Posted by Andy Benoit
Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups.
New coach, new system, new quarterback, even new yellow pants. Didn’t matter, it was the same old Redskins in 2010. The new quarterback never mastered the new coach’s new system, which is why there actually wound up being another new quarterback at the end of the season. Rex Grossman wasn’t much better than Donovan McNabb, but then again, Grossman had to work with the same ho-hum supporting cast as McNabb.
But enough about the offense. How about Washington’s disappointing defense? Albert Haynesworth was a cross between the Cowardly Lion and Tin Man. Instead of finding a phony wizard to help spark some soul-saving confidence within him at the end, the most expensive defensive tackle in history found himself suspended.
The team unofficially charged Haynesworth with Owensism (i.e. being a jerk). Haynesworth wasn’t the lone disappointment on D. The secondary let more big plays pass through than Broadway.
Mike Shanahan’s famous zone blocking scheme works just about anywhere. There’s no reason to think powerful but spry running back Ryan Torain can’t be a 1,200-yard back behind such a scheme. However, Shanahan needs better athletes at center, right guard and right tackle. C Casey Rabach does not elevate the game of those around him. RG Artis Hicks is valuable only as a utility backup. And RT Heyer is too upright and stiff in the knees.
Finding more fluid linemen, even if it means settling for other teams’ undersized dregs, would be a worthwhile endeavor for the Skins.
It’s pretty clear Mike Shanahan does not want Donovan McNabb, right?
2. Wide Receiver
Santana Moss is an unrestricted free agent and probably not worth whatever he thinks he’s worth. Anthony Armstrong might be too much of a hard-handed plodder to hold down a starting spot long term. He’s certainly not a No. 1. The only other receivers on the roster are return specialist Brandon Banks and Terrence Austin and underachieves Roydell Williams and Malcolm Kelly.
3. Defensive End
There was talk that Adam Carriker had a strong season in 2010. Where’s the evidence? Carriker blended in like camouflage. Vonnie Holiday can still contribute in a limited backup role, but like with fellow end Phillip Daniels, age is a major issue.
It’s the NFL, where instant improvements are not only possible, but common. It helps having an adept coaching staff. Shanahan will be prepared for the D.C. scene in 2011 after being caught off-guard by the intense media in his debut season.
Still, a great coach can only go so far. The Redskins desperately need more talent at the skill positions if they want to give .500 a run.
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