The Mailbag: Chances for success, RGIII off-field attention, injury updates and more …


Jeremy Trueblood ranks among one of the few outside free agents signed by Washington this offseason. (Ben Margot/Associated Press)

We’re back with another edition of The Mailbag. The Redskins also are back, going through another week of offseason practices.

Thursday will again be open to reporters. Then, next week will feature the mandatory mini-camp, which will run June 10-13.

As always, we’ve got a wide range of topics to tackle today, from Washington’s chances after a quiet offseason, Griffin’s off-field attention, running back battles, injury updates and more.

Let’s get after it!

The Redskins have traditionally been the offseason Super Bowl champs of the NFL. This year it has been teams like the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers that have been unceremoniously declared this year’s winners. The difference is that they picked up younger players, who are in their prime. Taking all that into account, should we all just pack this year in and hand one of those two teams the Super Bowl or do the Redskins (and comically, other teams) have a chance? I mean, can we afford to dream this year?

– Olufemi A. Adepoju MAC(SW/AW)
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)

Well, as the past has shown, winning the offseason Super Bowl doesn’t really count for anything. The Redskins have had nothing but disappointing campaigns in those years where they went out and spent big and brought in a bunch of names. Teams like the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers, to name a few, never seem to make flashy free agent signings and still manage to contend. The Redskins have shown improvement each year since they abandoned the offseason Super Bowl pursuit. It’s definitely too early to “pack it in” and wait for next year. The Redskins have had some solid draft classes the past three years and they’re getting a number of starting players back from injury. The Redskins definitely have a chance to have another winning season despite not making splashes in the offseason.

Do you ever think the Redskins will come and play a game here in the UK? I know the idea will probably be met by a lot of skepticism by fans in D.C., but equally, there are a lot of loyal ‘Skins fans here in the UK, who’ve supported the team since the 80s, and it always feels like there are more Redskins jerseys than any others (apart from the teams that were playing). So I’m sure that they’d be very popular here, and that it would be an excellent money-making opportunity for Mr. Snyder.

– Alex Easton
London

It’s hard to say what the Redskins’ chances are of playing in London in the future. According to league expert and colleague Mark Maske, there’s some give-and-take between the owners and league office on who plays in London. Some teams do volunteer for the trip, but then, if there are no volunteers, the league would then select two teams. I’m not sure how the Redskins would view such a proposal. They played in Toronto year before last, but an overseas trip is a bigger undertaking.

Time for a new curse: The Washington Post Insider App Cover Redskin. Off the top of my head, but I think I am still missing one:                                                                Donovan McNabb – Ineffective starter, and pulled for Rex Grossman to complete the year.
Chris Cooley — suffers injury and never really regains prior form.
Robert Griffin III — Concussion, knee injury and surgery.
I would like to suggest pictures of prior Redskins as the cover to protect the current players from The Insider Curse.

– Warren Murray

Haha, that’s an interesting observation, but I don’t think that the selection of the player for our Insider App really has any impact on players’ seasons. Although the concussion and knee injury/surgery were unfortunate incidents, Griffin did have a stellar season. Let’s revisit this in a couple years, and if different players are selected and then have terrible or injury-plagued seasons, then maybe I’ll be a believer.

How is the future of the ILB position looking? How has Roddrick Muckelroy looked during OTA’s? The coaching staff seemed excited last year to pick him up off of waivers.

– Noone from Tampa

The future of this position is a little uncertain for now. Obviously, London Fletcher and Perry Riley are locked in at those two spots, but Fletcher is 38 years old and can’t play forever. Riley seems to be destined for a long, effective career. The Redskins last season drafted Keenan Robinson to groom behind Fletcher, but he missed much of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. So, the team still doesn’t know what it has in him. Muckelroy has gotten a fair amount of work, but it’s still early, and these practices are non-contact, so we won’t get a clear picture until training camp or the preseason. Muckelroy joined the Redskins with five games left in the regular season, but never played. He’ll compete with veteran Bryan Kehl and undrafted rookies Marvin Burdette and Jeremy Kimbrough for a roster spot and time behind Fletcher and Riley.

Considering Robert Griffin III’s penchant for injuries and the tendency last year to use him in high-risk plays, might the Redskins consider a more active role for Kirk Cousins when RGIII comes back? That is, it seems to me that if RGIII can get the Skins to a lead of two touchdowns or more by the middle or end of the third quarter, then the Skins ought to make a habit of bringing in Cousins as the closer. What do you think?

