Redskins Mailbag for Jan. 4: Ask John

By |
Redskins Confidential,Sports,John Keim

The Washington Examiner's John Keim (JK) takes questions from football fans as far away as Arizona in this week's installment of "Redskins Mailbag."

Q: You think (Aldrick) Robinson will be in more packages to stretch the Seahawks d? -- @RyanMoCoDip
JK: Possibly, but I’m not sure he’ll get a lot more snaps. He hasn’t caught a pass since Thanksgiving and has been limited to 5-10 plays a game. I do think they will try to hurt them with some deep crossing routes off misdirection fakes.

Q: With the return of Rak next season, who does Rob Jackson split time with? The iron man (Kerrigan) Rak, or both? -- @regskinner
JK: I don’t see any way they take out Ryan Kerrigan and I know these coaches consider Orakpo their best rusher and much more of an all-around player. I would expect them to incorporate Jackson more. But there are a lot of questions left to be answered. Jackson is a restricted free agent. Also, it depends on Orakpo’s health.

Q: Probability of losing Morocco Brown and Kyle Shanahan? -- @mcarey032
JK: I don’t think they’ll lose either one, but I do think both will have their profiles elevated by this success, especially if it continues in the future. I have not talked to the teams involved in the search, but I have talked to a couple people who know the league well and they did not think Shanahan would be hired elsewhere this offseason. Doesn’t mean he won’t, but that was their vibe as of a few days ago. Also, I don’t think either one will try to rush to take another job knowing the success this franchise might have in the next few years. Those jobs will still be around if the success they envision actually occurs.

Q: Do you think the skins activate [Brandon] Banks this week? More speed against bigger secondary? -- @KevinWoods7
JK: Well, I never saw him run any routes downfield when he was in the game. Nor did he split out and beat anyone over the middle or anything. He’s fast, but he has a long way to go as a receiver. But you’re thinking is correct. A guy like Santana Moss could hurt them in that role because of his quickness off the line. Robinson could, but I don’t know that he’ll play enough.

Q: Also you think (Redskins GM) Bruce Allen should win the exec of the yr for the RGIII trade and the way he handled the cap penalty? -- @mcarey032
JK: No. Allen finishes the trades, but others start them and set the tone. This is Mike Shanahan’s show and Bruce Allen fills a role, but for executive of the year you have to be more front and center in terms of building a roster.  I don’t know what they did to handle the cap penalty that would warrant such an honor. They signed a couple free agents early and that was it. They improved because of coaching and landing Griffin (plus Morris). Allen has been fine in his role, but other executives deserve this honor (Indy’s Ryan Grigson among others).

Q: Is this the end of Rex Grossman with the Skins in 2012 or do you see him back in 2013? -- @JoeAman87
JK: Not sold that it’s the end. I think it all depends on whether or not Grossman gets a chance to be a primary backup elsewhere. He’s handled his role well, but there’s no doubt he’d like to be a No. 2 somewhere at the least. The question is, not sure if he’ll get that opportunity.

Q: Bigger matchup, rg3 vs Seattle d or Wilson vs skins d? To win skins must get stops n force turnovers -- @SkinzDC2Cali
JK: Tough to say which is bigger. But my initial thought  is the Redskins’ defense because if it can’t stop Wilson (or, more specifically, Marshawn Lynch) then it will be a long day. Lynch ran well vs. them last season, breaking too many tackles. They must prevent Wilson from getting outside and be disciplined against the zone read fakes.

Q: Has (Seahawks) Coach (Pete) Carroll seen a lot (of) pistol and options from college? -- @daveallen7676
JK: He faced Oregon, which used it and I’m sure he saw it in other games. But I have no idea how much he’s seen it. I do know they played Carolina and I’m quite sure they know a lot about it because they’re now using it.

