I think it would be a good idea to review the 2010 season from a position standpoint. All of us here have our favorite positions, favorite college players, or free agents that we want to see on this team-the question is, is there really a need for that player/position?
Now I know that these decisions will be made solely by Shanahan the elder and his coaching staff. Bruce Allen will take enough time off from team relations to make sure that the salary cap is honored, but I don't think he will have much input on personnel unless another one of his favorite players from the past becomes available (such as Buchanan/Bidwell).
But we all like to play Monday morning quarterback/head coach/general manager. I don't think any Redskins fan here wouldn"t also like to be the owner (I know sure as hell I would). But for the sake of this discussion, let's try to leave owner out of it and believe that the owner has indeed stepped back, and let the football minds run the show.
What got me thinking along this vein-Final Redskins' playing time totals
props to Ryan O’Halloran for this information that he Has provided all season long.
Keep in mind while trying to analyze the snap counts is that we are looking at two different Redskins teams in 2010-Redskins before elimination and Redskins after elimination (basically the last three games).
One of the first things To be noticed, is that the author completely ignores the quarterback position. I don't think he had any hidden agenda here but more likely like the rest of us, really has no idea what the intention of the Shanahan's is at the quarterback position. And I think that is by design, whether Shanahan is going to go after a quarterback or not this off-season, he sure as hell is not going to tip his hand this soon (if ever). So we could debate whether we are going to use our current quarterbacks, draft a quarterback, or sign a free-agent till we're all blue in the face, but ultimately it would be a guess as to even what direction this team is headed as far as quarterback is concerned, much less to who it might be.
Any Redskins fan knows that 2010 was a tough year at the running back position. The silver lining in the run game is just how many running backs we were able to take a good look at for no other reason than absolute necessity.
Larry Johnson should have never even been on this team, we all know that now. But from the rest, there are a couple things that jump out at me. Darrell Young was on the practice squad/roster for the entire year and even in the 3 game evaluation period, he only managed to get six snaps; I don't think this bodes well for his continued employment by the Redskins. I think you can say that Clinton Portis will also be gone next year, read O'Halloran's analysis in the linked article and you'll see my basis for this-Clinton's carries dropped progressively even in the games he played, and remember he was benched as well at one point.
Of the remaining running backs/fullbacks I think Williams and Torain have made a positive impression on both the staff and the fans and will both be back next year. Mike Sellers got a lot of work this last season and if anything looked better in 2010 than the previous two years. After the Dennis Morris debacle, I do not think the team will move to replace him in 2001.
That leaves just James Davis And Chad Smith (injured reserve) among the players that played in 2010 that may be on the bubble, if a running back shows up late in the draft or in free agency (undrafted or not), then Davis and Smith will probably be battling hard to keep a spot. Personally I don't think either will be on the team in 2011 but we will carry four backs.
When you look at this position in this context, and knowing how important tight end is to both Mike and Kyle Shanahan's offenses (and therefore any hybrid of the two) I really can't see the Redskins making any roster changes here. For the foreseeable future, I think Chris Cooley is the man and Fred Davis is the heir apparent. Logan Paulson didn't get much work, but when he did, he did quite well. With as many other holes on the roster, I'm willing to bet the Redskins stand pat here; in other words I don't think either player will be traded, nor will we be looking for an upgrade.
Devin Thomas and Joey Galloway are both gone already. That leaves five receivers on the active list with an additional two on injured reserve-Malcolm Kelly and Mike Furrey. I really don't know if we carried six receivers in 2010 because they all stunk, or if that's the number that Shanahan likes to carry.
I think we keep Santana Moss-he played 93% of all offensive snaps in 2010. Santana Moss's biggest potential is in the slot and he made a lot of solid plays from that position. Anthony Armstrong believes that Santana Moss could go into beast mode if we added a top-flight receiver . I tend to agree with him. But from a playing time standpoint, it looks like only Moss and Armstrong are trusted receivers in 2010; I think that carries over to 2011. If Malcolm Kelly stays healthy, I think he easily makes the roster as a possession type receiver. Banks is going to make the team as a punt returner/wide receiver. In my opinion that leaves Terrence Austin and Williams on the bubble, While Terrence Austin was being evaluated, it was Roy Del Williams whose time was being cut.I've listed 3-4 receivers that I think make the team regardless in 2011, and if we carry six, one or both of these guys is gone. If they stay, it will be because of their special teams play; Austin will have to step up as a kick returner to keep his spot as a wide receiver. If he can't, Williams will keep the spot as the play special teams right now. Mike Furrey was put on injured reserve instead of being cut for reason, if he's healthy he could take either of these two receivers spots on special teams. I see the team carrying five or six receivers next year; I believe the staff will bring in at least three more players at this position to compete in training camp, and one of them will be a stud draft pick.
Unfortunately, O'Halloran fails to include the offensive line in these totals. But he always started with those snap counts during the season. One would have to go back in the archives to truly get a handle on how it progressed this season. I know from memory, that early in the season we had a regular rotation of Brown and Heyer at right tackle. As the season wore on, the team tried to keep Brown in the lineup more often. For me, the big question on Brown remains his hip. And looking back at his snap counts, I don't think he's proved anyone that he's durable yet, or even recovered 100%. I think the team (for whatever reason) seems to be comfortable with the offensive line. Capers and Cook are still looming on the practice squad. Derek Dockery hasn't gotten any playing time at all since about the middle of the season, the writing is on the wall, Dockery won't be on the team next year.
So this is what the starters look like at the end of 2010-Williams, Lichtensteiger, Rabach, Will Montgomery, Brown. I know most of us here at hogs Haven think that Rabach needs to go; but I don't think that's going to happen unless we get guard added to the roster. Capers has a futures contract but not Cook. I know also that most of us think Shanahan wants to move Corey to center; I'm really not convinced of that, I think he stays a guard where his athleticism can be put to good use. Shanahan seems to like Heyer, so that leaves Hicks. Hicks lost his playing time to Montgomery partly because of performance but also in my opinion, because he couldn't hold up to the rigors of being a starter anymore. We have a lot of flexibility on the offensive line with the players we have but improvements need to be made in the center, especially as far as pass blocking goes. If we are trying to build for the future with a win now attitude, I don't see how one of our first two picks doesn't go to interior line. But in trying to look at this objectively (and not being my usual offensive line, offensive line, offensive line), I think the team will develop the players we have along with one drafted interior lineman. Depending on numbers, Hicks may be the odd man out. It's hard to say how many offensive linemen the team will carry in 2011; there were days that were quite scary to me when we only dressed six offensive linemen, that may be the way Shanahan likes it.
Well, this is one man's opinion on how the off-season might go on the offensive side of the ball. The defensive side of the ball is far more complicated and deserves its own post. If no one else takes this on in the next 10 days, I'll do it myself. But I would like to encourage the readers here at HH to take a look at that link and the snap counts. Then stop to consider the key free agents we have on defense, I think it makes for a very interesting discussion. I'm interested to see how many agree with how I see the offense; until I did this research and tried to be objective, I was of a much different mindset-how about you?
Also be sure to check out this article that came out later today By Rich Tandler