Quick Links

Should the Redskins draft a quarterback in 2016?


Should the Redskins draft a quarterback in 2016?

In less than a year, the Redskins completed a stunning turnaround, ascending from a laughingstock in 2014 to a division champion in 2015. But now comes the difficult part: taking that all-important next step and improving from a franchise that was fortunate to get into the playoffs to one that can do some damage once it gets there. And that work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players.

In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will examine the 25 biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

No. 6

Should the Redskins draft a quarterback?

El-Bashir: Even though the Redskins just found their quarterback of the present—Kirk Cousins—it’s not too early to start thinking a few years down the road.

Remember when Mike Shanahan and Co. drafted Cousins 100 spots behind Robert Griffin III in 2012? The decision didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense at the time, but it sure paid off in 2015. Indeed, it’s a good idea to have talent in the pipeline, particularly at the game’s most important position.

As the Redskins’ roster stands right now, they’ve got a starter that needs a new contract (Cousins), a 29-year-old backup (Colt McCoy) who needs a new contract, too, and a former first round pick (Griffin) that’s widely expected to be released next month.

The safe bet is Cousins returning as the No. 1 on a long-term contract, McCoy coming back as the No. 2 on another one-year deal and Griffin, who was inactive for all but one game last season, signing elsewhere. In that scenario, the Redskins would be in an envious spot with a reliable and improving starter in Cousins, a competent and experienced backup in McCoy and a spot available for a mid-to-late-round pick who can be groomed to potentially replace McCoy in 2017.

That, to me, would be the ideal situation. But I’d also like to be clear about this: I don’t consider drafting a developmental quarterback to be a priority, not this year, anyway. If the best player on the Redskins’ draft board from the fourth round on is a quarterback and GM Scot McCloughan sees value/potential, then go ahead. Otherwise, it can wait. 

Tandler: I’m pretty much in agreement with Tarik right up to the final paragraph. Although I’m not 100 percent sure that McCoy won’t want to head elsewhere to try to get a shot at a starting quarterback job, either he or another player like him will fill the No. 2 job. And Griffin will be gone.

But I do place a greater urgency on finding a young quarterback to develop than does Mr. El-Bashir. I don’t think it would be a good idea to wait a year to start the development process. Let’s say Scot McCloughan bypasses a late-round signal caller who is on the board. That means that the Redskins go into 2016 with Kirk Cousins, McCoy, and, well, nobody. Sure, they would sign someone off of the street as an extra arm, either an older retread like McCoy or a younger player, perhaps an undrafted free agent.

But they will need to coach up the third arm, have him ready to participate in practice, ready to play in the preseason and, most important, ready to come into a game or come into a game.

If you’re going to go to all of that effort and invest all of that time, shouldn’t it be on someone you plan to keep around for a long while? Someone in whom you invested a draft pick?

The bottom line is this—you have to draft your developmental quarterback a year before you think that McCoy is going to leave. He needs at least a year of, well, development under his belt before you can confidently put him into a game. Getting him this year would be solid succession planning for next year and beyond.

To be sure, McCloughan doesn’t need to reach for a quarterback. But if the right guy is there in the right round he shouldn’t hesitate to grab him. 

25 Questions series

Quick Links

NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy


NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.


Quick Links

NFL implementing significant changes to kickoff rules in 2018 season

AP Images

NFL implementing significant changes to kickoff rules in 2018 season

The NFL is not eliminating kickoffs altogether for the 2018 season. But at the NFL spring meetings in Atlanta, Ga., owners did agree to make significant changes to the third phase of football.

The NFL's new kickoff rules begin with having five players on each side of the ball (previously they could line up six on one side). Also, they cannot line up more than 1-yard from the restraining line, which is the line where the ball is placed on the tee. This prohibits the kickoff team from getting a running start downfield. 

At least two players must be lined up outside the yard-line numbers and at least two players lined up between the numbers and the hash mark. In years past, three players had to be lined up outside the inbounds line with one outside the yard-line number. At least eight players need to be in the 15-yard "setup zone," leaving three players outside of the "setup zone." Before, all kickoff return players had to be behind their restraining line. These changes will place players closer to where the ball is kicked in order to reduce speed and the amount of space on the play. 

Wedge blocks are no longer allowed. Players who were initially lined up in the "setup zone" are the only ones who can now come together for a double-team block. In the past, only 2-man wedge blocks were allowed and could take place on the field anywhere. The purpose of this change is to limit the possible blocking schemes by the kickoff return team. 

No player on the receiving side of the ball can cross the restraining line or block in the 15-yard area from the kicking team's restraining line until the ball is touched or hits the ground. Before, the receiving team could move past their restraining line and block as soon as the ball was kicked. This change gets rid of the "jump-set/attack" block.

Finally, a ball will be considered dead if it's not touched by the receiving team and touches the ground in the end zone. In the past, the ball was dead once it was downed in the end zone by the receiving team. This change means there's no requirement for the kickoff returner to down the ball in the end-zone. 

If that was a lot to dissect, check out the video below. 

In addition to new kickoff rules, ejections are now reviewable. In March, a rule passed that officials can make an ejection after a replay, but not they can also undo an ejection after a replay. 

The league also adjusted the official language for Use of a Helmet rule.