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Need to Know: The 2016 Redskins’ strengths and weaknesses

Sep 5, 2016, 5:34 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Monday, September 5, seven days before the Washington Redskins open their season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Today’s schedule: Practice 10:50; Jay Gruden news conference after practice approx. 12:00

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 239 days ago. It will be seven days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 13; Browns @ Redskins 27; Redskins @ Ravens 34

The best and worst units on the Redskins

Now that the 53-man roster is set, what are the best units on the Redskins? And which ones didn’t get enough needed improvement during the offseason? Let’s take a look.


Receivers—Now that it appears that Josh Doctson is well on his way to being able to contribute this year we can crank up the talk about this being the best receiving corps in the NFL again. They were still up there near the top with DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed, and others. But if Doctson lives up to even part of his potential this year Kirk Cousins will be like the proverbial kid in the candy store.

Cornerbacks—Last year this unit was a mess, with Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall suffering injuries and players like Will Blackmon being forced to learn the defense on the fly. It’s amazing that the injection of a $15 million per year, All-Pro performer will do for how a unit is perceived. Josh Norman and the rest are starting the year healthy and with Breeland improving every year, Dashaun Phillips and Greg Toler emerging as strong contributors this group has gone from awful to pretty good.

Need improvement

Defensive line—My working theory is that there aren’t enough defensive linemen in the draft pool who fit Scot McCloughan’s criteria (loves football, strong work ethic, etc.) to stock the Redskins’ line. Why else would he have made 17 draft picks in two seasons and picked only one D-lineman, a player who couldn’t make the 53. It’s a good thing Chris Baker had a breakout season. Otherwise this group would be a total disaster. I mean, if Ziggy Hood is your savior . . .

Running backs—Yeah, I know this one is a little too obvious. Right now the unit consists of an injury prone starter, a third-down back who is wary of being anything more than that, and an undrafted rookie without a single NFL carry. I won’t rule out Matt Jones having a good year but there is much more of a logical case for skepticism.

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In case you missed it 

  1. redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 7:04 AM

    The Dline needs improvement for sure but so does the offensive line. From last season, the offensive line needs to improve its run blocking. From the preseason, the offensive line needs to significantly reduce penalties.

    On special teams, the punt return unit needs to improve.

    • Trey Gregory - Sep 5, 2016 at 2:33 PM

      I agree the O-line needs improvement. But at what point do you just roll with the guys you have and tell them to get it together? We’ve invested heavily in the group over the last 4 years. A lot of high draft picks and one big ticket free agent. I agre they’re underwhelming and underperforming but you can’t just neglect the rest of the team waiting to get the O-line right.

      I’m genuinely asking because I don’t know. I greatly value good line play on both sides of the ball (including OLBs on D.) The only thing I value more is a good QB. So, I want the O-line to be good but I don’t want the D-line neglected, as it has been. And we will need good CBs and WRs. My best solution is to tell all these 1-4th round picks, free agents, and long-time starters to get their crap together and play some good football. It’s pathetic that they’re struggling so bad.

      • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:54 PM

        At this point we are mostly rolling with the roster, but Scot McCloughan continues to look for talented players who can bolster the team / practice squad, with a heavy emphasis on O-line, D-line and OLB with some attention (albeit more passive) to the other positions (e.g., running back) as well. I think his job never ends but he adds less often as the quality of the roster improves / gets younger / stays healthy. The search for O-line and D-line contributors is quite active which suggests the team is not satisfied with where they stand on either side of the line of scrimmage.

        I don’t think the D-line is being neglected; I just think we are a little unlucky with Paea and Reyes (too early for final verdict but so far) not panning out and perhaps not finding value / BPA when the Redskins draft selection has come up (players we coveted were picked just before). That’s my best guess anyway.

        • chimps000 - Sep 6, 2016 at 6:57 AM

          correct me if I’m wrong but Reyes had a very bad
          year last year, and hadn’t been productive in over two years in San Diego. And he received a signing bonus for over a million from the redskins (granted not josh Norman money, but still.)

          Paea I believe had had success at least the season prior to his coming to Washington, but probably the guys body is too broken down for
          him to be a contributor any more- I mean if you can’t contribute on this d line your career might be at the end.

        • redskins12thman - Sep 10, 2016 at 5:45 AM

          Paea has signed with the Browns so we’ll see him in week 4.

  2. redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 7:24 AM

    Running backs are definitely an area of concern but safeties are a relatively untested group as safety starters too. In the last three years, these five players have started only 22 games at safety as a whole, and the player who has started 15 of these games may be a backup. I am not discounting the savvy and contributions that Hall and Blackmon will make, as they convert to playing safety, but the units as a whole needs to prove they won’t give up big plays, a challenge area for the Redskins team all last season. How the Dline plays will important in this regard too.

