- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- Budget deal to get quick vote in the House
CAMPBELL: Familiarity is Redskins’ best bet in face of salary cap limitations
Nothing is guaranteed in the NFL. Not the integrity of a quarterback’s knee ligaments, nor a team’s salary cap space, nor the fate of a team with a 3-6 record. Nothing. It’s what makes the league so compelling for us observers. It’s also what turns coaches’ hair gray and keeps them up at night.
Each decision Shanahan makes is his attempt to give his team the “best chance to win.” He says the phrase so often it has exceeded cliche status. Shanahan should have it tattooed on his forearm so he could just point to it and save himself the breath.
Those chances to win in 2013 suffered a severe blow in March when the NFL upheld this year’s $18 million salary cap penalty. That forced Shanahan and Redskins decision-makers to sharpen their focus on what approach to roster building, given the financial limitations, could keep the odds on their side this year and beyond.
The Redskins’ guiding philosophy during this salary cap crisis is clear little more than a month after free agency began. They believe continuity and familiarity can help offset whatever gains in talent the club could not achieve because it lacked necessary cap space.
Such a logical approach makes for a fascinating case study, considering how discontinuity characterized the organization for the decade preceding Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen’s arrival for the 2010 season.
When the Redskins reported Monday for the start of their nine-week offseason program, 21 of 22 starters from last year’s division championship team were under contract. Only free safety Madieu Williams is not. Pro Bowl special teamer Lorenzo Alexander signed with Arizona, but the team’s top offense and its defense remain almost entirely intact.
Free agent additions, especially cornerback targets Aqib Talib and Antoine Winfield, could have helped the team on paper. But Washington’s 21 returning starters proved they can win 10 games and the division despite numerous injuries. It’s within reason to assume that group is capable of duplicating last year’s feat if quarterback Robert Griffin III returns from right knee surgery to full fitness by midseason.
“I think that’s something people really undervalue — knowledge and comfort level with the existing playbook and the existing staff,” said second-string tight end Logan Paulsen, who has been with the team since 2010 and re-signed this offseason as a restricted free agent. “Bringing people back is so much better and in some ways more efficient because you get a guy that has had a year, two years, three years in that offense, in that scheme, they know the details and the ins and outs. It allows you to play faster.”
Shanahan on Monday welcomed his team back to Redskins Park for the fourth time. He told players not to rest on last year’s accomplishments or get complacent, defensive lineman Kedric Golston said. The Redskins complacent? This is indeed a new era.
Remember how former first-round quarterback Jason Campbell, whose tenure bridged Gibbs‘ and coach Jim Zorn’s, was forced to endure system changes? Such instability is history now.
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is back for Year 4. Same with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. Only one position coach — special teams coordinator Keith Burns — was outside the organization last year.
“I think it allows the coaches to build on what they’re doing, and it allows the players to be even more comfortable and build in the schemes,” Golston said. “You also understand what your players can and can’t do and understand how to call games better. You’re able to communicate better and throughout the course of games make adjustments on things.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- REDSKINS 2013: Breaking down the schedule, game by game
- NFL 2013: Ranking all 32 teams in terms of staying power
- REDSKINS 2013: Washington seeks staying power among NFL's elite
- With no blueprint, Redskin Hankerson seeks success as dad
- Redskins receiver Leonard Hankerson learning to manage family life with football career
Latest Blog Entries
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Leon Panetta named as source of 'Zero Dark Thirty' scriptwriters information
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Robert Griffin III surprised at being benched by Mike Shanahan
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Uncensored exploration of issues concerning current events, civil liberties, American political advocacy, and the political and social issues facing military veterans.
An objective, analysis-based perspective of D.C. sports as seen through the eyes of lifelong D.C. sports enthusiast, John Heibel.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow