Wednesday, May 14, 2014

So my DC cousin asked if I can pontificate about Washington too- “you betcha!”

I don't know that I believe much in new coach Jay Gruden. I do not know a ton about him and while he got some production in Cincy, he also always had AJ Green, Jermaine Gresham (I know coaches can improve players – but they were both the highest players taken at their position in their respective drafts) and several other talented parts. His offenses did look good at times, but in three playoff losses the Bungles score a combined 33 points (somehow only the QB has caught flack for this – imagine that). Gruden’s offenses were ranked in the 20s two of his three years there. Meanwhile Marvin Lewis’s defenses were always in the top 10 – maybe a little coattail riding going on in getting this job (plus remember his brother, ESPN Monday Night Football announcer and form Super Bowl winning coach John Gruden, is a big name too)? I am not saying he was a terrible hire, but his record is a definitely mixed bag.

Gruden aside, Washington is starting to learn as a franchise (I heavily suspect this "learning" is just Bruce Allen making picks rather than their competent owner Daniel Synder) - they used their top picks on unsexily, but wisely, building the Offensive-Line.
They also didn't trade away all their picks: Washington drafted 8 guys and had a pick in every round save the first (and many of those were their own actual picks rather than trade pickups). However I don't see anyone that they added as being special. Still a solid draft of quality starters is the foundation of winning seasons.

In free agency they may have overpayed (a bit, not horrendously( for DeSean Jackson, but at least he isn't 37 – the normal age of a Washington free agent. Plus Jackson is more of a #1 than Pierre Garcon (although also more of a headcase). Former Cardinal Andre Roberts is a reliable #3 – certainly an upgrade. They signed a couple of LBs who started in their old homes in Akeem Jordan (KC) and Daryl Sharpton (Houston). They aren't super-great but I am assuming will be replacing the retired London Fletcher. CB Tracey Porter (most recently Oakland) was once a borderline great corner, but something is off with him the last few years (injuries messed with his head?). Ex-Steeler Ryan Clark was a better safety than many realized during his career, but is probably done. Maybe they will be able to squeeze a year out of him as a guy directing traffic.

Elsewhere at safety they have Brandon Meriweather returning, but he is more consistently subpar than erratic. He never should have been a Pro-Bowler, that was Patriots mystique. SF Tanard Jackson, coming back after a two year suspension, was a somewhat better than average safety in Tampa (big hitter who occasionally took a bad gamble), but who knows how he’ll be after not playing since 2011 (it does say something that Washington did not flush him).

They should lock up their best passrusher Brian Orakpo with a long-term deal. Beside him and Ryan Kerrigan on the other side there isn't much at impresses me about this front 7 either. People are a little too excited about signing DT Jason Hatcher away from the rival Cowboys. He was 31 in a contract year last season (yes the 'Pokes Defensive-Line was a mess, but let's not forget DeMarcus Ware drew a lot of attention). He was getting better the last few seasons, but I expect he will revert back to be a solid starter, not someone who will “make” the DL.

Washington still needs to redo their DL & secondary (I’m counting Orakpo and Kerrigan as Outside Line-Backers), get even more OL help, find a #2 RB, , and I don't buy TE Jordan Reed will be a star, but he may be okay as starter (shame about Fred Davis smokng his life away). If this team is going to be winning games it will be the offense carrying them.


Post a Comment

<< Home