    • Mr.moneylover - Sep 5, 2016 at 8:13 AM

      Not more concern then LG and RT postion…Morgan Moses played the least snaps on the O-line for the pre-season the guy cant stay Healthy and Spencer long got bullied all pre-season long getting pushed back way to much …these coaches shouldve seen this and need to make sure they have good backups in place unless kirk cousins gonna get killed out there all season long

      • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 8:21 AM

        Agreed. O-line and d-line are my primary concerns although I’m hoping there’s no regression on pass protection. The offensive line was solid on pass protection last season.

      • ajthehitman - Sep 5, 2016 at 1:19 PM

        I definitely disagree. Morgan Moses may have regressed from last year, and that is bad, but I do not know where you got this “he can’t stay healthy” idea from. He was injured at the latter part of his rookie season, but then started all 16 games last year and also started 3 preseason games. Spencer Long was not pushed way back that often, but he does struggle to pick up stunts and to pass off blocks/double team with teammates. But, he was not great last year and the line still had adequate pass protection. I do agree we need to upgrade at LG and C, but it is too early to count Moses as a failure.

        • rtcwon - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:50 PM

          op’s probably overreacting to Moses leaving his last preseason game early with a minor injury. Yes, he has struggled in the preseason but too early to say regressed. For all we know, he’ll continue to play as a top quartile RT in the games that matter.

          I was down on Long after last season but he’s looked better this preseason. Especially at Center. He does get stood up often but anchors well so holds his own in pass protection. But with his man under him, can’t get any push in the run game. On double teams it seems he just puts his hands on the guy, not actually helping. Despite just hanging out doing nothing on double teams, he rarely made it to the second level last year. But he has made it there this preseason so hopefully he has learned to push & go.

          They won with LeRibeus last year so everyone, stop worrying about the improved OL.

          The DL isn’t much but doesn’t need to be. With a healthy Kerrigan and Smith, this D will be sneaky good, like top 10. I just don’t see concern anywhere other than OLB. It is the only position, including QB, that can’t withstand one significant injury.

  3. chimps000 - Sep 5, 2016 at 7:35 AM

    I think Gruden/Mcvay need to be very aggressive early in games, get chunk plays and jump out to leads. Last year they really stuck with the run game when it was clearly ineffective, for defensible reasons (protect a young qb.) They probably also need to stay very aggressive throughout the game. Hopefully Kelly can be effective where jones and Morris were not last year, but we can’t afford to throw away downs for -2 to +2 yards like we did continuously throughout last season.

    If teams can run the ball as well as last year against us, they are going to wear down our front 7 which has little
    depth and questionable talent- every game
    be a dogfight, and the season will be on Kirks play in the fourth quarter.

    • Trey Gregory - Sep 5, 2016 at 2:38 PM

      I fully expect the playbook to open more this year. Gruden has a very dynamic offense that he held back last year to let Cousins develop. It will open up. But it will still be a lot of short/intermediate passes because that’s the system and that’s what the D will give up. There’s no point in taking unnecessary risk. Sometimes taking a “shot” is an6 yard pass to a slot guy because there’s nobody there to cover him and he could make a big play if he gets a block or makes a guy miss. Throwing deep into double coverage just for the sake of it isn’t a winning strategy.

      I wouldn’t count out Jones being a pretty good RB if healthy. He has the talent. I expect to have a bad run game and run D but it’s not a foregone conclusion. Better ILB and safety play could greatly help the run D.

      • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 3:30 PM

        I’m hoping for this type of attack.

  4. Mr.moneylover - Sep 5, 2016 at 8:08 AM

    If ziggy hood not our starting NT week 1 we gonna lose I seen Kendrick Gholston get pushed around to much…my concern is the O-line morgan moses,spencer long and Kory L. These guys need to go they showing they weak and cant fight threw injury…Kory L. Never looked the same after his nerve injury and you can tell hes still suffering from that injury …the O-line and penalties will cost redskins to lose this season…if they play the guys who deserve to play the D-line the D-line can be strong let’s see if the coaches shuffle the starting D-line if they don’t we will be in trouble

    • Rich Tandler - Sep 5, 2016 at 8:32 AM

      Who is Kendrick Gholston?

      • Hail2Victory - Sep 5, 2016 at 12:27 PM

        Rich that was not classy on your part. You lost a little of my respect for you.

        • Rich Tandler - Sep 5, 2016 at 6:45 PM

          If you’re going to be critical of a player you should get his name right.

    • rtcwon - Sep 5, 2016 at 11:22 AM

      You have zero credibility when you can’t come close to spelling the man’s name correctly, Mr. Funnyloser.

    • Trey Gregory - Sep 5, 2016 at 2:40 PM

      I get not being excited about the starters on the line, but you can’t just dump them without a better or as-good replacement. Who is going to replace the guys you listed if cut?

