Decisions lie ahead on Moss, Davis
One big question surrounds the Redskins' offense. And that question can be boiled down to one player's right knee.
When will Robert Griffin III be ready to play? It's a question that will shadow the Redskins' offseason. If he's ready for the start of the season -- the optimistic view -- then the Redskins can return to growing an offense that ranked fifth in total yards.
If he can't play again until, say, a month or two into the season, then the big question surrounds Kirk Cousins. He showed what he could do as a full-time starter in one game, but many quarterbacks have done the same. His relief appearances provided more of a mixed record -- poise mixed with forced passes.
But the good news for Cousins is that he will get an entire offseason of reps with the starters, something backups rarely receive.
Regardless, Griffin remains the Redskins' future, and that leads to another question surrounding him: Will they stick with the zone read option game? It's safe to say the players expect it to evolve, not go away. But another aspect is that they always could run it as part of a no-huddle attack. However, that might require a full offseason of work for Griffin.
Griffin also needs to improve as a passer, becoming more dangerous in that area and learning how to throw the ball away.
Other questions going forward:
What will they do with Santana Moss? » He's not a free agent, but he will cost approximately $6 million against the salary cap in 2013. That's a lot of money for a 34-year-old receiver who caught 41 passes, especially for a team that has, as of now, little cap room for next season. However, Moss showed he still could help and was a factor on third downs. He also caught eight touchdown passes. Moss needs to enter camp in the same shape he was in before last season. It's hard to see him returning at a high cap figure.
Will tight end Fred Davis return? » He should. Because he's coming off a torn Achilles tendon, the market for Davis will be cooler than if he had played all year and produced big numbers. Though Logan Paulsen fared well as a blocker and occasional target -- he caught 11 passes in the final seven games -- the offense could use a dynamic player at tight end. Davis likes it here; the Redskins want him back.
What is the biggest need? » Good health. While you also could list a speedy third-down back -- if Roy Helu returns healthy, then that would help -- the offense can improve if everyone returns healthy. Remember, the Redskins did not have their two biggest weapons in the passing game, Davis and receiver Pierre Garcon, together for much of the season. For an offense that played so well, it did not hit the ceiling of its ability. If Griffin, Davis and Garcon are healthy, then the passing game should develop even more.
The Redskins also have to decide what to do with unrestricted free agent starters in left guard Kory Lichtensteiger and right tackle Tyler Polumbus. The Redskins drafted a potential replacement for Lichtensteiger in Josh LeRibeus last season, but Lichtensteiger can help as an experienced backup guard or center if he doesn't start. The Redskins tried to upgrade at right tackle last offseason and likely will explore their options, whether in the draft or free agency. Polumbus could stick around as a backup swing tackle if nothing else.