1. The Scouting Combine. The Redskins will get a chance to get an up-close look at the players they are considering for the draft, particularly for the sixth overall spot. Washington clearly places less emphasis on the draft than in other areas of their operation. It's why they perenially are forced to overspend for free agents. But that's another story. This weekend, they'll get a chance to solidify their thoughts on a couple high prospects, from Arkansas DE Jamaal Anderson to Clemson DE Gaines Adams. Both would fill a need; Adams likely would have to bulk up and he might be better off as a 3-4 linebacker. Michigan DT Alan Branch is another possibility, but end is a higher priority.
2. Troy Vincent's release. The Redskins released the veteran defensive back Thursday, but the move should not come as a shock. Vincent was a rather mediocre safety and was too often hurt. He's a very good leader, but he clearly did not figure into their plans. However, the Redskins still need to upgrade this spot, unless they plan to dramatically alter Adam Archuleta's role. Regardless, they have a need for a safety who actually can cover deep. Even with Vincent, this would have been a priority. They could always move Shawn Springs to safety, assuming, that is, he's willing to sign a lesser contract. Springs would probably be a good cover safety, but coming up against the run and tackling? That part of his game has slipped the past two years.
3. Norv to Chargers. Are you kidding me? But I will say this: Turner will probably win with San Diego; he can't help but do so with that talent. And if he can continue to develop Philip Rivers, Turner could do better than expected. In Washington, QB problems -- some, or most of Turner's own doing -- held the Redskins back under Norval. But the year where they received their best QB play, under Brad Johnson, they made the playoffs. San Diego likely will continue to win. But it's unclear to me how they could be happy going from Marty to Turner. Once again, our problem with Turner is that he's too insecure and willing to bad-mouth his own guys in private (typically to deflect criticism from himself). It's hard for guys like that to be wildly successful. Marty did not do that and Joe Gibbs does not do that. Despite Gibbs' second stint, I have to believe that's why both coaches win.
4. London Fletcher. Yes, it appears the Skins will pursue him, but the question is, what does he have left? People in Buffalo say not much and they don't think he'd be a very cost-efficient signing. He made a lot of tackles, but too many were downfield. Also, there were concerns about his ability to play coverage in the Cover 2, a crucial element of the Redskins' D. On the flipside, he's better than Lemar Marshall, he's a good on-field leader and he knows this system.
5. Nate Clements. As a former Buckeye myself, I have a soft spot in my heart for Clements (we even played football in the same conference in high school; alas, too many years apart). But I am not convinced he's going to be worth whatever money he receives. He had a strong year last year, but was not up to standards the previous two years. I will say, it's hard for corners to be truly shutdown guys anymore. That's why it's imperative Washington gets its safety situation solved.
Nickel Package: Vincent Gone/Fletcher a Skin?
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