2014 Wrap-up  

Washington Redskins (credit: bleacherreport.com)

The story of the 2014 Washington Redskins only really has to be told through the Quarterback.  The team started three quarterbacks during the course of the year.  Here are the results:

Week   Result QB 
 1  L  Griffin
 2  W  Griffin / Cousins
 3  L  Cousins
 4  L  Cousins
 5  L  Cousins
 6  L  Cousins
 7  W  Cousins / McCoy
 8  W  McCoy
 9  L  Griffin
 10  BYE  BYE
 11  L Griffin 
 12  L  Griffin
 13  L  McCoy
 14  L  McCoy
 15  L  McCoy
 16  W  Griffin
 17  L  Griffin

Each of the three QBs started a game and led the team to victory, but none were able to create consistency and therefore stability at the position.  Head coach Jay Gruden did not draft QB Robert Griffin III and it remains uncertain whether his skill set is what Gruden is looking for at the position. Gruden strengthened his stance on Griffin at the combine, saying specifically that “We’ll obviously go into season with Robert as our No. 1 guy”. 

Gruden’s West Coast influenced system is designed to aid the QB, getting the ball out quickly, protecting the QB and getting the ball into the hands of the playmakers. The system was not dissimilar to that run by former head coach (and West Coast disciple) Mike Shanahan and as such there was a strong belief that the team could hit the ground running in 2014.

Obviously that was not the case and the team will need to reload at a few critical position to create the progress that fans are clamoring to see.  But in today’s NFL, that almost exclusively means a productive QB and we will see if Griffin can live up to that standard.


2015 Coaching Changes

The biggest change to Washington’s staff this year may not come from the coaching side, but in personnel as former General Manager Bruce Allen was relieved of those duties and shifted solely to the role of team President in order to accommodate the hiring of former San Francisco and Seattle personnel chief Scot McCloughan as General Manager.  In addition former San Diego GM and Washington personnel advisor AJ Smith announced his retirement.  This changing of the guard at the top of the personnel tree may not change much for 2015, but is certainly something to monitor.  As we have seen in San Francisco, Denver, and Philadelphia, the relationship between the GM and HC is extremely important and McCloughan did not hire Gruden.  It will be interesting to see if they have any philosophical differences as it pertains to roster construction.

Washington also made adjustments to the coaching staff on both sides of the ball.  On the Offensive side, former OL coach Chris Foerster was allowed to move laterally to San Francisco and was replaced by former Dallas Offensive Coordinator Bill Callahan.  Foerster was a part of the Shanahan staff and the move to Callahan seems to signal a shift from the Zone stretch concepts of Shanahan to a more Power and strength based OL strategy.  Also, Gruden relinquished QB coach duties, adding Matt Cavanaugh to the role when the Chicago staff was dismantled.  Cavanaugh brings 14 years of NFL QB experience and 17 years of NFL coaching experience to the staff.  This move clearly speaks to Gruden wanting to do whatever is necessary to maximize the performance of his QBs.

On the defensive side the team parted ways Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett after another disappointing year where the team finished 31st in DVOA.  The team was clearly not happy with the play of the secondary as they also allowed DB coach Raheem Morris to move laterally to the Falcons to join Dan Quinn’s staff.  After conversations with Vic Fangio, Ed Donatell, and Scouting Academy instructor Wade Phillips, the team selected former Chargers LB coach and Lions Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry for the job.  Replacing Morris will be former Giants Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell.  Finally, they made changes to the Defensive Line, firing Brian Baker and Jacob Burney as DL and OLB coach respectively and replacing them with former Vikings Assistant DL coach Robb Akey.  However, these moves will not change much if the personnel on defense is not improved.



2015 Roster Changes (as of 3/6/2015)

Washington and Scot McCloughan have been working on the DL early this offseason, saving a reported $9.6M in cap space by releasing DT Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen.  They used some of the money to sign DT Ricky Jean-Francois who McCloughan was around in San Francisco.  Other rumored cap cuts include WR Pierre Garcon, OG Chris Chester, and DC Tracy Porter.  Chester makes some sense as the team looks to add power to the OL and Porter’s injury concerns have limited him recently.  I do not see where Garcon gets cut this year.

In the secondary, Washington lost a starter as DS Ryan Clark hung up his cleats.  In addition to retirements, injuries can impact offseason decision making and Washington is expecting to be without DC DeAngelo Hall (Achilles) and OT Morgan Moses (Lisfranc) throughout training camp and may be without PR Brian Orakpo in OTAs if they choose to resign him.   Deeper on the roster, Washington parted ways with former hopefuls WR Aldrick Robinson, DE Everette Brown, and DC Chase Minnifield, taking shots on OG Rishaw Johnson, PR Ricky Sapp, and OT Xavier Nixon. Washington has started working on resigning its own, beginning with Exclusive Rights Free Agents OT Tom Compton and DS Duke Ihenacho, and then shifted to TE Niles Paul.

With a projected $28.0M available in 2015 Cap Space, Washington will need to decide on what to do with their own free agents which include:

UFAs: DC EJ Biggers, DS Ryan Clark, WR Leonard Hankerson, RB Roy Helu, DL Jarvis Jenkins, QB Colt McCoy, DS Brandon Meriweather, WR Santana Moss, DT Chris Neild, PR Brian Orakpo, TE Niles Paul, OT Tyler Polumbus

RFAs: K Kai Forbath, DS Trenton Robinson, DC Justin Rogers

ERFAs: OT Tom Compton, DS Duke Ihenacho, OT Xavier Nixon

Let’s take a position by position look at the Washington roster. Positions are ordered by overall need.