As the Redskins rookie minicamp approaches, the coaching staff roster evaluation of 2019 commences. The months of March (Free Agency) and April (NFL Draft) are where NFL teams address their needs and envision the new makeup of their team. For the Redskins, along with the rest of the NFL, the months of May and June are for organized team activities and minicamps. The coaching staff will get early looks to see precisely where they are with some of their younger players, and what they will need to address by the time training camp arrives. So for Washington, it begs the question - As we head into May and June, have the Redskins done enough to upgrade their offense?
Offensive Concerns/Needs for Washington heading into the off-season:
Quarterback: The Redskins were left in a crisis, both from the injury and financial aspects, at this position. Alex Smith signed a contract extension in early 2018 which was a huge reason for the trade being executed without issues. Unfortunately for Alex, he suffered a career-threatening injury towards the end of the season that has dramatically impacted the possibilities of him returning for 2019 or even beyond. Not only did Alex Smith get injured, but Colt McCoy also suffered a broken bone in his leg that has threatened his chances of being ready for the start of 2019 training camp.
How did Washington address that? The Redskins traded for Case Keenum, restructured his contract, and drafted Ohio State’s quarterback Dwayne Haskins in the first round. Two reasonable moves, one being to bring in a veteran presence who can come in and be a serviceable quarterback at the very least, while the other is a move for the future of this franchise, adding a quarterback who can be built around to maximize his production.
Running Back: Following the 2018 season, the only two running backs on this roster who were clear cut final-53 players were Derruis Guice and Chris Thompson. The Redskins and Adrian Peterson came to terms, while also re-signing Byron Marshall.
The lingering issue here - injuries have been a factor to the production out of this position group. The re-signing of Peterson and Marshall was good, but the staff felt the need to continue addressing the position, which made sense. The Redskins took a chance on Stanford’s star running back Bryce Love in the fourth round of the NFL draft. He is coming off a torn ACL injury, which begs the question of whether they upgraded the position by bringing in an injured player to fill out a depth chart with Guice and Thompson, both of whom have injury histories? It is a play for the future that the Redskins are primarily banking on with Love.
Wide Receiver: The Redskins had one of the three worst receiver groups in the NFL last year in terms of production. There was no question that the Redskins needed a boost at this position group; 2016 first-round draft pick Josh Doctson has not lived up to expectations, and with the departure of Jamison Crowder, it leaves Paul Richardson (also with an injury history) as the only receiver on the roster with any significant NFL experience. The Redskins are relying on younger players like Trey Quinn, Robert Davis, Cam Sims, Jehu Chesson, and Darvin Kidsy to make significant leaps this offseason and preseason. Cam Sims and Trey Quinn will likely get the most opportunities out of the group, but be open to the possibility of others making a case for themselves.
However the Redskins did not stop there; they addressed the receiver position by drafting two more young players with hopes of filling out their roster even more. The Redskins drafted Ohio State’s Terry Mclaurin in the third round.
Terry provides Washington with some versatility; he is an adequate pass-catcher and can be a factor in the run game. Also, like Trey Quinn, McLaurin can be a presence on special teams coverage units. All of the NFL desires his speed; however, he has to improve in the nuances of being a receiver before being considered anything more than a compliment to an offense.
The Redskins also drafted Kelvin Harmon in the sixth round out of North Carolina State.
In the group of young wideouts, Harmon is the one who is closest to having number one potential as a wide receiver for the Redskins, which was the most significant thing lacking from this position group for Jay Gruden last season.
Tight End: The Redskins brought back Jeremy Sprinkle, Vernon Davis, and Jordan Reed at this position group, also bringing back the same issues they’ve had at the position for the previous two years. There is no room for versatility, and the position group is pretty predictable overall. Jay Gruden himself stated the need for a versatile tight end — one who can block as well as be an adequate pass-catcher. Washington did not address that need at all. It is not the end of the world; you cannot address everything in one off-season. Still, the issues at this position will continue to linger and affect the run game in a significant way.
Interior Offensive Line (IOL): The Redskins attacked this position in one of the better ways possible; that is, through the NFL draft. With years of dealing with ineffectiveness at the left guard position, in addition to a plethora of injuries, Washington sought to draft versatile linemen, capable of playing multiple positions on the offensive line. Ereck Flowers was signed in the off-season with the hopes that Bill Callahan’s tutelage would provide a stress-free transition from tackle to guard. Thoughts on Flowers are the following - Good luck. However, the Redskins still recognized the need at the guard position and addressed it very well, at least from a draft perspective, where they invested picks in Wes Martin and Ross Pierschbacher.
Off-season Grade: B-
The Redskins, overall, addressed all but one position group that needed addressing. The quarterback acquisitions were outstanding and include a plan for the future with Dwayne Haskins. The IOL has increased depth and competent candidates who are, at the moment, unproven, but seemingly serviceable. This is the same for the receiver acquisitions. With the uncertainty of maybe not having a number one receiver on the roster, someone will need to step up in that position group. Lastly, the running back position is solidified for the 2019 season, but groundwork has also been laid for the future that will be obvious when Love is ready to take the field. The Redskins did good things in the offseason, but not great.
What is your offseason grade for the Redskins offense?
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