The Redskins have made it clear that they are not satisfied with going 9-7 last year and going one and done in the playoffs.
“I think a lot of people think we had a good year and we won the NFC East which we’re happy about but bottom line is we were 9-8 and wasn’t good enough to our standards that we want to hold for ourselves,” Jay Gruden said during the NFL owners meetings last month. “We have to get a lot better.”
Many fans equate getting better with getting a lot of new players and the Redskins probably will have a significant amount of roster turnover. But bringing in new players is not the only way to improve. A lot of improvement can come from within. Today, we’ll look at players who were in minor roles last year who could prove to be upgrades. In the next couple of days we’ll look at starters who can improve and at players who missed most or all of last year with injuries.
Who could improve and step into a bigger role and help the team?
G Arie Kouandjio—Shawn Lauvao was playing left guard pretty well when he was injured in Week 3 and Spencer Long was adequate filling in for him the rest of the way. But the final answer at the position may be Kouandjio, who spent almost his entire rookie season on the game day inactive list.
WR Rashad Ross—Things may click for him and he might transform from being a fast guy to being a fast NFL wide receiver. If that happens it would improve the questionable depth at wide receiver.
CB Deshazor Everett—The undrafted rookie came off of the practice squad during the season. He’s being counted on to play special teams but he only got a few dozen defensive snaps under his belt. He could develop into a useful part of the secondary at either corner or safety.
CB Quinton Dunbar—With the entire offseason to work on being a cornerback after making the transition from wide receiver last August, Dunbar will get a chance to show that he can be a quality contributor, perhaps even a starter. That’s stretching optimism a bit but he’s 6-2, athletic, and more than held his own when pressed into duty last year.
DL Stephen Paea—He got a pretty nice free agent contract to come from the Bears but he was a disappointment before spending the last five games of the season on injured reserve. Paea has a reputation for being a hard worker and perhaps with another year under his belt he can regain the form that helped him get six sacks with the Bears in 2014.