- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Washington Redskins' offseason did not inspire ESPN’s insiders. In fact, it turned them off and left them with plenty of questions.
ESPN insider Mike Sando analyzed every team’s offseason and combined grades with former NFL general manager Bill Polian, former NFL executive Louis Riddick and former NFL scout Matt Williamson to form a consensus. The Redskins received a C grade.
For their offseason moves -- player-based only -- I gave the Redskins a B, in part because they improved their offense considerably with receivers DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts. They provided some help for the defense with Jason Hatcher, and I liked the idea of adding a pass-rusher in the second round. Whether or not Trent Murphy becomes that guy, we’ll see. I was not crazy overall about their defensive signings, however, and there are still holes that need work. I also factored in upgrades in special teams coverage, to go with better coaching here as well.
Riddick wasn’t high on picking Murphy at No. 47 overall, and I’ve spoken to other executives who also felt he went a little high. The question is: Would he have been gone when they picked again at 66?
Riddick said in the article, "I hated their draft. I like Trent Murphy, but not that early. He was a good college player but will have a hard time winning one-on-one battles at the NFL level."
Williamson said he gave the Redskins an A-plus on offense, but did not think they improved on defense. Their secondary will remain a major question mark. Field Yates, who once interned in New England's scouting and coaching departments and now covers the Patriots for ESPN, wasn’t sold on keeping coordinator Jim Haslett, a fair assessment. He wondered about the loss of London Fletcher's leadership. That is another real concern, but the problem was Fletcher did not play well, so even if he had returned there would be big questions.
Jay Gruden’s hiring produced mixed sentiments among this group. The uncertainty about him is also what I heard from others around the NFL before the Redskins hired him; some liked him and others wondered what the fuss was about. So this part does not surprise me.
And I agree with Polian when he said it rests on Robert Griffin III's development. If Griffin improves as a passer and buys into Gruden’s system and plays at a certain level, then it will have been a productive offseason for Washington.