Washington Redskins: Adam Carriker

Redskins mailbag: Part 2

June, 14, 2014
Jun 14
10:00
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I love this time of the year because the questions bounce all over the place. Makes it interesting. So, in part two, we talk about what returning starters might lose their jobs, Adam Carriker's journey, David Amerson and a little Jordan Reed. Plus, is anyone on the roster elite? Enjoy.

John Keim: Well, the obvious one on offense is right guard Chris Chester. He is not coming off a good season and the Redskins have several young options at this position, between Spencer Long, Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis. Plus if they want to free up more cash, it's an easy way to do so ($2.7 million cap savings). But I still have to see proof that the young guys are capable of starting. Defensively, you could put Stephen Bowen in there because of his injury. But that's not what you're looking for. Jarvis Jenkins is an obvious candidate because of the depth up front, but he will still play. The Redskins also have more options at inside linebacker if Perry Riley doesn't play better overall than last season. But he's also the highest paid inside linebacker. Keim: Just that he is continuing to work out and would like to make a comeback. He has big-time fans in the organization who are rooting for him to succeed. But they also know the odds he faces. When Carriker was released by Washington, he said the Redskins told him they would consider working him out in June to gauge his progress. As of now there is nothing scheduled. Keim: There have been a lot of storylines for me to pay attention to and we have very limited availability. Ninety players exit the field at the same time so you have to pick and choose. I go to the guys I need now. But Amerson is definitely on my list, whether it's next week or early in training camp. Can't exhaust everything now, you know? So I will ask for your patience. But I will say, Amerson has looked solid. There seems to be a difference in his press-man coverage skills and you don't hear him getting corrected a lot during 11-on-11 work. But don't worry, you'll read more about him soon. Had to get through all the new guys first, or others who are undergoing a transition, etc. Keim: Reed was an athletic route runner last season, able to juke linebackers with his head fakes and array of basketball-style moves. But he can become a more consistent route runner. He can make more plays downfield, as he was starting to do when he suffered the concussion. He can definitely become a more consistent blocker, as much with understanding angles as with effort or anything else. There's definite room for growth. Keim: Well, the only time I've seen them work against another team was when they used to scrimmage the Steelers. A much different situation because it was either in roomy Latrobe or at a field with stands -- and not at a practice facility that is neither roomy nor filled with stands. But it really depends on a couple things. Do you want to see them work against another team or themselves? Do you want to see how Tom Brady looks in practice compared to, say, Robert Griffin III? Or how Bill Belichick conducts practices compared to Jay Gruden, a first-time head coach? But you'll also have to deal with a lot more people and, mixed with the heat, that could be uncomfortable or undesirable for some. If all you want to do is watch the Redskins practice, then you might want to take the latter aspects into consideration. Keim: Well, they haven't had anyone make an All-Pro team in a while. DeSean Jackson did in 2009 with the Eagles. That's not the only measurement, but it's more meaningful than a Pro Bowl appearance. But I don't always know what is considered elite? Top three at your position? Top five? Defensively, there is no one who belongs on that list. Offensively? Left tackle Trent Williams is considered one of the best at his position, but to what extent? He'd be close because he has elite skills, but needs more consistency. But who else? Jackson? Another year like last year would prove his case. If quarterback Griffin improves then perhaps in a couple years he'll be at that level. But he's not now. Reed, in a couple years, could be there as well but there are a few tight ends to surpass. I do think the offense can be elite because there are, potentially, a lot of good players. But they have to prove it on the field. Keim: There's no way we'll be able to tell that until they start working heavier on this in practice with the pads on. It was telling a couple years ago when they had the backs work on protection against the linebackers and you could see all sorts of issues with some of them. But in the spring it's impossible to get a full measurement of where a player is at in this area. Ask again in early August. 

Contract breakdowns: Moss, Geathers

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
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Santana Moss is not a lock to make the team. The Washington Redskins expect Clifton Geathers to be on the roster. That’s the assumption one can make after checking out their contracts.

Moss
Neither one of those statements is a big surprise; when Moss was signed, myself and others wrote that he was not guaranteed anything. His contract backs that up as Moss only received a veteran minimum deal -- a $65,000 signing bonus and a base salary of $955,000 (but he would only count $635,000 against the salary cap if he makes the roster. The minimum salary benefit takes effect so his base, for cap purposes, would be $570,000).

