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Need to Know: Where are the Redskins' biggest depth issues?

Need to Know: Where are the Redskins' biggest depth issues?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 6, seven days before the Washington Redskins start their mandatory minicamp on June 13.


Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 39
—Training camp starts (7/27) 51
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 65
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 96

Where are the biggest depth issues?

I’ll answer the second part of that question first. There a no major age concerns on the current Redskins team. Of the 22 projected starters, none will be over the age of 30 in Week 1. There may be some age issues at safety if two of the backups are DeAngelo Hall (33) and Will Blackmon (32) but that’s about it.

But young doesn’t always mean good. There are a few areas of concern when it comes to depth. Here are the top three:

Offensive line—The five starters are fine and Ty Nsekhe is a solid backup tackle. But beyond that the unit is thin. Nobody donned black armbands when Kory Lichtensteiger retired or when John Sullivan signed with the Rams but the Redskins now have no proven backup center. Maybe backup guard Arie Kouandjio will step up in his third year but right now I think there would be concern if he had to start for an extended period of time.

Wide receiver—Jamison Crowder is solid but there are question marks with the other starters and with the depth. Terrelle Pryor only has one year as a receiver under his belt and Josh Doctson is essentially in his rookie year. Those two will probably be OK but they will need to stay healthy. The coaches like Maurice Harris but he has proven little in games. Last year, Ryan Grant caught just nine passes in 16 games and Robert Davis is a sixth-round rookie.

Defensive line—The Redskins did get some work done on the D-line this offseason by drafting Jonathan Allen. Free agents Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain were signed as starters but there are question marks about both. As far as backups, Ziggy Hood is a good reserve, Anthony Lanier looks like a pass-rush specialist, Matt Ioannidis has a lot to learn, Phil Taylor hasn’t played since 2014, and Joey Mbu and A.J. Francis are projects who may or may not make it.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins have safety needs but little cash, putting Clinton-Dix in precarious situation

Redskins have safety needs but little cash, putting Clinton-Dix in precarious situation

When the Redskins traded for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in October, the safety position looked to be a great strength for Washington. 

The team already had D.J. Swearinger, who was playing at a Pro Bowl level, and adding Clinton-Dix was supposed to make the Redskins defense one of the elite units in the NFL

That plan didn’t work. 

Clinton-Dix never performed at a high level in Washington, and frankly probably underperformed on the relative cheap fourth-round pick price the Redskins paid to acquire him. 

In nine games with Washington, Clinton-Dix registered 66 tackles and recovered one fumble. And while it wasn't entirely on him, Clinton-Dix's arrival coincided with the Redskins defensive demise. 

Now, it's free agency time for Clinton-Dix.

Pro Football Focus rated Clinton-Dix as the 32nd best safety in the NFL, and he will be one of the bigger names on the open market. What will the money look like?

It's hard to answer because 2018 wasn't an impressive season. Clinton-Dix struggled enough in tackling that Green Bay decided to trade him, and those struggles continued in Washington. 

The Redskins have a lot of needs this offseason, and safety is one of them. 

Swearinger is gone, and the depth chart features Montae Nicholson, Troy Apke and Deshazor Everett. Nicholson finished his season suspended after being arrested for assault and Apke finished his season on IR. Everett has made plays when he gets chances on the field, but for whatever reason, he rarely gets chances.

Washington doesn't have a lot to spend in free agency, as the Alex Smith contract will eat up a lot of their cap space. 

There definitely isn't room for a high-value contract for Clinton-Dix. 

There might not be room for a low dollar contract for Clinton-Dix based on his 2018 level of play, but the position is a need. 



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Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

USA Today Sports

Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Redskins offseason thus far comes from the lack of change. Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden, Greg Manusky are all coming back. 

One name that is less certain, and is widely loved, is defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. 

For Tomsula, there is no pressure on him to perform better. His work in developing Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle probably ranks as the most impressive on the team. 

"Jim [Tomsula] is definitely my favorite coach I've ever had," Redskins defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said this week. "I don’t really count [University of Alabama] Coach [Nick] Saban because he wasn’t my position coach, but as a position coach, love Jim Tom."

The Alabama product's comments came during a charity even at National Children's Hospital, and they came during an interesting time for the Redskins defense. The organization spoke with a number of highly sought after defensive coordinator candidates in the last few weeks, but stuck with Manusky at the position. The team claimed, through an unnamed source in a Washington Post article, that the meetings were just to gain different perspectives. Interesting. 

Now that Manuksy is back, however, the future for Tomsula becomes one of the biggest questions for the club. 

It sounds like Allen is prepared for any outcome. 

"I don’t know if he will be back. I would love to have him back but he has a family, definitely he’s a big family guy and his family is in Florida," Allen said. "I can completely understand his reasons for not coming back."

Any conversation with Tomsula always centers around family. He's one of the few coaches that remembers reporters' kids' ages and often asks about them. It's a genuine thing for Tomsula, and it's impressive. 

He is also close friends with Manuksy, and the coordinator's return could help in keeping the fiery D-line coach. If Tomsula does leave Ashburn, he's already made a significant impact for players like Allen.

"Regardless what happens I wish him nothing but the best and I’m just glad I got to spend two years with him."