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Need to Know: Redskins’ Allen–‘Free agency is not going to be your solution’

Jan 2, 2015, 6:52 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 2, 118 days before the Redskins make their pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft.

Three and out—Will the Redskins actually build through the draft?

1. The Redskins have started their search for a defensive coordinator with a couple of very intriguing possibilities from the 49ers. Vic Fangio is the current defensive coordinator in San Francisco and Ed Donatell is their secondary coach. The two have been with the 49ers and they have been in the top five in the league in both scoring defense and yards allowed every year but this past one, when they were 10th in scoring. Yes, that has been their “down” year. Of course, they have had some top talent to work with, All-Pro players like Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis. Still, a couple of quality candidates from the outside.

2. There wasn’t much encouraging for Redskins fans during Bruce Allen’s press conference on Wednesday. However, if you dig deep you find this this one quote that should encourage you. “The key is to make sure we take advantage of the draft,” he said when asked about building the team’s base of talent. “In an NFL with a growing cap, free agency is not going to be your solution. It’s going to come mostly through the draft. If we did one thing right last year, we were tempted to make some trades to acquire a player or two but we wanted to make sure our Draft was intact for 2015 and all the future years.”

3. So it appears that they turned down some trade offers that would have cost them some draft picks. It also looks like they might be out of the business of trying to buy a Super Bowl through free agency. That sounds good. But it’s one thing to say you want to build through the draft and another to pick the right players who can make the roster and develop into solid starters. But if you take Allen at his word the Redskins may be rebuilding. Of course, he didn’t use the word but if you’re going to make the draft the primary way of improving a 4-12 team, well, that’s the definition of the word.

Out: Many have Alabama safety Landon Collins penciled in as the Redskins’ pick at No. 5 overall, assuming that the junior decides to declare for the draft. He’s a very good player but he strictly an in-the-box safety who sometimes plays more like an extra linebacker. In last night’s Sugar Bowl he stayed down a couple of times after making tackles and if he struggles with the physicality of the Buckeyes he could have issues in the NFL. Yes, the Redskins desperately need two safeties but you can’t reach for need, especially not at that point in the draft.


—It’s been 5 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 255 days until they play another one

Days until: NFL free agency starts 68; 2015 NFL Draft 118

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I’ll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. mr.moneylover - Jan 2, 2015 at 7:12 AM

    We need a saftey that can drop back and cover ..the way you describe him is a mixture of B.merriweather and EJ biggers…I hope leanord Williams there when we pick its a better pick up for the redskins …we have to fix that d-line first before we fix the saftey our d-line didnt even get a chance to sniff the QB all year long…but this is the draft you can get solid players from first round to the third or fourth if redskins draft smart something redskins have trouble with

    • me4gm - Jan 2, 2015 at 11:20 AM

      I think you are describing D Hall to a tee. Great open field tackler who can cover. Are corners are adequate and improving

      • Joe Greene - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:22 PM

        Hall is an awful tackler. Just terrible.

        • babyteal1 - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:45 PM

          No he’s not goof

        • duranedurane - Jan 2, 2015 at 7:12 PM

          Hall wasnt a AWFUL tackler man…i think his previous rep from raiders and atlanta days as followed him…he’s a very adequate tackler and above avg actually for his position. AND he’s still a stud in man coverage…perhaps best in NFL against BIGGER wrs.. like Dez Bryant ..he still bites on double moves sometimes but that aspect of his game has improved and was only a issue when he was a younger gambling CB…

        • captblood3000 - Jan 2, 2015 at 10:14 PM

          He’s been a better tackler the last couple of seasons. To move him from cornerback, you have to get more consistent play from our young corners.

        • Joe Greene - Jan 4, 2015 at 8:06 PM

          A “stud” in man coverage?

          Hall, for each of his seasons in DC, has been in the bottom 10 of all CBs in catches allowed, yards allowed, and TDs allowed. He’s simply not good other than those occasional games where he actually makes the plays he goes for. Teams have no fear of attacking him the way they do good CBs.

  2. mr.moneylover - Jan 2, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    Redskins gotta get rid of barry colefield and stephen bowen and chris baker im sure they are good guys but they cant move that d-line back…bruce allen got rid of two dead weight players and brought in 4 more add to the average players we already had #youcantdoepicshhhwitaverageplayers

    • lpddawg - Jan 2, 2015 at 7:58 AM

      Why get rid of Baker?….He is young has a low cap # and is probably the Skins best D-Lineman.

