Skip to content

Need to Know: Are the Redskins in position to win?

Feb 10, 2015, 5:02 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 10, eight days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL assemble in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

As the old Chinese proverb says, a journey of a thousand mile begins with a single step. And the Redskins took several large steps forward in hiring Scot McCloughan to be in charge of the 53-man roster and moving Bruce Allen back into a position that is more in his wheelhouse, handling contracts and the cap, among other things.

That’s good start but they still have about 999.99 miles to go before they can say there is a quality, winning organization in place and there is no guarantee that they will get there.

The good news is that after about 15 years of owning the team, Dan Snyder finally decided to set up the type of organizational structure that is the one that most successful NFL teams use. They now have a GM with a strong personnel background with final say on the draft and free agency and a head coach who coaches. They can check the box on that one prerequisite.

It will be what they do going forward that will make or break them as a potential winning organization. Will they devote the resources necessary to scout to build through the draft? Can they stop the embarrassing media leaks that have made the organization a laughingstock? And, most importantly, can they be patient enough to build through the draft? It’s not a quick fix.

So are they in a good position? Sure. But every lineman starts most plays in the same position, split a yard or so from the guy next to him and in a three point stance. But it’s what they do after the snap that differentiates a good guard from a bad one. We’ll have to see how this develops over the next several years.


—It’s been 44 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 217 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 28; Redskins offseason workouts start 69; 2015 NFL Draft 80

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

Like Real Redskins on Facebook!

Follow Real Redskins on Instagram @RichTandler

In case you missed it

  1. abanig - Feb 10, 2015 at 5:58 AM

    Define “win?” To me, the Redskins arent in position to contend for a championship, but “if” they are healthy, they CAN be a division contender. Our roster will be better than it was in 2012, we just need our starters to stay mostly healthy – unlike the past two years – they can win the division again.

    A lot of that will be determined on the play of one of our Qbs. We need either Griffin or Cousins to take the job by the horns and run with it!

    Maybe Griffin finally stays healthy and develops better pocket presence this offseason through hard work. Maybe Kirk gets his confidence back, keeps it this year and limits the ints. Maybe he also develops better pocket presence and starts to make in the pocket some, run when it’s there for first downs – like he can and extends plays like Rodgers with his feet. Cousons has the ability to move and be like a Romo or Rodgers moving around, sliding in the pocket and extending plays but he hasn’t done it yet and that plus the Ints has been disappointing so far but he needs more playing time.

    I just once again have to disagree that last offseason was bad by Bruce Allen and Scott Campbell. Injuries hurt them but that can happen to anyone. You can’t predict that all of four of your free agent additions and your franchise player will get hurt, with 3 barely playing a down for your defense. It’s not like when we signed Hatcher, Porter, Jordan and Sharpton that people thought that was horrible decision. Franchising Orakpo was really a risk they had to take Imo.

    Then in the draft, they got two starters out of it last year and two more contributors with Moses & Grant.

    My prediction is that Long starts @ RG next year so out of our 7 picks in the 2014 draft (without a 1st round pick) it looks like we’ll have 3 starters within two years of that draft.

    • murphsman - Feb 10, 2015 at 9:36 AM

      Who are the “people” that thought those signings were a good idea? If you mean the office didn’t think they were bad choices, you’re right. But I know a lot of fans didn’t think they were good signings because their injury histories weren’t secrets. I admit, we have no say in their decisions. I just mean saying people didn’t think they were bad decisions isn’t necessarily true.

    • renhoekk2 - Feb 10, 2015 at 12:02 PM

      Injuries? Yes any team can make the excuse that if all 22 starters stay healthy and play every game we would have won more games. It’s the NFL, multiple players get hurt every game. The Seahawks were 2nd in the league in 2014 with 261 player games lost to injury. They were one play away from winning the Superbowl. The Colts were third with 255, won 11 games and had a great season. The Skins were 10th and won 4 games. Building a roster is more than 22 starters. You need QUALITY depth on your roster so WHEN starters get injured you still have a chance to win. The Skins never have that. It’s been that way since Scott Campbell has been here. The only explanation for his 14 yrs of employment is that he knows where the bodies are buried.

    • Joe Greene - Feb 10, 2015 at 5:49 PM

      When you sign Porter, you don’t get to use the injury excuse.

  2. troylok - Feb 10, 2015 at 7:17 AM

    I think the Redskins are doing a lot of the right things. Obviously, hiring an experienced GM was a great move. Gruden realizing he needed a QB coach was another good move. Bringing in Callahan for the offensive line was great. I don’t agree with the defensive coordinator hire, though. I think they could have brought in one of many available coaches with glossier resumes, but in all fairness to Barry, he is bringing in some solid assistants and that should help. So, in summary, I think the Redskins are mostly headed in the right direction.