The only guaranteed cash in the deal for Moss is the signing bonus. The Redskins still think he might be able to help, hence the sort of contract he signed. But I doubt their quest to add another receiver will end; indeed, Kenny Britt is visiting Tuesday. Also, if Leonard Hankerson is healthy and looks good in training camp, that wouldn’t be good news for Moss, unless the 34-year old shows he can still play. But Hankerson and newly-signed Andre Roberts can play in the slot. Aldrick Robinson can as well, but not to the same level as the other two.

Geathers
As for Geathers, his two-year deal came with a $500,000 signing bonus. The base salary of $1.075 million is more than what veteran Kedric Golston will receive -- this year or next. And they’d be out $750,000 if Geathers is somehow cut. Geathers was a backup in Philadelphia last season -- he had the fifth most snaps of their lineman with 321 -- and is now with his sixth team at age 26.

The Redskins currently have eight defensive linemen on the roster who could be fighting for six or seven spots; they kept six entering the 2012 season and seven entering 2013. Here are the eight Geathers, Golston, Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, Barry Cofield, Chris Neild, Chris Baker and Jarvis Jenkins.

A lot of this will depend on Bowen’s health, but it also means that Adam Carriker, released two weeks ago, would have to show an awful lot if the Redskins do grant him a workout in June to gauge his progress.

Here is Geathers' contract breakdown, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information:

2014
Base salary: $1.075 million
Cap hit: $1.35 million
Note: $250,000 of his base salary is fully guaranteed. He also receives a $25,000 workout bonus.

2015
Base salary: $1.575 million
Cap hit: $1.85 million
Note: The cap hit also reflects a $25,000 workout bonus in addition to his prorated bonus.

Offseason needs: Defensive line

March, 6, 2014
Mar 6
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The Redskins need to get more of a pass rush and that's not just from the outside linebackers. In the past two years the front three have produced little in this area. That's not their primary responsibility. In their 3-4 system, the ends must stop the run first and foremost. But a little help in the pass game would be nice. Here's a stat for you: The line combined for 5.5 sacks in 2013. You can't expect the linebackers to provide all the pressure.

Why it's a need: The Redskins need to generate more push out of their nickel pass rush, which means finding a lineman who likely can play end and then shift inside in passing situations. The Redskins need more depth here, with Adam Carriker cut and Stephen Bowen uncertain after microfracture surgery. It's hard to imagine Bowen sticking around at his current cap number ($7.02 million). Even if one or both come back later (Carriker said he'll have a shot in June to prove if he's healthy), the Redskins need more help.

[+] EnlargeLinval Joseph and Matt Barkley
Chris Faytok/The Star-Ledger/USA Today SportsThe Giants' Linval Joseph could be an enticing option for the Redskins in free agency.
In-house options: Chris Baker just re-signed, but his contract does not guarantee that he'll start. (It averages $3 million per year; a good sum, but also reflective of his versatility.) Baker will be in the rotation regardless. Kedric Golston is a run-stopper; they need someone who can push the pocket more. Doug Worthington is better against the run.

Free agency: There are some good options available and my hunch is that the Redskins will sign someone up front. The New York Giants' Linval Joseph is a candidate and could make the switch from a 4-3 tackle to a 3-4 end. He often left the field in rush situations, but that's partly because the Giants liked to add speed in the middle and would drop their ends inside. But Joseph has a good reputation in New York as a hard worker and likable kid. The Giants feel they have some depth up front so might be willing to let him walk. I've liked him for a couple of years. If the Redskins just wanted to find someone to help in nickel situations, they could pursue Houston's Antonio Smith. He's small for a 3-4 defensive end, but he can help as a rusher. He's a good locker room presence, too. But he's also 32 and should only be signed to a small deal. Here's what ESPN scout Matt Williamson told our Titans reporter, Paul Kuharsky, about Smith: "Smith is a penetrating 3-4 end that is one of the better interior pass-rushers in the league. However, he is up in age and his best football might be behind him."

