

Nickel coverage

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.

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Timeline

—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

In case you missed it

RG3 talks about going brace-free in 2014

  1. lpddawg - Mar 19, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    Saw where Penn signed with the Raiders.Oh well I wasnt to high on him anyways.

  2. captblood3000 - Mar 19, 2014 at 8:22 AM

    The problem with your right tackle prospect: he’s someone else’s left tackle prospect. Penn is the end product of considerable bungling by the Raiders front office. For the same reason, you can’t expect value at RT at pick #34.

  3. shermanp79 - Mar 19, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    I think they can figure it out without overpaying Penn, not that it matters now, anyway. I am more concerned about WR.I want Benjamin or Mathews at #34. It would be nice to upgrade the RT pos but give the young guys a shot. We aren’t going to win the SB this year. If we compete for a playoff spot I will be happy. The more I think about the Roberts signing, the more I question it. He and AR are basically the same guy .I think Roberts is a bit more proven with hands and route running but let AR continue to grow. I wanted them to sign Britt ,even though it is a risk, it is a big need. I don’t know if Mathews and Benjamin will be there, I know Benjamin could help in the RZ while he polishes his skills. I don’t want them taking another sub 6′ guy, we have too many now. I think they have done well in FA and we will have a stronger OL up the middle. I think Porter is better than Wilson but we need the young guys to step up and be healthy or the secondary won’t be much better than last year. Actually the S position won’t be much better. I think the growth of Amerson and return of Crawford will help the CB position. We have improved the front seven. I think they look for a WR,ILB,S and RT in the Draft. I think helping RG3 is the most important thing. If we get him going and the offense being able to consistently put up points, it will allow them to complete the defense in stages. If we can’t score I think we have no chance. I want that Big WR but if not there then a RT will do. It is tough wanting to win and be patient at the same time. LOL!! We really would be better of with a top ten pick next year, we then could grab a premium guy at which ever position we need. That RG3 trade hurts a bit this year. That 2nd pick could help so much. What would our future look like without RG3.

    • kenlinkins - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      I would say that Ryan Tannehill would be playing QB with Cousins pushing him for time, Michael Floyd would be our number 2 WR and Alec Ogletree would be starting at ILB, PLUS we would be keeping our fingers crossed that Houston took a QB so we could draft Clowney (with Watkins as a back up plan). That’s my best guess on the RG3 vs. No RG3 Redskins.

    • gfunkmartin - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      nah, Roberts doesn’t have the same top-end speed, and hasn’t demonstrated the same toughness. If Robinson develops into anything, I think it’s an outside #2 with Roberts going over the middle and providing a strong red-zone presence. We have so many needs at so many positions that almost anything would help. Either way, until I see otherwise, the FA signings are just a body until they win the job in camp and then produce on the field.

  4. Rich Tandler - Mar 19, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    I do have a post coming on the right tackle situation now that Penn is no longer an option, will be up at 9:30 on CSNwashington.com.

  5. chiabone - Mar 19, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    Do the Redskins have any interest in signing Devin Hester? I know he is getting up there in age, but would he not make a decent stop-gap KR/PR?

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 19, 2014 at 11:09 AM

      Just read he’s looking for $4 million a year. At anywhere near that money, no.

  6. internetcareer - Mar 19, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    said this on other posts…but..the REALITY CHECK is this: Going to have to patch with Polumbus or Compton until next year when the Skins get a #1 draft pick. Then if they want, draft a right tackle. However…with that said Polumbus was the right tackle when the Redskins won 7 games in a row and went to the playoffs so it is NOT the primary reason that the Skins won only 3 games last year, and I think you fans have to realize that.

    Teams need DEFENSE to win in the playoffs and Special teams as well and that appears to be what the emphasis has been on thus far in free agency. Skins are much better than they were 2 weeks ago, with the addition of Hatcher and Orakpo, RileY, and Merriweather coming back and by adding 3 more linebackers to play on special teams.

    The offense is slightly better already by the addition of a receiver and offensive lineman and by the SUBTRACTION of Roberts knee brace. But seriously, if RG3 is healthy, there is no real need to retool the offense. They have plenty of firepower, especially is Chris Thompson and Jordan Reed can remain healthy.

    • gfunkmartin - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      I can live with Polumbus, but gotta see that interior O-Line beefed up. Chester, Monty and Lichtenwhatever were backed up way too much last season, and that left Polumbus on an island. He’s not good enough for that. I like the addition of Hatcher, and waiting to see what Porter can do. I wouldn’t mind signing Clark as a stopgap while someone young develops at FS, even if it’s a draft pick. Hoping that Amerson is ready to start opposite Hall, and hoping we pick up a good coverage linebacker.

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