Jay Gruden: 'We've made progress'

March, 29, 2014
Mar 29
1:00
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The Redskins bypassed the expensive talent, knowing they needed more than one or two players. So they opted to rebuild their 3-13 roster a different way: by adding depth. Naturally, that pleased their coach.

Jay Gruden sees a roster that’s already improved. Yes, he should say that regardless.

[+] EnlargeJay Gruden
AP Photo/Manuel Balce CenetaCoach Jay Gruden said he's pleased with how the Redskins have added depth at inside linebacker.
“We’ve made a lot of progress as far as our team’s concerned with free agency,” he said. “The big thing with free agency was we needed some players to help our depth.

“Obviously, we wanted to get everybody, but you have to have a plan of attack. You have to circle certain guys or a position and really go after it and come out of free agency with something because there’s no guarantee that you can get even the top guy that you have as a priority. So, I think we did a great job and I’m happy where we’re at.”

They obviously added an interior pass-rusher in Jason Hatcher and three inside linebackers (two of whom, Darryl Sharpton and Akeem Jordan, will compete for the starting job).

“We attacked very well,” Gruden said of that position. “We answered that [inside linebacker position]. We added some good players and it’s going to be a very competitive position in training camp.”

Those moves provided Washington help on special teams, giving them a key for any good unit: bigger guys who can run. All three have carved out careers because of their work there, even when they’ve started. The Redskins lacked enough players like this a year ago and the results showed. They still need to work on this area at safety. When you have good safety and linebacker depth, special teams benefits.

They’ve also added offensive line depth, with Shawn Lauvao, who will start at left guard, and Mike McGlynn, who gives them an experienced backup.

“Some of the marquee guys just got a lot of money, and good for them,” Gruden said. “We needed more quantity as opposed to just one guy at a huge price. I think we went about it the right way.”

While there were rumblings in some circles that the stain of Washington’s finish, and the drama surrounding it, was an issue for some free agents, Gruden said it wasn’t for those they met.

They’re still awaiting word from receiver Kenny Britt and safety Ryan Clark. Both visited; both remain possibilities. Tight end Owen Daniels also visited, but it does not appear anything is imminent with him. Gruden said he knows how players are eventually lured somewhere.

“This is a heck of a franchise, but when it’s all said and done it’s usually about the money -- usually,” Gruden said. “There are some teams I wouldn’t think would get any players. It wasn’t an issue, really. The type of players we have in place with DeAngelo Hall and [Brian] Orakpo and Robert [Griffin III] and Pierre Garcon, this is an attractive franchise for players.”

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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