- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 26, 2009

QUARTERBACK

What the Redskins have: Starter Jason Campbell and backups Todd Collins and Colt Brennan. Campbell started 16 games in 2008 and threw 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.

What the Redskins need: A contract for Campbell. His rookie deal expires after the season, and regardless of how he plays in the first half of the year, it has the potential to become a distraction.

Analysis: The Redskins will probably sign a fourth quarterback this spring to serve as an extra arm. Arizona’s Kurt Warner, Tennessee’s Kerry Collins and Tampa Bay’s Jeff Garcia are the top free agents available.

RUNNING BACK

What the Redskins have: Starting tailback Clinton Portis, fullback Mike Sellers and reserves Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright. They added Anthony Alridge and Dominique Dorsey this offseason. Portis rushed for 1,487 yards, but his production dipped in the second half. Sellers reached his first Pro Bowl.

What the Redskins need: Less work for Portis. Coach Jim Zorn and his staff should devise ways to get Betts more involved, which would keep him sharp and lessen the punishment Portis takes. When Portis began to break down at midseason, so did the Redskins’ offense.

Analysis: Derrick Ward is likely leaving the New York Giants but is a restricted free agent. Some of the unrestricted backs are Warrick Dunn (released Wednesday by Tampa Bay) Indianapolis’ Dominic Rhodes, Seattle’s Maurice Morris, Cincinnati’s Cedric Benson, Philadelphia’s Correll Buckhalter and Miami’s Ricky Williams.

TIGHT END

What the Redskins have: Starter Chris Cooley and reserves Todd Yoder and Fred Davis. Cooley made his second consecutive Pro Bowl with a team-high 83 catches. Davis caught only three passes and was inactive for four games.

What the Redskins need: More touchdown chances for Cooley. He was targeted 107 times but caught only one touchdown. The Redskins’ offense got bogged down between midfield and the opponent’s 20. Developing a third option for Campbell will open things up for Cooley and receiver Santana Moss.

Analysis: The Redskins aren’t in the market for a tight end. Kansas City veteran Tony Gonzalez could be added by a contender in a trade. The unrestricted free agent group is below average and full of veterans like the Vikings’ Jim Kleinsasser and the Eagles’ L.J. Smith.

RECEIVER

What the Redskins have: Starters Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El and reserves James Thrash, Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly. Moss led the Redskins with 1,044 receiving yards and six touchdown catches. Randle El chipped in 53 catches. Thomas and Kelly were nonfactors.

What the Redskins need: A second receiver who can get open. Opposing defenses knew Campbell had two options in the passing game - Moss and Cooley - so they planned accordingly. The Redskins are banking on Thomas (15 catches) and Kelly (two catches and a knee surgery) to play bigger roles.

Analysis: The best receiver on the market is Cincinnati’s T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who could end up in Philadelphia. The Bengals don’t seem to be shopping Chad Johnson, and Dallas likely will keep Terrell Owens. The Giants’ Amani Toomer and Tampa Bay’s Joey Galloway are available, and some team may take a flier on eight-time All-Pro Marvin Harrison.

OFFENSIVE LINE

What the Redskins have: Starters Casey Rabach (center), Randy Thomas (right guard), Jon Jansen (right tackle) and Chris Samuels (left tackle). Reserves on the roster are Stephon Heyer, Chad Rinehart, D’Anthony Batiste, Devin Clark, Will Montgomery, Rueben Riley and Isaiah Ross. Left guard Pete Kendall and reserve Jason Fabini are free agents. Justin Geisinger is restricted.

What the Redskins need: To re-sign Kendall. The Redskins don’t think Rinehart or another young player is ready for the job, and the free agent class isn’t attractive.

Analysis: The Redskins say they want to get younger on the offensive line, but that’s hard to do with only four draft picks and other pressing needs. They hope to get another year out of this aging group. Baltimore’s Jason Brown is the best guard available, and Carolina released Jeremy Bridges on Wednesday. The top tackles already have been signed or franchised.

DEFENSIVE LINE

What the Redskins have: Tackle Cornelius Griffin and ends Andre Carter, Jason Taylor, Alex Buzbee, Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson. Demetric Evans, Ryan Boschetti and Phillip Daniels are free agents, and tackles Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston are restricted free agents.

What the Redskins need: A better pass rush. Coach Jim Zorn defended the lack of sacks (24) by saying the Redskins played the run well on first and second downs instead of playing without discipline. But Zorn also knows the Redskins have to put more pressure on the passer.

Analysis: It appears Taylor will return, but Evans wants to start, and somebody may give him that chance. Montgomery and Golston are expected to be tendered and return. Daniels wants to stay here. The best lineman available is Tennessee tackle Albert Haynesworth. Signing him doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Redskins. Chris Canty is attractive, but he has never played in a 4-3. After Haynesworth, the tackle group goes down several notches.

LINEBACKER

What the Redskins have: Starters London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh and reserves H.B. Blades, Matt Sinclair and Tyson Smith. Alfred Fincher and Khary Campbell are free agents, and Rian Wallace is restricted. Fletcher remains the rock of the defense, and McIntosh played well, but his knees will always be question marks.

What the Redskins need: A starting strongside linebacker. Marcus Washington’s departure opens another position.

Analysis: Asking a first-round draft pick to step in right away on the strong side is a lot to ask, so the Redskins should sign a veteran stopgap for at least a year. On the market are the Jets’ Eric Barton, Buffalo’s Angelo Crowell and Miami’s Channing Crowder, and the best of the group is Baltimore’s Bart Scott. Tampa Bay cut Derrick Brooks and Cato June on Wednesday.

DEFENSIVE BACK

What the Redskins have: Safeties LaRon Landry, Chris Horton, Kareem Moore and Michael Grant and cornerbacks Carlos Rogers, Shawn Springs, Fred Smoot, Justin Tryon and Byron Westbrook. Safeties Reed Doughty and Mike Green and cornerback DeAngelo Hall are free agents.

What the Redskins need: To re-sign Hall. Talks can’t be going well if a deal has not been struck yet, which is why there hasn’t been a move with Springs yet. If Hall goes, Springs stays. If Hall stays, Springs’ status is in doubt.

Analysis: Hall is arguably the best corner on the market because several players have re-signed with their teams. Detroit cut Leigh Bodden, and Denver released Dre’ Bly. The top safeties are veterans like Philadelphia’s Brian Dawkins, Atlanta’s Lawyer Milloy, Minnesota’s Darren Sharper and injury-prone Mike Brown from Chicago.

SPECIAL TEAMS

What the Redskins have: Kicker Dave Rayner, punter Zac Atterberry and long snappers Ethan Albright and Jeremy Cain. Kicker Shaun Suisham, a restricted free agent, was tendered by the Redskins on Wednesday.

What the Redskins need: Big-time improvement. The Redskins ranked last in net punting, and Suisham missed 10 field goals. The punt return game was nonexistent with Randle El, but Moss did provide a spark.

Analysis: Rayner and Suisham are expected to compete for the kicking job, and a veteran will be brought in to compete with Atterberry. Indianapolis punter Hunter Smith is a free agent.

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