Yes the end of the year may have been disappointing from the standpoint that the Washington Redskins succumbed to the Green Bay Packers out home, but the fact remains that with Scot McCloughan in charge they are a franchise much on the rise. Between North and South practices of the Senior Bowl on Wednesday afternoon, the Skins general manager took the time to conduct his mandatory end of year press conference.
McCloughan made it very clear from the very beginning that “the culture is going in the right direction.” Not only are the Redskins starting to get the right player personnel pieces together, but the coaching staff is much improved from previous regimes. The superb talent evaluator does not think the club is necessarily ahead of schedule after winning the NFC East division after just one year in charge but knows “we are going in the right direction.”
One of the biggest reasons McCloughan feels that way is since “even in games we got beat in you still saw guys battling.” That of course is the polar opposite of one Albert Haynesworth when the team was getting carved about by Michael Vick on Monday Night Football.
Although the team is improving, Washington has a “long ways to go, long ways.” McCloughan harped on the fact that the team needs to get more physical. “We need to be a better run team” even if the pass protection from the offensive line was “excellant.” The lack of production from Alfred Morris, which might cost him another contract in the nation’s capital, and rookie Matt Jones is what cost them dearly for much of the season and in the playoffs. As you should be as fans, even after making the playoffs, Scot McCloughan is “never satisfied.”
With the hot topic issue of free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, “of course I want him around. I want him to be a part of the Redskins” responded McCloughan. The general manager did not want to talk contract specifics, for any player, with the media but would like to get a long-contract done rather than implementing the one-year franchise tag. That does not rule out Washington using the tag on Cousins, but that they will do everything possible to make him a member of the Burgundy and Gold for the foreseeable future.
Similarly, McCloughan wants TE Jordan Reed “around” because “he’s a good football player.” Reed could be this offseasons Trent Williams or Ryan Kerrigan by seeing a nice fat extension the year before the hit the market. Reed was not selected for the Pro Bowl, which is a completely other issue, but it quite possibly the best tight end in the NFC given his youth. The Redskins would be fools not to lock up that talent ahead of time instead of trying to get into a bidding war.
On the other side of the coin, Scot McCloughan responded “certainly” when asked if their is a possibility that Robert Griffin III could remain on the team. McCloughan called the former rookie of the year winner a “good football player, person” and will wait until he is forced to make a decision on March 9th. Griffin has reportedly past his year-end physical, which puts the ball completely in the Redskins court if they wish to keep him aboard at $16 million (highly unlikely). McCloughan will sit down with the rest of the brass and coaches before making the final decision about Griffin and any other personnel moves.
It is no secret that McCloughan’s philosophy during his already storied career has been to build a franchise through the draft, not flash free agent signings. The former Seahawks and 49ers general manager said he wants to “get the best football players”, not necessarily filling the biggest need of the team. McCloughan does not want the prettiest player, he wants a “football player.” If GMSM has his way, he would like to have 15 draft picks because “the more the merrier.” Although there is only one year of film on them as professionals, the Redskins general manager believes his 2015 draft class was a “good crop.” Lets hope their are many more to come.
McCloughan has already made it clear that the Redskins “will not be big players” even though they have a little bit of money to spend this summer.
Other Need to Knows:
- Head coach Jay Gruden did an “excellent” job this year along with the rest of the coaching staff.
- CB Chris Culliver (ACL) is “ahead of schedule” in his recovery process, which is important since the team is no longer on the hook for too much money should they decide to cut ties with the high priced defensive back.
- DE Jason Hatcher, who has been contemplating retirement, was told by McCloughan to do “what is best for you and your family.” Should the veteran leader return, Washington may look to restructure his rather heft cap number.
- DB Kyshoen Jarrett, a sixth round draft pick, is a “really good football player … he’s got the instincts and versatility” to play all over the field.
- S DeAngelo Hall is an “energizer bunny” and McCloughan thought his transition to safety was “excellant.” The way that both Gruden and McCloughan have talked about the veteran defensive back, it is hard to see the organization cutting ties with Hall on a leadership standpoint alone.
- OLB Preston Smith did not hit the “wall” that most rookies do around Week 10. Instead he is and will continue to “keep going and going.”
- Recently hired outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky is a “great guy, half crazy (perfect for the job)” McCloughan kidded. Although it might not have as drastic effects as bringing in a quarterbacks coach last year, Manusky will have a big impact on the likes of Kerrigan and Smith.
The next big event for the Washington Redskins will be preparing for the 2016 NFL Draft which begins on April 28th.