With many teams out of the playoffs, many fans have turned to the NFL off-season. Redskins fans started looking forward to the NFL off-season basically when the season began. Week 2 was when the Redskins outscored the atrocious St. Louis Rams 9-7 and people began to realize that watching the Redskins offense was worse than watching Rosie O'Donnell play beach volleyball in a two piece bikini.
Things changed for Redskins fans on December 17, 2009. Long time general manager Vinny Cerrato resigned from his position early in the morning and new GM Bruce Allen was hired by mid-day. The change signified the beginning of a new era. The Mike Shanahan Era. Shanahan was hired January 5, 2010 and he now is expected to lead the Redskins to be perennial contenders.
Shanahan's Redskins have a ton of offseason needs and they can not all be filled with their number four overall pick in the April draft. With an uncapped year on the horizon, the adjusted free agency rules will also make it difficult for the Redskins to address their needs in free agency. The majority of young talented free agents become restricted free agents and an uncapped year would also give teams two additional franchise tags (3 total).
The Redskins have to some how find a way to address all their needs through the draft. With only 5 picks in the entire draft it could be quite difficult. Their third round pick was forfeited for the selection of defensive end Jeremy Jarmon in the 2009 supplemental draft and their sixth round pick went to the Dolphins in the Jason Taylor trade.
With a defense with plenty of talent, and Jim Haslett as their new leader, the Redskins should focus most of their offseason on the offensive side of the ball. A defensive addition would not be a bad thing, but their offense needs HELP.
Their biggest need is definitely on the offensive line. With Chris Samuels facing retirement, Randy Thomas making more then 5 million in 2010 and coming off a season when he only played 2 games it looks like they both will be gone. The 32 year old center Casey Rabach will probably not be back in burgundy and gold due to the fact that he is a free agent and often made poor decisions in pass protection. Tackle Stephon Heyer proved through his play that he is more fit for a back up roll. The new coaching staff could replace four out of the five offensive lineman.
Jason Campbell had a decent season, but he also showed the organization that he is not going to be the type of quarterback that can get them to the playoffs year after year. The Redskins do need to ultimately find his replacement. It is already being speculated that Mike Shanahan will take Sam Bradford with the fourth overall pick. And while they do need a quarterback, offensive line needs to be addressed in the early rounds. The ideal scenario for the Shanahan-Allen team would be to trade down from that fourth overall pick and acquire a lower first round pick along with another first or second round pick. With three picks in the first two rounds they could acquire their quarterback of the future and two offensive lineman.
Expect Shanahan to take a chance on a late round running back that could ultimately replace Clinton Portis. Portis was been a locker room cancer under Jim Zorn and his production dramatically fell off after the first half of the 2008 season and he began to show the ill effects of his 2,176 career rushing attempts. Shanahan could choose to cut Portis during the off-season if he believes he has a back that will give him a better chance to win football games.
Their receivers could use improvement but Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly showed promise in the 2009 season. Antwaan Randle El is due a six million dollar bonus this offseason so the front office will face a tough decision whether or not they should cut him loose. Santana Moss, Thomas, and Kelly can get the job done in Shanahan's west coast offense if they get the right quarterback.
That quarterback will also effect the production of the Redskins tight ends. All pro Chris Cooley will return from injury in 2010 and with the emergence of second year tight end Fred Davis Cooley's name has been brought up in trade rumors. Cooley could help the Redskins through a trade more then on the field. Cooley could return a second round pick (just like Tony Gonzalez, Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow returned their former franchises). With that pick the Redskins could address an offensive need and pick up a much needed starter on the offensive line. Davis showed that given the right opportunity he could emerge into an All Pro tight end and third string tight end Todd Yoder is an excellent blocker and a solid receiver. As much as Cooley is loved by the fans and community he could help the Redskins more in a trade then on the field.
The Shanahan Era has begun in Washington D.C. and the front office has work to do. With a decision filled offseason, Shanahan looks to build the Redskins into a legitamate threat.
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