LAST year the Washington Redskins finished 3 – 13 overall, and 0 – 6 in the division. There’s no need to discuss their rankings because they hired a new head coach, in Ron Rivera. Rivera, already a defensive strategist, quickly hired Jack Del Rio to be his defensive coordinator, so you know what this team will hang it’s hat on. That being said coaches don’t wear helmets.
Let’s get a look at what the 2020 Pre-Draft Redskins roster, tells us about who Washington is today.
The starting job is up in the air. The new head coach would like to see Dwayne Haskins compete with undrafted, former Panther, Kyle Allen. Alex Smith is still on the roster, but there is no news on his return from the broken leg he suffered in 2018.
While Haskins improved statistically throughout the 2019 season, there was never a point where he showed he has the ability to be more than a mid-tier passer. In five of seven starts, he failed to crack 200 yards passing. In three of those games, he failed to even reach 150. Add to that, the fact that Haskins isn’t dangerous with his feet. There isn’t a single special aspect to his physical skill-set, or his leadership traits.
As for Kyle Allen taking over the starting job, it’s a fantasy. Disregard that noise. Allen started 2019 on a tear. Then, once teams got tape on him, the carriage turned back into a pumpkin, the horses turned back into mice, and yadda yadda, ad infinitum. In his 12 starts he was 5 – 7 , but lost every game where he attempted more than 34 passes. He’s nothing special. (Which is probably why he went undrafted).
Not that Haskins is a better option, but the Redskins still owe him 11M guaranteed, and they did spend a top 10 pick on him. Scuttlebutt has it that the Redskins are taking a QB with the second overall pick in the upcoming Draft. If that happens, then you can draw a chalk outline around the 2020 Redskins, before the sun rises on Day Two of the Draft. (-)
Adrian Peterson just got another year added to his contract. And why not? The 35 year old led the team in rushing, yet again in 2019. However, too often his yardage doesn’t come in key situations, when his team needs it. In six of the fifteen games he played in last season, he averaged under 3.0 yards per carry. That’s not a typo. Under. His longest run of 32 yards, didn’t happen until Week 17.
Derrius Guice has missed 27 of a possible 32 games, since being drafted in 2018. He missed his entire rookie season with a blown ACL in his left knee, and most of 2019 with MCL issues in his right knee. On the bright side, his left knee was fine in 2019. Also the MCL sprain that ended his season, was probably more of a team decision to save wear and tear, once it was clear that they weren’t going anywhere.
Moving on from Wendell Smallwood, they signed former Buccaneer Peyton Barber. Barber is what you get if you gave a slightly less explosive Wendell Smallwood, a lot more carries. (No really. Look both players up and compare them. And if you’re a Redskins fan, try not to cry.)
In any case, the Redskins are in trouble here. They have a situation of an aging body, and a damaged body, both backed up by a nobody. I sense an early Draft pick here (-)
Terry McLaurin is a hot name. Deep threat, big plays, 58 catches, 919 yards, (15.8) and 7 TD’s in his rookie year. This guy is the truth, right? Hold up.
Of his three 100 yard games, two were against the Eagles, and one was against the Dolphins. (Two teams with shaky secondaries.) In the remaining 11 games that he played in, he never even reached 90 yards. In fact, in those remaining games, he totaled a mere 564 yards, with just 3 scores and an average of 12.8. So let’s power down that hype machine.
Steven Sims closed out 2019 by catching 4 touchdowns in the last three games. Thing is, he’s more of a slot/gadget guy, than starting material. Trey Quinn, started off “meh” and then cooled dramatically, before completely disappearing after Week 12. Kelvin Harmon won’t scare anyone, but he has good size and will make catches.
Cody Latimer is also on the roster, but in 6 years, he’s never seen more than 24 offensive touches in a season. (-)
Vernon Davis retired. Jordan Reed was released. Jeremy Sprinkle is a blocker, not a receiver. Hale Hentges made a splash during the last two weeks of the season, posting 6 catches for 90 yards and a TD.
