Chris Cooley on Redskins’ free agent signings


(Paul Connors / AP)

The Redskins made a bunch of moves for a bunch of players whom Washington fans likely weren’t super familiar with earlier this week. Personally, I’ve broken down more film on the Wizards’ halftime entertainment options than I have on new guard Shawn Lauvao. So I was interested to hear the take of ESPN 980 analyst Chris Cooley, who got a lot of attention for his Redskins film breakdowns last season.

In the order in which Cooley discussed them during his ESPN 980 program Wednesday afternoon:

Wide receiver Andre Roberts

“I actually really like the Andre Roberts signing. He’s 25, he’s  had a couple good years in Arizona. If you look back at 2012, he had 64 catches for almost 800 yards, which is an up-and-coming receiver. … He did, in that offense, a lot of what [Jay] Gruden’s gonna ask him to do in our offense. He’s able to move in and out, he’s able to play some of the slot if you want to play him at slot, he’s able to do the motion stuff you want him to do. And, more importantly, as a [No. 2 receiver], he’s able to get deep. That was the belief that they had. He’s finally a guy that can run a lot of those underneath routes but he’s not Aldrick Robinson that we say, when he’s in it’s a deep route so let’s cover that deep route.

“I think he’s more versatile. You didn’t have a [No. 2] receiver, you really didn’t. You had to go out and get somebody. He signs a modest contract, four years, $16 million. I think from top to bottom everybody liked Andre Roberts and what he was going to be able to do. And when I say top to bottom, I mean our staff, Bruce, everyone loved him down through Robert [Griffin III]. From what I understand Robert likes him as well, and they believe he’s going to be a really nice acquisition next to Pierre Garcon. And he’s young.”

Guard Shawn Lauvao

“I don’t like Lauvao. I don’t know if Lauvao’s a starter. He started for Cleveland. I don’t hate him. Look, I watched  a lot of Lauvao film this morning, because he’s easy to see. He didn’t start for them early in the year. He had an ankle early in the year. He comes back, he’s athletic, he pulls really well, he looks ok in pass rush, but he doesn’t move people. He doesn’t move people in double teams. When he pulls, he builds up this big head of steam and then it’s like he just bumps into the guy. And you’re like, dude. Physically, it doesn’t even make sense. The physics I don’t understand of it. How are you not just knocking someone down with your huge body smashing into them?

“I thought he was alright in pass pro. I think he gets exposed when he’s one on one in pass protection, which isn’t that often for a guard. But from what I understand, Kory Lichtensteiger’s gonna move down to center. I think that’s been pretty apparent. And you’ve got to have someone that’s going to play — or at least compete — at that other position. … I think the move of Lichtensteiger to center and Lauvao coming in and playing guard is an upgrade on your offensive line.”

Wide receiver Santana Moss

“Santana Moss is going to have a chance to compete in training camp. They like him; they don’t love anyone in the slot right now. He gets to come back, compete in camp. May not make the final 53. But I don’t know if he was going to get a better shot anywhere else, so it was smart on the part of Santana Moss to come back and sign here. I think Santana Moss has to get through training camp with a 97 percent catch rate.”

Linebacker Adam Hayward

“To believe that he isn’t going to be a factor at inside linebacker is absolutely nuts. Run down the list of linebackers the Redskins have that are definite starters. He’s brought in as competing for linebacker. He’s brought in as a guarantee as a special teamer, which I love. But that’s how you get your role position: you play great at special teams and you go from there….This kid hopefully can make an impact for us. But to think he’s not going to compete, you have to have him compete. You couldn’t go out and sign the big name, because there wasn’t one. There wasn’t a guarantee.”

Linebacker Perry Riley Jr.

“You bring back Perry, which I thought was the best possible outcome for us….I liked the Perry signing. I thought he was as good as we were going to get at that position out in free agency, but you’ve got to have someone else. They’re going to draft a linebacker this year. That’s without a doubt. My second-round pick is probably your starting middle linebacker, if the right guy’s there. That’s probably where I go, because I believe you can get a good starter in year one.”

The Overall Approach

“I’m not unhappy. I actually like that they showed restraint on guys. I have this belief that there was a set number. If you don’t get the guy for the number you want to get the guy for, you’ve got to be able to say no.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · March 13

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