Fans of NFL teams often talk about rebuilds. 20 years ago, this was a BAD word. Today, a rebuild can literally happen overnight - see the 2018 Chicago Bears, or it can take a few years to complete.
My question to you is, are the Redskins in a rebuild?
I would say the Redskins indeed are in full rebuild mode.
First, let’s look at the most important position on a football team, and the area a rebuild often begins - Quarterback.
I don’t believe the team had any plans of a full rebuild in 2018 when they traded for Alex Smith. What happened during the season however forced their hand. The devastating injury to Smith, and the probability that he’ll likely never play again, started the gears in motion.
Fast forward to draft day, where there were plenty of rumors that the Redskins would even trade up in the 2019 NFL draft to secure their quarterback of the future. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, as record-setting Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins fell into their lap. Regardless of how Haskins ended up of the team, make no mistake about it that the Skins were going after a future franchise quarterback they could build around.
Another strong indication that a rebuild is in place is the purging of some aging veterans, with more moves likely to come next offseason.
The team decided to let two former Scot McCloughan picks walk after their rookie contracts were up. Receiver Jamison Crowder and EDGE Preston Smith both found new homes this offseason, while the Redskins sought to upgrade those positions with rookies and second year players. Even Ty Nsekhe, a reliable yet aging swing tackle, was not retained.
Both starting linebackers from 2018, Zach Brown and Mason Foster, are gone, as the Redskins look for an infusion of youth and speed on defense. And, even going back to the end of last season, veteran safety D.J. Swearinger was waived after he made some comments about the team’s coaches.
Finally, we saw a change in coaches.
Guys who didn’t seem to fit the mold were ousted or didn’t have their contracts renewed, and more experienced coaches, with very diverse backgrounds, were brought in to replace them. Both Rob Ryan and Ray Horton have years of NFL experience, and both are former defensive coordinators who have now taken on assistant roles.
Another big indication that the Redskins are in rebuilding mode is the recent attention to the draft. In the past, the team was known to be big free agency spenders, often attacking the offseason like they were just a few players away from being contenders. Now, you see a much more frugal approach, with maybe one big name guy being signed, and an increased focus on keeping draft picks, and even accumulating compensatory picks when their own free agents leave town.
Over the past two drafts(2017 and 2018) the Redskins had 18 draft picks - 17 of which are still on the team. 2019 saw an additional 10 added. That’s 27 young players that are part of the team in three years.
The staff has eluded to the fact that home-grown youth and overall team speed are important, and we have seen this come to fruition lately.
The final part I wanted to discuss about a rebuild is a change at head coach. This has yet to happen, and while Jay Gruden remains under contract until 2020, many surmise that another poor season will lead to his firing.
If Jay is relieved of his duties at the end of 2019, it could signify the final piece to the rebuild puzzle.
Now, I know many would suggest a rebuild in full could not take place unless Bruce Allen is relieved of his duties, but that seems a bit far-fetched...at least in the immediate - but one can only hope and dream!
It’s pretty evident that this team has entered rebuild mode. When they actually entered it, and how long the rebuild will take are still open for discussion.
What are your feeling on this? Do you believe the team is in full rebuild mode, or do you think they are still just a few pieces away? If you do believe the Redskins are indeed rebuilding, how long do you feel it will take for them to become competitive again?
Are we at least heading in the right direction?