Since free agency opened March 10, front offices around the league have been busy retooling rosters and preparing for the upcoming season. Here at CSNWashington.com, we’ve kept a watchful eye on the moves made by teams that appear on the Redskins’ 2015 schedule. Who’s gotten better? Who’s slipped a bit? Let’s take a closer look.
New York Giants (Week 3)
2014 record: 6-10
Key additions: OT Ereck Flowers (first round pick), RB Shane Vereen (Patriots), SS Landon Collins (second round pick), LB J.T. Thomas (Jaguars), WR/returner Dwayne Harris (Cowboys), LB/special teams Jonathan Casillas (Patriots), DE George Selvie (Cowboys) and DT Kenrick Ellis (Jets).
Key departures: SS Antrel Rolle (Bears), FS Stevie Brown (Texans), CB Walter Thurmond (Eagles), S Quintin Demps (unsigned), DE Mathias Kiwanuka (unsigned), LB Jacquian Williams (unsigned), LB/special teams Spencer Paysinger (Dolphins), C J.D. Walton (Dolphins).
Best move: The decision to trade up and select Collins with the 33rd overall pick. Collins was the consensus best safety in the 2015 draft class and he’ll start Week 1 for the revamped Giants’ defense. Recently, the confident Alabama product predicted that he’ll be named Defensive Rookie of the Year.
What it all means for the Redskins: Giants GM Jerry Reese brought back Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator and retooled a unit that finished 29th last season. Reese also made some upgrades on special teams, including the addition of former Cowboys returner Dwayne Harris.
But when the Redskins visit the Meadowlands in Week 3, the key matchup figures to be a rather obvious one: Chris Culliver and Co. vs. wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (Covering tight end Larry Donnell wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. But I digress.)
Beckham earned the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award last season after racking up 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, despite missing the season’s first four games, including the Giants’ first meeting with the Redskins. In the teams’ second meeting, Beckham almost single-handedly beat the visitors, hauling in 12 receptions on 15 targets by Eli Manning for 143 yards and three touchdowns.
Fellow rookie Bashaud Breeland spent much of that afternoon attempting to cover Beckham but, obviously, had little success. Breeland ended up frustrated and getting flagged four times for 70 yards in the contest.
When the teams get together Sept 24th at MetLife Stadium, Breeland won’t be the only member of the Redskins seeking some redemption. So will Perry Fewell, the former Giants’ defensive coordinator who oversees Washington’s overhauled secondary.