Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 9, five days before NFL free agency starts.
Ranking the Redskins’ top six needs
We are about to get into the heat of the NFL player acquisition season. Here are what I see as the six most important needs the Redskins need to address, ranked.
6. Special teams—This isn’t a specific player that they need. It’s something they need to look for in players they take from the fourth round on and in free agents that are on the market late this month. I know that the injury bug trickled down and affected special teams, but they weren’t all that good early in the year when everyone was healthy.
5. Running back—I probably think that Samaje Perine still can develop into a solid running back more than most do (including Doug Williams). If the offensive line stays reasonably healthy and they get better blocking from the receivers and, particularly, the tight ends, I think that the running game can improve with the current personnel. But a more dynamic every-down type of back certainly would help the running game and pay quick dividends.
4. Left guard—The assumption here is that both Spencer Long and Shawn Lauvao will be allowed to walk in free agency, leaving a big hole. Maybe Arie Kouandjio can step up and take the job but the Redskins can’t rely on that happening. This is where the missing third-round pick will hurt. That’s a good spot to pick up a guard who can step in and start right away.
3. Nose tackle—Just like the struggles of the running game on offense were not all to blame on the running backs, the Redskins’ poor rushing defense wasn’t all due to a lack of a true nose tackle. In fact, they were better stopping the run on first down, when the base defense utilizing a nose tackle was in the game (4.3 yards/carry, 26th in the league), than they were on second and third down when they were more frequently in nickel (4.9/carry, 29th). But they won’t really fix their problems until they fix the position.
2. Wide receiver—If you lined up with the wide receivers the Redskins have under contract now, Maurice Harris or Robert Davis would line up opposite Josh Doctson with Jamison Crowder in the slot. That clearly is not acceptable. Whether it’s in free agency or in the draft, the Redskins have to find a capable starter.
1. Inside linebacker—The easy answer, of course, is just to re-sign Zach Brown. When the defense was mostly healthy last year it was Brown who was making things hum. But money matters may get in the way of that. The fact that there aren’t many quality inside linebackers in free agency could both drive up Brown’s price and make it difficult for the Redskins to find a replacement in free agency. That could send them to the draft and possibly Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds.
Tandler on Twitter
1). I question your assertion that the Redskins could get by without Reed and Norman. 2). Trade value of both is greatly diminished by their salaries.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) March 8, 2018
—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 29
—NFL Draft (4/26) 48
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 184
In case you missed it
- Draft Countdown: Could Da'Ron Payne be the final piece to the D-line?
- How aggressive will the Redskins be this offseason?
- 'Skins to award replacements from '87 team with SB ring