Q:  First off….NFC East Champs! Man, it has been a while and it feels great! However, this good feeling is being somewhat tainted by all of the media buzz about the possibility of Kyle Shanahan interviewing for one of these head coaching vacancies. Could this really happen? Would Kyle seriously leave us just when this thing has started to click here in DC? I believe he is an integral part of our current success and it would be a serious blow if he did indeed leave. I think I, and a few other Skins fans, wouldn’t mind him taking over the reigns from Sr and creating a dynasty here. How do you feel about it? Happy New Year! -- Martin
JK: First of all, I don’t think Kyle will be leaving after this season. I think people will want to see him mature in this role even more, but I think this season gets him on a faster track no doubt. In the past, there have been questions about him – how much was it his input in Houston as opposed to Gary Kubiak? How much of it in Washington was his father and how much was Kyle? Those are things I’ve heard. So this allows him to show that he is able to adapt and diversify his attack. I’ve always liked his offense. One reason a lot of people would stay here is the chance to win a Super Bowl. Clearly, they should be a strong contender over the next few years at least. Would Kyle put off becoming a head coach to win one? I can’t say. He’s young enough that he doesn’t have to rush into a head coaching job; I’d think his father’s experience in Oakland would tell him that. If they have the success they dream of, those jobs will still be around. But it is his goal and you can’t expect him to wait forever. If he leaves, tight ends coach Sean McVay is well-respected for his knowledge of the offense. As far as dynasties, they never work out as planned. Good organizations always find a way to keep winning without a planned successor.

Q: I put this question on your FaceBook Page, but I’m not sure you still use it.  So, I’m sending this email. When John Riggins was playing for the Redskins they played few games when he held the rushing record. Did Alfred Morris and Clinton Portis beat his record for the same number of games or did it take them to play more games to beat him? -- Dornessa
JK: Sorry, I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Facebook page. I’m not all that hip. Yes, they all played in 16-game seasons.

Q1: Saw your piece about Rob Jackson.  I’ve asked this before, but if Jackson continues to make plays, is Brian Orakpo expendable?  For as long as he’s been here, I can’t remember Orakpo ever having the 5-6 game stretch Jackson has.  I also, can’t help but think that, even though the defense has been statistically bad all year, the Redskins turnaround has been because of added pressure and takeaways.  Jackson has been at the heart of that. Perhaps the Skins can get something in trade (whenever Orakpo is cleared)?  I just can’t see him going to backup role and Jackson needs more playing time. Thanks. -- Aaron
Q2: Happy new year John, and thanks for your top rate Redskins coverage.  Should the Redskins consider investing in Rob Jackson and letting Orakpo go?  Rob Jackson is definitely going to get a starting job and money somewhere.  I don’t see how we can keep both of them.  While Orakpo definitely is superior in athleticism and talent, all Rob Jackson has done is make game winning big plays.  What’s your take? -- JKC
JK: Thank you. Happy New Year as well …I think you can understand why I lumped these two questions together … It’s tough with Jackson because the Redskins still view Orakpo as the better all-around player. Part of the reason they’ve had to blitz so much to generate pressure is because of his absence. Jackson has made plays no doubt and this is a playmakers’ league. The question to me is as much about Orakpo’s health as anything. Will his arm be fine? My lean right now still is toward Orakpo as long as he’s healthy – and some wonder if he’ll keep hurting his arm based on the way he takes on blocks; his presence helped Stephen Bowen and Ryan Kerrigan out. He has a trickle-down effect on other players. But, man, it’s tough to overlook what Jackson has done. It took him a bit to learn the defense, etc., but he was raw and looked good in practices. I talked to coaches who liked him before this year and feel he’ll only get better. I’d keep him around and use them all; create packages for them. Jackson is not a strong all-around player, but he has skills that help. Don’t get rid of good players (unless someone is giving you a heck of an offer, of course).

Q: How much weight to pro football free agents place on going to a successful team?  Do you think the Redskins success this year will allow them to attract some better free agents than they otherwise would have, or is it all about the money?  For example, I remember they pursued WR Royal last year, but did not get him.  Was that just a money thing? Regards. -- Bob in Tucson, AZ
JK: Well, the Redskins always signed a top free agent or two and they were never good. That should answer the question, right? Yes, Royal was offered more money by San Diego. I do know some agents would not have let their wide receiver clients sign here if the QB situation did not change. If I’m the Redskins I do not go crazy in free agency. That’s never been a way to build a lasting foundation. Ever. I think players are attracted by playing for good organizations and if the money is equal that will win out. But it’s rare that players take less to play for a winner. They know how hard it is to win in the league so they’ll opt for the sure thing: cash. Can’t blame them. Their NFL careers are short.