  5. colorofmyskinz - Sep 5, 2016 at 8:20 AM

    Hey Rich don’t forget our center as an area of major weakness. When you see a pass protection play with the entire line holding their guys, and then in the middle of the line you see Kory getting blasted backward 10 yards straight into Cousins, you have a MAJOR problem. Even on run plays when the rest of the line moves forward to create lanes and Kory is the only one getting blasted backward into the running back you have a huge problem.

    I used to like Kory years back and he has had some good years, but the NFL has grown up and left him behind.

    Our center is the weakest position on the team hands down. I would be placing long at practice at this position daily until we can get Kory off the line. Everyday he sits in the middle of the line is a day we commit to average with running the ball and high risk with protecting the QB.

    There have got to be better centers cut than him.

    • rtcwon - Sep 5, 2016 at 11:39 AM

      Never, ever has any lineman been blasted 10 yards backwards, on any team. Yes, Kory is showing some lingering effects of the injury in his play. And by the end of the season, Long may be the better center. The team doesn’t think Kory will start all year or they wouldn’t have re-worked his contact. BUT to think a better center got cut is absurd. About as absurd as continuing to repeat falsehoods about Kory’s play. You clearly watch no other games across the league and think everyone’s center is better. While Kory is no longer a top quartile center, he is far from a bottom quartile guy.

  6. redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 8:27 AM

    I know Redskins weakness is on both lines, but Redskins should pick up OLB Marcus Rush on San Fran practice squad. Too good to pass up and fills a need.

    • bangkokben - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:21 AM

      C’mon. This guy didn’t make the 49ers. Maybe we should look at the Browns practice squad while we’re at it.?

      • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:51 AM

        I watched him in several games and thought he could challenge Murphy for 3rd OLB spot / definite upgrade over Bates. I don’t know what 49ers OLB position is like, and regardless, I can’t control the decisions teams make to roster a player or not so I don’t worry about stuff like that. Just looking at our 53 and where the team can improve.

        • bangkokben - Sep 5, 2016 at 11:13 AM

          Believe me, if the team made the move today, I would have no problem with it but Bates had a bunch of sacks last season against the 3rd string and now as a place on this team. With pass rusher being such a premium there are one of two things: 1) teams don’t do a good job of scouting the preseason games (the guys that get picked-up almost always have reputation — years of experience in the league or draft status.) Or 2) every team passed on him because he’s extremely raw. I kind of believe there is a combination.

        • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 12:38 PM

          Yeah, I am always skeptical about players when they are only facing second and third string competition (e.g., Brown and Reiter); I want to see what they can do against the first string.

          With Galette out, the Redskins are in trouble if either Kerrigan or Smith can’t play. I’m not trying to find a star, just someone serviceable at generating a pass rush and I think he would be an upgrade to at least the fourth OLB, maybe third. I really like Houston Bates, and think he makes good contributions to our special teams, but I think Marcus could challenge Trent and be better than Houston at OLB.

          Here are both their profiles (Marcus seems to have addressed some of his weaknesses over the past year):

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 6, 2016 at 2:15 AM

          Pass rush is very important. But it’s easy to forget that OLBs do more than rush the QB. They also have to cover and play to run. If a 4th OLB can do just those two things well, then they’re very valuable and worth that spot. Quite often only one OLB is rushing and it’s really up to others on the front 7 to generate a pass rush. There have been many OLBs who weren’t great pass rushers but had long and successful careers because they did everything else well.

          We’re frankly just not going to find a good pass rusher available at this point. Guys who can pass rush don’t just come available at this point unless there’s some strange circumstance (like with Junior Galette). So the focus should be on the run and coverage. That way we can allow other to get after the QB on a zone blitz and still have a stout front 7.

          Also, if we get better DEs, OLB won’t be quite as big an issue. It’s still scary thin, but we’re in 4 man fronts a lot. Those fronts can have 2 OLBs as DEs or we can have a DE (like Murphy), use someone like Baker and RJF as our DTs, then the one OLB on the other side as the DE. A good pass rushing DE can help a lot. It’s confusing because we think so much in position groups. But you have to be flexible in this defense. These guys are not limited to one role.

  7. wvredskins - Sep 5, 2016 at 8:44 AM

    I think our running game could surprise people this year. Robert Kelly to me is almost identical to Alfred Morris coming out of college for one reason and that is he always falls forward and you see him get them extra yards. You see him get back to the line of scrimmage when he should have had a 3 yard loss. Those are the plays Morris was doing his first cpl of season and then last year happened and Morris couldn’t break tackles like he once was able to IMO.. So we could have something here with Jones and Kelly. Maybe not and I am just getting excited about Preseason games. I wouldnt be surprised if Kelly was the starting running back by Week 4 though.. HTTR

    • colorofmyskinz - Sep 5, 2016 at 8:56 AM

      If Matt Jones is healthy, he is a better RB on all accounts. Really worried about his shoulder. Running backs need their shoulders as much as their legs to be effective runners. Dropping your shoulder and delivering a hit is how physical running backs fall forward. He is going to be protecting that shoulder which will mean he will not be able to run with the violence he is used too. That creates major concern because that is his strength – violent physical running. Not with an ailing shoulder he won’t. Hesitation will be in his head.

