In this last edition, we’ll take a look at the needs on defense, special teams and the coaching staff.
Let’s get Haynesworth out of the way before we even start. He should have been cut before last season even began. Every day that passes without Albert being cut just makes the franchise look worse. I don’t know what the organization has in mind by keeping him on the roster. Do they foolishly think they can trade him? With his recent road rage incident and sexual assault allegations, no one is going to touch him. Just like McNabb, every NFL team knows the Redskins have to cut him.
Or they could have the insane idea of keeping him. What is the best case scenario in this situation? Albert getting himself into shape, suddenly loving the 3-4 defense, staying out of trouble in the community, being a positive locker room presence, and hustling on every play? Yeah, what a fantasy world that would be. What’s more likely is that he would be the same locker room cancer who enjoys collecting his checks from the team more than anything else. I don’t know if it’s just stubbornness from Dan Snyder at this point, but the team needs to cut their losses.
Back to Defensive Line: With the current personnel, this appears to be the position most in need of an upgrade. Both at Nose Tackle and both Defensive End spots. Kemoeatu was a complete non-factor at Nose Tackle and was recently cut, leaving Anthony Bryant as the starter as of today. Bryant actually showed some flashes at the end of the season and could provide some good depth. At defensive end, Adam Carriker was a bust for most of the season, though he did pick up his play at the end of the year. Kedric Golston is a free agent and didn’t provide much anyway. Jeremy Jarmon was barely used. Luckily for the Skins, there are tons of quality options at defensive line in the draft. Depending on what player is available at the tenth pick, I’d like to see the team address the D-Line. Most of the elite ends in free agency have already been franchised or tendered and DT looks to be slim pickings.
DE: Cullen Jenkins, Shaun Ellis
DT: Aubrayo Franklin
LB is another huge need for the Skins. Specifically linebackers who are optimal for the current 3-4 scheme. As we saw, the Skins personnel did not quite fit last season in this regard. Andre Carter was recently cut because he did not have a role in the scheme, despite still having pass rushing skills. Brian Orakpo had another stellar year as he switched to OLB in the scheme. Though I prefer him on the line, he was still very productive and may have set the league record for most times held without a flag being thrown.
On the other side, Lorenzo Alexander was the starter. First off, I love Alexander as a team player. He brings a ton of value on Special Teams and enough versatility that they sometimes use him on offensive goal line situations. However, as a starting OLB, he struggles. The Skins need an elite pass rusher to go with Orakpo and Alexander isn’t it.
On the inside, London Fletcher had another decent season. He’s getting up there in age, but still remains as reliable and durable as ever. Rocky McIntosh was average and will probably not be re-signed. With his departure and Fletcher’s age, reinforcements are needed.
Again, in the draft, there are a bunch of 3-4 pass rushing linebackers that the Skins could take with their first pick. Some help at ILB could be used in later rounds.
Free Agents: Good Luck
The Skins, already busy in free agency, picked up OJ Atogwe from the Rams to fill a need at Free Safety. He should be productive opposite LaRon Landry. Even though he’s 30, the Skins didn’t break the bank to sign him and it filled a huge need. With him and hopefully a healthy Landry, they are set at safety for now.
In my opinion, the main priority of free agency should be the re-signing of Carlos Rogers. Rogers is one of the more under-appreciated Skins in recent memory. Most Skins fans dislike his stone hands and inability to catch the ball. What most fans tend to not see is the fact that he is the best pure cover corner on the team. There’s a reason teams always throw the ball in DeAngelo Hall’s direction. Despite Rogers’ frustrating hands, he is extremely valuable. However, I get the feeling that Rogers is ready to move on to a team who would appreciate him and give him the chance to play for a winner. The Lions could be such a team. (that’s how low it is for the Skins when players potentially leave to play on an up and coming Lions squad).
On the other side, DeAngelo Hall is coming off a Pro Bowl year. While I don’t thing he was deserving of that honor, he is still a solid corner on the other end. Kevin Barnes provides good depth by being able to fill in at both corner and safety. However, Rogers will be the key as to whether or not this secondary will get picked on in the fall.
Free Agents: Nnamdi Asomugh!!!!!!! (you know it’s coming)
On the return front, Brandon Banks was a great find. It had been awhile since the Skins have had a guy who can take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Hopefully, he gets well soon and is able to return 100 percent by training camp.
Kicker and Punter: I don’t care if they have to bring in ten kickers and ten punters to camp, get it done. There is no excuse for the kicking woes this team has had to endure over the last decade. Graham Gano in no way should be guaranteed a spot.
A quick word on the Coaching Staff. Many were excited when Super Bowl winning coach Mike Shanahan was brought in. After his first year, however, there are MANY question marks regarding him. It was a rough first year for Shanahan as he got into two high profile feuds with Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb. Yet, both remain on the roster, which makes you wonder who really is calling the shots at Redskins park. Coaches don’t tend to last long under Dan Snyder, so this season will be telling. Shanahan may not be able to endure another season like the last. He has to show that he still has what it takes to be a leader and show the coaching ability that lead to his success in Denver.
Another thing to watch out for are both Coordinator positions. Kyle Shanahan was very involved in the McNabb ordeal and he took a lot of the blame. Will the offensive players buy into his offense?
Jim Haslett had a rough time implementing his scheme. To be fair, most of the Skins players were bad fits for it. He’ll need to bring in the guys who fit the scheme, but another disastrous defensive could mean the end for Haslett.
And as for Danny, I expect this as always: