Monthly Archives: July, 2009
Brian Orakpo, the No. 13 overall selection from Texas was on the field for practice Friday morning after signing a five-year, $20 million contract that includes $12.1 million guaranteed. The deal ended a one-day holdout -- Orakpo was the only player absent when training camp opened Thursday -- and put the 6-foot-4, 260-pound linebacker on the field in time for his 23rd birthday.
Yesterday was the beginning on my very favorite time of year. A time of year when people of all different backgrounds, ages and genders congregate to celebrate America’s sport; in our case, an incessant passion for the Burgundy and Gold.
With the start of training camp down at Redskins Park comes a lot of excitement and […]
While most of us were sleeping last night, the Redskins and 1st round pick Brian Orakpo reached a five year deal, according to ESPN and Matt Terl on the Redskins blog.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but I don’t really care. The bottom line is that all picks are signed, all should be in camp today, […]
Prior to the 2008 NFL Draft, in this here space, I introduced an easy rule of thumb for diagnosing areas of need perhaps not currently apparent. The theory, verbatim, from March 12, 2008:
“a team is justified to draft a replacement for any positional player
who has 8 or more service years in the NFL.” Clear cut and dry, that
means if your starter at any given position was a rookie in or prior to
the [2000 season], a forward thinking GM is required to start thinking
about adding his successor to the roster.
That’s a concise way of offering advice to those in charge of making decisions. The article went on to identify the players on the team who no longer held space in the “long term solution” section of the roster.
- LT Chris Samuels (8 years)
- DT Corneilus Griffin (8 years)
- LB Marcus Washington (8 years)*
- RT Jon Jansen (9 years)*
- RG Randy Thomas (9 years)
- LB London Fletcher (10 years)
- CB Shawn Springs (11 years)*
- DE Phillip Daniels (12 years)**
- LG Pete Kendall (12 years)*
My next sentence excused Samuels…
Because of his consistent pro-bowl caliber play, you can write an exception for Chris Samuels.
…but given his injury history last year, he’s no longer an exception. The Redskins have chosen to move on from Springs, Kendall, Jansen, and Marcus Washington, and given that Phillip Daniels has been twice replaced since then, once by Jason Taylor, his presence in the starting lineup is merely a formality (though his presence on the original list has since cost the Redskins both a second [Taylor] and a third round [Jarmon] draft pick).
So the Redskins, in two offseasons, have overturned more than half of their 8+ year “veteran” contributors. But the reason this rule of thumb tends to be functional is because as you turnover your vets, more players qualify with 8+ years of service.
- WR Santana Moss
- C Casey Rabach
- DE Andre Carter
So, if we revise our list of Redskins starters who have accrued 8 or more NFL seasons in 2009, it gives us:
- WR Santana Moss (8 years)
- C Casey Rabach (8 years)
- DE Andre Carter (8 years)
- LT Chris Samuels (9 years)
- DT Corneilus Griffin (9 years)
- RG Randy Thomas (10 years)
- LB London Fletcher (11 years)
This, I think, is a much more manageable list given the two offseason advancement since the original argument was presented. Let’s go down the list and see which players the Redskins have addressed the future with, and which still need help from the following offseason.
Santana Moss, designation: No. 1 WR
The plan is to have Devin Thomas seize the No. 1 WR role as early as this year, but his ability to do that is seriously in question. If Thomas fails to establish himself this year, then it falls to Malcolm Kelly to develop into a number one receiver. If at that point, the Redskins don’t have a No. 1 WR, they have to go outside the organization to fulfill this need.
Probability of Internal Replacement: 60%
Casey Rabach, designation: starting C
Rabach enters this season as the de-facto starter. It’s my conclusion that he’s inadequate at that position in terms of talent, but this year will be his 8th of NFL service, not that he’s in the future plans of this team anyway. Behind him is priority UDFA Edwin Williams, who may develop into an NFL starter. I’ll give Williams a 30% chance of making the 53 man roster, plus a 5% shot in the dark at replacing Rabach from the practice squad.