Baltimore's Arthur Jones plays with power, using good leverage and long arms to be effective. He can play end in a base package and inside in a nickel. He's played both end spots -- he also had a sack last season against Cincinnati. Jones has a combined 8.5 sacks the past two years, but pass rushing is not his strength. Seattle's Red Bryant could probably play a 3-4 end, but he's a run-stuffer so if they want a pass-rusher, he's not the one.

The draft: I don’t like this for the Redskins. Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt could go somewhere in the 20s or fall to the early part of the second round, so he might be available at 34. That's tough to see. Minnesota’s Ra'Shede Hageman is another who could go late in the first round. South Carolina’s Kelcy Quarles is a possibility in the third round. There are a couple other options in that third to fourth round range, but I really think free agency is the option this offseason.
  • The Redskins did not release Adam Carriker with the intent of re-signing him to a lesser deal, a team source said. But as ESPN980’s Chris Russell first reported, there’s also the chance of Carriker getting another look in June. Yes, I’ve heard that, too, from Carriker himself.
  • Carriker
    Carriker said he was told that to get fit and get healthy and he would get another chance to see if he was worth another shot in June. That does not mean he’ll be re-signed at that time, but he’d at least get a workout. “I’m optimistic,” Carriker said.
  • Carriker still has his fans at Redskins Park; they know his work ethic and they don’t want to count him 100 percent out. I think the feeling is that this remains more of a longshot than anything, but just in case.
  • And I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some at Redskins Park who aren’t as optimistic, which is why they don’t think ultimately he’ll be back. I think if the organization was overly optimistic about his chances, he’d be signed back much sooner. But this is a way to show respect to someone whose work ethic you value. Carriker will continue to pour himself into getting better and if things look good in June, then his situation will be reconsidered. If not? Then he came much closer than someone in his situation ever would have. The way he works makes it easy to root for a comeback and that's why Carriker still has fans at Redskins Park.
  • Sav Rocca’s release wasn’t surprising either. At 40 years old, he’s not going to become a more consistent punter. The Redskins have some options, in case they don’t like Robert Malone. New special teams coach Ben Kotwica was Malone’s coach for two games with the New York Jets last season (Kotwica was the assistant special teams coach in 2012 when Malone lasted all season). But the Redskins signed Malone before Kotwica, so I’m not sure what he thinks of him. But considering the Jets released Malone...
  • And, for the first time this offseason, I actually watched a punter. Malone had a 46.3-yard average in his two games last season, which is pretty good. However, in the game I saw him punt (Week 2 against New England), he was too inconsistent. Four of his nine punts had a hang time of less than 4.0 seconds. I only timed seven punts because two were inside-the-20 attempts, which is not as much about hang time. On those two kicks, one was for only 21 yards to the 20. So of his seven punts that required good hang time, only three were good (and they were all around 4.5 seconds, which is excellent). That explains a net average of 37.1 for the season and 37.8 for his career.
  • For what it’s worth, Malone punted in Tampa Bay in 2010 under Raheem Morris. He, too, got rid of Malone, though it's common for punters to take time to mature in the NFL.
  • Malone is only 26 so one day perhaps he will find that consistency. Leg strength is not a problem here. But I’d keep looking for another punter. Pat McAfee and Donnie Jones will be free agents next week. McAfee had a net of 38.5 last season (46.0 gross); Jones had a 40.5 net (44.9 gross). Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett was with Jones in St. Louis.
  • Jawan Jamison's release was not surprising. I just never saw anything from him to suggest holding onto him another year. At least Chris Thompson offers something because of his speed. That always gets you a longer look. And I liked Jamison’s film at Rutgers; he was a good fit in this system and he did a good job in protection. But he did not show up to camp with an NFL body and he just never offered reason to believe he could help.

Redskins mailbag: Part 2

March, 1, 2014
Mar 1
10:00
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Another round of questions; another round of linebacker Brian Orakpo and free agency. At this point, those have to be the main topics, right? But there are a couple other questions about defensive ends Adam Carriker and Chris Baker, trades and how many quarterbacks might the Redskins keep? Here you go.

