Washington Redskins: Lovie Smith

Redskins mailbag: Part 2

April, 26, 2014
It'll be fun to watch the Redskins' receivers this season, at least in terms of how they are used. Which, of course, leads us into the first question in the Saturday mailbag. Naturally, more talk about the draft in terms of potential trades and whether or not they should take a tight end. Also, what does Brian Orakpo have to do to earn a new deal? That's here as well. Enjoy.

Redskins' preseason schedule

April, 9, 2014
The Washington Redskins motored through the preseason a year ago, winning every game and boosting expectations. Then came a big 3-13 crash. The lesson, as is taught all the time: the preseason is meaningful for winning roster spots and individual play, but records don’t mean a whole lot.

That doesn’t mean the Redskins' 2014 preseason schedule isn’t intriguing. Here’s a look at their four-game schedule (exact dates and times for all the games should be announced next week):

Week 1 (Aug. 7-10)

Home vs. New England.

It’s the first game for coach Jay Gruden and the new-look Redskins. It’s also quarterback Robert Griffin III's first chance to show how far he’s come since the season ended. The Redskins get a chance to face a well-coached team, which is always good. And a top quarterback in Tom Brady, though it’s hard to imagine him playing more than a series or two. Despite the talk about the Redskins' new defensive wrinkles, it's really hard to believe they will show a whole lot until the season begins. But perhaps we'll start to get a taste of how the Jason Hatcher-Ryan Kerrigan-Brian Orakpo pass-rush will work. Just for kicks, how about a Griffin to DeSean Jackson deep ball on the opening play?

Week 2 (Aug. 18)

Home vs. Cleveland

Yes, this will be interesting for a game between teams that rarely play one another. The Browns have three coaches who were with Washington last season: offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, receivers coach Mike McDaniel and offensive quality control coach Richard Hightower, all of whom joined first-year coach Mike Pettine’s staff. Shanahan is a highly competitive person who no doubt would love to stick it to the Redskins, though he’ll have to balance not showing a whole lot. So in the end his desire really won’t matter. But it will provide a little summer intrigue. One thing to remember: most of the players in Washington liked Shanahan's offense. Also, Redskins guard Shawn Lauvao will face his old team. And there is nothing more exciting than a guard playing his former squad.

The Browns should have a solid defense, so it will be another good test for the offense. And yet another storyline: It’s a nationally televised game on ESPN, so Jon Gruden -- Jay's brother, of course -- will be calling the game.

Week 3 (Aug. 21-24)

At Baltimore

Nothing like a preseason game on the road where you really don’t have to travel far. But it’s another well-coached team and a second straight game against a 3-4 front (New England is more multi-dimensional, but uses both). Traditionally, the starters play longer in this game. But it’s still not as if teams are showing a whole lot and game plan as they would during the season. But this is a third straight game against a potentially strong defense, and that should help the Redskins' offense prepare well for the season.

Week 4 (Aug. 28)

At Tampa Bay

Gruden gets to face a team he broke into the NFL with as an offensive assistant; he was quite the Arena League star in central Florida, too. It’s also a second game against a team with a new coach, as Lovie Smith replaces Greg Schiano. The key in this game for the starters: exit healthy. That is, if they even play, which they did not do under former coach Mike Shanahan. Therefore, this one will be one last chance for a couple fringe players to win a job. It has happened often that a player with a big final game wins a spot.
Washington Redskins director of pro personnel Morocco Brown spent Friday interviewing for the vacant general manager's position in Tampa Bay, which could reunite him with coach Lovie Smith.

Brown worked for four years with Smith in Chicago and has been in his current spot with Washington since 2008. The Bucs also will interview Atlanta director of player personnel Lional Vitale and Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson. Tampa also might interview Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross. There's a chance Tampa could name its new general manager by Monday, according to reports.

Brown is the only candidate of this group that has ties to Smith. Last offseason, Brown interviewed for the general manager's job in Arizona. Meanwhile, Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said on ESPN980 that senior executive A.J. Smith is being considered for an unnamed team's general manager position.

It's uncertain what direction the Redskins would go if they lost both men.