1 – Roster built on player value. Sports talk radio troll for callers by asking the audience if they miss the old days when Washington was the highest profile team in the offseason. If you are a long-time Hog Heaven reader, or a Redskins fans since 2000, or even just a smart observer of pro football, you are wary of winning the offseason Snyderrato-style. It never paid-off, not in the 2006 offseason (“It’s our year”), or in 2009 with the Fat Albert contract. We watched the 2011-‘12 Philadelphia Eagles bust with the strategy. The Seahawks may be doing the same to themselves now.
After a flirtation with Snyderism in 2010, Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen committed to rebuilding roster structure with players valued at or beneath their worth. The Redskins won the division with free agent contributors acquired in 2011 and rookies signed in 2012. They rolled the dice on the best quarterback prospect of the millennium, but at the rookie wage scale of the new CBA. They found the best rookie rusher of 2012 at seventh-round money.
For free agents, Shanallenhan a made market-based offer to London Fletcher, then watched as he tested the market before he re-signed with the team. It’s how the Redskins approached Fred Davis who they signed to a one-year deal today. The process disturbs fans, but it really is the way to go.
2 – No one loves Fred Davis like the Redskins do. Like every Redskins fan, Hog Heaven looks forward to the return of a healthy Fred Davis. A lot of ‘Skins fans say Fred Davis is the greatest tight end entering the 2013 season. Um, not fast, cowboy.
Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and Vernon, not Fred, Davis are the three most dangerous tight ends in the game. Tony Gonzalez’ decision to return for another playoff run knocks F.Davis down a peg behind Jermichael Finley, Aaron Hernandez, Jason Witten, and Logan Paulsen. The Redskins discovered Paulsen as a receiving tight end in Davis’ absence. Paulsen figures to steal receptions from Davis this season.
But Davis would contribute more to the Redskins in the 2013 season than any of those other TEs. All but Paulsen would have to learn the Redskins’ offense. Even for veterans, that takes about a season. Paulsen knows the system, but lacks Davis’ speed and potential for yards after the catch. The Redskins knew that when they made their offer to Davis and then let him comparison shop other teams.
Washington does not want Davis because he’s the best. They want him because he’s the best fit available. At the right price, that’s good enough to win.
3 – The return of the sick and wounded: Fred Davis, Robert Griffin III, Brian Orakpo, Josh Morgan, Brandon Meriwether, Roy Helu, Adam Carriker, Chris Nield, Chase Minnifield. Rob Jackson will return from suspension after four games. Tanard Jackson might return sometime this year, maybe.
Redskins led NFL in 2012 in yards-per-play while Garcon, Morgan, Davis & RG3 either played hurt or missed games. They could be nice in 2013— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) March 29, 2013
The Redskins need for new talent may not be as great as you think. We just need our guys back.
4 – Still Vinny Cerrato’s team. Like the little girl with the little curl, when Vinny was good he was very good. The Redskins opened free agency by locking up Cerrato legacy free agents Rob Jackson, Darrell Young and now Davis. The Redskins await the healthy return of Brian Orakpo, Cerrato’s best Draft pick, and of London Fletcher, the best free agent signing of the Gibbs-Cerrato era, or any Redskins era. The problem is that, when Cerrato was bad, he was a walking disaster.
We won’t beat the dead horses of Cerrato mistakes, but he did make a few good moves of lasting value that remind us that Cerrato wasn’t completely worthless. It just seems that way.
5 – The Redskins still need legitimate Nos. 1 and 2 wide receivers. Hog Heaven touts the 6-7-8-9-10-11 benchmark for wide receivers. A good number-two receiver should catch 60 passes for seven touchdowns and 800 yards. A good number-one receiver should deliver 90 receptions for 10 TDs and 1,100 yards. That’s on top of what a receiving tight end should do.
Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Roddy White fit that profile, with Tony Gonzo’s performance as icing on the cake. Dez Bryant emerged as a legitimate No. 1 receiver in 2012 with 92 receptions, 12 touchdowns and 1,392 yards. When Miles Austin is healthy, the Cowboys have a potent passing game whenever he surpasses TE Jason Witten's performance. Witten was Dallas’ second-leading receiver. The fact that Austin was a near-miss at the No. 2 benchmark is partly why the Cowboys were a near-miss for the division.
Even with Davis’ potential performance, the Redskins still need receivers who can hit those benchmarks. We think Pierre Garćon can be that guy as a No. 1. Josh Morgan proved to be a tough clutch receiver, but missed the benchmark as a No. 2. Help may be coming in the Draft. It would be better if either Morgan or Leonard Hankerson meet the No. 2 benchmark, or be the equal of Miles Austin in order for the Redskins to succeed.
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