Redskins Should See What They Have In Their Young Guys


Aug 7, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins offensive tackle Morgan Moses (76) prepares to block New England Patriots defensive lineman Zach Moore (71) at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With their chances of being in the postseason all but gone, the Washington Redskins should take a look at the younger talent on the roster for the remainder of the season.

Coach Jay Gruden has said the coaching staff will not play the young guys. Just to do it – they need to earn it first. His justification is that the veteran players want to win now. Playing the best players regardless of their tenure gives you the best chance to do that.

Wanting to win is all well and good. But, when does it become more important to worry about winning next year and for the long term?

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When a team is 3-7, it is virtually impossible to pin the blame on one person or group of people. It represents a collection of issues across the board. Getting some of the younger guys playing time helps to solve two issues at once. Not only does it help to give a feel of where the players are, but also where the front office is; namely, Bruce Allen.

The Seattles and the San Franciscos of the world are the consistently successful and talented franchises they are because they draft so well. They seem to find the golden nuggets of each round, even the later ones, i.e. Richard Sherman (5th round, 2011).  It enables them to have that next man up approach at every position when things like injuries happen.

Whether the Redskins’ front office has been successful or not is an argument that is not so easily won for either side. You see guys like Alfred Morris, Jordan Reed (injury prone but outstanding when healthy and used), Keenan Robinson and Bashaud Breeland and you think okay those were great finds.

Yet, too often you see guys like Brandon Jenkins or Bacarri Rambo, both of which were hopeful fixes at their positions and were cut this past off season. You can even throw guys like RB Lache Seastrunk in there. He couldn’t even get playing time in the fourth preseason game!

It is time to see if some of the other young guys on this roster can separate themselves from this category and show they should be here next year and beyond.

There are a few guys the come to mind here: OT Morgan Moses, G Spencer Long, and SS Phillip Thomas. Of those guys, there is only one that was not drafted this past year and that is Thomas. I think he is the most interesting of the bunch so I will save him for last.

Moses has recently seen a good amount of playing time as Pro Bowl LT and arguably the best player on this team, Trent Williams, has been out with an ankle injury. So far, Gruden has been impressed with his progress. Back in the preseason, the coach made it seem like he was nowhere near pro ready. It looks like he has improved his technique and gotten himself in much better shape as far as conditioning goes.

The Spencer Long pick has become much more interesting as of late. The current starting gaurd, Shawn Lauvao, who was picked up from the Browns in free agency has pretty much shown what most people thought he was: a dud. So, with him likely not returning next year, that position needs filling. The Redskins need to see if the former Cornhusker is capable of being that guy.

Last but hopefully not least is safety Phillip Thomas who was drafted in 2013. The secondary has been abysmal the last few years. Quite honestly, it feels like ever since the passing of the late Sean Taylor, that area of the team has been a series of swings and misses.

Ryan Clark is done after this year, and Brandon Merriweather should be gone with both of their contracts expiring. So, that leaves two positions up for grabs next year.

Phillip Thomas was drafted with two other DBs, David Amerson and Bacarri Rambo. We all know how the Rambo experiment turned out. Amerson has a few slip ups but has shown that he can be solid with a little more experience under his belt.

Thomas has not seen much time, mostly due to the lisfranc injury he suffered in the preseason of his rookie year. It is a tough injury for anyone to overcome, but especially tougher for a rookie trying to get his feet wet with the pace of NFL offenses. It greatly impeded his development. But I think throwing him into the fire and seeing what he can bring is the only way to see if he is viable option for next years safety group.

To a fan, there is not much good that can come from the rest of the season. However, it can do the team some good if they can get something out of these draft picks. If not, it isn’t just the players’ jobs that are in trouble.