Washington Redskins 2017: Finding Hope Amidst Turmoil
The Washington Redskins public relations team is very busy. They are in the midst of perhaps their most trying period since Daniel Snyder became the owner in 1999. The Redskins fire general manager Scot McCloughan. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has not interest in a long-term deal as long as Bruce Allen is team president. Amidst all the turmoil, is there any hope?
The Redskins know McCloughan was a recovering alcoholic. The 49ers and Seahawks reportedly fire him for alcohol abuse. An unnamed source recently said that McCloughan was let go due to “ongoing problems with alcohol.” But longtime NFL insider Jason Cole of Bleacher Report said that the real reason was that McCloughan wanted to trade Cousins, something both Allen and head coach Jay Gruden disagrees with.
Cousins is open to a trade, but is also willing to test free agency next offseason. The former Michigan State Spartan overcame struggles late in the season. He caps off the season with his first Pro Bowl appearance. But can the Redskins retain Cousins long term? Can they afford to let their best quarterback in decades slip away?
Amidst the turmoil the Redskins are building a solid team. The Redskins lost two 1,000-yard receivers in free agency, but still boast a solid group of weapons. Washington adds Terrelle Pryor in free agency and drafted Josh Doctson in the first round last year. Pair them with Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis and you have a solid group of weapons for any quarterback. Pro Football Focus rates the Redskins’ offensive line as the seventh-best. The Redskins offensive line will be even better this year if they get better play from their left guard.
Will the front office drama have a negative affect on the team? It likely results in some free agents steering clear of the nation’s capital. Losing an incredible talent-evaluator like McCloughan hurts, but he did not build the core of the Redskins team.
Five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams is a 2010 pick. Two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Kerrigan comes in 2011. Center Spencer Long and right tackle Morgan Moses, both starters, are selections in 2014. Cousins arrives in 2012 and Reed joins the team one year later,
McCloughan’s additions include Crowder and guard Brandon Scherff. But the Washington Redskins’ ability to evaluate and bring in talent will not fall off a cliff without him. They are doing a decent job since 2009 under Allen. The team adds Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee in free agency to bolster their defensive line depth. Safety D.J. Swearinger joins his former high school teammate Josh Norman in the secondary. In fact, Swearinger and Norman won a state title together in South Carolina.
The Redskins’ current safety tandem is likely Su’a Cravens and Swearinger. They are perhaps the team’s best pair of safeties since “Area 51” roamed the secondary. FYI, that was an informal name given by Redskins fans to LaRon Landry and the late Sean Taylor who played together in 2007.
Washington’s biggest concern remains locking up Cousins long term. The worst-case scenario is a trade or he leaves via free agency next year (which can be avoided using the transition tag). Then Colt McCoy takes over as the starter and the Redskins can still win. He is arguably the best backup quarterback in the league. McCoy does not have the best arm or quickest release. But he anticipates well and is an accurate short-to-intermediate passer.
Washington has a great offensive line and a solid group of weapons that will be a great aid to whoever starts at quarterback. If Brock Osweiler can lead the Texans to the playoffs, perhaps McCoy can do the same for the Redskins. The ‘Skins still must get better especially defensively. All hope is not lost.