Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 14, 28 days before NFL free agency starts.
Under the radar offseason needs
Edge rusher depth—You can’t have enough pass rush, but the Redskins may be losing some. The Redskins are in good shape with starting edge rushers Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan, but the outlook is murky behind them. It looks like Junior Galette will be heading elsewhere in search of more playing time. We don't yet have an indication if Trent Murphy will re-sign and, if he is back, how ready he will be to contribute after suffering a torn ACL last August. Ryan Anderson, who was drafted in the second round last year, didn’t record a sack and he needs a lot of development if he is going to become an effective pass rusher, meaning that there is no guarantee that he ever will. If the Redskins aren’t sure they can count on Anderson, there will be a need for another edge rusher.
Special teams—This starts with questions at kicker. Dustin Hopkins is going to be a free agent and the Redskins have to decide if they are going to re-sign him and, if they do, if they should bring in some legitimate offseason and camp competition for him. As far as the rest of the special teams go, there was plenty of talk that Ben Kotwica should have been replaced as special teams coach. Yes, the injury problems at the top of the depth chart bled down to the kicking units, but they need to be much better in 2018. They will need to conduct free agency and the later rounds of the draft with special teams in mind.
Developmental QB—Alex Smith will be the starter and Colt McCoy will be the backup but there is a question mark behind them. Last year, the Redskins only had two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster all year. They had a couple of long shots QBs on the practice squad at various times during the year but neither one stuck. They have Stephen Morris, who has bounced around with a few short stints on rosters, but has spent most of his time either on the practice squad or unemployed. Perhaps he could be developed but if there is a good quarterback on the board in, say, the fifth round the Redskins need to grab him.
Offensive line depth—Let’s be clear here—no amount of depth would have pulled them through the incredible rash of injuries that hit them last year. No team has players the quality of Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff sitting on the bench. But perhaps the lesson from last year was that they need a quality fourth tackle, someone capable of holding down the fort on the left side if Williams and Ty Nsekhe both are out. And while it’s good to have some developmental players like Tyler Catalina in the interior, they could use a solid veteran who can play all three interior positions on the roster.
—NFL Combine (3/1) 15
—NFL Draft (4/26) 71
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 207
Tandler on Twitter
My timeline decidedly undecided on question of if the #Redskins should pursue Emmanuel Sanders if he is on the trading block. Look and judge for yourself. https://t.co/r2zugpMWNg pic.twitter.com/BheR8xkqaK— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) February 13, 2018
In case you missed it
- Should the Redskins have interest in WR Sanders?
- Redskins mock draft round-up: Defensive focus on Vita Vea and Da'Ron Payne
- Ryan Kerrigan receives a huge honor from his alma mater, Purdue
- What we know, and what we think, of the Su'a Cravens situation
- The perfect fit?