John: How much more improved will the Redskins defence be next year with the return of Orakpo, Carriker and Meriweather?


Doug Walton
Toronto, Ontario


Doug: It depends on their health, but if all three are a go then they’ll be much improved. But I have concerns about Orakpo with his tear – is this something that will keep happening? And when will Meriweather’s knee be ready? But if all are healthy, then all will help. One reason the Redskins have had to switch up their rush and provide more looks is because of Orakpo’s loss (though they did switch things up even when he was in there). Getting him back will help. And Meriweather was a big loss. He was better than I thought, albeit in limited time. His return would enable the Redskins to focus elsewhere.



John: Keep up the great work John. A couple of questions for you. Has Jim Haslett done enough the past few games to keep his job next season? While not perfect, the D has improved since the loss to Carolina. Everyone got excited when Cooley resigned but he’s hardly featured. Surely he’d offer more as a receiver than Niles Paul, who’s been a disappointment. What do you think?

Thanks and Merry Christmas


Abu Dhabi


Andy:  Thank you and same to you…I have not heard anything one way or another regarding Haslett’s status. The defense has improved, but there have been too many big plays allowed – not just this season but for much of last year too.  Not everything has been his fault this season: Kyle Shanahan was ripped a bit last year, but now that he has more talent to work with the same plays look better. Haslett has strengths and weaknesses as a coordinator; he’s not Gregg Williams (bounty issues aside). I still want to see how this plays out. As for Cooley, don’t forget that they cut him this summer for a reason. They didn’t think he could help them anymore in a certain role. I never thought he’d come back and be featured. His blocking has been fine. This summer, he wasn’t running away from linebackers even in practice.




John: In my opinion the position of free safety has grown in its importance in recent years with the emergence of teams running more open/spread offenses and the greater use of the tight end position.  And the Redskins post Sean Taylor have had a range of poor to abysmal play at that position — Laron Landry (played much better later as strong safety) K. Moore, Atogwe, and now M. Williams — I contend finding a good free safety in the off season should be one of their top priorities.  Do you agree?


Mike: I agree. They need speed at that position, not just to cover ground but also to hold disguises longer, which in turn enables a coordinator to better call certain coverages. It’s helpful if they have some corner skills, enabling them to cover one on one. Williams is a backup at this stage and Jordan Bernstine is coming off an ACL tear. So, yeah, they need help here.


John: Why is it that the Seattle Seahawks have been able to manage the potential “PED” suspensions and appeals processes of their cornerbacks so that they both don’t get hit simultaneously, while Jordan Black gets nailed at the worst possible time? Conspiracy? Or the reverse west coast bias?


John: Why are Seattle’s CBs still playing after Adderall bust, while Griffin is suspended?


@redskin_potato/Clarke: Answered both in one spot because they’re similar. Only one of them is still playing. Brandon Browner already is out and will have missed the last four games. Hardly ideal. Richard Sherman’s case is still under appeal. Once the appeal process is over, that’s when the suspensions are announced. The situation with the Seahawks corners was leaked before the appeals were done. That wasn’t the case with the Redskins players; the first time we heard about them was after the appeal process. Each of them had a chance to appeal and lost. Jordan Black has dealt with this the entire season. It’s just that nobody knew until last week.



John: What made the diff in the improvement of the team after the bye, and how do you think the OL issues will affect the next 2 games?


@brandymac27: A few things made a difference. For starters, they still believed they could accomplish something, from coaches to players. The defense has done a solid job creating turnovers and making enough big plays, especially in the second half of games, to make a difference. Having Pierre Garcon back has helped tremendously; he’s caught 23 passes the past four games combined. The other receivers are capitalizing, it seems, on every big-play opportunity. The special teams have been solid. Oh, and the quarterback play has been excellent. In the five-game streak, two rookie passers have combined for 13 touchdown passes against only two interceptions. As for the line, my guess is the starting group will be intact this weekend so I don’t think there will be a great impact.


John: What will become of Rob Jackson next year when Brian Orakpo returns? Will one of our OLBs be traded?


@MattDCBrown: Jackson is a restricted free agent so it depends on whether or not they resign him. I know it would be tough for Jackson to spend so much time starting, have success, and then return in a backup role. The problem for Washington is that they’d have one linebacker coming off a biceps tear, so it would be tough to allow a good secondary option get away. Brian Orakpo wouldn’t have much trade value coming off two triceps tears within a year.



John: Would the skins consider trading Cousins for draft picks in off season?


@theklb1: If some team came and made them an outlandish offer, then I think almost any player us up for grabs. It’s not a topic I’ve broached with anyone here yet, but here’s a couple things to consider. 1) He still has a small sample size of game action and that would limit his market. Talked to one longtime GM recently who said it would take 10 games for him to make a decision on a young QB. My best guess is if they want to get real value they’d have to hold onto him for a few years. 2) They could have a very good QB situation for the next several years. Why be in such a hurry to change that? Yes, you could bring in another rookie next year – Cousins wasn’t so extraordinary in college that you couldn’t find someone else with his skills. One thing to watch: What if Kyle Shanahan gets a head coaching job? Would he want to bring Cousins with him? Thing is, I still can’t imagine anyone would give up a second or third-round pick for him in that scenario. And, besides, Kyle might think he could take another rookie and do the same.


John: If Columbus can’t go, Who is our RT?


@SteveHouser14: They haven’t said, but my guess is that it would be Maurice Hurt. He hasn’t worked there in a game, but he did get a decent amount of reps there during training camp and as a scout teamer. His game experience would give him an edge over rookie Tom Compton, at least in my mind.



John: Who is the Redskins defensive MVP over the past 5 games?


@MattDCBrown: Good question. I’m not sure one player has been an MVP.  Barry Cofield has had several good games during this stretch and might get the nod, but the Ravens did a good job against him. However, Rob Jackson has made some of the biggest plays in the past couple games, along with London Fletcher. And Ryan Kerrigan has played better. But Cofield and Stephen Bowen probably have been the most consistent during this period.


John: Did we as fans under estimate the talent on the redskin’s roster?


@dcbigoso: I wouldn’t just stop with the fans underestimating them. Many experts, former players and media, did the same. I thought they’d go 7-9. The tough part was completely understanding Robert Griffin III’s impact on his teammates. Also, nobody could have predicted what Alfred Morris has done; his impact is huge. The backs last year did not have the same impact even though they rushed for multiple 100-yard games. Defenses did not worry about them as much as they must do vs. Morris. If I could go back and do my prediction all over again, I’d have them at 8-6 with a shot at the NFC East title.



John: any word on the update for carriker and orakpo? when the playoffs start can any player return since the regular season is over?


@epitomeofsuave: Haven’t had much of an update on them; we’ll probably get that more after the season. I have not seen Adam Carriker in a while; I’ve seen Brian Orakpo once in a while, but haven’t talked to him in weeks. They can’t return until next year.