The Redskins need a new identity. Some in the vanity world would call it a facelift. You know, a little nip and tuck here; little pinch and burn there. Poof!... you have a new look.
In the football word, we refer to this as a rebuild.
There are different types of rebuilds. Some are a result of a smoldering dumpster fire that has been burning for a few years. In this case, the foundation is completely ruined, and you need to tear it all down and start over. Another could simply be to give the team a facelift; a new identity if you will. in this case, you may have a foundation that’s relatively solid. You just need a new look.
The Redskins fall under the second type of rebuild.
Right now, the Redskins are a team without an identity. We are not an offensive passing juggernaut, fueled by a quarterback who can put a team on his back, and lift them to another level. We are certainly not a ground-and-pound offense, where we can impose our will on our opponents through the run game whenever we choose. No one in the league will mistake us for being a defensive-led team. Right now, we are not even a balance of any of these.
Before we get into the facelift, let’s look at where our foundation is the strongest. As I see things, the potential of this team lies along our offensive line. This is an area where we have invested serious resources over the past, and when healthy, the unit is a good one. Our left tackle Trent Williams is one of the best in the game, and should remain so for at least a few more good seasons. Our right tackle Morgan Moses is a true warrior, who is top 10 in the league at his position. He’s also in his prime. Brandon Scherff is just entering his prime, and is already viewed as one of the best guards in the NFL. It also looks like we may have found a late round gem at center in Chase Roullier, who is big, strong, smart and athletic. We still need a left guard to complete this facelift, and I believe free agency is the place to find that player.
This unit should provide us a solid foundation to build our identity around.
The quarterback position remains a huge question mark, and I would rather some stability here, than the year-to-year deals we have been giving Kirk Cousins. I feel the time is now, to move on, and select a young QB we can develop and build around for the future - and one who will be affordable for the next five years.
At quarterback for us in the draft, there are two guys I’m happy to sit tight and take at pick 13.
Baker Mayfield - 6’1” 220 Oklahoma
Mason Rudolph - 6’5” 230 Oklahoma St.
With a rookie signal caller in-house, it will be imperative to surround that individual with weapons to be successful, and it is here I begin to build my identity.
Question: What is the best weapon for a young quarterback?
Answer: A good running game.
My new proposed identity for this team would be founded, developed and perfected in the running game. We have the “hosses” up front, now we need to bring in a true 3-down, bell-cow running back to plow behind those thoroughbreds.
The 2018 NFL draft is loaded with running backs. Actually, two positions I have the Redskins needing most, quarterback and running back, are stacked in this years draft. I’m leaving out Penn State’s Saquon Barkley for obvious reasons, but here are the next five running backs I have rated for 2018:
Derrius Guice - 5’11” 218 LSU
Sony Michel - 5’11” 216 Georgia
Ronald Jones II - 6’1 202 USC
Nick Chubb - 5’10” 228 Georgia
Josh Adams - 6’2” 220 Notre Dame
Finally, to complete this transformation to a running team, we need an in-line tight end capable of blocking and a true fullback. I feel we have a good in-house option at tight end in second year pro Jeremy Sprinkle. The 6’5” 252 pounder can stand to add a bit of weight to his frame, and if he does, he’ll be even more effective as a blocker. He’s no liability in the pass game either, and although he caught just two passes for 13 yards this season, he did have 33 receptions for 380 yards as a senior in college.
My recommendation for fullback is to move Rob Kelley to that position. The former Tulane fullback is listed at 5’11” 227, and I see no reason he can’t add five pounds this offseason, and operate as our primary lead blocker when one is needed. He also has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, so his role will not be limited.
Now, just because I proposed we should have an offensive identity built around the running game, does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that I feel we should neglect the defense.
My second part of this proposed facelift would take place on the defensive side of the football, and would blend some key players we already have, with some free agent acquisitions and draft picks, to form a more sustainable and serviceable unit.
I understand that we run less that 30% of our snaps in our base 3-4 defense. That being said, I’m not going out and looking for our next great nose tackle to turn us into the Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers. I am content to slowly transition that 25-30% of our base 3-4 defense into an even front. I don’t care what we call it, but a traditional 3-4 base is not in the cards here. I want to see Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith with their hand in the dirt. I’d like to see Ryan Anderson moved to inside linebacker next to Zach Brown. I hope we can bring Su’a Cravens back, and have him play as a hybrid LB/S, where he can stay on the field for all three downs.
I would also like to see another defensive tackle, linebacker and safety added between free agency and the draft. If this is done, I feel we’d be well on our way to respectability on the defensive side of the football.
2018 Free Agency:
Free Agent Pickups:
Guard - Andrew Norwell (26) 6’6” 325 OR Jack Mewhort (27) 6’6” 305
Wide Receiver - Allen Robinson (25) 6’2” 211 OR Jarvis Landry (25) 5’11” 208 OR Sammy Watkins (25) 6’1” 211 OR Donte Moncrief (25) 6’2” 216
EDGE - Ezekiel Ansah (28) 6’5” 275
Defensive Tackle - Star Lotulelei (28) 6’2” 315
2018 NFL Draft:
RD 1: Mason Rudolph QB Ok. St.
RD 2: Sony Michel RB Georgia
RD 3: Tegray Scales LB IND
RD 4: Quin Blanding S Virginia
RD 5: DeSean Hamilton WR PSU
RD 6: Du’Vonta Lampkin DT Oklahoma
RD 7: Timon Parris OT Stony Brook
The results of our facelift:
QB - Mason Rudolph (rookie), Colt McCoy
RB - Sony Michel (rookie), Samaje Perine
FB - Rob Kelley
WR - Allen Robinson
WR - Josh Doctson,
Slot - Jamison Crowder
TE (Joker) - Jordan Reed
TE (Y) - Jeremy Sprinkle
LT - Trent Williams
LG - Andrew Norwell
C - Chase Roullier
RG - Brandon Scherff
RT - Morgan Moses
DT - Jonathan Allen
DT - Star Lotulelei/Matt Ioannidis
DE/OLB - Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy
DE/OLB - Ezekiel Ansah, Preston Smith
LB - Zach Brown
LB - Ryan Anderson/Tegray Scales (rookie)
LB/S - Su’a Cravens
CB - Josh Norman
CB - Quinton Dunbar/Fabian Moreau
Slot - Kendall Fuller
SS - D.J. Swearinger
FS - Montae Nicholson
Grade the results of this facelift
This poll is closed
It’s a 10! A perfect 10!
Wow, so much better than before!
Aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but I can still see the wrinkles.
Still needs a lot of make-up.
Ugh... we robbed Peter to pay Paul!