      Between the injuries of him and Thompson (always hurt) and our horrible center, we have compounding issues here. We will see. Maybe Jones is magically fine, Thompson stays healthy, Kory gets healthy and adds 30 lbs… Not good at all…

      • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:15 AM

        Great points.

      • me4gm - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:34 AM

        I would have cut Thompson and rotated Jones , Brown and Kelly. All 3 can catch and are not afraid of contact

        • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:45 AM

          Besides his difficulty staying healthy, what’s not to like about Thompson’s game? If you want more from Thompson, what do you want to see that you’re not?

        • colorofmyskinz - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:12 AM

          I love everything about Thompsons performance and skill in the position. He is clutch with 3rd down pass catches. I would be raving about him if he could stay on the field even for just 12 games out of the year. Let alone 16. And then to think about post season after 16 games is an impossible thought. Literally we will be lucky to see him in the second half of the year. As a third down back you are going to take big hits as nickel Ds are flying to the ball. For some reason Chris T has been talked about for potential every year and every year he deals with some major injury that keeps him off the field. Hope this year is different. It has not started different. If he plays 19 games then we have a winner!

      • bangkokben - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:30 AM

        Here’s a correction of your statement. Matt Jones, when healthy, is the more TALENTED running back.

        But here’s the thing. He is not healthy and when he is, he runs too upright not getting the power he needs. He rarely lowers his shoulder, when healthy, but instead turns around and does that crab walk thing — basically running backwards at contact. Furthermore, he consistently misses assignments in the passing game. He misses blocks in pass pro and has gone out on the wrong routes. His lack of focus in the passing game got him benched last season. So let’s not get ‘more talented’ and ‘better’ confused. Chris Thompson is better in pass pro and your little sister is probably bigger than Thompson.

        • colorofmyskinz - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:40 AM

          Lol. Great points! We don’t see the wrong routes. And I am very impressed with Kelly on picking up blitz and pass blocks. He took many rushers down that were flying in. And he always seemed to be in that perfect spot (on assignment) to always pick up that heat. So major bravo on the pass protection. I would like to see the “talent” pay out with Jones. Large investment there to not see that talent develop. I am hopeful it will.

        • chimps000 - Sep 5, 2016 at 2:03 PM

          Completely agree- People talk about how big and fast jones is, but how does that actually translate on the field? Is he truly “talented” or is he just a guy who is big, runs a decent 40 for his size, but who lacks vision and the quick judgment necessary to make the cuts that would actually distinguish him as a talented back?

          And that’s not even taking into account the fact that I really haven’t seen him run “violently” and break a lot of tackles, and like Ben says he runs relatively upright which takes power away from a back.

          I mean it was just a preseason game his year, but I couldn’t believe that when this 6’2″ 235 pound back had little darrelle revis in the open field, he tried to run around him (yea, that’s going to work) instead of just lowering his shoulder and taking him on directly.

          I have to give Scott
          some slack, and I think he did a great job in picking up some castoff
          guys who turned out to be valuable
          contributors (foster, Blackmon) but the fact
          he brought in zero real
          competition and declared jones the starter makes me wonder about his judgement of his own “guys”, because jones has done nothing to make me
          think he is truly a talented back. We are lucky an undrafted FA like Kelly is going to push him this year.

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 6, 2016 at 2:35 AM

          The thing about Jones is that he has flashes that talent and turned it into potential. Just not consistently. Everything Ben said is true, but it’s all correctable and fairly common for rookies. It was concerning to still see it this preseason but I’ve seen switches flip between preseason and regular seasons before. So I’m withholding judgement for now. He’s on a short leash with me, but he still has my patience.

          Some of the bigger and more athletic college RBs have problems transitioning to the NFL because heir bag of tricks in college don’t work anymore. Trent Richardson is the perfect example. He danced so much in college. He spun around and guys couldn’t tackle him. A home could close and he could bounce outside and get 10 yards every time. He could dance in the backfield for 5 seconds and find a hole without anyone taking him down. He could run high and break 5 tackles. That’s what he did his whole life and it worked until the NFL. Those are hard habits to break and that’s why he’s unemployed even though he should be a top 10 back right now. Jones is similar in that way. He dances too much because it worked before. I don’t think his vision is so much the problem as old habits. If he can change that then he should, at worst, be an average guy with big play ability for us.