These circumstances prompted the Redskins to sign Richard Rodgers and Logan Thomas. It is doubtful either man will see opening day on the roster. (-)
Trent Williams is still on the roster, but he’s working hard to get off of it. Moses Morgan is a rock at RT. That’s the good news. The bad news is, the current answer at LT is likely Geron Christian. Or it’s recently signed, former Bears fill-in, Cornelius Lucas. (-)
Washington handed RG Brandon Scherff a blank check to stay, and so he did. Ereck Flowers had a career year in 2019, which should come as no surprise since I told you that he would, last year. He translated that into a fat contract on another team. That led to the Redskins signing Wes Schweitzer. Schweitzer was a primary starter in Atlanta for two years before he played 15 games with just 7 starts in 2019. He started the final 5, but he was a back-up in 8 of the first 10. He’s that good. Don’t look for depth. There is no depth. (-)
Chase Roullier is the starter, and Ross Pierschbacher will assume the number two spot. While nothing flashy, Roullier is steady. A team could do worse. (+)
In a nutshell:
They have half of an offensive line. They’re hoping that their ancient and injury prone backfield, can produce. They need to decide on a QB, neither of whom has anyone significant to throw to. This is an offense with no weapons, and no triggermen who could use those weapons in the first place. Worse yet, there is no cover for a triggerman to work behind. This offense is a shit storm. (-)
Jonathan Allen and Matthew Ioannidis are the best pair in the division. They’re big, fast, strong, every down players, who make a huge impact at their position despite playing in a 3-4 scheme. The team is strong here, as long as they don’t have to play their bench. Behind Allen and Ioannidis, it’s gossamer thin. Former Eagle Trayvon Hester, and (native Philadelphian) Tim Settle play the swing-end spot, but neither really has the feet, bend, or suddeness of the starters. Still, with as good as it is at the top, this position is pretty strong. (+)
Daron Payne starts at NT and is a force in the middle. Unlike many at his position, he doesn’t just eat blockers, he can beat blockers. Tim Settle also fills in here, and is decent as reserves go. Trayvon Hester also has experience inside, and can play here in a pinch. (+)
Ryan Kerrigan is coming off of the worst year of his career. Just 5.5 sacks and finished the year on IR. The future is apparently Montez Sweat. In his rookie year he posted 7 sacks, but proved just as one-dimensional as Kerrigan, showing that he’s a pass rusher only. Ryan Anderson stepped in for Kerrigan and looked good in his three starts to finish the year. You have to wonder whether or not Reuben Foster is still in the plans, and what his knee (2019 ACL, MCL) looks like. Four guys at this position, and not one of them can cover. That’s called a liability. Limited starters, backed up by players with the same limitation? Not good (-)
Both Jon Bostic and Cole Holcomb logged 105 tackles and a sack in 2019, but weren’t much vs the pass. That’s probably why Thomas Davis was signed. Davis can play both the run and the pass, but he’s 36 and thrived playing the outside. This will be a position change. So the math looks like, old dog + new team + new position + new system = hopefully he’ll be his old self. No chance in hell. Still the team has some parts that they might be able to mix and match, so it can’t be counted totally out. (+)
Landon Collins logged 117 tackles and a sack. Not bad numbers for a second level defender, but Collins plays in the secondary. After posting just four deflections and no picks, for a second straight year, for a second team, the nagging questions about his (lack of) ability to cover receivers, won’t be easily put to bed. Here is a picture of him picking off a pass last year.
The team added D.C. native, Sean Davis, formerly of the Steelers. He missed all but one game of the 2019 season with a shoulder injury, but appears to have pretty good ball skills. So far however, his real claim to fame, is being sued by a Chick-fil-A employee, for causing the kid’s classmates to bully him. The depth here is negligible. (-)
After an Eagles Practice Squader put Josh Norman on a poster, the Redskins cried “No Mas!” Seriously. Almost as soon as the season was over, the team’s executives started throwing all of Norman’s shit out of a second story window. And he was the best they had!
By late March their best at the position were Fabian Moreau, and returning career back-up, Kendall Fuller. Put another way, if this position were a McDonald’s menu, these two players would be a bag of apple slices, and a small cup of ice. Which is why they totally overspent for ex-Eagle, Ronald Darby.
Given that the Redskins (like the Eagles) play Single-high coverage, Darby will be asked to play a lot of man coverage. On the upside, Darby is very fast, very athletic, and does a fair job of contesting jump balls. On the downside, when he’s not injured, he’s either stumbling in coverage, missing tackles, or giving up touchdowns. And sometimes all three at once! (-)
In a nutshell:
The 2019 Redskins didn’t look bad vs the pass statistically, because teams opted for easy rushing yards. That said, this unit looks too much like it did at this point in 2019. They have strength up front, but the edges and back of this unit, will spend a lot of time on the wrong end of highlights this year. (-)
Tress Way averaged 49.6 yards per punt, this past season. He blasted a career long 79 yarder in a Week 13 win over Carolina. He also punted for a career-high 500 yards, on 10 punts with no blocks, in a Week 5 loss to New England.
Unfortunately, 39 of his 79 punts (49.3%) were returned for 354 yards or 9.0 yards per return. In fact, his 19 fair catches were his lowest since 2016, as opponents overwhelmingly chose to return the ball at a Return:Fair Catch ratio of 36:19.
This indicates that Way is still grossly out-kicking his coverage, and giving opponents a chance to make a momentum swinging play. Hidden yardage wins and loses games. While Way may be showing off a big leg, his placements are hurting the defense and very likely, costing his team wins. (-)
Dustin Hopkins is one of those players who’s stable enough to keep, but always makes a team wonder what else is out there. Last season saw him post an 83% accuracy mark, with one attempt blocked. On the other hand, of his 68 kickoffs, only 17 (25%) were returned. (+)
WR Steven Sims is a KR guy to worry about. Posting 32 attempts, 819 yards (25.6), a 91 yard long, 3 returns of 40 yards or more, and a one brought back for a score. Not bad for a rookie, who also contributed five touchdowns on offense, posting both a 65 yard catch, and a 65 yard run. The addition of WR Cody Latimer, gives the Redskins depth in a spot that rarely has such a thing.
Sims was given an opportunity to PR, but that remains a trouble spot for the team. Still, he’s a back-up player who can change a game as a kick returner. That’s more than some teams in this division have. (+)
In a nutshell:
There is talent and stability here. The question is, can it be conducted to perform as a beautiful symphony, or will it continue to play like a middle school recital of “Three Blind Mice”?
This team is a rebuild, but everyone knew that already. If they attempt to roll out a 3-4 concept with this roster, they’re going to spend a lot of time either having to play shootouts, or just being blown out on a regular basis. As this team is currently constructed, it has the look of a 4 win team.