It's been a while since I've done a mailbag post. But as always, I put the word out on twitter and you guys sent in your questions. Here we go.
These two are kind of similar questions, so I'll cover them both to start. Jordan Reed has already begun to make a name for himself in the NFL. His nine catch, 134-yard and a touchdown performance against Chicago confirmed what we Redskins fans have known for a while now, linebackers won't be able to cover him. The more games that he plays, the more that will become obvious.
Defenses will be forced to put either a safety on him, indicating man coverage with just a single high safety, or a corner, which either gives one of the receivers a better match up, or tells the offense that the defense is in zone coverage. That will give Robert Griffin III and the Redskins a big advantage in the passing game. If defenses want to play man coverage and stick a safety on Reed, then Pierre Garcon and whomever plays the Z receiver role will get one on one match ups. The deep safety will likely favor Garcon's side, which gives Leonard Hankerson, Joshua Morgan or Aldrick Robinson a chance to make a big impact from the Z receiver role.
Looking down the line, Reed's versatility will be a nightmare for defenses. Being able to line up just about anywhere across the field; split out wide, in the slot, in the backfield, inline tight end or just off the line, allows the Redskins to move him around and manipulate the match ups they want. When you combine that idea with the hurry-up no-huddle offense, defenses will have to think extremely fast on their feet to defend him.
Roy Helu Jr has been impressive, for sure, but lets not forget about Alfred Morris. I think the balance we saw this past weekend was what the Redskins would like ideally. Morris fought for the hard yards and wore down the defense, then Helu came in with his extra speed and quickness to run past a tired defense.
Helu will continue to be the third down back and see most of the time during the turbo offense. He's a better blocker in pass protection and has better hands to catch the ball out of the backfield. But Morris will still see his 20-25 carries a game. He's a better zone runner in that he reads his path and sets up his blocks better.
But ultimately, the situation of the game will dictate how many touches Helu will get. Mike and Kyle Shanahan have stressed that they will play according to the situation. If the situation calls for Helu to carry the ball more, he'll get the ball more. If the defense fails to slow down Morris, then Helu will be on the sidelines. It's a great situation for Washington to be in.
Roster spots are a delicacy in the NFL. You can only carry 53 players on the roster during the year, of which only 46 are active on game day. NFL coaches love players that are versatile and can play multiple positions because they can potentially save you a roster spot. Washington loves Kai Forbath, who they believe is their guy going forward. He's going nowhere for the time being. So to use another valuable roster spot on a kickoff specialist would be very difficult to both manage and justify.
In the past, the Redskins preference has been to kick the ball short and force a return anyway. If you execute properly, they can stop the returner short of the 20-yard-line that they would start at had the ball been kick out of the end zone. So while Forbath might not have enough leg to kick the ball out of the end zone consistently (something he's worked at over the offseason), Washington don't necessarily want him to. Granted, the special teams have been very poor this season and maybe their philosophy has changed. But it would still be hard to justify a kickoff specialist on a team with just two wins.
It will be interesting to see just how much cap room the Redskins have in the offseason. I don't foresee a huge spending spree that a lot of fans are expecting. Washington have a decision to make on Brian Orakpo and then, if they want him back, have to negotiate a deal for him. On top of that, Trent Williams and Robert Griffin III next contracts aren't exactly a million miles away. Bruce Allen will have to plan carefully to make sure he doesn't spend too much money and make it impossible to extend their own guys in future years.
As for targets, I expect Washington will be in the market for a safety and linebacker primarily. Bills free safety Jairus Byrd is a free agent after this season and is one of the top three free safeties in the game. But he is also looking to be paid like one of the top three safeties in the game. Giving a big contract to a guy with plantar fasciitis is risky, but a guy with Byrds' talent might just be worth it for a team that has lacked a true free safety for years.
Another name to keep an eye on is Wesley Woodyard. Chris Russell of ESPNRadio980 tweeted this recently.
UFA in '14 MT @Jeff_Legwold: Shanahan on Wesley Woodyard: "always one of my favorite guys. I wanted to bring him here when I got to (DC).''— Chris Russell (@Russellmania980) October 23, 2013
Obviously that's just speculation at this point. But maybe something worth keeping an eye on.
That's it for this week's mailbag. Thanks for sending in your questions, and feel free to submit any more questions you have in the comments section or directly to me on twitter.