      • mr.moneylover - Jan 2, 2015 at 9:34 AM

        He didnt help get to the QB as far as I see it DE frank krease is the best DE we have everytime they put him in he got a sack…chris baker is just a good dancer thats it

        • rtcwon - Jan 2, 2015 at 12:57 PM

          Try uping your football acumen beyond the box score.

        • Joe Greene - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:24 PM

          Wow. You’re completely clueless about the game if that’s what you saw.

        • deepball1 - Jan 2, 2015 at 6:13 PM

          perhaps Baker didn’t get to the quarterback because he was playing NOSE TACKLE. Pay attention and you will learn more. In 2013 he played defensive end. This year he was pretty much stuck on the Nose getting double teamed.

          He is an adequate Nose tackle but he is REALLY good at defensive end in a 3-4 as long as he is one on one. This is a Redskins problem going back for years. whenever they have an injury…suddenly they start switching other guys from other positions so that 1 injury changes several different guys around. Why not just have BACKUPS and let people play their natural positions. We had a nose tackle on the practice squad all year and he never got into a game.

          There is a name for this kind of philosophy. Its call stupidity.

    • Joe Greene - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:23 PM

      If they switch to a 4-3, which is what they should be running, then both Cofield and Hatcher are legit stud DTs in that system. You keep Baker as the bigger bodied run stuffer for short yardage. Bowen can be let go at that point.

      • ajbus1 - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:45 PM

        How would you project the LBs & DEs if they switch?

        • Joe Greene - Jan 4, 2015 at 8:09 PM

          I move Kerrigan and Murphy to their natural DE positions and hope they can add a few pounds (Kerrigan is 265 and Murphy 260). Keenan Robinson was actually projected as an OLB in the 4-3 coming out of college and his draft page had him listed as such. His speed and pass coverage skills should fit well there. Riley/Compton battle for the MLB spot and that leaves an OLB spot to fill with either a FA or the draft.

    • duranedurane - Jan 2, 2015 at 7:18 PM

      I think they get rid of oft-injured Bowen ..perhaps chris baker stays due to his versatility or gets asked to take a paycut since he’s getting paid like a starter…but Cofield stays worse case they draft a legit BIG NT and move him to the 4 technique

      • Joe Greene - Jan 4, 2015 at 8:11 PM

        Baker is getting paid like a starter? His cap hit next year is $3 million, very easy to keep at the moment.

  3. mr.moneylover - Jan 2, 2015 at 7:58 AM

    Bruce allen gonna get jay gruden fired watch…if jay gruden not in control of what kind of players he want to be brought in then redskins gonna add more dead weight players…I herd the Dc media hammer bruce allen and they have every right too cause the media want to cover a winning team not the joke of the NFL plus on top of that he skip over questions he should have answers too…I wonder why dan synder didnt stand by bruce allen or spoke after ??? Could dan synder actually be piss at bruce and told him you go take the heat by yourself with the media…last year dan synder wrote a letter to the fans he did nothing this year I wonder why

    • skinsgame - Jan 2, 2015 at 10:13 AM

      Because, believe it or not, Snyder isn’t running things. Allen is. Even when he does the right things, like letting the GM he hired to run the team actually do that, he gets flak.

      • Joe Greene - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:24 PM


        • skinsgame - Jan 2, 2015 at 10:25 PM

          You have evidence to the contrary?

        • Joe Greene - Jan 4, 2015 at 8:11 PM

          Decades of it.

    • Joe Greene - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:25 PM

      Gruden will get Gruden fired because he was a bad, desperate hire in the first place.

  4. gonavybeatarmy - Jan 2, 2015 at 8:31 AM

    “We were tempted to make some trades for a player or two…”

    I’m sorry, Rich. But it’s just very hard to get excited about this new found, questionable, probably short-lived discipline. And for the love of God, they didn’t have a first round pick in the last two drafts, and yet they were still “tempted” by some other team or teams to trade valuable picks, the very lifeblood of most sane, disciplined, well-run organizations.

    The Redskins under this owner are and have been a joke. Based on his nearly two decades of ownership, Just assume they’ll be bad as long as the current owner is breathing.

  5. charley42 - Jan 2, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    People – you simply just can’t get rid of players. You just can’t bring in players off the street and expect them to be better. Basically, you keep them (except under-performing, over/highly paid ones) and bring in players who you think would be better.

