Here is what you need to know on this Friday, November 7, nine days before the Washington Redskins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field.
Five thoughts on the 2015 Redskins
—A big key to the picture in 2015 is safety Phillip Thomas. If the 2013 fourth-round pick is able to claim a starting job that will keep the team from needing to expend a draft pick or substantial free agent dollars to fix the safety position. That would leave them a safety and perhaps a defensive lineman or two from having a good, youthful defense. If he can’t cut it there would be a strain on the limited resources. It should be noted that Thomas would have to both show that he can play well enough and that he can stay healthy. It’s a tall order but he’ll get his shot.
—I don’t bet but my money is on Robert Griffin III to be the team’s quarterback in 2015. It’s hard for me to see him not showing enough to warrant a full season with Jay Gruden. He does too many things like slipping out of the grasp of Chad Greenway and finding a receiver to convert a third down and dropping perfect bombs into the arms of DeSean Jackson to give up on him. Gruden will look at that and think that he can get that out of him all the time. Now, if he gets injured again, that’s a game changer. But if he’s upright in December, he’s behind center next September.
—In addition to the fact that Gruden will believe that he can make a great QB out of Griffin, there is the matter of finding an alternative. Could Gruden sell the fan base, Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder on Kirk Cousins as “the guy”? The pool of free agent quarterbacks is annually composed of has-beens and never-weres. Sure they could expend their first-round pick on one but shouldn’t that pick, likely to be in the top half of the first round, be used for a lineman or a safety? At some point your first-rounder has to be something besides a QB and a first-rounder in 2015 would make four straight spend on the position. Even if Griffin remains flawed, supply and demand dictates that you have to think very long and very hard about moving on from him.
—I’m not sure what the defensive line is going to look like next year. Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen could be cap casualties. It’s unlikely that Jason Hatcher will be since there would be a net cap charge of $1.5 million for releasing him due to remaining guaranteed money. Jarvis Jenkins will be a free agent and Kedric Golston will be 31. It’s quite possible that only two of the five I just mentioned will be back. That would be quite a transformation.
—The bottom line on 2015? It was too much to expect Bruce Allen and the rest of the personnel department to fix the 3-13 mess of 2013 in one offseason. But in today’s NFL, if you can’t show some significant improvement in two offseasons there is good reason to question the decision makers. This is especially the case here since although there were all kinds of issues with Mike Shanahan, he did leave behind some pretty good players so the cupboard wasn’t totally bare.
—Today’s schedule: No availability; bye week
—Days until: Bucs @ Redskins 9; Redskins @ 49ers 16; Redskins @ Colts 23
If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
In case you missed it
- Grading the offensive line
- Looking ahead: Redskins 2015 salary cap situation
- Redskins bye week grades: Defensive line
- Fantasy Fix - Week 10 rankings: The return of Megatron
- Griffin will face a mixed bag of pass defenses in Redskins' last seven games
- Redskins operating well in passing game through Week 9