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Need to Know: Which five Redskins will benefit most from the change to Gruden?

Apr 14, 2014, 4:44 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 14, 24 days before the NFL draft.

Nickel coverage

Here are the five Redskins most helped by the coaching change from Mike Shanahan to Jay Gruden.

Brian OrakpoI hit on this yesterday. If Jim Haslett does end up letting him go after the QB more he could have a huge year.

Robert Griffin III—This is not as obvious as you might think. Remember in 2012 the scheme that the Shanahans designed for him helped make him a star. But the relationship had simply diminished to the point where the only way things were going to get better was by ending it.

Jordan Reed—Except for brief stretches we never really saw the Shanahans get creative at all in trying to utilize Fred Davis’ talents. In the three years that Gruden was in Cincinnati tight end Germaine Gresham caught 15 touchdown passes. In that same time span all Redskins tight ends have combined to catch 11 TD’s. Gruden seems to be better suited to figuring out how to best deploy a weapon like Reed.

Brandon Jenkins—I’ll use him as a representative of all of the mid- and late-round draft picks who have languished on the bench. You have to think that Gruden will be more willing to give Jenkins, Adam Gettis, Tom Compton, Chris Thompson, and whoever gets drafted on Saturday this year more opportunities to win jobs or to play roles to get their feet wet at the very least.

Roy Helu—Passes out of the backfield were a rarity under the Shanahans, more of a move of desperation than a planned part of the offense. Gruden figured out how to use Gio Bernard in the passing game as a weapon and not strictly a safety valve. He could do the same for Helu.

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—It’s been 106 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 146 days until they play another one.

Days until: First veteran minicamp 15; NFL Draft 24; Training camp starts 100

In case you missed it

  1. othersite2014 - Apr 14, 2014 at 6:45 AM

    I hope we see Helu utilized more.
    It extends Alfred’s career, plus Roy has demonstrated ability.

  2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Seems to me that Jordan Reed got used plenty last year.

    It’s his concussion-susceptibility that is the big worry.

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:35 AM

      It’s not so much about quantity of chances with Reed but quality–red zone, seam routes, etc.


      > >

    • internetcareer - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:36 AM

      I agree thunderwhatever……Reed was on pace to catch about 70 balls for about 800 yards and 6 TD’s as a rookie so I have no idea why anybody would think he was being underutilized. But I think Rich was just pointing out the obvious that if Reed is healthy, Gruden intends to use him a whole lot.

  3. kenlinkins - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    The one common theme running thru all 5 listed seems to be TRUST and or the rebuilding of trust. Over the last 4 years it seems that Shanahan didn’t trust many of his players and in other cases the players didn’t trust the head coach and his staff. In Cincinnati most of the players there said you could believe what Coach Gruden said, he didn’t play games with the truth and didn’t try and cover up mistakes. Maybe this was one of the main reasons the Redskins hired coach Gruden. maybe the Redskins felt that they required a rebuild of trust more than a rebuild of the roster. Number 4 (Brandon Jenkins reps middle / lower level draft picks) is an area the new head coach can use his “teaching” skills along with coaching. IMO Coach Shanahan just wanted to coach. This could be a big benefit in 2014. While I am not 100% sure where most of the blame should fall for the 2013 results, I do know that coach Gruden can move this team ahead faster if he can find untapped talent that has been sitting on the bench. Rich: I will be interested in your comments from Training Camp in the over all mood of the locker room. Great points. I agree with them all.

  4. internetcareer - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:43 AM


    that statement is a statement on the entire 4 years that the Shanahans were in charge and why there appeared to be so much confusion and turmoil in the lockeroom as well as on the field. The CANCER known as Shanahan is gone.

  5. jockstrap - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    the free agents that left wil benifit the most lol

  6. lpddawg - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Aldrick Robinson….I hope Gruden can coach him up.He has got all the speed in the world just needs to learn how to not be a one trick pony.

  7. kenlinkins - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    Rich: In general, which was the bigger problem in 2013 for the Redskins, Trust or Talent? (not asking for names here, just a general comment.)

    • internetcareer - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:16 AM

      I can answer that one Ken. Talent was the bigger issue but the Trust-Attitude-Communication problems that occurred eventually trickled down into the talent area. Communication is such an obvious part of life and football.

      If players do not buy into something or TRUST something, they have a difficult time giving 100 percent. If Shanahan calls a play but the team runs another play because of communication problems, it won’t succeed. Last season we had a Cancer and it has been cut out. It really is that simple.

      With that said….the Redskins have added MORE talent and the existing talent should thrive.

  8. shermanp79 - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    All good points, Shanahan under utilized so many on this team. I think Helu could have a great year. Gruden won’t sit him for the sake of keeping Morris on the field. It seems Shanahan lacked much creativity at all. I said yesterday on another post….If he really wanted to help the organization late last year, he should have played them all. We would know so much more. This team was hurt with the Salary Cap and he still wouldn’t play them. The first year he played the backs, who played well yet he kept Drafting them every year. Had to prove he was the RB genius. I’m glad he and his stubborn and egotistical self is gone. Be professional, open to listen and have an ability to adapt game to game. That was part of the Offensive struggles last year. When you know what is coming Defenses can stop it, run, run and pass to 2 WR isn’t going to work anymore. The Offense had some success because there is some talent and in spite of Shanahan’s play calling. That is the biggest change we will get with Gruden this year.

  9. shermanp79 - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    It will be interesting to see Kyle in Cleveland this year. In Houston they always came up short in big games. A good Defense stops their offense. In post above I realize Kyle called the plays but I lump the two together.

    • kenlinkins - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      I live in Columbus and follow the Browns a bit, the rumor out of Cleveland is that Kyle has been told to stay away from the press and stop talking about QB’s (RG3, Johnny Football, Cousins, etc.) and get back to reviewing film for the draft. Some of the Browns management believed Kyle was a little to “Mic Happy” right after being hired. Browns management seemed concerned that Kyle was still talking about RG3 even after he had been hired and that the Browns wanted their new OC to be more concerned with Cleveland than the Redskins.

  10. O - Apr 14, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    The problem last season was the offense was so PREDICTABLE and other teams caught on. RGIII even mentioned it, I think it was the 49ers game, when he said they knew what they running before they ran them. I mean really, Zone stretch on 1st down, Toss on 2nd down, now it’s 3rd & 7. Throw some WR screens in there too Archives

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