          Thompson though. I can’t get on the hate wagon for him. He’s very talented and has produced on the field in big ways. How many games was he actually injured for last year? I think just two right? Even if I’m wrong, I know it wasn’t a whole lot. It’s a mistake to assume guys will always get injured just because they’ve had bad luck in the past. Many small guys have had long careers (Sproles and Welker are two recent examples). And guys who were “injury prone” can learn to stay healthy. Diet plays a bit part, stretching, warm ups, learning how to take a hit correctly/how to fall. It’s not a foregone conclusion that Thonpson will get injured. But he is very productive when he touches the ball. Something like 7 YPC last year. That’s almost double the league average. There are plenty of things to complain about with this team, but Chris Thompson shouldn’t be one of them .

      • wvredskins - Sep 5, 2016 at 11:16 AM

        @ Colorofmyskinz- I wouldnt say Jones has yet established himself as better then Kelley on all accounts when he in fact had one of the lowest if not the lowest YPC last year (If I remember correctly). Kelley could turn out to be special, or Jones could turn out to be special. In my eyes Jones, Kelley, and Thompson still have to PROVE them selves before we can say who is better then who and this and that. As Thompson and Jones have shown the inability to stay on the field. At least Fat Rob looks to be Durable. But if you are looking at it as who is bigger and faster, then yeah Jones looks the part.

      • rtcwon - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:56 PM

        Gotcha, your problem with Kory is he is not tackle size.

      • Trey Gregory - Sep 6, 2016 at 2:20 AM

        An AC joint separation isn’t necessarily serious and won’t necessarily have long-term effects. It’s not like tearing a rotator cuff or labrum. It kind of depends on the severity but, even if it’s fairly severe, Jones should make a full recovery with no lingering effects. I’m confident is saying that because it didn’t require surgery. If it did, then it would be more concerning.

        It’s very possible that he will be back to 100% for the Steelers and won’t be guarding anything. If he’s not, then he simply shouldn’t take the field. I get the concern over his health but this particular injury doesn’t warrant that much worry.

    • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:14 AM

      I agree with you that RBs can have a lot to do with running success and that there are real positive signs so far from unheralded / unknown Kelley, but I do think Redskins poor rushing productivity last season had a lot to do with the offensive line too. Morris and Michael are doing fine after leaving Washington; they gained 5.4 and 6 yards per carry in the pre-season. Was it a work ethic issue? Did they visit the fountain of youth? No. They’re seeing more daylight than last season.

      Redskins have been working on running attack all offseason so everyone is expecting an improvement in the running game and there are positive signs this will occur assuming we can eliminate those penalties.

      First test is in a week.

      • wvredskins - Sep 5, 2016 at 3:57 PM

        I agree with you about how Morris and Michael seem to be doing fine. As far as Michael, he never saw the field that I can recall so I gonna exclude him from this, but Morris just seemed last year unable to break arm tackles compared to his rookie year or even his second year. Im not saying Morris Work Ethic is into question, although maybe he did work harder this offseason compared to last year due to the year he did have. They have said Morris looks quicker and faster on his feet this year compared to last. All just speculations though.

        • bangkokben - Sep 5, 2016 at 5:13 PM

          What little I saw of Morris on NFL network pre-season games was night and day. Morris looks lean and fast. He even snagged a ball over his head coming across the middle. Would love to have this Morris. Heck, I like the previous Morris.

  8. smotion55 - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:07 AM

    D-line grade is a D- minus, minus , they really need help , I guess they de-valued that like the running back position. They are missing 2 valuable parts of smash mouth football. not unless having tight ends will make that big a difference in the run game. I just don’t think Jones is as tough as he is big. Kelley and Brown are better.

    No real Nose has been the problem for 4 years, ever since Shanahan switched to a 3-4. Either get a real nose tackle or go back to a 4-3 . Then they need somebody as good as Baker and some more LB help. The players they have are better suited for 4-3 anyway. They just can’t stop the run and NY and Dallas will run all day long on these guys, everybody they face will.
    If they are hoping Kirk and the offense are going to score 40 a game then they won’t need a NT, just think they should have traded or still trade , sign a free agent cut after the 1st week or something. I can only hope the GM does something soon .Hell, they got money , are they rolling that over in case Kirk balls out , or do they actually feel the D-Line is good enough to compete .
    Both of our lines going after each other on run plays in practice is not a real gauge on how good or bad they are. Both lines suck so when somebody makes a play it is only against our players.
    The Scherff pick instead of Williams is starting to look like a bad move, eventho I like Scherff and he will play for 10 years , They could have picked somebody in this draft sooner, as deep as D-Line was in the draft and I think they outsmarted themselves by trading back and getting extra picks for next year.
    I guess they run a 4-3 and have Spaight and Cravens on the field at the same time with Compton and Foster and put Ricky-Jean in the middle with Baker with Preston Smith and Kerrigan on the edge, with our secondary it might work on some plays. Who rotates in on the line that is any good at all is my biggest worry . How big is the drop off — Major drop off.
    Preston Smith is the key to this whole thing, if he can rush from inside also will help. How soon can Cravens come in at different positions and not get burned and out smarted by the pro offenses. Can our safeties actually come up in un support this year and make a tackle.

