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Recent posts by Eric Edholm
With NFL teams stuck in a state of limbo thanks to the lingering lockout, we are taking a tour around the league and looking at where teams stand as they await the opening of the 2011 league year. Today, we offer our take on where the Redskins stand.
Top three story lines
1. There is no team in the NFL with a less secure quarterback situation than the Redskins, who intend to rid themselves of Donovan McNabb and move in a different direction. They could go with Rex Grossman, a free agent who replaced McNabb down the stretch with alternate swells of good and bad, or make the eye-opening shift to John Beck, who has not taken a regular-season snap since his rookie season of 2007, which was two teams ago. Beck, whom the team added last August, has earned the praise of head coach Mike Shanahan this offseason and appears to be Plan A at this point … that is, if adding a veteran is not a part of the team's hidden plan. The idea of Vince Young has been run up the D.C. flagpole, but it doesn't appear to be a great fit. Other free-agent and trade-target QBs have been mentioned, but it's not a great year to be looking for a starter there. It might be Beck who opens the season against the Giants on Sept. 11 if the season starts on time.
2. In addition to McNabb, another veteran is on the outs. DT Albert Haynesworth will be traded or released once the offseason begins, and the team will wash its hands of that mess. The NT position hasn't been fully settled, and it's one of the key spots in making coordinator Jim Haslett's 3-4 scheme hum properly. The team drafted pieces to repair the defense with its first two selections this April but still has work to do on that side of the ball.
3. There's a situation to be dealt with at receiver. Santana Moss will be a free agent, and coming off perhaps his finest season, he just might attract some serious attention. As much as the Redskins appreciated Moss' contributions last year when all else was failing around him, they have talked about showing more restraint in free agency and might not want to give three-year, No. 1-receiver money to a 32-year-old with a history of injuries. Perhaps the team will let Moss walk and turn things over to some of the youngsters at the position. Or it could roll the dice on a reclamation project such as Randy Moss or Plaxico Burress. Right now, the skill-position talent is a bit lean if Santana Moss leaves.
2011 free agency — whenever that happens
Unsigned players: LB H.B. Blades (4), OT Jammal Brown (6), CB Phillip Buchanon (9), S Reed Doughty (5), WR Mike Furrey (8), DE Kedric Golston (5), QB Rex Grossman (8), CB DeAngelo Hall (7), OT Stephon Heyer (4), ILB Rocky McIntosh (5), WR Santana Moss (10), C Casey Rabach (10), CB Carlos Rogers (6), CB Byron Westbrook (2), DE Chris Wilson (4). [Editor's note: The number after a players' name is his years of service in the league. If the NFL decides to go with free agency under the same rules as used in 2010, then a player would become a restricted free agent after three years and an unrestricted free agent after six years.]
Analysis: The Redskins used restraint in the draft, trading back several times and adding picks, and could use a measure of patience in free agency, too. Don't expect the team — in an offseason in which previous mistakes Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth will be cast away — to make any shocking or bold moves, although the roster still needs help in a few ways. Rogers openly has spoken about moving on, and Moss could land elsewhere, too. That means cornerback and receiver would become two positions of need. The team also must decide what to do along the offensive line with both Brown and Rabach. Brown had a down season, but the team traded draft picks (including a third-rounder) to get him, so it would make sense that the 'Skins would want more return on what they gave up. Rabach is getting up there in age, but he's still a good fit for another year or two. McIntosh might not be back, depending on his free-agent status.
2011 rookie class
First-round OLB Ryan Kerrigan (No. 16 overall) — Traded back, passed on QB Blaine Gabbert to get a high-motor pass rusher with a knack for dislodging the football.
Second-round DE Jarvis Jenkins (No. 41 overall) — Redskins will start him out as a five-technique, although he could kick inside on passing downs.
Third-round WR Leonard Hankerson (No. 79 overall) — Confident receiver has a big frame and a strong work ethic, although he is a bit lean and has suffered from concentration drops.
Fourth-round RB Roy Helu (No. 105 overall) — Stretch-zone runner's one-cut style is perfect fit in Mike Shanahan's offense, but inconsistency, strength and toughness are questions.
Fifth-round SS DeJon Gomes (No. 146 overall) — Needs work as a safety, but he could fit in immediately as a gunner on special teams.
Fifth-round WR Niles Paul (No. 155 overall) — Character questions pushed him down the draft, but he can make yards after the catch and could surprise.
Sixth-round RB Evan Royster (No. 177 overall) — Downhill runner could vie for short-yardage, No. 3 spot if he makes a dent on special teams.
Sixth-round WR Aldrick Robinson (No. 178 overall) — Cat-quick slot receiver can burn, but he's slightly built with small hands and short arms.
Seventh-round CB Brandyn Thompson (No. 213 overall) — Gambler has 13 career interceptions at Boise State, but he has marginal instincts and could have a tough time making Week One roster.
Seventh-round OG Maurice Hurt (No. 217 overall) — Positive marijuana test, fleshy body hurt his draft stock, but talent is there.
Seventh-round OLB Markus White (No. 224 overall) — Converted defensive end struggles against the run and must show he can stand up in a 3-4.
Seventh-round NT Chris Neild (No. 253 overall) — Strong, sturdy, two-down space eater has bulldog mentality but offers little playmaking ability.
Lockout fallout: How impacted will the Redskins be by the work stoppage?
On scale from 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most significantly impacted), the Redskins rate an 8. With the major uncertainty at quarterback and the need to improve and retool the defense, few teams face the kinds of questions the Redskins do. There also are major decisions to make in free agency that significantly will impact the roster. Expect the team to expedite its offseason plan once things get rolling, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to accomplish in a short time. A quick resolution to the labor dispute greatly would benefit the Redskins. The longer this goes on, the more it hurts them. It was good, however, to see excellent attendance at the team's informal player-run workouts, which only can help things.