|The biggest surprise of the off season was landing DeSean Jackson less then a week after shockingly being cut by the Philadelphia Eagles.|
Hail Redskins Nation!!!! It's two days until training camp opens and I know Redskins Nation is as excited as I am. With that being said welcome to the final edition of the new faces the Redskins. With the salary cap penalty finally over with and the Redskins with a little over 30 million in salary cap space they did not hesitate to spend. We've all heard this story before but this season was different. For one the team actually has a General Manager that had a plan and knew what needs had to be address on team coming off a terrible 3-13 season. Some of the first signings were quiet and under the radar, which caused some concern for some of Redskins Nation. I personally didn't mind this approach because we have seen what happens when this team makes the big name acquisition. But low and behold on April 2nd, less then a week after DeSean Jackson was unexpectedly cut the Redskins made the biggest signing. By signing Jackson they have successfully accomplished two things.It will be key in weakening a division rival by taking their second best player on their team. It will give this team a play making gamechanger since that has drastically changed how this team will be defended. DeSean is a key acquisition but they're other important signings for the offense and defense. Let me breakdown a few of these free agents for you starting with the offense:
|Colt McCoy(16) seen here practicing with Robert Griffin III(10)|
and Kirk Cousins(8) during OTA's in June.
This was sort of a surprise for me but being that Rex Grossman wasn't going to be re-signed the team needed a third quarterback. Colt was highly touted at the University of Texas and was being talked about as a first round draft pick but a unfortunate injury in the BCS title game against Alabama dashed those hopes. His injury caused him to slip to a third round pick of the Cleveland Browns. He had some success and was the starter for 2011 but ultimately was traded to San Francisco at the end of 2012 to be a backup. He can help RGIII and Kirk learn the new offense since he has plenty of experience doing this being that he's learned five different offenses in five seasons. I don't see him making any impact this season (which is a good thing) but it's nice to have a some what experienced QB on the roster.
|Shawn Lauvao(77) and rookie Morgan Moses hustling to the next|
drill during OTA's.
One of the first things Head Coach Jay Gruden said was that he wanted to bring in bigger more physical lineman. One of the newest additions to the line is this 6 foot 3 inch 315 pound Shawn Lauvao. An offensive guard with a nasty streak from Cleveland. He's also agile enough to run the zone blocking scheme the Redskins will use and plays with a tough bulldog mentality. Gruden got a good look at Lauvao after three years in Cincinnati and watching him twice a year when they played Cleveland and Lauvao was a starter. The team targeted this young talented lineman at the start of free agency and got their man. This move allows Kory Lichtensteiger to move to his more natural position of center and made Will Montgomery expendable. As of right now Lauvao is penciled in as starter at left guard and will add more power to the power run game on the left side beside Pro Bowler Trent Williams. That' a lot of attitude on that left side. I guess we know what side they are running on when it's 4th and 1 in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.
|The versatile OG/C Mike McGlynn shown here signing his|
contract and looking to push for a starter spot on the O-Line.
Another addition to the offensive line that will add size and strength to the interior. He's poised to compete at offensive guard and center positions. With his size (6-4 325 lbs) he will push the incumbent interior lineman who on occasion last year got pushed back by bigger defensive lineman. The word is he plays center better then guard. So Kory better bulk up and really show what he can do because in my mind if McGlynn can repeat his play from Indianapolis he will send Kory to the bench and become the starter. Getting more physical in the middle of the line is key for the running game and passing game. Too many times last year the middle of the line got pushed back into the quarterback and caused problems all year. The competition should be good and the preseason games will determine who gets the nod as the starter.
|Andre Roberts was penciled in as the #2 WR until the signing|
of DeSean Jackson which bumps him back to the #3 WR.
When Andre Roberts signed here in March he was set to be the #2 wide receiver. That lasted for about a month. Until the biggest signing of the off season when the Redskins signed DeSean Jackson. That was a shock to all in Redskins Nation including Roberts, who knows that with the addition of such a great play maker that put him back into the role slot receiver. Roberts said after the signing if he knew that DeSean Jackson would be added here that he would've thought about signing elsewhere. Coming from his recent situation in Arizona being bumped to the #3 receiver last season after a stellar 2012 season in which he actually had a better yards per game average and more touchdowns the Larry Fitzgerald that year. One other major reason he signed here was to work with our franchise QB Robert Griffin III. He sees his potential and believes as I do that the quarterback will return to his 2012 Rookie of the Year form. Roberts is set to battle for both return jobs on special teams. He returned both in college at the Citadel and his first two season in Arizona but because of his increased role in the offense his returns were limited. Andre now has settled into his role and now realizes that he might not get the ball as much as he would like. So each an every time you get the ball you have to make the most of it because you don't know how many more touches you'll get. I feel Roberts will make a impact for this team with his ability to get open and make people miss. Either on special teams or offense I believe he will win this team a game or two next season.
|Can DeSean Jackson give the Redskins the deep threat they|
have not had in a very long time?
