Here’s a switch: A Redskins offseason that’s well-received for multiple moves, not one big splashy one. When ESPN's Mike Sando convened some insiders, he discovered they liked what the Redskins had done. In fact, because of it, in his ESPN Insider piece, Sando ended up giving the Redskins one of his highest offseason grades.
Only one team, the New York Jets, received a higher mark than the Redskins. The Jets received an A; Green Bay and the Redskins earned an A-minus. Have to say, I agree the Redskins have had an excellent offseason -- and it’s not just because of the players they signed in free agency or drafted. They still need to make it work during the season, but it sure beats having a bad offseason. They had one because they hired a legitimate general manager for the first time. (That's a tactic they shockingly had not tried before. What they’ve needed for a long time is a governing philosophy for the franchise. It should have included this; but now they have one, so good for them.)
And it’s because they injected new energy on the coaching staff; I believed it was definitely needed on defense (and, yes, I know what you thought about that side of the ball, too). Adding Matt Cavanaugh as the quarterbacks coach and hiring Bill Callahan to coach the line were excellent moves as well.
Also, for those of you who think analysts dislike the Redskins, keep in mind they dish out praise when it’s deserved. For too long, the Redskins haven’t deserved a whole lot, unless four-win seasons are your thing. Based on my Twitter timeline, I know that’s not what you want.
Anyway, here’s what Louis Riddick, a former NFL front office executive, said, “They are one of my favorite teams this offseason. They have needed someone like (GM Scot) McCloughan for a long, long time.”
He liked the signings because they filled holes and he considered tackle Brandon Scherff, the fifth overall choice in the draft, “as safe as you can get and he will be an all-rookie player.” As Riddick said, the Redskins’ success hinges on the quarterback, but they’re off to a good start.
Speaking of the quarterback, former NFL scout Matt Williamson, another ESPN Insider, called the offseason “good GM work.” Why? Because they’ve addressed big holes at positions other than quarterback. So if Griffin stumbles and they need to find a quarterback next year, they’ll already have a stronger roster to surround him. Of course, that propped-up lineup could help Griffin this year and save any search party in 2016.
As for ex-NFL general manager Bill Polian, a Hall of Famer, he said the Redskins were physical before their offseason signings. Not sure I’d agree with that -- by nature, all teams are physical, but it certainly was not the Redskins' identity. But, defensively at least, those they didn’t bring back -- Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen, Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather, among others -- were physical.
But Polian was dead right when he said the Redskins needed smarter play in their secondary. This will not be an All-Pro group, but corner Chris Culliver and safety Jeron Johnson in particular seem to always be in the right spot. That would be an improvement.