Q: Is it too far-fetched to have Kyle remain our OC until Mike decides to retire. Then hand the reigns over to him. Snyder could even pay him entry level HC’s salary. After the success our offense with Garçon, Morris, and RG3 has had this year, I’d hate to lose him. You would think he’d hate to leave as well. Your thoughts …. -- Bryan
JK: A year ago people wanted Kyle out; now…. What a difference RG3 makes, huh? (For me, I always liked Kyle’s system; saw it getting receivers open all the time). I’m sure Dan Snyder would pay him what he could to keep him around. But what if Kyle decides to stay to succeed his dad and passes up some great opportunities and then something goes wrong here? Then you’ve waited for what? It also depends on how long his dad thinks he’ll want to coach. We talking another three years? Five? Ten? You can only expect him to wait for so long. As I said above, I’m not a big fan of having some planned successor for five years from now. But what I don’t know is this: What if his dad has told him that if they win the Super Bowl sometime in the next three years he’s going to retire. Then I could see Kyle sticking around. He’s only 33. But if his dad isn’t sure, at some point Kyle will want to run his own show.

Q: As always, thanks for the great work. What are your thoughts on Kyle Shanahan’s name being mentioned as a head coaching candidate?  Is his scheme carrying RG III, or is RG III carrying his scheme?  I’m inclined to think it’s the latter.  His schemes couldn’t carry John Beck, Donovan McNabb or RG I. How (un)likely is it that he would leave for a college head coaching job?  Where would the Redskins look to fill the role of offensive coordinator if he did leave? What are your thoughts on Redskins Director of Pro Personnel Morocco Brown as a GM candidate?  What is his role in the organization?  When I think of free agent signings, the underwhelming OJ Atogwe and Jammal Brown deals come to mind.  Much has been said of Mike Shanahan’s control over personnel evaluation.  Where does that leave Brown? I just saw the Oregon Ducks run the swinging gate.  Ah, Jim Zorn memories. Thanks again. -- Andrew
JK: Thanks …  Another Kyle question. Hot name. As I said above I don’t think anything will happen this offseason. But there are so many vacancies you never know. But he’s clearly ascending to that sort of position. Kyle’s scheme did help Grossman; they were moving the ball rather well last year despite using receivers who did absolutely nothing this year (aside from Santana Moss). Not many schemes could have done a whole lot better with that group. No scheme was going to help John Beck and no scheme was going to help a QB in Donovan McNabb who wanted to coast. All schemes require talent to work in the NFL. Mike Shanahan is the power guy, obviously, but Brown and his staff are responsible for the scouting reports on every player. They make their assessment on players and the coaches take it from there. I’ve always heard good things about Morocco. He’s another guy who will benefit from the success here. The fact that his name was even out there at all should help him next season – especially if the Redskins keep improving. Can’t blame Brown for Atogwe; Jim Haslett coached him in St. Louis … The swinging gate memory never gets old.

Q: After re-watching the Dallas game I see why the coaches like DJ Johnson for his size. Sure Crawford is short but, he plays small. The two TDs he gave up looked exactly the same. So what do you think the Skins’ gameplan should be against Seattle? -- Placebo473
JK: The problem with Johnson is that he can’t play. Size only takes you so far. Crawford is smart, but his size hurt him last week. He was in the right spot at the right time on his pick. I do like him, but he’ll need to improve on special teams to keep sticking around. The game plan? I don’t have anything great to offer other than on defense you must stop Marshawn Lynch – they have to limit his yards after contact. And they must pressure Russell Wilson off the edge to keep him in the pocket. Offensively, use Seattle’s speed against them and open the cutback lanes. Cleveland’s D was similar in how they pursued, FYI. Look for more misdirection this week.

See John Keim give his take on the keys to Sunday's Redskins vs. Seattle matchup in these videos. And follow all of John's work on Twitter at @John_Keim.

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

John Keim

Staff Reporter - Washington Redskins
The Washington Examiner