  6. hk2000 - Jan 2, 2015 at 9:14 AM

    Snyder should’ve fired the whole Tampa Bay trio, not just Haslett. they got rid of ex TB guy, but are bringing in another, if not Morris, then Joe Barry– both are TB rejects, which means we’ll be back to square one. Fans who think this team will ever turn around under this head coach are fooling themselves.

    • mr.moneylover - Jan 2, 2015 at 9:42 AM

      Most the blame is on bruce really doesnt matter what kind of coach they bring in its about bruce allen football IQ he cant evaluate good talent if it was right in front of him

      • hk2000 - Jan 2, 2015 at 10:33 AM

        Well yeah- the TB trio includes Allen (Allen, Gruden and Haslett all needed to go)

        • Joe Greene - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:27 PM

          You CANNOT fire Gruden right now. Snyder has such a bad reputation for meddling with the team and firing coaches that they had to give a guaranteed 5 year deal to Gruden despite nobody else being interested in him and Cincy fans wanting him gone as OC.

          Nobody would have taken the job if Gruden had been fired after a single season.

        • ajbus1 - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:48 PM

          I agree with Joe here. Even though Gruden might not be the guy who would we get that would for sure be better? We need to try and stabilize things through patience and the draft. Mass turnover would NOT help.

    • renhoekk2 - Jan 2, 2015 at 11:35 AM

      Coaches like Gibbs and Shanahan couldn’t escape with winning records. That organization’s problems run much deeper than any coach or QB can fix. Scott Campbell and Bruce Allen both need to go. They both have a track record of failure. How they are both employed by the Redskins organization just goes to speak to the fact that Snyder has no idea about the National Football League. I can’t believe there would be any other franchise that would have those two guys working together to build a football team.

  7. hitmeimopen - Jan 2, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    I read Keim saying that Dan should have to answer a couple questions. I wonder if he’s thinking as I am – that we fans should know why Haynesworth’s contract was set up to push dollars into uncapped years – a clear fracture of the rules and the biggest reason we got a $36M penalty slapped on us. This is who is running the show – two assho;es trying to game the system. That’s who they are. Dan has been this guy all along – even back to his QWest slamming days. He breaks the rules and dares anyone to call him on it. NFL came down on his sh;t and we, the fans, pay for it with a dumpster-fire of a team.

    • skinsgame - Jan 2, 2015 at 10:29 AM

      Perhaps Keim can put together some money with you and you could be the owners. That would be awesome. Then, no one would ever have to worry about unwritten rules being broken. What a relief that would be to we fans. Make it happen. We’re all pulling for you two!

    • deepball1 - Jan 2, 2015 at 6:21 PM

      in my opinion…the Redskins are starting over as of this season. This was RG3’s rookie season and he was the number 1 pick last year. Trent Murphy was the 2nd. Now this coming April we will have another first round pick and perhaps we can get some help for the team as Griffin continues to mature.

      He is not on the same level as Luck because Luck has about 6 full years of being a dropback passer. Griffin will be in his 3rd year in 2015 and his 2nd year in Gruden’s system. We should hopefully see a better passing game next fall.

      If we don’t, then they truly will be starting over because Griffin and Cousins will both be gone by next year at this time.

  8. goback2rfk - Jan 2, 2015 at 10:12 AM

    A safety hardly never goes as a top 5 pick. I rather take the top offensive lineman of the draft first. And do not we always try to take advantage of the draft?! Does not every team?! I think Allens comments are generic and pointless. Tell us something we do not know.

    • Joe Greene - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:29 PM

      There’s no legit top 10 OT talent in this draft if Andrus Peat doesn’t declare. Scherff is a LG most likely in the NFL due to short arms and a surprising lack of strength. Ronnie Stanley is interesting but a one year wonder right now and would be a huge risk.

      The only option this year is hoping someone just goes nuts wanting someone at #5 allowing us to trade down and pick up extra picks.

      • ajbus1 - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:51 PM

        I’m gonna agree with Joe again. Trading down is the best option for us this year. I won’t be disappointed if they take Schreff at 5 but that is too high for a guy that might project as a G in the nfl.

