Redskins Mailbag: Mike Shanahan’s future, Griffin’s knee, running backs and more

Mike Shanahan is entering the fourth season of a five-year contract. (Toni Sandys / The Washington Post)

Mike Shanahan is entering the fourth season of a five-year contract. (Toni Sandys / The Washington Post)

The Washington Redskins wrapped up their minicamp last week, and most players have now departed to their respective offseason homes and vacation destinations, where they will spend the next five weeks until the start of training camp.

Although things have quieted down, there are still plenty of questions about this team,  so we’re back with another installment of the Mailbag, which this week features questions on Shanahan’s future, the condition of Robert Griffin III’s knee, offseason injuries, running backs and more.

Let’s dig in…

I was wondering with Coach Shanny starting his fourth year of a five-year contract, if there has been any discussion of a contract extension for him? And if not, do you feel if this is a make or break year for his entire staff?  I believe he has done well with the cards he was dealt and has turned the corner for the franchise, but he is not 40 anymore and I’m not sure how much more or long he wants to coach.

 – Darin King

Shortly before the end of the season, Mark Maske reported that Dan Snyder was weighing the possibility of giving Mike Shanahan an extension, but the owner hasn’t pulled the trigger on such a move as of yet. The Redskins certainly appear to be in a better place now than they were before Bruce Allen came to town at the tail end of the 2009 season, and when Shanahan & Co. followed several weeks later. But it’s possible that he could be waiting to see how things play out this year with the handling of Robert Griffin III and his comeback, and the follow-up to last season’s NFC East-winning campaign. There’s still plenty of time for Snyder to make up his mind on Shanahan’s future, but a lot could be riding on this season for the coach and his staff.

Recently read where RGIII was limping at conclusion of OTAS. Any truth to that?

– Brian

Griffin did appear to limp as he ran sprints at the conclusion of that June 6 practice, but he insisted that it was related to the brace he wears on that reconstructed right knee, and not a setback of some kind. A slight hitch remained evident the final two offseason practice sessions as Griffin did his running off to the side, but he beat tight end Jordan Reed in a race, which leads me to believe that it is indeed the brace and the quarterback still working to strengthen that right leg. When walking brace-free, there is no limp.

Several clubs have gone to not letting their rookies wear helmets with the team logo on it until “earn” it by making the team.  Do you see any possibility that the Skins might go to this?

 – Bill Rizi

The Redskins haven’t done this under Shanahan, but something they do is, if players are trying out – say, at the rookie minicamp, or during last week’s minicamp – those players don’t have names on the backs of their jerseys because they aren’t under contract.

The Baltimore Ravens have released their fullback Vonta Leach (stupid move in my opinion). What’s the chance the Redskins signing him? It would help the Skins backfield and pass protection greatly.

 – John

I don’t see that happening. The Redskins just re-signed the younger Darrel Young to a three-year deal with a base salary of $3.9 million, and they’re very high on him. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan considers Young to be one of the top fullbacks in the league because of his blocking ability and running and pass-catching skills.

Do you think Mike and Kyle Shanahan will do a better job this season of rotating running backs so Alfred Morris can avoid another 330-plus carry season?  Shanahan played a huge part in the destruction of Terrell Davis’s knees and I’d hate to see the same thing happen again. Take another example in Cadillac Williams: Jon Gruden ruined his career early on handing him the ball seemingly every play.  No matter how much bigger, faster and better these players are, knees haven’t changed.  They can’t continue to take abuse like that.  

 – Christopher Hunter

The Redskins certainly would like to spell Morris more often, but the pickings were rather slim last season. That’s why they drafted Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison this past spring with plans of having them compete with Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr. Kyle and Mike Shanahan have both said they would like to keep Morris fresh, but that they need someone to produce. Morris definitely is the workhorse, however, but even five fewer carries a game would go a long way to helping decrease the pounding he takes.

The Redskins recently waived Doug Worthington and DeAngelo Peterson.  Assuming they clear waivers and are placed on injured reserve, do they still receive full salary for the 2013 season, despite the fact they were both relative long shots to make the final roster? Also, do players without guaranteed money in their contracts receive any compensation for their offseason efforts if they don’t make the final roster or practice squad?

 – Bob Bauer

If the player was placed on injured reserve, he would receive his salary for the upcoming year, or a team could work out an injury settlement with the player, and that player would then be permitted to walk. On the second part of your question, some players have workout bonuses in their contracts, but other, lower-paid players would earn between $750 and $850 every two weeks for attending the offseason conditioning program. In training camp, veterans earn just more than $1,000 a week, and then once the season starts, their salaries kick in.

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