  3. sidepull - Feb 10, 2015 at 7:40 AM

    The good news is that after about 15 years of owning the team, Dan Snyder finally decided to set up the type of organizational structure that is the one that most successful NFL teams use.

    I agree with you in part on this comment. Where I part ways is in the order of which they have implemented this type of structure. The GM did not pick the coach. The coach did not pick the QB and this is where I think this approach will be a real dead weight in an effort for Scot trying to get his type of player and coaching structure in place. I mean does anybody really believe there is going to be a bona fide QB competition and that RG3 is not going to be the QB? If Cousins actually presented a challenge I think he would be traded before he got the job over RG3. I need to see it to believe it. That Dan is actually not pulling the strings.

    • unklewheez - Feb 10, 2015 at 9:54 AM

      The GM just came in this year. If he wants to replace coach or qb he will. No big deal. He will evaluate this year and then move forward.

    • redskinsinrichmondva - Feb 10, 2015 at 5:58 PM

      Keep in mind that Kirk was the starting QB for the Redskins while Griffin was injured — and Gruden STILL benched Kirk for another QB. Stop acting as if Gruden can’t “pick” his QBs, or that Kirk is being hosed out of a starting job. Kirk supposedly played in a pro-style offense in college, and yet he can’t get the starting job over a QB who supposedly didn’t (Griffin) and a QB who is on his 3rd team in five seasons (McCoy).

  4. mauriceatwood - Feb 10, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    There are NFL success stories all the time. The Redskins were a success story during RG3’s rookie season. This can happen again. Look at what the Cowboys did last year and everybody thought they were going to be one of, if not the worst team in the league last year. Sure, there isn’t a progressive movement up like we saw with Seattle’s rise to power, but the Redskins aren’t so far out that they can’t compete for the division or a wildcard next season. This is the NFL. These players all have the same power, speed, ability, etc. as the other teams in the league. They just have to put the pieces together within the coaching realm to make it happen.

    For what it’s worth, last season we won 4 games. The year prior we won 3. That is an improvement albeit not a significant improvement.

    The Redskins are better than 4-12 talent wise, but sometimes they simply were not prepared to play such as the Tampa Bay game.

    When a team that is 4-12 can beat the Cowboys in Dallas, hang with Philadelphia on the road and then beat them at home, that is demonstration enough that the talent is there. What isn’t there is the consistency necessary to compete on higher level for playoff spots, division titles, and even more. That will change when this time finally clicks again like it did three years ago en route to the division title.

  5. kenlinkins - Feb 10, 2015 at 10:20 AM

    Last year we saw GM Allen sign Riley, Roberts, Lauvao, Geather, Moss and Sharpton before jumping the rails with Hatcher’s big deal, then Meriweather, Jordon, Biggers before Tagging Orakpo (another Big hit) then McGlynn, Clark before D. Jackson fell into his lap. At first it looked like GM Allen was trying to save some Cap money by signing deals with guys who didn’t break the bank, then signs a DE for Big money, Tags Orakpo, and Adds Jackson. At some point he must have felt like the Redskins were close to winning and emptied the bank account. Then his first draft pick was another OLB/DE after spending a ton of money on the positions. Even a quick look at this list shows you why the Redskins hired a new GM as only D Jackson proved any where near the cost paid. IMO GM Allen cost the Redskins 2 years of rebuilding (2 years of good draft picks, one year to burn up some of the contracts signed, plus a year of trying to save some Cap money for 2016). With so many question marks at key positions (QB, RT, RG, CB, OLB, DE, FS and SS) the Redskins now require 2015 to just get turned around and headed towards winning, So, NO, the Redskins are not any where near ready to win.

    • sidepull - Feb 10, 2015 at 11:36 AM

      yup. that’s about right.

  6. mr.moneylover - Feb 10, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    The NFC south nobody didnt have more then 8 wins if redskins would got more then 8wins they couldve went to the playoffs last year…I think redskins are in better postion this year then last year thats if they clear out most of the roster….

  7. timtowe - Feb 10, 2015 at 12:00 PM

    Rich- question- with all this talk about scouting the CFL for players, what is the Redskins position this? Could it be an easier way to get serviceable players on a team void of talent in key areas?

  8. timtowe - Feb 10, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    Question- with the success of recent CFL players to the NFL, do you and Skins see it as a way to stumble across some solid players on a roster void of talent in key areas?