Probability of Internal Replacement: 40%
Andre Carter. designation: starting RDE
Carter remains the team’s most productive pass rusher, but Orakpo will have this job sooner as opposed to later.
Probability of Internal Replacement: 100%
Chris Samuels, designation: starting LT
This is the big remaining issue from last season. The only thing that could pass as an internal replacement is Stephon Heyer, but he’s unproven himself as a left tackle, and already penciled in as the RT of the future. The Redskins are reliant on him to develop at RT in the short term, and even if he does so, a move across the line would be more desperation than solution.
Probability of Internal Replacement: 5%
Cornelius Griffin, designation: starting 3 techique; No. 2 DT
For all the youth that the Redskins have at DT behind Griffin and Haynesworth, this is a shockingly unsettled position. For one thing, young talents like Lorenzo Alexander, Anthony Montgomery, and Kedric Golston are not under contract for years following 2009. For the second, the only player on the Redskins DL who is capable of succeeding at the same spot on the line Griffin plays is Haynesworth. Now, if I’m the Redskins, I’d rather go outside the team to find the proper piece to the defense rather than make Haynesworth play a position that might limit how great he can be.
Probability of Internal Replacement: 55%
Randy Thomas, designation: starting RG
Thomas is coming off a truly major neck injury, and should be able to play this year, but this is becoming a critical situation. Veteran Jeremy Bridges is the next in line should Thomas go down with an injury this year, but he himself is not a future starter. It’s possible that Chad Rinehart, the backup LG this coming season, could be groomed as the starting RG in 2010 or 2011. However, Rinehart remains only a prospect at this point, and it’s likely the organization will try to find an external solution.
Probability of Internal Replacement: 35%
London Fletcher, designation: starting MLB, defensive leader
To be honest, who the team’s next London Fletcher is depends more on what scheme we run in 2010 then who is presently on the roster. In most scheme’s H.B. Blades is the direct successor to Fletcher in both of his roles, but if the Redskins find themselves playing, say, a 3-4, Blades will need help.
Probability of Internal Replacement: 60%
Starting Outside Linebacker: Currently played by future defensive end Brian Orakpo
This wasn’t on the 8+ years service list because Marcus Washington’s position in the defense was not replaced…but it will have to be eventually. The Redskins should have this covered internally between Alfred Fincher, Cody Glenn, and Robert Henson, although it’s not a certainty and his heavily dependent on the scheme.
Probability of Internal Replacement: 75%
Discovering that the most uncertain future of the team is on the offensive line is simply reaffirming what we already know. The three most unsettled positions on the entire team are on the offensive line, and this is given the assumption of RT competency from Stephon Heyer and Mike Williams, which isn’t at all a given.
But it also suggests that the team needs to monitor it’s WR position, as well as it’s DT and LB positions to see if they are getting proper development from the young backups, or if external options are required.
In addition to those positions, another position is primed to join the unsettled positions above after this season.
These players will accrue their eight year of service in 2009, and their future here is in doubt.
- RB Clinton Portis
- WR Antwaan Randle El
- RB Ladell Betts
- RT Mike Williams
The inclusion of Williams assumes, of course, that he earns the starting job, in which case, he’s not really a future solution, just a present stop gap. Obviously.
While Randle El’s future is tied to Moss’, Portis and Betts make up the RB position for the Redskins, and have since Stephen Davis was here. The fact is that, after this season, Portis will be 29 and Betts will be 31, and as good as they both have been, there will be little explosiveness left in the position.
Conclusion: the Redskins have to address the offensive line next year, but also RB, DT, and maybe WR and LB depending on the progress of young backups this year. They don’t have a third round pick, so with only two picks who will be expected to develop in less than two seasons, it’s critical that our young backups have a good year, and ensure the future of this team will be strong.