Wide Receiver: DeSean Jackson
Now the biggest acquisition of free agency for the Redskins. DeSean Jackson is young, dynamic, quick and deadly from anywhere on the field. All Redskins fans know how deadly this little guy is after his years in Philadelphia . His moves, speed and elusiveness makes him a nightmare to cover and game plan for. This one addition I believe will make the offense one of the best in the league. The only concern is the rumors of this young superstar having off the field issues. At this point he has said and done all the right things and from what I hear he has been a excellent teammate and a professional. Jackson can take the top off of any defense and can also catch a short pass and take it to the house. That aspect of his game and the addition weapons the team has, fans might get horse from singing "Hail To The Redskins" after all the touchdowns. I see this addition of talent and bulldog attitude will rub off on the offense and give them a much needed edge and feisty nature. With Jackson being paired with Pierre Garcon they are poised to become one of if not the top pass catching duo in the league.
|ILB Darryl Sharpton was one of the first signings and his|
experience and special teams play will help this team in 2014.
With this team in desperate need of ILB's and special team improvement they addressed both issues with this signing. At 26 and decent linebacker size and speed Sharpton plans to push for the starting Jack linebacker beside Perry Riley Jr. He has had some injuries during his pro career but feels 100% and ready to contribute to help this team get better in any way possible. He is a underrated linebacker but with his ability to play the run and special teams he will be an improvement.Even if he doesn't win the starting job he should get some snaps on the defense throughout the season. He will be a solid special teams player and helpful teaching the younger linebackers on this team.
|This eight year vet plays ILB and contributes on special teams|
both needs of the Redskins this season.
Akeem Jordan is another signing to help bolster the linebacker corp and a slumping special teams unit. Jordan is a eight year veteran with starting experience that can surely help this team get better and more consistent as a unit. He is a local kid with ties to the area and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007. Jordan played for Kansas City last season and totaled 67 tackles and two forced fumbles. He should be another solid addition to the defense and special teams units. He will also push for the starting Jack linebacker position. At age if 28 he's young fast and will add to the competition all throughout camp.
|Adam Heyward was signed to bolster the terrible special|
teams unit which was a constant theme this off season.
Inside Linebacker: Adam Heyward
Adam Heyward hasn't started much in his eight year career but he's known more for his standout play on special teams. He was the special teams captain for Tampa Bay Buccaneers the last two seasons and led the unit with 11 tackles in 2013. It will be a battle between him and the incumbent Redskins standout special teams player Niles Paul for the captain of special teams. Hopefully with the added talent at linebacker and special teams these three players alone should help both those units with added depth, youth and consistency which they desperately needed.
|Tracy Porter is the had the game clinching pick 6|
against Peyton Manning in Super Bowl XLIV
Cornerback: Tracy Porter
Now with the linebacker corp getting key additions the secondary also needed some help also. Once the team decided not to re-sign Josh Wilson they needed a veteran nickle CB to go with the young inexperienced CB's already on the roster. Tracy Porter has had a up and down career but last year was his first season playing in all 16 games. That was the first time in his career he accomplished this and hopefully going forward he can continue this trend. He set career highs in tackles (88) and sacks (1.5) last season in Oakland where he played good but not great. He is an upgrade to the secondary that needed it greatly. With the increased emphasis being put on pass rush that should help this secondary improve on a terribly inconsistent 2013. Richard Crawford (if healthy), Chase Minnifield and rookie Bashaun Breeland will push Porter for the nickel cornerback position. Porter is coming off shoulder surgery so he better get the rust off quickly because I know these young guys are hungry and wanna get on the field and contribute.
|Jason Hatcher had 11 sacks last season which outproduced|
the defensive line for the Redskins in 2013.
This was another signing that is great for the team two fold. By signing Jason Hatcher away from the Cowboys they added a piece they were missing and weakened a division rival. Hatcher signed a team friendly deal but it was also player friendly with 10.5 million in guaranteed money. This was done because of his age and now with his recent knee surgery to clean it out this seems like a wise move. His presence in the interior of the D-line should help wreck havoc up the middle and allow Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan to be less of a focal point to play meet at the quarterback. It's important for Hatcher to prove that last year wasn't a fluke and try to match his production. I don't expect him to surpass his sack total from last season but I'd be happy with about eight sacks as long as Orakpo and Kerrigan are in double digits in sacks. With him being 31 that normally would be a concern but since he wasn't a starter until a couple years ago. He has low miles so to speak and the team hopes he can repeat his performance from last season and bolster the D-line. We will see how healthy Hatcher is when training camp starts. If he is limited but still able to participate I'd be happy but reports are he was already off crutches and was doing well in his rehab. He is not the long term answer to improving the pass rush but for now let's hope he causes enough problems for opposing offensive lineman as he did for ours for all those years.
These are my top free agent signings that I believe will make an impact and help this team improve and get better each and every week. If there are any topics you all would like me to write about or even have an opinion about feel free to hit me up on Twitter or Facebook. I want to keep you informed with the information you want to know about.
Redskins Nation stayed tuned for more Redskins content coming soon. Just two days until training camp so be sure to keep checking for more Redskins news, information and articles. Soon will be adding more local sports to the blog. Soon You will be able to read about the Nationals, Capitals, and Wizards soon. I'll keep you updated as to when I will start covering those local sports. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio and Porter III on Facebook for all Redskins news, info and on other local pro sports. Be sure to give my good friend and editor a follow @IIWIISkinsBlog for extensive breakdowns also. Thanks again for all your support,love.and feedback. As always #HTTR