    • colorofmyskinz - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:25 AM

      Bottom line: us speculators have identified major weaknesses with the middle of the offensive and defensive lines. We did nothing in the offseason to improve either. Basically on defense, pot roast and hatcher out and Kedric and Ziggy in. Wow great improvement. Then on offensive line LeRibeus out Kory (injured) in, Long out and Lauvao in??? Very little improvement and we now have either Long or Riter as options behind an injured Kory???

      Wow I just can’t believe with the importance of these critical positions we are still scratching our heads. Just see a long season with these changes.

      I really hope we can make some acquisitions after these cuts to 53. But something tells me if we have not already added them we have missed the opportunity. I have seen all kinds of acquisitions by other teams. None here to address these issues.

      Should have used our 4th round pick imo. We got dogged on our 5th rounds as well. We basically only got 3 players this draft worth talking about. Draft grade this year for Scot is sinking as we learn more…

      • sidepull - Sep 5, 2016 at 12:48 PM

        You forgot to mention the game changer Kendall Reyes.

        • bangkokben - Sep 5, 2016 at 12:59 PM

          Kendall is clearly saving it for the season. ;-)

      • Trey Gregory - Sep 6, 2016 at 2:40 AM

        Center and nose tackle are not critical positions. You keep giving yourself credit for pointing out the obvious but you don’t even see how clueless you are.

        And other than use the 4th round pick, what would you have done differently to fix these problems? Specifically? Who would you have drafted or signed in FA who would have been an instant upgrade? Keeping in mind the salary cap, and players we wouldn’t have right now if you made different decesions.

    • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:26 AM

      We are all concerned about D-line and it’s frustrating because we’ve know it’s been an area of concern the past couple of years. Pot Roast was okay but not great. Paea did not work out and the early signs on Reyes are that he’s headed in the same direction. It’s Baker and some combination of RJF / Hood that’s going to be our best foot forward. With that said, I have liked what I’ve seen from the first team defense at a unit in the pre-season. It’s been strong and exciting in the few glimpses they’ve had. In a week, we’ll know where we’re at. Get ready for the test of the no-huddle, few subs Steelers offense.

      • colorofmyskinz - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:38 AM

        All you have to do is look at the Jets DLine. I would take their 7th DLinemen in their depth chart over our top Dlinemen. We don’t have one single mean and snorting-like-a-bull guy on our DLine. Sure Baker. But he would never make the starting LDE for any top 5-10 defense. He is good but not great by any means. We have years worth of work to fix our DLine. And it is hard to tell if it improved at all this year. Just being real. The only improvement in our DLine was giving them a full second more to get upfield by our secondary improvements. Imagine if we improved the line rush as well. We would be scary.

        • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:01 AM

          David Harris on the Jets isn’t bad either.

          I think we all agree that the D-line and O-line need improving and it’s frustrating because we’ve known it for awhile now. Scot McCloughan continues to work and find great additions to the team. That’s why Jenkins and Painter came last week as part of an ongoing effort to find good fits, whether short-term or mid-term.

          I think the team was expecting Paea, Reyes, Kouandjio, Cofield among others to have shown more than they have to this point and that’s been a key disappointment.

    • ajthehitman - Sep 5, 2016 at 1:41 PM

      We had a real NT last year, and we used him in less than half of the defensive snaps. Why should we invest a high draft pick in a player that will mostly be on the bench. We do need to upgrade that position, and switching to a base 4-3, we basically play mostly 4-2-5 anyway, may also be a good idea.
      I do not see how the Scherff over Williams pick is looking like a mistake, and you did not really provide any insight as to why you think that. You admitted that Scherff will play for 10 years, and you like him, but how is Williams better? He might end up being good, but last season, Scherff was better. He played more games and improved into a solid starter, while Williams did not start, and was underwhelming in pass rushing. He was solid in run defense though.

    • chimps000 - Sep 5, 2016 at 2:15 PM

      I like your analysis esp maybe they should just run a 4/3 a lot more- there’s more beef and muscle in a 4-3 to stop the run, and thats our biggest weakness.

      Baker, RJF, the undrafted FA Lanier, and Ziggy hood rotating at DT, and Kerrigan, smith, and Trent Murphy rotating at DE- Murphy is an ok run defender- maybe rotate in also that last DE Houston bates, see if you can get some decent snaps from him.

      • rtcwon - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:16 PM

        In a traditional 4-3 there is more beef to stop the run. But in your 4-3, using LBs at DE is actually less beef than our 3-4.

        There is no way we have personnel for a 4-3.

        Speaking of personnel, the death of the fullback eliminates all 20s personnel taking the NT out of the game. And since most teams starting TE is more receiver than Y, 12s are more like 11s and 11s are 4wides so you have to have three corners almost all the time.

        • chimps000 - Sep 6, 2016 at 8:10 AM

          Teams have run a traditional 4-3 with DEs about the same size as Preston smith, Kerrigan, and Trent Murphy.

          Remember the colts teams that played Robert Mathis on one side and freeney on the other? Those guys were under 260 pounds- granted the offense was dynamic and jumped out to leads and they could rush the passer.

          In this fantasy 4-3, gholston and Reyes are not getting many snaps…but in the end scheme isn’t going to magically improve run defense, players are.

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 6, 2016 at 11:36 AM

          We run a “4-3” all the time the way he described. You guys are really thinking in black and white terms way too much. We run a hybrid defense. It’s not a 4-3 or a 3-4. But we do run 4 man fronts where OLBs line up in a DE type position all the time. More than we run a 3 man front.

          The DEs are bigger in a base 3-4 than base 4-3 right? And the OLBs are bigger. And the NT is probably bigger than their DTs but he isn’t necessary. So you take those big 3-4 DEs (like Baker) and move two of them them inside. Then you take those big OLBs and put them on the outside. Now, someone like Murphy really helps in a hybrid defense. Because he’s a DE playing DE (I don’t care if they list him an an OLB. He’s a DE). So the “beef” really isn’t much different. You may be a little lighter but you’ll also be faster.

          You just have to stop thinking in terms of 3-4 and 4-3. We’re more of a 4-2-5 anyway but even that wouldn’t be completely accurate. We’re a hybrid. So is Denver. Just for some reason nobody wants to be the first to admit they’re not running one of the two.

  9. sidepull - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:29 AM

    I guess they will find out about the exact nature of there weaknesses starting week one against the Steelers.
    They will find the weakness and attempt to expose them. There will be a lot to discuss after the game. Hopefully we are talking victory and the strengths of this team and how thye can overcame the weaknesses! HTTR

  10. redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:33 AM

    Sitton got over 7 million per year for three years from the Bears. Don’t think the Redskins would have done that.

  11. goback2rfk - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:41 AM

    The offense, Cousins, and the Passing Attack at the strengths of this team. Besides, CornerBack, Everything else is a liability as far as I am concerned except for the high flying offense. This passing attack will not resemble Kurt Warner and the Rams but it should make quick minced meat out of a defense. I feel like the Redskins will score points this year which will ultimately Win some games if the defense can be about average 15th or so in the league.

    • colorofmyskinz - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:48 AM

      Yes I agree offense is potent with our pass catchers and Kirk. Banking on an average defense with a high flying passing attack is fun to watch but does not win playoffs. Defense wins playoffs. Now, the secondary improvements are great for us. That will help disguise the major weaknesses in our front 3-4 on D.

      I would rather have the reverse. Average to slightly above average offense with a top rated defense. That wins playoffs, al la Broncos. Manning could barely release the ball and their defense completely carried them through the SuperBowl. Defense wins championships. It always does.

      • bangkokben - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:49 AM

        Like the year the Saints beat the Colts. What a defensive matchup. Maybe those bounties had the Saints defense win a championship.

        • rtcwon - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:22 PM

          Or how did those DLs for the Jets, Rams, Dolphins and Texans do in the playoffs last year?

          There’s a lot of more important positions than DL.

      • Trey Gregory - Sep 6, 2016 at 2:44 AM

        One team win a HISTORICAL defense wins a championship and suddenly that’s the only way to win a playoff game. The steelers had a crap defense last year and probably go to the SB over the Broncos if they have AB, and especially if they have Bell.

        Assembling a defense like that takes years and a little luck. It’s not something you just snap your fingers and get. Don’t you think every single GM in the league would love a stout defense? It’s just not that easy to assemble. That’s why Denver’s D was so special. It’s rare.

  12. soulbldr7 - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:09 AM

    Hey Rich, any news on Kerrigan? Last I heard, he got hurt in a preseason game. Either the second or third game, I don’t recall. I heard the MRI showed good news but is he practicing? Do you think he’ll be ready for week 1? OLB w/o Kerrigan would be a mess.

  13. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:13 AM

    I think we’ll be fine at RB.

    Either Rob Kelley or Mack Brown could be our new Alfred Morris, if Matt Jones falters.

    Our weaknesses are up the middle on both sides.

    I think it’s too soon to criticize McGlue for not drafting one of the 2-down fatties that went in the first couple rounds this year. Let’s see how those guys pan out.

    We can start to wonder about drafting a guard with the 5th pick overall rather than Leonard Williams in 2015, though.

