The Redskins just came off of back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 20 years, right? So, what is that smell? The expected, refreshing, raise-your-hands-if-you’re-sure aroma of optimism is missing. Instead, I keep catching whiffs of uneasy, nervous perspiration. A desperate Redskins brain trust finds itself just 20 days away from the start of the NFL Scouting Combine, which also is the deadline for them to use the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. And that’s also just six days away from the start of free agency. So, basically, the combine is also the start of free agency, because that’s when teams get a good understanding of market values, and who’s available and who’s not. Washington has to hit and has to hit big, both in draft evaluations, free agency and the draft itself. The organization can’t afford any more of the swings and misses that dominated the past two free agent classes, or the recent head-scratcher draft picks. Because so far, the 2017 offseason has not gone well. Already, this team has shown more signs of regression than positive developments. You’d think after falling just one game short of a second playoff berth, this time should’ve been about regrouping, upgrading and fortifying. But instead, the Redskins have been scrambling. Joe Barry was the sacrificial lamb after his talent-deficient defense underperformed too frequently in 2016. The Redskins thought they’d be able to bat their eyes and lure a big-name coordinator to replace Barry, but they guessed wrong. None of their top choices wanted the job, and they wound up promoting one of Barry’s assistants, Greg Manusky. Manusky does have a more-extensive defensive coordinator résumé than Barry, but it remains to be seen if he can get the job done.
Kirk Cousins being franchise tagged by Washington ‘remains a high likelihood’
Washington Post | Feb 9