By Ted Carlson, Executive Editor Redskins Offseason Needs Our team-by-team look at offseason continues with one of the league's most discouraging franchises. The Redskins have a free-spending owner and a Hall of Fame coach, but the combination hasn't produced many wins.
Areas of Need: Heading into this past season, the NFL record for fewest take-aways in a 16-game season was 15. The Redskins finished with six interceptions and six fumble recoveries in 2006, setting a new mark. The previous franchise low for picks was 11, established in the nine-game 1982 campaign. The previous franchise low for sacks was 25, set in 2001. The Redskins finished with 19. This defense also allowed 5,688 total yards, which is was less than four first-downs short of the franchise record (5,723).
So, yeah, let's start with the defense. The secondary endured a miserable season, and there is talk of moving Shawn Springs to safety. Regardless of where Springs lines up, the Redskins will almost certainly focus their free agent work in the defensive backfield. Sean Taylor was repeatedly exposed this season, and their cornerbacks were awful. They need to pray that Carlos Rogers gets better this offseason. It would also be nice to figure out a role for Adam Archuleta, who barely played over the final nine games. He's making too much money to be a special teams guy.
The defensive line should work inside-out. First, they need a solid, run-stopping tackle to line up next to Cornelius Griffin. They added two rookies (Kedric Golston, Anthony Montgomery) at defensive tackle in last year's draft, but this spot is still a priority. Second, they need to add a speed rusher on the outside. Andre Carter saved his job with a strong December, but the right end needs help.
At linebacker, the Redskins could enter 2007 with the trio of Marcus Washington, Lemar Marshall, and Rocky McIntosh, but recently promoted coach Kirk Olivadotti probably wouldn't mind additional depth and some competition for the middle linebacker spot.
On offense, the Redskins have two main things to fix. First, Joe Gibbs and Al Saunders need to work out whatever issues they have and install a more clear-cut plan of attack. Second, the Redskins still need wide receiver help. The Brandon Lloyd move was a disaster, Antwaan Randle El is not a number two wideout, David Patten barely played in 2006, and James Thrash is not the answer. Personnel-wise, one could argue that the rest of the starting offense is in good shape.
Help is on the Way? Ever since Daniel Snyder took control of the franchise, the Redskins have been very active in the free agent and trade markets â€“ often shunning draft picks in favor of veteran acquisitions. Will they do the same this offseason? Why break precedent?
Bills cornerback Nate Clements and linebacker London Fletcher-Baker are both unrestricted free agents and both served under Williams in Buffalo. Bears linebacker Lance Briggs will also be on the market, and he formerly worked for Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache. The rumors will begin there. Why not aim high, right? The Redskins could also go after a defensive end like Justin Smith, and the fans will undoubtedly call for Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel.
On offense, the top priority will be to re-sign guard Derrick Dockery. Continuity along the offensive line is usually nice, and he's the lone starter who could leave. They'll need to add some depth as well, but that's not the main priority.
The Redskins own the sixth overall pick in April's draft and then do not choose again until the fifth round. Popular choices for that sixth selection are Michigan defensive tackle Alan Branch, Arkansas defensive end Jamaal Anderson, and Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams. The Redskins may also consider a wide receiver at that spot, with USC's Dwayne Jarrett and Ohio State's Ted Ginn Jr. being likely options.
thanks for the post lung.
while i agree with the positional needs i dont' agree with the d line suggestions. I'm on the omobe okoye band wagon - 4 year starter at louisville only 19 years old sign that kid now. plus we might be able to trade down still get him and a 4th round pick.
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Wants and Needs: Defense, defense, and more defense. The Redskins set a new NFL low for a 16-game season with a paltry 12 take-aways (six picks, six fumbles) in 2006. They also established a new franchise mark with only 19, and they came within 40 total yards allowed of another franchise record. They've patched up some holes by signing linebacker London Fletcher-Baker, cornerbacks Fred Smoot and David Macklin, and safety Omar Stoutmire, but there's still plenty of work to be done on this side of the ball. For instance, it would be nice if they could get somebody (anybody!) who can put some pressure on the opposing quarterback. Defensive end is the obvious, top need, but they could also look to at the secondary if (as whispered) they plan on releasing Shawn Springs before June 1. As usual, the Redskins have only one first-day selection because their front office values draft picks like most of us treat pennies on a gas station counter.
Potential Selections: The Redskins would love to use the sixth overall pick in a trade. This selection was part of the potential deal with the Bears involving linebacker Lance Briggs, and it's probably been offered to the Patriots for cornerback Asante Samuel. The Redskins could also try to work out a deal where they move down the board and gain other first-day picks. If they stay at six, the Redskins will select a defensive end (Gaines Adams or Jamaal Anderson) or a defensive tackle (Alan Branch or Amobi Okoye). As the weekend continues, the Redskins may also to their offensive line, as they currently don't have a clear replacement for the departed Derrick Dockery and could use some depth.