Sean Patterson said it best when he responded to my statement that day one was far from overwhelming: "I think I'm just whelmed."
Maybe we all just needed a whelming day of signings. There is still plenty of talent on the board for the Redskins to consider, and we still have money to spend. As for what the team actually did do on day one, it is hard to suggest that the roster wasn't improved. We went 3-13 a year ago, so ostensibly there are major issues that need to be addressed. Our day one moves addressed some of those issues.
Andre Roberts, the wide receiver from Arizona, can contribute to this team immediately. We all know that Jay Gruden--like most offensive-minded coaches--prefers the company of a group of good wide receivers as opposed to just one or two great ones. I think that sounded the way I meant it. Roberts is a competent route-runner that finds space in the defense and gives his quarterback a target. Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed will attract a lot of attention from defenses, likely allowing Roberts to face single coverage. If your goal is to build a reliable stable of receivers, then players like Andre Roberts are exactly the ones you want to bring in. There were (and still are) bigger names on the board, but the price tags are bigger. Part of me appreciates that we wanted a guy and went out and got him. This is not the kind of deal that causes odds makers to radically alter a team's chances at winning it all, but I really like this signing, and I look forward to seeing Andre compete for us in the fall.
The next names we saw were even less familiar: offensive guard Shawn Lauvao and linebacker Adam Heyward. As we have said for months, it would be pretty difficult to add a player that wasn't an immediate upgrade over at least one or two of our current offensive linemen. It doesn't sound like Lauvao is being handed any starting jobs, but it is hard to see the Redskins keeping both Chris Chester and Kory Lichtensteiger after signing the former Cleveland guard. We've been told that this free agent class was deep at the guard position, so it shouldn't stun us that we found a guy whose name we are not intimately familiar with--but he has the size and traits that Gruden seems to favor on the interior of the line.
As for Heyward, this is another signing that didn't blow up a lot of skirts, but it is the kind of signing we have been banging the drum for here. Heyward will play...wait for it...SPECIAL TEAMS!!! He provides some depth at the linebacker position that we have sorely missed, and it sounds like Jim Haslett will find ways to get him on the field in situations that don't expose his weaknesses. It warms my heart to see us bring in a player that will be primarily a special teams contributor.
All in all, the Redskins spent their money wisely on day one, just without the flash and splash. They didn't sign a player (yet) that will change their fortunes overnight, but they did bring in players that we needed. My goal of three new starting offensive linemen in 2014 got a boost, and our special teams nightmare is being addressed.
Not an overwhelming day...but definitely a whelming one.