The Washington Redskins ended their offseason program last Wednesday. Here's a look at how they fared:
Offseason goals/grade: For every positive, there seemed to be a negative. The Redskins wanted to improve their defense, finding more pass-rush help and adding youth along the front. They drafted two players who should help -- lineman Jonathan Allen and linebacker Ryan Anderson, both from Alabama -- but how long will it take? They changed much of their defensive staff and might have as many as seven new starters. But they also lost two pivotal players on offense in proven receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. It's not a death sentence for the offense, but it does lead to questions. Also, they failed to sign quarterback Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal and despite recent encouraging signs, at this point a deal remains questionable at best. They also fired GM Scot McCloughan and later restructured their front office, with Doug Williams now the top personnel man. It could work -- Williams has traits that will help -- but the Redskins must prove their front office moves were right. They wisely extended coach Jay Gruden, too. I don't think the Redskins got worse; I do think they still have questions to be answered as far as whether they improved.
Move I liked: Fortifying the defense, via free agency (D.J. Swearinger) and the draft (Allen and Anderson). But mostly through a couple of coaching changes. They promoted Greg Manusky to coordinator, but no coordinator can excel without a solid staff. So the hiring of line coach Jim Tomsula in particular is almost as big as the offensive line snagging Bill Callahan three years ago. Right after this move was replacing secondary coach Perry Fewell with Torrian Gray; the defensive backs were not pleased the past two years with how they were coached. But the Redskins changed their line quite a bit and finally have young players to mold -- notably their first-round pick, Allen. They needed a quality line coach; he'll have an impact on multiple players.
Move I didn't like: Letting Garcon and Jackson exit via free agency. They weren't going to re-sign both receivers considering their expense and that both are older than 30. Of the two, Gruden wanted to keep Jackson (McCloughan was a big Garcon fan). Jackson would have kept a game-changing receiver around; Garcon's toughness was welcomed -- he also was more popular in the locker room. He also was a guy Cousins trusted. Now two of his top three receivers -- Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson -- are either new to the team or inexperienced. They both have a lot of talent so it's not as if they can't do anything. But it's still tough to let two 1,000-yard receivers depart.
Biggest question still to be answered in training camp: The Redskins have a few, most of which are on defense. In most cases the front-runners are obvious; it's just a matter of proving they can start early (Allen). But the one spot with intrigue, in camp, will be at inside linebacker. The Redskins have three players who could start: Will Compton, Mason Foster and Zach Brown. Compton calls the signals and has been the only one of the three to consistently work with the No. 1 defense in the spring. Foster also can call signals, but has mostly been alongside Compton. He and Brown rotated. All three likely will play as Brown and Foster could be together in nickel packages. Brown's speed and athleticism were prized; all he must do is feel more comfortable in a new defense.
Salary-cap space: $6,490,595 (source: Overthecap.com)
2017 draft picks: 1. DE Jonathan Allen, 2. OLB Ryan Anderson, 3. CB Fabian Moreau, 4. RB Samaje Perine, 4. S Montae Nicholson, 5. TE Jeremy Sprinkle, 6. OL Chase Roullier, 6. WR Robert Davis, 7. LB Josh Harvey-Clemons, 7. CB Josh Holsey
Undrafted rookie free agents signed: DL Brandon Banks, G Tyler Catalina, G, WR Levern Jacobs, G Kyle Kalis, WR Zach Pascal, DL Ondre Pipkins, WR James Quick, S Fish Smithson, LB Nico Marley, CB Tevin Homer
Restricted free agents signed: RB Chris Thompson, LB Will Compton
Players acquired via trade: None