  14. COSSkinsFan - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:21 AM

    Rich said it best yesterday all teams have weaknesses, the good ones work around them. Despite the lack of run game, we can still score and despite our stopping the run deficiency we still get ppl off the field. The key, which won’t be easy is to get a lead and make teams throw. I haven’t said this a lot in recent years but the division is ours for the taking. The Cowboys are under manned for a quarter of the season and the other two teams have new head coaches. Two rookie qb starters in our division. All our division rivals have had a lot of turmoil this off season. Most of our games this year are against teams better at passing the ball than running it so that also plays into our hands. I also wish we would have worked harder at improving our lines but think we will be fine with what we have this year.

    • rtcwon - Sep 5, 2016 at 11:29 AM

      True that. The best run D is a lead.

  15. celeoinc - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    After reading all the comments, I have no doubt. We will be 0-16 this season.
    We do have weakness, but talking about exaggeration. When I read the media from Philly, NY, and Dallas they are way more positive. Yes we have weakness, but not as bad as some comments here suggest. NT and C are are our main weakness, but the rest is being exaggerated. Oh but Matt Jones cannot be trusted….Why? The guy is in first year as a starter. Give him a break. Our Special Teams are looking awesome on paper. Our Corners are awesome. Our safeties are the best ones since the passing of our great S Taylor. Preston Smith is about to become very special. Our DLine is not special but far from being bad. Our offense is a point scoring machine.. Cmon people have some faith!

    • COSSkinsFan - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:50 AM

      Exactly, looking at our division and schedule I firmly believe we will win 10-11 games. We have won the division 2 of the last 4 years and the Giants haven’t won the division in that span. Just because we don’t get national respect for that doesn’t mean we need to magnify our weakness.

    • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 11:10 AM

      Rich’s article is about strengths and weaknesses; at least for myself, it’s fun to discuss where, why and how the team can improve because the more formidable the team can become, the longer their season will last.

      I have the Redskins winning the majority of their games so I think it will be a good year.

      I’ve not been more optimistic about the team for this long of stretch since the hiring of Joe Gibbs the second time around and the team has not looked this good since the early 90s.

      Just a way to say, even though we are looking at and discussing weaknesses, doesn’t mean we think the team will do poorly.

      In a week, we can focus on the games and how the team has actually performed. Can’t wait.

  16. rtcwon - Sep 5, 2016 at 12:02 PM

    Seems like a lot of commentors are stuck in the nineties. Smashmouth football is dead. The rules have changed.

    Yes, we all want all Pros at every position. And our lines are from that. But today’s game prioritizes skill positions and that’s where our investments are paying off. The strengths of this team are receivers and the secondary. No better place to have strength.

    To me, running back can’t be a weakness as an unimportant position. There’s a half dozen guys on the street that can be adequate and not hurt the team.

    I would like the DL to be better but that’s a wish, not a need. The real weakness on this team is OLB. I’ve watched all the preseason games again and am starting to come around on Smith. Unlike before, I think he can become the pass rushing beast we need. But like Rich’s post the other day, we’re putting all our eggs in one basket. If he or Kerrigan gets hurt, we might as well just play with 10. This is the real position for the doom and gloomers to harp on. Not the marginalized lines.

  17. bangkokben - Sep 5, 2016 at 2:41 PM

    Already replacing the practice squad:

    09/05/2016 Signed DL Louis Nix III and TE Wes Saxton to the practice squad and released FB Joe Kerridge from the practice squad.

    • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:04 PM

      Glad that the team continues to bolster the lineup.

  18. wncskinsfan - Sep 5, 2016 at 9:42 PM

    Well, i am excited for our squad. Year two of a re-build, a whole lot less drama, just bring the football. Sure there are some things in the squad that could be improved, and likely by mid late season our squad will have another look to it. That’s football, this our squad, the coaches and Scot see what they see and implement, it will be fun to watch. I think we take the NFC East again, and hopefully go a little deeper in the play offs. If not, well . . . year two of a re-build. Either way, fun to watch. HTTR

    • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:33 PM

      x 2. just released its projection of award winners and playoff teams. No Redskin mentioned for any of the individual awards. Elliot is running away with Offensive Rookie of the Year and Jack has a sizable lead in Defensive Rookie of the Year among balloters.

      In the AFC, Patriots (16) are the prohibitive favorite to reach the Super Bowl with Steelers (4) garnering the remaining votes. In the NFC, it’s spread out among Packers (6), Cardinals (6), Seahawks (4) and Panthers (3); one person predicted the Cowboys to get there; there’s only one pick for NFC East to be represented in NFC Championship game.

      In so far as NFC East Champion picks, Redskins got 4 votes, which was behind both Giants (7) and Cowboys (6). Even the Eagles got 3 votes.

      • redskins12thman - Sep 5, 2016 at 10:40 PM

        It should be noted that 3 of the 4 placing a vote in favor of the Redskins to win the NFC East inferred that they may have selected the Cowboys instead if Romo had not been injured in the preseason. The only analyst to unequivocally support the Redskins was Ike Taylor. Archives

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