Covering The Redskins

Location: Bloomfield, CT

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Monday, April 30, 2007

April 30-- Skins Draft Review

The Redskins used the sixth overall selection on LSU safety LaRon Landry.. Far be it from me to criticize the selection of the player many felt was the best defensive player available, however the glaring need on the defensive line was not addressed by the team. The Redskins, to their credit did try to trade down from number 6, and with Brady Quinn and Adrian Peterson available, it appeared as if the Skins had some leverage to move, but as it turned out, Quinn wasn’t quite the pawn many thought he’d be. I ever heard Brian Billick say it was rare to hear such differences in opinion of one player as was the thought processes of the league regarding the Notre Dame QB..
So bottom line was the Skins took the best player available and had to suffer through a little buyers remorse for not having a 2nd, 3rd or 4th round pick to help fill other needs.. Their defensive line appears to be coming back in tact.. The hope by the team is that Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston will improve significantly and become a stabilizing force with a healthy Cornelious Griffin.. Age and injuries will hinder the left side with Phillip Daniels and Renaldo Wynn… Best guess is to watch the June first waiver wires, if someone of note that is young and can play DE is out there, the Skins will move on it..
The team used it’s fifth round pick on Dallas Sartz, LB out of USC, the team is looking for some youth and depth at LB considering Marcus Washington will be recovering from hip surgery through the summer and obviously with all the trade talk surrounding Lance Briggs, Washington isn’t 100% that Rocky McIntosh is the answer at WLB.. London Fletcher comes in the undisputed starter at MLB but at 30+, he is not the long term solution.. Sartz is big, but not fast.. In the 6th round the Skins got what may be a steal in LB H.B. Blades, the Big east defensive player of the year out of Pitt.. He fell due to size, only 5-10, but he has a good football pedigree, his Dad was Bennie Blades, played mainly for Seattle..
The other sixth round pick they got from Chicago in the Adam Archuletta deal went toward Jordan Palmer, UTEP QB.. He’s big at 6’5” and he has a very famous brother, Carson.. So the Skins took a flyer on a young QB who will likely compete with Casey Bramlett to be the project guy behind Mark Brunell and Todd Collins.. If Palmer or Bramlett show real positive signs, maybe they bump Collins, maybe.. The 7th round pick was for Tyler Ecker from Michigan, a blocking TE.. He will have a significant shot at making the team as the Skins have been searching for a replacement to Robert Royal since he signed in Buffalo last off-season..
Washington inked K Tyler Frederickson, he’s been in training camps with Dallas, Seattle and Denver.. He will compete with Shaun Suisham for the kicking job this summer.. The team also signed nine undrafted free agents, Maryland QB Sam Hollenbach and T Stephon Heyer.. He’s massive but missed 2005 with a torn ACL.. Others inked: RB Terry Caulley (UCONN), CB Daniel Francis (LSU), DE Justin Hickman (UCLA), LB Zach Lattimer (Oklahoma), RB Marcus Mason (Youngstown State), WR Taylor Sele (BC), WR Deyon Williams (UVA)

Bottom line: The Redskins did what they could with the pick once the Briggs trade fell through.. That thing was very much on as of the night before the draft but Washington wouldn’t give up more then the 6th pick and Chicago decided to hold firm.. The Skins could still deal next year’s first rounder for Briggs should the stalemate continue between he and the Bears.. No one has said the talks are off for good, just for now.. Washington actively tried to move down from 6, Quinn apparently wasn’t enough bait to get a good deal.. But Dallas does get the steal of the day getting Cleveland’s first rounder next year plus a pick from the Browns to let them take Quinn at 22… So stuck at 6, Washington had two choices, take Landry, many believed the best player available and considering the trade of Archuletta, certainly an immediate starter or take Amobi Okoye, DT out of Louisville who has major upside at 19.. So Washington went with the guy they liked most and it’s hard to fault them for it.. More picks would have been nice..

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

April 25-- Skins get ready for draft

Skins owner Dan Snyder said there is not a problem with the structure of the Washington Redskins, "the problems of last season didn't stem from the structure of the team." Thus ends all continuing speculation of a general manager potentially being brought in to facilitate a different method to any and all personnell moves by the Skins, at least while Joe Gibbs remains coach and President..

As for this weekend's draft, the Redskins are "in love with a couple of people but we can't get to them." That means the Skins are indeed among the many teams vying for WR Calvin Johnson, likely the second overall pick in the draft, but without much ammunition in terms of draftable parts (more drafts picks) they'd have to mortgage their future to get the deal done.. Gibbs did say he believes that those who say the team doesn't value the draft are not correct.. But the Skins have used 19 of their last 38 picks and have drafted fewer players sinced 2000 then the Texans, Houston didn't come into the league until 2002..

The team gave no true indication of what they will do, but it appears their plans are as such: 1) find a way to get up to get Calvin Johnson. Vinny Cerrato says "whatever Detroit gets at 2 will be a lot because there are a lot of teams involved. " The Skins would only know this if they inquired themselves. 2) If they can't get Johnson, take the most value from whoever wants the 6th overall pick to trade down. Best case scenario here is QB Brady Quinn is on the board as well as RB Adrian Peterson. This would give the Skins two pawns that they have no interest in drafting in the hopes of building a bidding war. 3) Draft a player. Odd to say drafting someone at 6 is option 3, but again, there doesn't appear to be a player they are in love with.

If scenario 3 plays out, the most likely players to be selected: Johnson (won't be there) but would end up being the dream scenario. Debate between S Laron Landry and DT Amobi Okoye. Landry is extremely well liked by Gregg Williams, he's the blitzer Williams desires with more range that Adam Archuletta was missing. D-line however is the extreme need for the Skins and Okoye is an interesting prospect. Gibbs said he would have no apprehention drafting the 19 year old looking at his age as "a positive." Should DE Gaines Adams be available, he would be option 3.. My gut says they trade down and take the best defensive player available wherever they land in the first round..

