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Redskins mailbag: Part 1

The roster received a heavy dose of attention -- from receiver to all 53 -- and in Part 1 of the Washington Redskins mailbag we mix in questions about hope, the draft, and a quarterbacks coach. Enjoy.

@john_keim: They have a lot invested in this group, obviously (16.04 percent of the cap this season; that is 50 percent more than the league average at receiver). I know there was concern in Pierre Garcon's camp about his future here because of his cap number in 2015 ($9.7 million) and dwindling attempts. Problem is, if you get rid of him, it weakens the group. I was not a big fan of Andre Roberts this season. Garcon gives you grit and toughness here (he can also get immensely frustrated; more than most I've covered. Not a knock, just the way it is, and often times it's deserved). If you get rid of Garcon, the Redskins would be losing a good player and would have to replace him in some fashion. No one on the roster can do what he does. The Redskins could save $7.5 million with a post-June 1 designation if they released Garcon.

Keim: Hard to say now, but I know in talking to players that they are thinking half the roster will get turned over. That's their fear; some compared it to how Mike Shanahan turned over the roster after his first year as well (nine new starters). It's necessary. Something here has to change, and if the people in charge aren't, then you can bet it will be the roster. It wasn't a great roster last season, but with more disciplined play they should have won more than four games.

Keim: Have written about this a couple times, including in a Q&A with Jay Gruden. How dare you have a life and miss it! Yes, joking. But, yes, I would expect them to hire a quarterbacks coach. It's not so much that the quarterbacks weren't being coached enough -- anyone who wants to blame Robert Griffin III's play on that is not being realistic -- it's that it limits the burden on others. Both Gruden and Sean McVay were in new roles last season, and both needed to be able to focus harder on those jobs. Gruden could not be as involved in game-planning the offense, and so McVay had to assume more of those responsibilities. But that meant he could not devote as much time to more subtle aspects of his job. Where it helps, too, is that after practice the quarterbacks can get a few more minutes of work in with a position coach. Gruden can't do that, and McVay can only do it so many times. I'd be surprised if it doesn't happen.

Keim: Yep, way too early. The last thing anyone should do right now is fall in love with any player. If you do, you might miss someone who is much better. Certainly the Redskins need a safety, but do you take one who projects as a strong safety that high? There is concern about whether Landon Collins has the necessary speed to cover slot receivers, as he would have to do in the NFL. But he's also terrific on special teams, so that's a plus. Point is, there is too much that still must be determined about him before assuming he should be the guy. You need a difference-maker at this spot. I would not pass up a defensive lineman or pass-rusher.

Keim: I wish I could give you a lot more reason to hope, but it's difficult to do right now. After the past two seasons it looks bleak, and the track record of the front office is bad. So even after free agency and the draft there will be well-deserved skepticism. The hope has to be that Gruden realizes more of what he walked into and what sort of players the Redskins need to get. The problem is, he's not in charge of the decisions. Let's see, too, who they bring in as defensive coordinator. Again, the problem is, do you trust the people in charge to make the right decisions? It looks like A.J. Smith will have a bigger role, per a John Clayton report Friday. That would help. Otherwise, whoever is the new defensive coordinator won't matter as much as it should. The hope can come in that every year the NFL sees teams go from bad to good. The Redskins have talent offensively, and if they build the line better, it would provide the identity they need: a strong run game that can do what Dallas' offense did for its defense, limiting its time on the field. You have to hope that Griffin improves the way they need. I don't sense a lot of optimism that he will, not to the degree they need/want. But can he become at least an average quarterback? Heck, if that's the case it should be good enough -- if you build well around him. Like I said, tough to give real hope now; the track record of failure is long. But life changes fast in the NFL.

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