      • duranedurane - Jan 2, 2015 at 7:38 PM

        i agree with both of you..there arent any legit top 5 picks at OT anyways..and Scherff is projected as OG..if Scherff is the first pick in draft i’d take that BUT i’d rather trade down cus i think we cut Chester or/and Lauvao anyways…but i think the skins are interested in the OG from SF, Mike Iupati, thats a free agent from what i hear..i’d prolly trade down…pick holliman at FS from my louisville (hometeam) cardinals…if collins isnt available or go with the OT from Notre Dame Ronnie Stanley if he announces pro..BTW if Randy Gregory falls to us at 5 at OLB NO WAY do i pass him up even if he isnt a need..imo better prospect than Clowney..

        • captblood3000 - Jan 2, 2015 at 10:33 PM

          I would take Randy Gregory or Leonard Williams if available. We’re not discussing “need” in the usual sense. They need playmakers, and those can be anywhere. Get the most value at #5. If neither Gregory or Williams is available at #5, there should be a QB or OT that some team desperately wants for a package of draft picks.

          I saw the same thing Rich saw with Collins in the Sugar Bowl. Perhaps moving Collins from SS to FS will make better use of his talents but at #5 you want someone you can plug and play in year 1.

          My homer prospect is safety Anthony Harris from UVa. He could play either safety position and should go in rounds 3 or 4.

        • Joe Greene - Jan 4, 2015 at 8:14 PM

          I think Holliman will be there in the 2nd round, but if we could pull the trade down with Cleveland, I’d have no problem taking him at #19. Kid is a ballhawk that we haven’t had in years.

  9. skinsgame - Jan 2, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    The philosophy is perfect. I like everything about Allen, really. He doesn’t meddle, he speaks only when it’s appropriate, and he is reasonably well spoken, what I don’t like, so far, is his eye for talent and that includes the scouting team he has assembled. It takes a year or so to grade drafts so, last years can’t be graded fairly yet. But the previous drafts have all been low grades. This year they have cap room. Free agents might be few but they have to be high quality. The LG he overpaid is an example of the need for better scouting personnel.

    • rtcwon - Jan 2, 2015 at 12:51 PM

      You’re correct except until last year, all personnel decisions were Shanny.

      Last year’s draft can already be declared better than Shanny’s 5 put together. And I like their stated strategy of looking for natural workers. I have confidence in Campbell and crew to do it again.

      Pro personnel on the other hand, not so much. Falling into DJax was a lucky no brainer but Allen deserves credit for having the cap space. After that, the outside FAs were bad. For now, I’ll give a pass on the re-signed D guys as my understanding is it was Haz askung for them back.

  10. renhoekk2 - Jan 2, 2015 at 11:24 AM

    It’s come to this? We are grasping at straws for positive things from this organization. The news that they didn’t repeat the galactically stupid mistake of trading draft picks away for players passes for good Redskins news. This has to be rock bottom, right? It can’t get worse can it?

  11. shermanp79 - Jan 2, 2015 at 12:36 PM

    No way do I want Collins. You don’t take an in the box S that high. Sean Taylor is taken that high and there are no players close to his talent in this draft.

  12. polofourme - Jan 2, 2015 at 1:21 PM

    This team is going to have to use every tool available to them now and at least for the next three years to rebuild our roster. We have to be able to use FA and the Draft to acquire the, “right” players for the right position when they become available…and that includes FA. I don’t think it will be possible to find a starting QB in the draft but we will need to go into FA to find one who is a veteran who can run Grudens, ENTIRE playbook and not have to dumb down what plays Griffin can make and can not run. Its critical, one of the most important decisions the team has to make this season and that is to bring in a veteran NFL QB and then let Griffin compete to win the starting job. IMO we do not have our starting QB on the team right now, but we will have one by OTAs.

    Secondly, what Allen is saying we wont have much cap space beyond the draft to acquire key personnel which is partially due to the fact that at the end of the this season, we had about 20K left over that we could use in 2015, while other teams will have millions and in a few cases, tens of millions so we again will enter FA and the Draft with our hands tied. I blame that completely on Allen’s very poor decision to hand out $22M of our cap space last year to, two players none of which contributed virtually anything,

    Finally, if it is not clear by now, Allen is truly incompetent to be in charge of all personnel matters and the biggest thing, before considering the cap, before considering FA or before considering the Draft, is Allen has to go or at the very least give his role in personnel matters. If that does not happen it wont matter what happens in FA or the Draft, Allen will simply botch up every transaction and the team will be worse off in 2015 than it was in 2014…he is the big problem that has to be dealt with….but Snyder wants, demands that the team be run by a weak GM and as long as Snyder protects his own private hand puppet from what every other member of the staff and team has which is taking the personal responsibility to do whatever it takes to make the team better, which apparently does not include Allen who doesn’t have a clue of what that means, the team will remain bottom dwellers. Allen has to go…he has to go…otherwise, he will continue to help ruin the team.

