SHADES OF RED: Redskins Round Table Discusses Off-Season

| February 2, 2014 | 0 Comments | Sports

by Zach Hart, Brian Smith and Will Facciolo
Shades of Red D.C. Sports

Shades of Red discusses the recent hiring of Jay Gruden as well as the plan for the Redskin’s off-season.

Zach: So there’s much to talk about on the Skins front already. I have to start by asking, what do you guys think of the Jay Gruden hiring?

Brian: There’s definitely a lot to like about the Redskins hiring Jay Gruden. He seems to be more of a “players coach” then Shanahan, and has already made strides to get on the good side of the media. It’s a fresh start for an organization who has seen the promising hire of a veteran head coach wither away, and their franchise QB mismanaged and thrown under the bus. As offensive coordinator of the Bengals, Gruden saw three straight playoff appearances. And it doesn’t hurt that he has already stated that RG3 is the teams QB, no questions asked. But the real question is, What do you think about the decision to retain Jim Haslett as defensive coordinator?

Will: God awful decision! Haslett has literally never had anything better than a mediocre defense in his entire NFL coaching career. Whether it’s a 3-4 or a 4-3, doesn’t matter when your defensive play-caller can’t make adjustments. His track record speaks for itself. In 2000 in New Orleans, the defense under Haslett ranked 8th in yardage allowed and 10th in points allowed. That’s pretty good. Since then, his defenses haven’t ranked higher than 14th in the league with some dead last and second to last. He’s obviously not a good coordinator. There has to be some kind of hidden reason why he continues to be hired. We know he coached with Gruden in the UFL so that’s why he was retained. Merely for a reason of helping the new coach get “comfortable.” But is that REALLY a justifiable reason?

Zach: I can’t decide if I like or dislike the Gruden hiring. I don’t know much about the guy really but I do know the Bengals games I’ve seen the last few seasons, it seems like all he did was run the ball or air it out to AJ Green. I just didn’t think his play calling was the game-winner in Cincinnati. He failed in the playoffs, making no offensive adjustments at halftime this past season. But we’ll see. As for Haslett, the fact that I’ll probably have to scream at him through my television for another season while throwing my foam Redskins bricks around my house every game is not what I’d like to call an exciting future. I truly hope with this free agency money to spend, they can bring in a couple of studs to change this around. What positions do you guys think are the most rife for an upgrade in free agency? Any possible suitors in mind?

Brian: While Rg3 needs some weapons to thrive, I think the most important positions to address are on the defensive side, the secondary specifically. With players like Reed Doughty and Josh Wilson starting, it’s very apparent the defensive backfield needs work. One name that pops out to me is TJ Ward out of Cleveland. He led the team in tackles and had a stellar year. The safety position is in need of an addition to help our corners play more one on one and be confident they have good help over the top. And you know what? Another name that stands out,  Orakpo. I think It’s necessary to bring him back. He had his best season yet, and if they don’t pay him, someone will. He will be just another player the Skins develop then send off to prosper elsewhere. The Redskins have their work cut out for them this off-season. But can the Offense be successful without bringing in a big name receiver for Griffin?

Will: Sure it can. Look no further than 2012 to understand how good an offense can be with Griffin under center and Morris in the backfield. Pierre Garçon is no slouch either, after breaking the franchise record for catches this season. It’s my opinion that available “big name” receivers are mostly only big names with no justification. How often do teams let go of an elite, young receiver? Yes, hardly ever. So you might fall in love with your own version of “potential” when it comes to a free agent receiver,  obviously if they were helping their respective teams, they’d usually stay put. Besides quarterbacks, the receiver position is the next important skill position in football. These two make each other famous. But a committee of good receivers is much better than one elite one. Look at Peyton Manning’s whole career. He’s never had one elite receiver and a bunch of scrubs. He’s always had a group. So has Tom Brady. Dang, I feel like I took the dirt road on this topic and got off track. All in all, I feel like the most money this off-season should be spent on a right tackle and a defensive back.

Zach: Bruce Allen says the team will be “very active” in free agency but I truly hope he strongly considers Morocco Brown’s opinion on who should be signed. Allen with final say on football operations is a little scary considering his lack of experience (and maybe knowledge) in this area. But as far as what positions are most important to address in free agency, my top 3 would have to be free safety, right tackle and wide receiver. The Skins have badly needed a free safety since the passing of Sean Taylor and I think they should spend high for this position. I personally think Jarius Byrd could fit the bill. As for a right tackle, Polumbus is just horrible. If Gruden wants to help Griffin develop, he should be lobbying for help on that O-Line because Griffin will not excel if he’s taking hits every snap, not to mention the possibility of injury. Lastly, outside of Pierre Garçon, there’s no other WRs to strike fear into defenses. In fact, outside of Garçon, no other wide-out topped 380 yards…definite problem there. Moss almost got to 500 in the slot but he might not be back (if he isn’t, i like the idea of Robinson in the slot.) There will be quite a few WRs on the market who would be definite upgrades. I’m excited to see how it plays out.

Brian: I think it’s safe to say that regardless of what pans out this off-season, the glimmer of hope of a fresh start and new look to the organization is a positive for fans. Coming off of the season the Redskins had, it can’t get any worse right?? Knocks on wood, win or lose, I want to see a team and staff that does things the right way. Discipline, fundamentals and consistency. If they lose to a team that is better than them, so be it.  But coming out blowing leads, stalling drives with mindless penalties and turnovers and dropping passes just won’t cut it. Good teams don’t do that. Teams that expect to compete game in and game out don’t do what we all cringe at and expect from our team. We need change. We need new direction, and I think we made a good choice in Gruden. Anyone but the red lobster!

Will: Yes indeed, Brian, good riddance to the Red Lobster and his son the Crawfish! The rookie combine starts next month, so time to nerd-it-out and hope we land some kind of young golden goose!

Zach Hart, Brian Smith and William Facciolo are Shades of Red D.C., a group of local fans who have fun analyzing their favorite pro sports teams in the DC area. Catch them on Facebook and on their blog.


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