If you had to lean solely on your gut, do you see us franchising Orakpo, giving him a long term deal, or letting him walk? #Redskinsmailbag

 

Redskins mailbag: Part 1

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
11:30
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The offseason already feels a bit long -- and we haven't even hit free agency yet. The draft is still more than two months away. That means there are future decisions that must be debated and discussed. So in Part 1 of the Washington Redskins Mailbag, we take a look at compensatory picks, an option in case Brian Orakpo leaves, Chris Baker's contract, receivers in the draft and more. Enjoy.

 

Redskins re-sign Chris Baker

February, 27, 2014
Feb 27
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Late in the season Washington's Chris Baker had clearly started to play well. But when this was pointed out to him, Baker said nothing had changed. The defensive lineman was only getting more time to show what he could do.

Baker
Looks like he’ll start to get even more time now that he’s returned. Baker signed a three-year contract worth $12 million and $4 million guaranteed Thursday. Baker does more than give the Redskins insurance; there’s a chance he’ll end up opening 2014 as a starter at right end with questions surrounding both Stephen Bowen (knee) and Adam Carriker (quadriceps). If nothing else Baker will be a prime contender for that job.

Baker’s a good example of developing and then taking care of your own. Though he did not come into the league with Washington, he had appeared in only two NFL games before arriving in 2011. By helping him develop, the Redskins won’t be forced to spend big money at this position. If Bowen and Carriker can’t play, or are released and not re-signed, then the Redskins still would need more depth.

But Baker gives them a potential starter along with Jarvis Jenkins. Veteran Kedric Golston adds veteran depth. Baker also helps because he can rush in nickel and play nose if necessary.

“I’ve been waiting for my chance ever since I signed as an undrafted free agent in Denver,” Baker said. “Sometimes you have to remain patient and wait your turn. I remained patient and kept grinding. I finally got my chance and took advantage.”

He started the last three games, recording 12 tackles, including six solo stops in the season finale at New York. Baker did a good job of playing with leverage, using his lower body strength and penetrating. He’s agile as well.

But he did have to learn that, in a 3-4 defense, sometimes getting upfield too fast was not a good thing as gaps can be created for the offense.

“I had an opportunity to gain the coaches' trust and I did the best I can,” Baker said. “I showed them if I’m given the opportunity to be out there consistently I can make plays, whether it’s in the run game or if it’s against the pass and pushing the pocket. I’ll prove to the coaches that they can trust me at any time on the field.”

Baker said there wasn’t a strong desire to wait until March 11 and test the market.

“I always felt if I could get a deal done with the Redskins, then I didn’t want to leave,” he said. “I’m comfortable with our defense. I like our staff and they like me. They helped me become the player I am today. I really didn’t want to leave.”

Adam Carriker optimistic about return

February, 25, 2014
Feb 25
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This time he feels different. This time Adam Carriker says he's confident his optimism will be rewarded, mainly with a return to the field. He expressed a similar hope last offseason. It wasn't grounded in reality.

Then, he was doing two hours of rehab on his right quadriceps twice a day at Redskins Park, then another two at home. Just like he is now. But the results, he said, are different.

"I was seeing a little gains, but not a whole lot," the Redskins defensive end said. "That was the frustrating part about last year and what is different about this year. This year I can see the gains and see the range of motion improving. It feels a lot different than last year."

[+] EnlargeAdam Carriker
Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY SportsAdam Carriker has missed almost two full seasons while dealing with three surgeries on his right quadriceps.
The question is: Will that be enough to keep him in Washington?

He counts $6.5 million against the salary cap in 2014, a hefty sum for someone who has missed the last 30 regular-season games and turns 30 before training camp. The Redskins could release him and save approximately $3 million in cap space, freeing up more cash to not only re-sign linebacker Brian Orakpo and other of their own free agents, but also fill other holes.

But, despite the speculation, Carriker said he's not worried.

"I run into people in the hall and talk, but nothing has been brought up [about his contract]," Carriker said. "I understand how the NFL works. [But] there's no doubt in my mind they want me around. They like a lot of things about me. They know I can play. They know I know the defense very well. Even if you bring a guy in, unless you see him in your exact scheme it's hard to know if a guy will work. They know I can do it. Plus I've been battling every day for a year and a half. I think they like and respect that. They've also seen the progress.

