Part 2 of the Redskins mailbag features draft mistakes, Sav Rocca, protection issues, the run game and more:
@redskin_potato asks: Good teams admit mistakes, move on. E.g. Pit, SF cut `13 draft pix. Are Skins too slow? LeRib,CT,ARob come2mind
John Keim: Good question; they are slow, but that’s not always a bad thing – develop your own, which, for a team coming off cap sanctions, is cheaper. Pittsburgh did release several former draft picks (none higher than the fourth round); the Steelers also have done a poor job restocking their roster and don’t look like a good team these days. San Francisco unloaded 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins this year. If you give them credit for admitting their mistake, they should be heavily dinged for drafting him in the first place (had been projected as a third- or fourth-round pick). That said, most teams (especially the Redskins) like to keep their picks to say how many of their draft choices made the roster. The better you get the harder it should be for rookies to make the roster; from 2010-11, the Niners kept 17 of 18 picks (their 2013 active roster includes eight of 11 draft picks). The Redskins, meanwhile, still have 26 of their 34 draft picks (including those on the practice squad or injured reserve) since 2010. With lower-round picks you need to be patient and give them a chance to develop (Robinson, Chris Thompson). With higher picks like LeRibeus, you’d better make sure. He was a typical rookie who showed improvement when he played in the playoff game then had a terrible offseason. He did not win a job just based on his merits. Another bad offseason will result in them admitting a mistake.
@_FordR asks: Some fans think that Sav takes much longer than the avg punter to get his kicks off. Accurate?
Keim: No idea. But I compared him to Jacksonville’s Bryan Anger, who leads the NFL in net punting. Anger punted the ball in 1.8 seconds (from time of the snap) on the two punts I timed. That’s also how long it took Rocca to punt in the two I timed versus Oakland, including the block. His hang time was terrible in Oakland after the blocked punt (one was a horrible 3.0 seconds). That’s a big problem.
@MaxKogod asks: Is there hope for pass protection and Polumbus besides crossing fingers we play with lead and run 25+/game?
Keim: Polumbus has not been the problem in protection. Yes, he has made mistakes but so has Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, who has had one outstanding game and three mediocre ones – he was bad versus Detroit. Griffin has to help with that, too, like on the fourth-down sack the other day. An unblocked blitzer is his responsibility and he failed to unload the ball. That said, this line is not built to sit and pass protect all day – they’re built to play on the move and get help from play fakes. Couple more things: Teams are blitzing the Redskins a lot more, which puts the onus on more than just the line when it comes to protection; Griffin has been sacked only seven times in 187 drop-backs.
@TheMajestic9 asks: Do Redskins have any plans to use RB Chris Thompson on offense?
Keim: Haven’t heard. My guess is that the issues he’s having as a returner would give them pause at putting him in the lineup. I’d rather find a way to get Roy Helu more involved; he’s proven he can make plays in the open field at this level. Never felt Thompson would contribute early; he doesn’t yet look like he’s ready, whether it’s because of his surgically-repaired knee or something else. Eventually I could see him having a role, but he has a lot of work to do.
@Rob4everYoung asks: Do other teams have the key to stopping Kyle's play calling n the Skins offense? Run game looks average at best
Keim: Not sure I’d call the run game average. Alfred Morris is averaging 5.29 yards per carry and looked pretty good against Oakland until his rib injury. Their problem is that they haven’t had enough runs in most of their games. No, I don’t think they’ve finally figured out Kyle’s offense and that’s the reason for the struggles. Has more to do with a quarterback who lost his best assets (his legs) and is still getting his game back; he’s being forced to be more of a pocket passer and he’s still developing in that role.
@ShadStu804 asks: do you think rob jackson will see time on the field because of his big play and coverage ability?
Keim: He’ll play, but as a backup to Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo and in certain packages for the reasons you state. He’s athletic and that helps in coverage; overall I’m not sold on his consistency in that area but he was better there than I thought he would be.
@chuckbeaudry asks: 1. Why aren't we taking more shots deep? 2. RG3 is locked on Garçon and missing open guys. What's up with that?
Keim: 1 – Their best deep balls last season typically came off some sort of play-action. Much easier to get downfield with one safety deep than it is against cover-2s. Teams have done a good job taking this away by blitzing more, forcing quicker throws. As the runs increase (and their rhythm returns), my guess is you’ll see downfield shots go up too. 2) Garcon is, by far, their best receiver. I also think he’s the one guy Griffin trusts to win on the ball because few receivers fight harder than Garcon for the ball or to win his route. I’d feel the same way. There have been times where Garcon is the hot read. Garcon leads the Redskins with 39 targets; that’s 12 more than the next receiver, Santana Moss. But considering Moss plays less, the gap isn’t that large. Garcon plays more than the others; therefore he’ll be targeted more.