– James Hertch

I don’t foresee the Redskins using this type of strategy with their quarterbacks. If Griffin is healthy enough to take the field as their starter, then he’s the guy to finish games as well – providing he remains effective, which it definitely seems like he should be able to. Obviously, in the rare time that the Redskins would have a 55-0 lead with five minutes left in the game, there’s nothing wrong with pulling Griffin for Cousins. But a full-time dual-quarterback system isn’t the solution for keeping Griffin healthy. He just has to be smarter in his approach to the game, and his coaches have to ensure that they’re putting him in the best possible situations, and that they have the best protections drawn up for him.

Has the local and national media created/perpetuated “RGIII-dom” off the field at the expense of his on-field exploits (i.e. RGIII vs. Shannahan, Adidas, Bed, Bath & Beyond)? There are a myriad of athletes with dynamic personalities across the sports spectrum. But none have gotten so much attention so early. To me, it can only create a division amongst RG and his fellow players. Example: Peyton Manning has a great personality, is very funny, intelligent, a great sound bite, very marketable. But he is not on SportsCenter every day.

– Alsane Soumah

I think some of the craze is media driven, but not all of it. The gift registry did become public knowledge because of the media, but Griffin tweeted the picture of him in front of the pile of boxes, which wound up sparking criticism. It’s not the media’s fault that Griffin has an endorsement deal with Adidas and that they produce some impressive commercials. It was Griffin that dropped clues that there was some friction between he and his coaches when he sent the text to an ESPN reporter. Now, the never-ending news cycle and the social media world we live in does probably expound matters, but what are we to do? I’d prefer to only write about stories that have an impact on how things play out on the field, or in the locker room (Thank God the D.C. Sports Bog handles the bulk of the non-football related stuff). But nowdays, fans want to know any and everything about their favorite teams and athletes. Guys like Griffin make news on the field, off the field and on Twitter. That’s just the way it is.

I have heard and keep hearing about Adam Carriker suffering a “setback” during his rehab from the torn quad but have never heard just exactly what the setback was that he suffered. Do you know what happened during his rehab process and what is the timetable for him returning to 100 percent and taking part in OTAs or mini-camp?

– Randy Roland

The details surrounding his recovery have remained murky. Mike Shanahan has said only that Carriker had a setback, and that he continues to experience inflammation in that tendon that connects the quad and the knee. Carriker hasn’t been on hand for any of the offseason practices. He’s still receiving treatment and moving rather slowly. Shanahan said he definitely will not be recovered in time to take part in this final week of OTAs, or the mandatory mini-camp, which runs June 10-13. They’re hoping he’ll be back on the field by training camp, but no one really knows for sure at this point.

Each year when new jersey numbers are assigned to new players, it initiates a heated discussion as to who else wore that number. Is there a reference source we can go to that lists every player who wore each number in the regular season so we can settle some of our “arguments?”

– David Okun

Profootballreference.com is a good resource for this. If you click on this link, you can enter any number you’d like and it will bring up every single Redskins player in team history that has worn that number.

It seems that drafted players always make the team and recent draftees make the team and recent draftees rarely get cut before they finish their rookie contracts (Don’t hesitate to show me otherwise. I’m here to learn), which would indicate that the Redskins will keep Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Evan Royster, Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison if all are healthy and performing well. Is it realistic or even prudent that we keep them all?

– Joseph Howell Jr.

It all depends on a given year, and the depth at other positions. Mike Shanahan always likes to say that his goal is to keep the best 53 players that he can. If five running backs rank among that best, then he’ll consider it. Year before last, he kept more wide receivers than anyone would have expected. Last year, the team kept – and wound up needing – a lot of safeties. But, I’d be surprised if all five running backs make the roster. There are plenty of times where the Redskins cut a drafted rookie and then sign him to the practice squad, where they spend time until a player ahead of them is injured or cut. (Aldrick Robinson, Brandyn Thompson, Markus White, Maurice Hurt come to mind). It’s still super early, but I’d expect the Redskins to keep three running backs. Morris is a lock, and then the other two spots would seem to battled out between Royster, Helu, Thompson, Jamison, Keiland Williams – and you never know, maybe someone else who isn’t yet on the team.

More coverage:

Morning Pixels: How RGIII chose his new house | Glenn Beck not impressed

Opening Kick: ‘Doing it the right way’ and still we demand more

The Early Lead: Jim Kelly battling cancer of the jaw

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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Keith McMillan · June 3, 2013

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