Part 1 of this week's mailbag covers Fred Davis' future, blame for the defensive woes, the hurry-up offense and a little bit more. Look for Part 2 on Saturday. Questions sent via Twitter.
@LiPistolStarta: last week's win...lipstick on a pig or a step in the right direction?
John Keim: Well, any win when you have not won a game is a step in the right direction. They also did what they should: They dominated an offense using backups in key spots and they eventually wore down a good defense. If they had been 2-1 going into that game you would have said they handled their business. That is something they had not done in the first three games. So… yes, a small step in the right direction.
@mikeyvanilli: what's the difference between the read-option pass and a regular play-action pass?
Keim: Good question. Both are play action, but the read-option pass is simply a fake to the back in which the defense also must worry about the quarterback running too. So it's a longer developing play-action. A basic play-action is just a drop-back, fake handoff and set up. There's also play-action off the stretch zone -- the fake is more at an angle. The real difference is the time it can fool a defense. When I'd time a regular play-action pass, it would take the linebackers, at most, 1.4 seconds to realize it was a pass. The read-option pass would freeze them for 1.9 seconds – about the same as a stretch zone fake. That half second makes a big difference.
@CarbonPrimo: Do you think the Redskins would ever use hurry up to start a game to try to spark early momentum?
Keim: I don't know if they'd start a game that way, but based on the kick start it gave them Sunday it wouldn't be such a bad idea. I like this, for now, as a change-up for them which is what it provided them the other day. I haven't asked them about starting the game this way, but my guess is they'd rather start with their basic offense and then use it if necessary. It was successful the other day in tiring out Oakland's line; forcing them into basic sets and creating number advantages. I also think it depends on the team they're playing.
@tntDVM: Fred Davis seems to have underwhelmed so far this year. Do you think he's on the team next year?
Keim: No, at this point I don't. But I also wouldn't say it's a foregone conclusion. If you're Davis and want to start, why would you return? It's clear that the Redskins favor Jordan Reed, who is younger, more athletic and a guy the coaches really like because of how he works. He's a lot more detailed than Davis. If Davis has another option he'd be wise to sign elsewhere. If he doesn't? Then perhaps he'd return here, but he'd be a third tight end.
@Eskins21: when will Haslett get looked at critically? D's best finish under him is (I believe) not better than 20th
Keim: I'd take it one step further. Mike Shanahan's defenses, going back to his Denver days, haven't fared well in a long time. The coordinator has been talked about more than a few times; he deserves a critical look no doubt. Haslett does not have the reputation as being one of the NFL's best coordinators nor is he considered at the other end. He's somewhere in the middle, based on the football people I've talked to; good at some things, but his defenses have holes. On the other hand, the secondary isn't rich with starting talent. I don't like excuses, but this is where the cap issue hurt the team. Some coaches can coax a lot of out of a little (Gregg Williams), but most do not. Being a coordinator is as much about the preparation as it is about calling plays. He's not the only one chiming in on play calls. A couple years ago one veteran told me that too often the rules of a play would change, leading to big gaps for long gains. This year missed tackles have been the major issue. Also, I'm not a big fan of constructing a defensive staff in which the coordinator doesn't have a lot of say in who's around him. If you want to get rid of Haslett that's fine and it may eventually happen; coaches live with the results of their group. But other aspects need to change, too.
Keim: Because they have a starting left tackle in Trent Williams? That's the position both guys play. Brown is a career underachiever. Yes he's played right tackle, but why trade a pick for this guy? When I look at the Redskins' offense, I don't think, “If only they had a right tackle they would roll.” Tyler Polumbus isn't holding this offense back -- when I see break downs, it's from everywhere, from tight ends to Williams. Their issue is the quarterback getting his legs back and developing as a passer. Monroe is intriguing, but the Ravens traded two picks to get him. With the Redskins already down a first-round draft pick next year, why give up two more for a guy at a spot that, honestly, would not make much of a difference. He's also a free agent after the season. Not sure why there'd be any buzz about Scott? A guy released by an 0-4 team that needs running backs? Not sure where he'd fit in here.