"It's just a matter of me getting back to full speed and getting 100 percent back to normal. Without a doubt they want me back."

Even if they released him, the Redskins could re-sign Carriker to a lesser incentive-laden deal. Carriker had just started to show what he could do as a 3-4 defensive end, recording a career-best 5.5 sacks in 2011. His sacks were the result of winning one-on-one battles and not flukes. He felt confident in what offenses were trying to do and how he could win battles. The Redskins' defensive ends have combined for only four sacks the past two years.

Carriker has a ways to go to complete his recovery. He's had three surgeries on his right quadriceps and hasn't played since Week 2 of 2012 when he initially hurt his knee. Family members -- his mom is a retired nurse; his sister is a physical therapist -- urged him to move on from football (though he now says they've changed their stance), seeing what he had to endure. Redskins coaches kept him around last year because of how he worked; any other player, one coach said, and they would have been cut knowing the odds of this recovery.

Carriker said he noticed a big jump in his recovery once the season ended and he was able to receive even more attention from the training staff. He is not 100 percent, but he said he is running without discomfort. He's not sure if he'll be ready for any minicamps or the organized team activities, but is optimistic about training camp.

"It's only February and camp is a long ways away," Carriker said. "Am I happy I've progressed and am better? Yes. But as a competitor I'm never where I want to be. I know I've progressed and progressed quite a bit. I have a lot of work to do, but I have a lot of time to do it."

Still, he said this is the first time in his career he's looking forward to training camp. The journey over the past 18 months has whetted his appetite for anything football.

"There have been a couple hiccups in this process," he said. "It can be frustrating. It can get you upset and get you down. But when the hiccups happened I'd be mad and down, but give me 48 hours and I felt like a caged tiger at the zoo waiting for the door to open."

Redskins mailbag: Part 2

February, 22, 2014
Feb 22
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In Part 2 of the mailbag, more talk about Perry Riley and Brian Orakpo as well as the role of the running backs under Jay Gruden. Another topic: Who is at risk of getting released to create more cap space?

 

Haslett on OLBs: We'll turn them loose

February, 14, 2014
Feb 14
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Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has two desires for next season: More sacks and more turnovers. If that happens, he knows what the result will be: more wins.

Haslett, speaking on ESPN980 Thursday for the first time since he was retained by the Redskins, also told Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell that improving the pass rush is a primary goal.

Haslett said that is one reason he hired Brian Baker to coach the outside linebackers (where the bulk of the pressure comes from in a 3-4 defense). Haslett sounded like a coach anticipating Brian Orakpo's return, too. Orakpo can be a free agent next month.

[+] EnlargeBrian Orakpo
AP Photo/Nick WassDefensive coordinator Jim Haslett is expecting an improved pass rush next season, led by pending free agent Brian Orakpo.
“Can we get better? No doubt about it. I think Rak can get much better, and I know Ryan [Kerrigan] can get a lot better,” Haslett said. “That’s why we hired a coach to coach them on the rush element. We’ll try to turn them loose more this year, do more with them game-wise. Don’t worry so much if they lose contain, because they’ll lose frickin contain half the time. Let’s roll and make sure the tackles cover for them. Different things like that.”

Orakpo and Kerrigan combined for 18.5 sacks this past season, which he pointed out was one less than Baltimore’s duo of Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, and 3.5 less than Kansas City’s tandem of Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.

Coaches often talk about pressures more than sacks (especially when the sack totals are low), but constant pressure also leads to more sacks. In 2011, with a healthy Orakpo, Stephen Bowen and Adam Carriker, the Redskins tied for 10th in the NFL with 41 sacks.

But in 2012 they finished tied for 23rd with 32, and this past season they were tied for 21st with 36.

Haslett pointed to turnovers as an area that must change. The Redskins only caused five fewer than they did in 2012 (going from 31 to 26 this past season). He dismissed yardage as a stat to measure a defense -- “That’s kind of for losers,” he said. (As an aside, I’ll say this: Every coach I’ve covered will point to this stat when it suits them; every single coach. But I do agree that other stats matter, like points allowed and turnovers. They impact the game more. Yardage totals can be inflated by game situations).

