Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 6, one day before the Washington Redskins play the St. Louis Rams at FedEx Field.
Nickel coverage—Is the D-line a top priority this offseason?
—While you hear a lot about needs on the offensive line, the defensive line could be a greater area of need. As noted here yesterday there are players on the roster who could be quality replacements on the offensive line; the same can’t be said along the defensive front.
—End Stephen Bowen and nose tackle Barry Cofield both will be 31 next year and in 2015 they currently have the fourth- and fifth-highest salary cap numbers on the roster. That’s hard to justify given that both have been very limited by injuries and neither has been very effective when playing. Jarvis Jenkins is a free agent and just a guy in his better moments. Chris Baker has been playing well and Jason Hatcher is getting a lot of pass pressure if not as many sacks as the team would like.
—The only young player waiting in the wings is Frank Kearse, who is tied for third on the team with three sacks. And he’s not so young at age 26. Kedric Golston will be 32 and a replacement will need to be found sooner rather than later. Robert Thomas, a 23-year-old nose tackle, has been on the practice squad this year and has potential to be a contributor as a reserve.
—If Bowen and Cofield are cap casualties, the Redskins will need to add two starting caliber defensive linemen and one or two reserves. Quality defensive linemen will be at a premium in free agency; teams just don’t like to let them go. We don’t yet know what underclassmen will come out in the draft so it’s hard to dig too deeply into that at the moment. The top senior prospects right now who look like fits for the Redskins are Danny Shelton of Washington and Carl Davis of Iowa. They are currently considered late first round and second round picks.
—The wild card in all of this is the possibility that a new defensive coordinator would have the Redskins shifting to a 4-3 as their base alignment. If that happens outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy likely would shift to playing with their hands in the dirt at end and the offseason defensive priority would shift to finding linebackers who fit the 4-3.
—Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park; no media availability
—Days until: Rams @ Redskins 1; Redskins @ Giants 8; 2015 NFL Draft 146
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
- Gruden on Griffin: “He’s handled it fine”
- Haslett on Breeland: 'He's different'
- McVay: Many different issues with Redskins' pass protection
- Phillip Thomas ready for first NFL start
- Jackson doesn't practice again, questionable Sunday
- Redskins' pass defense a season-long issue
- Is there a quick offseason fix for the Redskins offensive line?