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Fan mailbag: Moss’ status, Haslett’s schemes, and getting younger in the draft

Apr 16, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT


Before we get started here, I didn’t answer any questions about whether the Redskins are interested in a particular player in the draft. They haven’t let anything leak about any players and if they did it probably would be a smokescreen anyway. It’s lying season, folks.

OK, on to your questions.

Leadership is not overrated. It’s perhaps romanticized when it’s talked and written about but a locker room needs leaders and veterans usually fill those roles. But a team can’t keep players solely due to their leadership abilities. Moss will have to earn a roster spot based on his ability to contribute on the field. If he can do that, his leadership will be a plus. It will be interesting to see what happens if Moss and a younger receiver are in a tie for the last roster spot. Will they stick with the experience and leadership or go with the younger guy who might be around in a couple of years?


Tarik and I posted about this earlier this week. Mike Shanahan like to talk about being the head coach of the whole team, offense and defense, and Haslett did not have a free hand when it came to running the defense. What Haslett has been talking about is a more aggressive approach on defense. For example, Brian Orakpo dropped back into coverage over 100 times last year; Haslett would have him rushing the passer on many of those plays. For this and other more aggressive tactics to work, the pass rushers will have to get to the QB or a shaky defensive backfield will be left on an island with alarming frequency. They will probably give up a few big plays but the hope is that the sacks and turnovers will make up for them. We will see.

Not at all. Draft visits are very close to meaningless. The Redskins drafted Jordan Reed last year and they didn’t have him in for a visit; for that matter they barely talked to him during the pre-draft process. Last year about 6.7 percent of the players who were drafted had visits with the teams that drafted them. I see that you’re trying to connect dots but history shows that if you try to do that based on visits you will end up with a picture that is incomplete at best and misleading at worst.


What will keep Roberts, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, and Jordan Reed happy is winning. If Jackson goes a couple of games with two catches for 15 yards and the Redskins go 0-2 he might be a bit disgruntled. If that happens and they are 2-0 he will be happy to wait his turn. If Garçon’s receptions for the season drop to 75 because other players are getting chances and the Redskins have a winning season he likely will be fine. If they are 3-13 again he might wonder about his role. Sure, they want to get the ball and nobody, including Jackson, will be happy if he ends up with, say, 40 receptions for 500 yards. But having an efficient offense and winning will take care of everything.

They will look for players who can help them in the draft. As I noted this morning, conducting a draft is not like going to Wegman’s with your grocery list. In the draft you don’t know what players are going to be there when your turn comes up. If you go into the draft thinking “we have six picks, we want to get younger on defense, so we have to use four or five picks on that side of the ball” the chances are very good that you will have a bust of a draft. A team doesn’t get younger, on one side of the ball or as a whole, in one draft. It’s process over several drafts of restocking your talent base by picking the best players available when you are on the clock.


It’s kind of early to have a good feel for this but I’ll take a crack at it. Special teams will be better if only because they can’t be any worse but it’s going to take a couple of years before they can improve to being even mediocre/competent. I think offensively they will be able to cut down on turnovers and Robert Griffin III (by the way, not one question submitted about him on either Twitter or Facebook) will be more accurate. But I’ll buy in to the theory that Haslett’s more aggressive approach to defense noted in the first question here will make his unit the most improved. The addition of Jason Hatcher will help put that approach into practice and Ryan Clark will help out the back end.

  1. kenlinkins - Apr 16, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    Rich: The $64.00 question in my mind is how long does RG3 have to prove he was worth the price the Redskins paid for him? It is clear that Redskins fans have falling in love with the hope RG3 has given after getting to the play-offs in year one and many blame coach Shanahan for his injury and the 3-13 season of 2013. History also tells us that Redskins fans are not known for waiting and demand results. In standard NFL terms, how long does a top drafted QB have to prove he is the real deal and how does that apply to RG3 here in DC?

    • jwreck - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:36 PM

      Nothing going on at work so I can help Rich out with an answer–
      There is no NFL standard, it varies– Alex Smith had seven years to develop into a franchise quarterback in San Fransisco, and only got the boot when Colin Kaepernick proved himself to be the far superior player. Sam Bradford has yet to prove himself a star in four years with the Rams, but it doesn’t appear that he’s under a tremendous amount of pressure yet. Obviously, it’s easier for a quarterback to prove himself a loser than to prove himself a winner, ala Blaine Gabbert, Jamarcus Russell, etc, but they still got three years each. So if we consider 2013 Griffin a fluke, and that 2012 Griffin may have had the best rookie QB season of all time, I would say the word “timetable” shouldn’t even enter the conversation yet.

      As for whether or not he’s worth it, a true franchise quarterback is always worth it. If you want a guy like that, you have to go and get him– there’s no price to steep to lock down a superstar at the most important position on the field. If Griffin can show that 2013 was the fluke, and not 2012, the Redskins will have gotten a steal.

  2. skinsfaninmd2 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    Rich, I remember when we were looking for a new head coach that one of the knocks on Gruden was that he occasionally abandoned the run and got pass-happy while in Cincinnati. With all of the receiving weapons here and the concern about keeping them happy, is anyone at Redskins Park worried that Morris won’t get enough action? Has Gruden acknowledged the issue and said anything to make us/media comfortable that it won’t be a problem going forward?

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      The people are Redskins Park are worried about winning. And, from every conversation I’ve had with him (none since Gruden arrived) so is Alfred Morris. The Bengals were eighth in rushing attempts last year so it’s not like he abandons the run with great frequency. It’s a non-issue unless/until the Redskins are 1-3 and Morris is getting 12 carries per game.

  3. alextwrs - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    I always thought the Bengals did a fine job of mixing up thier plays and lets face it Gruden made BJGE relevant to the fantasy world. I do remember one of the first plays they ran against us a year ago was a trick play where we fell for the run fake Haaaaaaard. It resulted in a 75 yard TD. Uncovered not a skin in sight. Obviously the skins D thought they were running the ball.

    • internetcareer - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:51 PM

      I believe you are talking about a pass play in which Josh Wilson lunged at the receiver in a poor attempt at tackling. Fortunately somebody on the Redskins finally realized that the guy could not cover any better than he could tackle. The Skins are slow at realizing things but they eventually get there.

      I mean look. It only took them FOUR years to figure out that Jason Campbell is a backup QB. It only took them 7 seasons to figure out that Michael Wesbroke was never going to be a number 1 receiver. I mean sometimes it takes time…but the Skins eventually get there. And it only took them EIGHT years to realize that they made a mistake in letting a Pro Bowl safety get away….so they rectified that and brought back Ryan Clark. See…those Skins aren’t quick but they can eventually make that correct decision.

  4. internetcareer - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    The best scheme that Haslett has come up with is blaming Shanahan for all the Defensive Problems for the last 4 years. I have to tip my hat to him on that one. Brilliant strategy to give himself a chance to change up things and make it look like it was all Shanahan’s fault. Absolutely Brilliant! Archives

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