“The object is to get the ball back from the offense and let them score points,” Haslett said. “The offense has to control the ball and keep us off the field. Don’t turn the ball over so we’re on the field for 15-18 possessions like the last game of the year. And you win games. That’s what we did down the stretch the year before; that’s why we won seven in a row. That’s our goal, we want to create more turnovers.”

Haslett also said that “you’ll see more of what we want to do from the standpoint of coverage.”

He did not expand on that statement, but it stemmed from being asked how much more his personality would be revealed in the defense now that he’s working for a coach who will stick to offense. Clearly, there was a difference of opinion in what previous head coach Mike Shanahan wanted and what Haslett wanted at times, whether it came from coverages or play calls.

“You’ve got to get these guys doing the same thing over and over and over to where they get good at what they do,” Haslett said. “We bounced around early in the season. We had a heck of a preseason. We thought we were good, but that’s preseason. It got your hopes up a little bit, but it wasn’t really what we wanted to do.

“I think you’ll see more of something we’ll be good at. Whatever we do, we’ll be good at. It doesn’t make a difference what you’re running ... We were in a four-man line 62 percent of the time last year anyway. But we’re going to be good at what we do, and we’re going to do it over and over and over until we get good at it.”

Positional outlook: defensive line

February, 13, 2014
Feb 13
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The Redskins will have decisions to make this offseason -- and would be wise to add more youth to this group. They must decide what to do with Stephen Bowen and Adam Carriker. Both carry big cap numbers; both are coming off injuries. My guess is that they will release one or two players, but for now that's just a guess. Both of these players have value if healthy. Regardless, they need to generate more pressure up front -- like they did in 2011. Problem is, two years can be a long time in the NFL so it could be hard for some players to play the way they did just a short time ago.

DE Stephen Bowen
He did not make an impact in the rush game like he had the previous two years. I thought, with Brian Orakpo back, that Bowen would benefit. He and Orakpo worked so well together in 2011, but it did not result in more pressure. Bowen still played the run fine; he keeps a pretty strong base and that helps take on double-teams. But the problem with Bowen is that he turns 30 in March and is coming off microfracture surgery on his knee. That’s a bad combination. The Redskins could save $2 million in cap space if they released him. Certainly he could come back at a lower deal and that has to be an option, but I worry about that knee.
2014: Elsewhere; depends on the knee
Contract status: Signed through 2015

NT Barry Cofield
I like his game, but he’s not the NFL’s best nose tackle as the Redskins hoped he would become. But he is more than capable. Cofield started slow last season because of the club on his right hand, but once that was removed he played at a high level for several games and then some. He’s excellent at moving laterally and played with more anticipation, especially when it came to knowing the blocking schemes. Cofield is an effective nose tackle and capable of making plays others at his position can’t make because of his athleticism. He also received a lot of double-teams.
2014: Starter
Contract status: Signed through 2016

DE/NT Chris Baker
He is more suited for end, but can play inside as well making him a valuable backup if nothing else. But Baker can be more than that. He played more toward the end of the season and did a solid job. He plays low, keeping a strong base, and would stand up guards. He runs fairly well for a guy his size. He loves to get penetration, which is not always desired from a 3-4 defensive lineman. They need to keep him around.
2014: Fringe starter
Contract status: Free agent as of March 11

DE Jarvis Jenkins
He hasn’t become the pass-rushing threat the Redskins hoped he would become. He still tends to get too high after a couple of steps, but he did do a little better in that area this past season (and finally got to the quarterback a couple of times). Jenkins can play with strength against double-teams. But he needs to give them more in nickel situations.
2014: Starter
Contract status: Signed through 2014

DE Kedric Golston
He hasn’t changed a whole lot over the past few years, but that’s a good thing. Golston just does what he’s asked and usually does an excellent job as a reserve. Golston is not a playmaker, but he understands how to prepare and how to play. He’s good to have around.
2014: Backup
Contract status: Signed through 2015

NT Chris Neild
He’s more of a traditional nose tackle and best suited in a reserve role. Neild is a little like Golston in that he knows what he’s on the field to do and he executes it as well as he can. In short spurts Neild does fine and plays hard. There’s room for guys like him.
2014: Backup
Contract status: Signed through 2014