Snyder, Gibbs and Cerrato said the league changes regarding the player personnel policy is something that they were ahead of the curve on and they won't have to change much about their evaluations because "character" has always remained a major tenet of their selection process.. Cerrato said a number of talented players were "taken off the board" due to questionable backgrounds.. Asked specifically about the report regarding Johnson, Adams and Okoye admitting to smoking marajuana, Gibbs said "it's a report. I haven't heard anyone confirm this." Translation, we like a couple of these guys and a little pot won't stop us from drafting them..

On Lance Briggs, the Redskins did not rule out the mergence of those trade talks again on draft day.. The deal offered was the 6th pick for Briggs and Chicago's selection, number 31 overall.. The Bears wanted more.. Gibbs said deals like that are consummated 1 in 100 times but he never says never regarding the possibility of it being in discussion..

Snyder mentioned he met with WR Brandon Lloyd during the owner's meetings in Arizona and said that "we are really proud of him," for the shape he is in describing their get together as good.. No one had asked a question about Lloyd..

Snyder defended the trade to move up last year to select LB Rocky McIntosh only to see him play sparingly on defense saying "You'll see that Rocky ended up being a good pick." Gibbs lauded the workout regimens of DT's Kedric Golston and Anthony Montgomery saying you will see big improvement in their play. Gibbs also said he likes the OL players "we got off the street" late last season.. These last two topics were essentially in reponse to questions of depth and need on the lines..

The Wow moment came when Gibbs stated that anyone drafted would have a hard time cracking the Redskins starting lineup.. They went 5-11.

I spoke with Gibbs alone after the press conference on the subject of his grandson who was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year.. Taylor is doing better according to Gibbs and the doctors are feeling very good about his progress.. There was a scare a couple of weeks ago due to some issues with medication but he says the boy is dealing with the cancer very well.. Taylor is 2 years old..

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

April 3-- Briggs deal dead for now

Hi! Been gone to Thailand for a couple of weeks and apparently missed a lot.. So here's the quick rundown of what went down while I was sunning myself..

S Adam Archuletta was dealt to the Bears for a 6th round pick but more importantly the Skins rid themselves of over million in dead cap space had they released him outright.. I have read numerous accounts of people complaining about the return in compensation, my opinion is the Skins did the best they could to alleviate the cap issue which was priority one in extracating Archuletta off the roster..
Adam wanted out, he made that clear, thankfully the Skins didn't give him all ten million of his bonus in 2006, the second five was guaranteed, but it was a bonus not paid yet.. So the two sides moved the payment back to hammer out a deal with Chicago who wanted Archuletta last year but were outbid.. So the cap hit for Archuletta is about 4.5 million this year, nothing in 2008 instead of 9.. Thus, in my opinion the Skins made the most of what was a bad decision a year ago..

WR David Patten was released, not a surprise.. OL Todd Wade was resigned, he could conceivably battle for the guard spot left by Derrick Dockery's departure to Buffalo, but more likely he is the prime back-up to Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels.. P Derrick Frost resigns for one year..

Apparently the Skins were blowing some smoke that they might be interested in QB Jamarcus Russell, likely the top pick in the draft.. The folks I spoke with believe Jason Campbell is the quarterback and that this tactic is more about a potential trade up to get WR Calvin Johnson, who the Skins like very much.. The trade up scenario likely involves dealing away some of their 2008 picks which as of now is in tact minus the 4th rounder likely going to Denver to complete the TJ Duckett deal.. If the Skins are indeed interested in Russell, well then I will cease ever again trying to decifer the vision of the organization.. The tactic might be in the hope of forcing Russell first to Oakland or whoever in an attempt not to have to move as high the top pick to get Johnson.. All this seems rather odd considering the ammount of money already allocated at the WR position, but the Skins certainly are missing a true #2 possession receiver so maybe they'll break the bank again and add another one to a very crowded core.. The likely scenario is that Washington will not move up but rather move down..

They attempted to do so by dealing the 6th pick to Chicago for pro bowl linebacker Lance Briggs and the 31st overall pick.. It appears the Bears wanted a player in return and Washington said no.. This is off, for now.. With over three weeks until the draft, this is by far not over.. Similar to the Johnson talk, Briggs would be a fine addition to the linebacker position, however it would again make for a glut at the position.. Briggs would obviously be the starter at weak side, Marcus Washington opposite and London Fletcher in the middle... It means Rocky McIntosh and Lemar Marshall are certain back-ups with Marshall working at both outside and middle.. It also would take the Skins out of what appears to be perfect draft position..

Washington's dire need resides along the D-line, extrapolated out, the draft appears to be shaping up with Russell going Number 1, Johnson going 2 or 3, OL Joe Thomas going 2 or 3, Brady Quinn conceivably at 4 to Cleveland leaving Washington one pick away from getting the best defensive player on the board, or at the very least the best D end or tackle, whichver one is not taken.. Both are need positions with the age and injury history of Phillip Daniels, Renaldo Wynn, Cornelious Griffin and Joe Salave'a.. But the tea leaves read Washington wants out of the spot whether it is up or down..

My guess is the Skins ultimately get the Briggs deal done, they'll send Lemar Marshall or (man I hope not) McIntosh over and Chicago will compensate with another lower pick.. Briggs gets his 20 million dollar bonus and the Skins get the flashy signing and again they prove they aren't particularly interested in building through the draft nor interested in building for any kind of long term future..

The pre-season schedule is out, they open August 11th at Tennessee, the next two weeks are home dates against Pittsburgh and Baltimore and they close on the road at Jacksonville on a Thursday night..