    • hcicron - Jan 2, 2015 at 2:23 PM

      we are projected to have 20mil in cap space. the draft pics would eat up about 5-7 mil of that. Thats also before restructures and releases. Having said that I wouldnt mind if we took a year off from FA. We would have to pay more than most teams for a player and we’re not close to competing anyway. So refrain from any big signing, say goodbye to orakpo and hope we get a decent comp pick in next years draft for losing more FAs than we signed. Also, please name the FA QB you would bring in.

      • Joe Greene - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:33 PM

        The only top tier FA I would consider pursuing is Iupati to play LG and get the failure that is Lauvao off the roster.

        Everything else should be solid young players who fit roles and have potential to be starters if they are coached up. Maybe we can get another gift wrapped move like Jackson was last year.

        • skinsgame - Jan 2, 2015 at 10:32 PM

          I like the CB Culliver from SF too.

    • ajbus1 - Jan 2, 2015 at 5:02 PM

      Hopefully AJ Smith can help in the talent evaluation, if he takes the job. I think he and Allen offset each other. Jason Hatcher was a disaster but Allen did help the cap situation compared to what it was. Smith, on the other hand, would bring in good players to San Diego and then let them walk when he couldn’t come up with a creative way to keep them. Like all of us, I can only hope this will help. I will continue to have high aspirations but low expectations for my Redskins.

      • Joe Greene - Jan 4, 2015 at 8:18 PM

        Hatcher was a disaster because his best season was as a 4-3 DT and we moved him back to 3-4 DE where’s he’s always been above average and nothing more.

  13. Joe Greene - Jan 2, 2015 at 4:21 PM

    I would like to personally thank Landon Collins for dispelling this nonsense about him at #5 overall with that performance.

    • ajbus1 - Jan 2, 2015 at 5:03 PM


  14. Rufus Johnson - Jan 2, 2015 at 5:48 PM

    What I think we should do come draft day.we must address all our needs a there are alot. First u could trade down an get more picks but lets go safety cause we dont have one on the roster o line really bad another corner wont hurt the D line could use some shaking up , u can let p Riley leave so another lb and lete see what happ

    • duranedurane - Jan 2, 2015 at 7:42 PM

      i dont think they go corner till later rounds…they still gotta develop young starters Breeland and Amerson..and Hall will be back..there IS a concern that Breeland OR Amerson could be FS..and lots of people thought Amerson projected higher at FS than CB so who knows..i think WIll Compton played better than Riley btw at MLB

      • Joe Greene - Jan 4, 2015 at 8:23 PM

        Amerson at FS intrigues me. He struggles with quick/shifty moves outside, but he’s got 4.4 speed, he’s 6’1″, and he had 52 tackles this year. Another CB could be just what’s needed to move him to FS and try to fix that spot.

  15. jscx3 - Jan 2, 2015 at 6:29 PM

    Can we please hire a young gm, it seems like we like dinosaurs.

  16. colmac69 - Jan 2, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    Talking bout o-line two guys we let go appear to b doing alright with denver and san diego in Montgomery and rhinehart…….got to focus defense….u want to run successful 3-4 u nd two guys who can pressure from either side on a consistent basis…..obviously safety is must….and d-line help……two most disappointed guys for me this yr on defense was riley and amerson….thought they both ready to breakout but both regressed badly (riley could b guy like rocky mcintosh…had gd potential but didnt fulfill it)…..hopefully new coordinate will get better results from those two…..

  17. ajbus1 - Jan 2, 2015 at 6:42 PM

    Maybe you guys remember this but it’s a hilarious guide to our main problem!

  18. bangkokben - Jan 2, 2015 at 7:05 PM

    Non-productive sentiments:

    Allen has to go.
    Snyder has to sell team.

    Snyder is going nowhere and Allen, et all are here for at least another year. These are obstacles this franchise and its fans have to overcome to be successful.

    Insisting that these are insurmountable obstacles shows a true lack of creativity.

  19. ajbus1 - Jan 2, 2015 at 10:03 PM

    If we trade down what does everybody think of Shawn Oakman? We probably gotta take an OL but Oakman’s a beast!

    • Joe Greene - Jan 4, 2015 at 8:24 PM

      Oakman is returning to school. Archives

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