DE Adam Carriker
Missed the entire season because of multiple surgeries on his torn quadriceps. Few would try to return from that, but Carriker continues to work toward a comeback. It’s hard to imagine him returning at his current cap figure ($6.5 million) and even he must realize he's fighting tough odds just to get back to a certain level. The past two years have been a shame (he’s missed all but two games) because he was playing at the highest level of his career before getting hurt.
2014: Bubble
Contract status: Signed through 2014

DE Doug Worthington
He’s continued to stick around, though he missed all of last season with a biceps injury. Worthington plays strong, which makes him a help against the run. He’s not much of a threat as a pass-rusher.
2014: Bubble/elsewhere
Contract status: Signed through 2014

Redskins can free up more space

February, 4, 2014
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Monday was the first day teams could start releasing players -- and therefore putting in waiver claims when applicable. The Redskins obviously did not release anyone Monday. Nor did they claim anyone off waivers. As of now, Washington will have approximately $30 million in salary-cap space (which could change once the NFL releases the cap figure for 2014). So the Redskins don't have to free up a lot of room. Except that re-signing Brian Orakpo could be expensive and they have an entire secondary of free agents -- so they'll have be to re-signed or replaced. At some point the Redskins might need more room.

Here are some Redskins players to watch now that they can make moves:

Defensive end Stephen Bowen (potential savings: approximately $2 million): Bowen is scheduled to count $7.02 million against the cap in 2014. He also has just one year left on his original contract and if released, the dead money from his deal would count $5.04 million against the cap so the Redskins would save nearly $2 million. If not for his knee injury, Bowen would not be on this list. It’s not as if he was playing great before his injury, though his play against the run remained solid -- and that was his primary job. But he had microfracture surgery this past season and that’s never a good sign for a pro athlete. He turns 30 in March.

[+] EnlargeChris Chester
Geoff Burke/USA TODAY SportsWith a new regime in Washington, guard Chris Chester could be a cap casualty.
G Chris Chester (potential savings: $2.7 million): He’s signed through 2016, but will count $4.3 million against the cap this season. If they cut him, the final $1.6 million of his original $4 million signing bonus would go against this year’s cap, giving the Redskins an additional $2.7 million in savings. Chester played better in 2012 than this past season, but the Redskins did not consider any of the young guards good enough to challenge him. It helps Chester that line coach Chris Foerster will return and that they’ll use the same running game. But if the Redskins want to not only re-sign key players, but pursue other big free agents, then Chester could be a casualty. Jay Gruden’s guards in Cincinnati all weighed over 300 pounds; Chester, at 305 pounds, is borderline here. He's also 31 and the Redskins have several young offensive linemen behind him. The reason you drafted them was for situations like this if you want to make a move. Of course, one of the young guards is Adam Gettis, who is lighter than Chester and the other is Josh LeRibeus, who messed up his second season with a terrible offseason.

DE Adam Carriker (potential savings: $2.98 million): Most players who have had multiple surgeries on their quad in the past 18 months would not be in his situation, still pursuing a roster spot. The Redskins would have cut him last summer had he not worked the way he does. But Carriker will count $6.5 million against the cap in 2014. If they release him, it would save Washington $2.98 million. They could always re-sign him to a lesser deal; considering he’s missed 30 games the past two years combined Carriker lacks leverage. As of now, Carriker would account for nearly 20 percent of the salary-cap space on defense. He might return and be fine, but that’s an awful lot to commit to a player in his situation.

C Will Montgomery (potential savings: $1.93 million): He’ll count $3.43 million this season and, though he’s signed through the 2016 season, his contract voids five days following the Super Bowl in February 2016. If they released Montgomery the Redskins could save $1.93 million against the cap. The Redskins would then need a starting center, of course, but could always move Kory Lichtensteiger from guard. Lichtensteiger will need to gain weight regardless; by the way, if they cut him it would free up $1.1 million.

RT Tyler Polumbus (potential savings: $2.5 million: His base salary is $1.5 million and he also has an annuity that will pay him $1 million based on play time and would be considered likely to be earned, therefore it would count against the cap). If the Redskins find another starting right tackle, be it Tom Compton or someone else, they could free up extra money by releasing Polumbus, unless they want to keep him around as a swing tackle. Polumbus improved, but the Redskins could upgrade here.