    • Rich Tandler - Feb 10, 2015 at 2:42 PM

      Not a bad thought, Tim. But I think they need to work on beefing up and improving their scouts for colleges here in the US of A before worrying about CFL talent.

      > > >

  9. gurnblanstonreturns - Feb 10, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    The $64,000 Question: Can the Danny endure the three year rebuilding program (with its big pile of losses) that is necessary to field a roster capable of being consistently competitive without stepping in to hire, fire, sign, meddle, order or otherwise screw up the operation? I doubt the oddsmakers in Vegas would think so.

  10. Bjorlin - Feb 10, 2015 at 12:35 PM

    They will be lucky to reach 500. My pre draft and FA guess would be 6-10,

  11. polofourme - Feb 10, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    Are the Redskins ready to win? Are you kidding me..just asking the question is absurd on its face. This team is years if not more away from even being average. The roster has significant hole all over it…certainly wont even scratch the surface in one or two or three drafts regarding all the changes that need to be done. And, every personnel decision we make over the next few years has to be dead on and bring value to roster almost immediately. Its not going to happen this year or next for sure…what we can hope for is the team in losing will look better in losing. We can hope for small success’s…over time building confidence and momentum. We will finish next year in last place and the following year in last place but each year we will get closer to being a 500 team, that is again, if every personnel change we make is an success. The odds of that happening, especially on the Redskins based on our prior history is to say the least, highly unlikely. Could it happen? Anything can happen. Will it happen, any betting man would say ABSOLUTELY no. And of course much of what transpires will also be impacted by the question who will be coaching this team in 2016..if its a new HC which today would seem likely if the team fails to move out of the cellar in 2015, then all bets are off again and we basically start over again.

    • captblood3000 - Feb 10, 2015 at 2:55 PM

      Polofourme, the Redskins went from last to first in their division in 2012. And that was under Shanahan. If they’ve improved their front office, why isn’t winning the division by 2017 out of the question?

      • Joe Greene - Feb 10, 2015 at 5:52 PM

        That was after 3 years of Shanahan getting his players in place and then using a gimmick offense with a QB that can’t read a coloring book running it. Once the knee went, so did the offense and so did the roster. Now the roster has to be nearly completely rebuilt again and we don’t know if Gruden will actually figure out how to coach the talent he’s given.

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Feb 10, 2015 at 6:05 PM

          You mean the offense (read-option run) that made up a whopping 12% of all the plays the Redskins used on offense in 2012?

          Post all the nonsense you want, Joe. The facts make you look ignorant every time.

      • polofourme - Feb 14, 2015 at 10:22 AM


        I will delete every post that refers to an illness of the GM or anyone else. Take it elsewhere.


    • Penz - Feb 10, 2015 at 2:59 PM

      Good to see you as optimistic as ever! Cheer up man its just a game. Besides, miracles do happen so theres always hope for us long suffering fans….up up and away!

    • bangkokben - Feb 10, 2015 at 7:33 PM

      What you and all the other Nancys out there don’t seem to realize is that “up here” it isn’t stagnant. The NFL is not baseball or basketball where you build incrementally and then you’re seasoned and can compete. Show me recent history where there is ANY evidence of a team/organization that has done it like that.

      This league is dynamic. Players age suddenly. Injuries are always a big part. There are rookies and free agents that exceed expectations (R. Griffin, A. Morris, and P. Garcon). And the schedule is a major factor. The Redskins WILL WIN AT LEAST seven games this season. They play seven games against teams with double digit losses. They won’t will all of them but they will win the majority.

      There are two ways to win consistently: have a legitimate franchise quarterback or have a dominant defense with solid qb play. Twelve of the past 14 AFC Super Bowl representatives have been quarterbacked by: Tom Brady (6), Peyton Manning (3), and Big Ben (3). The other two: Rich Gannon had an MVP season the year Oakland lost to the dominant Tampa defense and Joe Flacco – who ain’t shabby – QB’d the Ravens but they were more inspired by Ray-ray and the Defense. Even in Brady’s early years it was more Teddy Bruschi, Willie McGinnest, and what Hoodie drew up.

      Since the rules now favor the offense, most teams have abandoned building a dominant defense. The ‘skins under Gibbs 2.0 were all about the D. They now need to be all about the D and hope one of the QBs can play because finding a franchise quarterback is super tough.

      But winning this year is not about who the ‘skins have and who they don’t have but more so how that compares against the eleven teams they play this year.

      What I’m not saying: you don’t need a plan. I’M NOT SAYING THIS!
      What I’m saying: winning doesn’t need to happen AFTER you build your team but CAN happen while you build your team. Archives

Follow Us On Twitter