The firing of team president Bruce Allen, and the hiring of Ron Rivera signified a new era in Redskins football. It also happens to follow the start of a new decade. So after 10 years of incompetence under Allen, the Redskins are starting fresh - and that includes a re-build that seems to start from the ground up.
Coaches Who Were Let Go:
Jay Gruden - Gruden was released of his duties as head coach on October 7, 2019 after starting the season 0-5. He had a .413 winning percentage and made just one playoff appearance during his time in DC.
Bill Callahan - Callahan stepped up to the plate to fill in when Jay Gruden was fired, and although he kept the team competitive in most games, he was not the long-term answer.
Greg Manusky - The much maligned defensive coordinator of three years, was one of the fans personal Bobo Dolls. His defenses consistently under preformed, and he was known for his failure to maximize the talent he was given.
Kevin O’Connell - Yes it sucks to lose a bright young mind like O’Connell, but...In Ron we Trust!
Ron Rivera - Rivera will bring a stabilizing presence to the team; one that’s been needed for years. He brings with him a track record of success, and a demeanor that will demand discipline and accountability.
Jack Del Rio - Del Rio will serve as Rivera’s defensive coordinator, and he’s a damn good one. Most important is a return to the 4-3 defense - which should help this team immensely.
Scott Turner - Turner, the son of former Redskins head coach Norv Turner, will serve as offensive coordinator. He’s innovative and is known for being able to adapt his offense to the talent around him.
The Core Building Blocks:
As is the case with any re-build, the team must identify key players it should build around. The Redskins have some great young pieces to help kick-start this process.
Dwayne Haskins Jr. - The 22 year old signal caller really showed well down the stretch after he earned the starting position November 3rd against the Bills. Over his last 10 quarters of football to end the season, Haskins completed 69 percent of his passes for 564 yards and five touchdowns against one interception.
Derrius Guice/Bryce Love - Guice showed well in limited action after returning from a torn meniscus before being shut down for the team’s final three games with what the team described as a knee sprain. Love, who redshirted his rookie season after a knee injury last winter in his team’s bowl game, will look to head into the spring with a clean bill of health. The duo does have some injury concerns, but also has tremendous potential to be a devastating one-two punch in the backfield.
Terry McLaurin/Kelvin Harmon/Steven Sims Jr - The three-headed receiving monster that features speed, toughness, physicality and game-breaking ability is young, but talented. This group, if used correctly, can be a fixture in DC for years.
Chase Roullier - The underrated center is one of the best movers in space at his position in the league. Whether it’s on a pull, screen, or working in tandem with a counterpart, Rouller has excellent lateral movement and fundamentally sound technique to move defenders. He deserves a contract extension and should be a fixture on the line for years to come.
Brandon Scherff/Ereck Flowers - Although Scherff’s season ended early with injury, and he wasn’t quite his normal self after spending the offseason recovering from a torn pec, he still earned Pro Bowl recognition for the 2019 season. His counterpart on the other side really shocked people with his solid play at left guard. Flowers struggled at offensive tackle in two previous stops, but has really found his calling at guard. Both players need to be re-signed this offserason, and if that happens, we should be set on the interior.
Matt Ioannidis/Jonathan Allen/Daron Payne - The Redskins have a very young, talented defensive front led by Ioannidis, who was a human wrecking ball this year. Payne and Allen didn’t quite make the impact many had hoped, but part of that was the scheme defensive coordinator Greg Manusky used. Under Del Rio and the 4-3 base, these three should thrive.
Montez Sweat - Sweat started out slower than some may have liked, but really turned it on during the second half of the season. He finished the year with 50 combined tackles, eight tackles for a loss, seven(really eight) sacks and two forced fumbles.
Reuben Foster/Shaun Dion Hamilton - This pair could get a little criticism from fans, but I am a very big fan of both. Foster has off-field concerns and his return from a preseason knee injury may cloud his future a bit, but if he can return healthy, he’s an athletic freak inside. Despite not starting in 2019, Hamilton was the team’s best inside linebacker. His instincts are excellent and his coverage is the best among the unit.
Quinton Dunbar - The former receiver turned corner, who is just 28 years old, played very well in 11 games in 2019, recording four interceptions, eight passes defended and 37 total tackles. He may want a new contract - and he deserves one.
*This is a pretty impressive list of young talent in key positions. Having a solid young nebulous like this will be key to turning this franchise around
The NFL Draft:
The Redskins currently hold the number two overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. There are plenty of opinions regarding what the team should do with that pick, as there are still many team needs that need to be addressed between free agency and the draft.
I’m not about to mess with the psyche of the masses by predicting some fairy tail trade-back scenario, so here are my picks for the draft as it currently stands.
RD1: Chase Young EDGE Ohio St
RD3: Antoine Winfield Jr. S Minnesota
RD4: Albert Okwuegbunam TE Missouri
RD5: Cam Brown LB PSU
RD7: Jon Runyan OT Michigan
RD7: A.J. Green CB Oklahoma St