Since free agency opened March 10, front offices around the league have been busy retooling rosters and prepping 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.
Miami Dolphins (Week 1)
2014 record: 8-8.
Key additions: DT Ndamukong Suh (Detroit), TE Jordan Cameron (Cleveland), WR Greg Jennings (Minnesota), WR DeVante Parker (1st round pick) and CB Brice McCain (Pittsburgh).
Key departures: WR Mike Wallace (Minnesota), DT Jared Odrick (Jacksonville), DT Randy Starks (Cleveland), DB Jimmy Wilson (Chargers), TE Charles Clay (Buffalo) and WR Brian Hartline (Cleveland).
Best move: Signing Suh to a six year, $114 million contract in the opening moments of free agency, making the four-time Pro Bowler the highest paid defensive player in NFL history. He’ll obviously want to make a splash in his Miami debut.
What it all means for the Redskins: Sure, Ryan Tannehill is a quarterback on the rise after a breakout season in 2014. And, yeah, he’s got a few new weapons in Parker, Cameron and Jennings. But let’s not overcomplicate this, okay? The Redskins’ biggest challenge is going to be keeping Suh and Cameron Wake out of the backfield and off of Robert Griffin III.
Last season, ProFootballFocus.com ranked Suh as the NFL’s third most effective defensive tackle with 8.5 sacks and league-leading 38 stops (which PFF defines as solo tackles that constitute an offensive failure). So, yeah, Suh is among a handful of D-linemen that can singlehandedly affect the outcome of a game.
Wake is a game changer, too. ProFootballFocus.com rated the DeMatha High product and four-time Pro Bowler as the league’s best 4-3 defensive end. He posted 11.5 sacks, 39 quarterback pressures and 27 stops, according to PFF.
You can expect both Suh and Wake to pose a problem for the Redskins' running game, Griffin, who has a reputation for holding onto the football too long, and a retooled O-line. Barring anything unforeseen, this game will mark the first NFL starts for rookie right tackle Brandon Scherff and a second-year right guard Spencer Long. Scherff and Long have a grand total of 18 NFL snaps between them. Griffin, meantime, is coming off a season in which he was sacked 33 times despite attempting just 214 passes.
Can offensive line guru Bill Callahan cook up a game plan to neutralize the Dolphins’ duo? If not, it could be a long, unproductive day for Griffin and the Redskins’ attack.