New Washington Redskins GM Scot McCloughan is at the Annual NFL Owners Meetings in Arizona this week and took the time to answer a few questions about the draft, quarterbacks, and building a championship team. Head Coach Jay Gruden is expected to talk to reporters tomorrow along with the other NFC coaches. McCloughan answered questions on a few of the "Smoke Screen" stories that have been floating around about the Redskins plans for this year's draft. He predictably confirmed that all the rumors are possibilities and anything can happen if it benefits the team.
Drafting Marcus Mariota if he's available at #5:
"You never have enough [quarterbacks]," McCloughan said. "When I was in Green Bay we had Brett Favre, who won three MVPs. Every year we drafted a Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks. It wasn't that early, but we still took quarterbacks."
Trading Down to acquire more picks:
"If it's a win for us, and it's going to make us stronger, no doubt about it. I'll take any phone calls. I cannot see us really moving up, but I can see us moving back. Not just in the first round, but [moving back] in the second, third or fourth round. I have a lot of other GM's that I'm really close with, that I've traded with before, and if I can add more young, good football players...definitely."
McCloughan on Robert Griffin III's 5th Year Option:
McCloughan on RG3's option, which must be picked up by May 3: "We've had some early discussion on it. We're still talking it through."— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) March 24, 2015
"Nobody's going to be handed a job from my standpoint, and I know Jay feels that way and I know Bruce [Allen, the team president] feels the same way," McCloughan said. "You have to earn it. That's what the NFL is about. Like I said, I don't have any ties with any of the players. I didn't draft them, besides the ones I signed in free agency, so I'm coming in here saying, ‘Prove it to me. Prove to me that you deserve to be on the field.' That's the way it has to be in the NFL."
Building a Championship team:
"It comes down to best available player," said McCloughan, who earlier this month attended Mariota's Pro Day. "I'm walking in from the outside in here, saying ‘Okay, I've been around a world championship team. I helped another one that made it there - didn't win it - I kind of have a feeling of what it's supposed to look like.'
And in San Fran and what we did in Seattle, we understand that we're not a real deep roster, so let's not just focus on a certain position, let's focus on the best football player because we're not just talking about Year 1, we're talking about Year 3, Year 5, and you want to be able to re-sign your own guys. You get to the second contracts. We were lucky enough to do that in San Fran and Seattle, and that's when things start rolling."
"I don't have any preconceived notions of, ‘Well he's a really good guy,' or ‘He did charity stuff.' Or ‘he's good with whatever.' No. I'm walking in, I'm an outsider coming in, I don't know much about this, let's see it. Let's see the product on the field."
Analyzing Griffin and Cousins:
"With Kirk and Robert, they're both younger guys still. I've seen all the tape I can see on them, even going back a couple of years," McCloughan said. "Now, it's to the point where I need to see them in person. I need to see them in OTAs. I need to see them in minicamp. I need to see them in the offseason program, and just body language, who's a leader, who takes control.
I like what I see physically from both of them. They both have some excellent skills. But also, I've seen some inconsistencies.
Quarterbacks in a new system:
"But the system is not an easy system to walk into year one," McCloughan said. "When I was in Green Bay with Brett Favre, Mike Holmgren ran a similar system and that first year was really tough. For the quarterback there's so much stuff going on around them."
Competition throughout the roster:
"I keep telling him the one thing I want to preach and preach and preach, it's all about competition," McCloughan said. "It doesn't matter who's making the big money, any of that. From my standpoint, from the outside I want to see guys show up and consistently compete and the best man is going to win."
"It's not just the quarterback, it's the 10 guys around them," McCloughan said. "It's the defense, the special teams everyone coming together. I'm going to build that offense as good as I can for all 11. The quarterback is the most important guy, but the 10 around him can make his life much easier."
Terrance Knighton's 1-Year "Prove It" Deal:
McCloughan on Knighton's one year deal: "YoRedu prove yourself, I'll take care of you."— John Keim (@john_keim) March 24, 2015
New OL Coach Bill Callahan and OL in the draft:
"He knows what kind of player he wants," McCloughan said. "We have a similar philosophy about big guys, smart guys, tough guys. We want to be able to run the ball, be able to pound the ball and get that D-line to want to quit and understand that when you play the Washington Redskins, we'll come at you no matter what."
His Free Agency Strategy:
"We were like, let's get some good players at the right price,"
McCloughan said. "It's not, go out and sign one or two guys and think, ‘OK, we're that close to being a playoff contending team.' We're not. We've got to start building and building. Age was important. Medical history was important, and the contract was important."