P Sav Rocca (potential savings: $1.2 million): He’s entering the final year of his contract and will have a cap number of $1.36 million. If released, the Redskins would save $1.2 million. Rocca’s been inconsistent the past two years and while this is moderate savings, they’d still have to sign a punter so it’s not like they could use a lot of this savings and apply it elsewhere. But in the end they could save some money with another punter.

Redskins mailbag: Part 2

January, 25, 2014
Jan 25
10:00
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In Part 2 of the Redskins mailbag, it's heavy on free agent talk; can they turn it around like the Chiefs?; Robert Griffin III and the defense.
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Four miss practice; Carriker a long shot

November, 20, 2013
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ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins have encountered many issues this season. Health has not been one of them. But, Wednesday, four players did not practice because of injuries. Keep in mind, though, that they have an extra day of preparation because they don’t play again until Monday night.

The Redskins also suffered their first loss of a starting player as receiver Leonard Hankerson will miss the rest of the season after tearing his lateral collateral ligament in his left knee.

The four players who did not practice: tight end Jordan Reed (concussion), defensive end Stephen Bowen (knee), corner Josh Wilson (toe) and safety Jose Gumbs (ankle). Corner E.J. Biggers (knee) was a full participant.

Also, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said defensive end Adam Carriker is a long shot to return this season, something they’ve felt all along. Carriker was left on the physically unable to perform list and designated as “returned to practice.” The Redskins have 21 days to either put him on injured reserve or activate him.

Carriker has had three surgeries on his quad/tendon, a situation that likely would have ended the career of other players. The Redskins have stuck with Carriker because of how hard he works.

“I do believe in miracles,” Shanahan said of Carriker.

Hurt practices; Carriker 'still can't go'

November, 13, 2013
11/13/13
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ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins offensive lineman Maurice Hurt came off the physically unable to perform list and practiced for the first time Wednesday. However, defensive lineman Adam Carriker still hasn’t been taken off the PUP list.

The Redskins have three weeks to make a decision as to whether or not they want to place Hurt on the active roster. As for Carriker, ESPN980 reported that he would not play this season. Carriker has had three surgeries to repair a torn quadriceps tendon, an injury that likely would end other players’ careers. The Redskins have kept Carriker around because of how hard he works, holding out hope that he could someday recover.

All coach Mike Shanahan would say of Carriker is, “He still can’t go.”
  • Shanahan said he wanted to see how Nick Williams, signed off the practice squad Tuesday, handled fielding returns in practice this week before determining whether or not he’d be active Sunday. “You get a chance to see guys, when they are activated, how they practice and how they do things and that’s what we’ll try to do is make that evaluation and decide what gives us the best chance to win,” Shanahan said.
  • At 3-6 last year, Shanahan talked about evaluating players and who would be worthy of sticking around. That led to a question about evaluating players now. “You always see when you have a little adversity how hard people work in practice, how they play in the game, and that’s a constant evaluation, especially when you’re 3-6,” Shanahan said. “You find out which guys are mentally there, which guys practice well, which guys play well, if they give you effort for 60 minutes – it’s all part of the process.”
  • Quarterback Robert Griffin III first went into cliché mode when discussing the Redskins’ season and what they face: “I think it’s just ‘one at a time.’ It’s a cliché. It’s a huge cliché. But everyone wants to talk about a 7-0 run, you know, win the division. We just know we have to take care of Sunday. That’s it. That’s all we have. That’s all a lot of guys have, and we have a lot of things at stake when it comes to those kind of games and I think guys understand that. Last year we played with that same amount of pressure on us and we performed. I don’t think it’s going to crush anybody. They say pressure breaks pipes and I don’t think it will.”
  • For a second consecutive game the Redskins enter as the healthier team as everyone practiced Wednesday. Four Eagles did not practice: linebacker Mychal Kendricks (knee), linebacker Jake Knott (hamstring), tackle Jason Peters (quad/pectoral) and safety Earl Wolff (knee). Tight end Brent Celek (hip), corner Bradley Fletcher (pectoral) and quarterback Michael Vick (hamstring) all were limited.

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