The 2017 Redskins have some very interesting dynamics compared to last year's team. For starters, the defense is greatly improved, and that started with the hiring of defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and the promotion of Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator. The Skins used their first round pick on defensive end Jonathan Allen, and relied on Tomsula to develop second year pro Matt Ioannidis. Unfortunately, both of these players ended up injured, with the latter set to possibly return in a few weeks. Still these two will be counted on for many years to come.
The free agent signing of linebacker Zach Brown was a home run, as the ferocious inside backer leads the NFL in tackles after seven games. Before landing on IR, Mason Foster was playing at a high level, and will be missed as he undergoes shoulder surgery.
The secondary saw two newcomers in strong safety D.J. Swearinger and rookie free safety Montae Nicholson. Fellow rookie cornerback Fabian Moreau has also contributed to the team, mainly as a special teams stud, but he has looked good in limited time at corner.
The offense is quite a different story.
The unit has struggled to find its rhythm in both the running and passing game. Kirk Cousins has had trouble getting on the same page with his new starting wide receivers - Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson. Both players haven’t helped themselves with some big drops either. Running back Rob Kelley has been nursing a rib injury, and has not been 100 percent, but even when he is, he lacks the attributes of a starting NFL running back.
Injury has depleted four members of the starting offensive line. The nagging knee injury Trent Williams is suffering from has been the most detrimental. Aside from Williams, Long, Scherff, Moses and Lauvao have all dealt with injury throughout the season.
To no ones surprise, tight end Jordan Reed has been dealing with injuries since training camp started. His toe was the first to spring up this offseason, sidelining him for the preseason, but a chest injury and now a hamstring, have also limited his effectiveness during the first seven games.
Taking into consideration where this team currently stands, the injuries we’ve had to endure, and the path we are heading down, I have taken a hard look at some players the Redskins may be better off without for the future of this team.
This list includes both impending free agents, and players who are currently under contract with the team, who have a significant role on either offense or defense.
Su’a Cravens - Cravens walked out on the team the day after final roster cuts were made, and put the defense into a very tough spot. Luckily, rookie Montae Nicholson has stepped in at one of the safety spots, and played at a very high level despite dealing with two shoulder injuries.
When healthy, Cravens can be an impact player on defense, and was set to be a starter, but it seems his attitude is just not what this team needs right now. Due to the play of Swearinger and Nicholson, Cravens may be relegated to a dime linebacker role in this defense. Either way, the Redskins should look to trade the young defender this offseason - that is even if he wants to continue playing football.
Bashaud Breeland - Breeland is an impending free agent who will be looking for a sizable pay day come March. He’s good, but not that good, and he does seem to have a bit of an attitude when things don’t go his way. If the Redskins are smart, they will let another team overpay him. The solid play of Quinton Dunbar, second year corner Kendall Fuller, and Moreau make this move possible.
Jordan Reed - Any player’s best ability is availability. For as talented as Jordan Reed is, his constant risk of injury has to weigh heavily on the minds of the coaches. It would be great for the Redskins to see what they can get in a trade for Reed. I’m sure Kyle Shanahan or Sean McVay would be interested.
Rob Kelley - For an NFL starting running back, Kelley is about as pedestrian as they come. He lacks the field vision, burst and long speed to be an effective every-down back, and his pass protection is below average. Despite his early struggles as a rookie, Samaje Perine has more ability as the team’s future power back. He may not be a true lead back, but he is certainly worth developing. At this point, I don’t believe Kelley is.
I would love to see the Redskins go to the draft early for a Bell-Cow running back who has home run speed, size, solid blocking ability, and hands to be a major threat out of the backfield in the passing game.
Kirk Cousins - It has been my belief over the last two years that Kirk doesn’t want to be here. Is he a good quarterback?.... yes. Is he worth the team paying 12-14 percent of their salary cap to retain?... I just don’t believe so. There should be some very good quarterbacks entering the 2018 NFL Draft, and the Redskins would be smart to position themselves to get one of these coveted signal callers, and build a team around their talents. The good thing is, the offensive line is already in place!