Redskins mailbag: Tanard Jackson, offensive line depth, preseason games and more

September 2, 2013

The Redskins now turn their attention to the Sept. 9 regular season opener. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

The preseason has officially ended, and now the Washington Redskins begin preparations for their first game of the regular season – a 7:10 p.m. kickoff on Monday, Sept. 9 – at home against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Redskins have formed their 53-man roster, and in case you missed it, here’s a breakdown, position by position.

And now, we’re back with another edition of the mailbag. And just a heads up, this is the last Monday installment. Now that we’re in the regular season, we’re going to switch the mailbag to run on Tuesday’s. That gives you opportunities to ask questions after each game, and enables me to spend Tuesday mornings (the only morning of the week that there is no open locker room or practice) to answer your questions. Same routine as far as submitting questions, though. Just e-mail them to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line of “Mailbag question.”

Thanks!

We are now in September and towards the end of safety Tanard Jackson’s suspension. Is there any chance that he could be reinstated this year and actually play? Is he even in playing shape? Has not been much news about him lately. We sure could use the depth with Phillip Thomas out now.

– Nate Broome

Jackson filed for reinstatement on Saturday – the first possible day – but the NFL didn’t act immediately, and isn’t expected to for a while. The last time Jackson was suspended for a year, the league didn’t reinstate him until four weeks after he was eligible to do so. No one really knows the answer to what kind of shape that Jackson is in. Once the league does reinstate him, the Redskins will get a window of opportunity to evaluate him in practices before deciding whether to activate him or not. Redskins fans have a great deal of excitement over the possibility of Jackson playing. But truthfully, I don’t know how much you can expect from a guy that hasn’t played in over a year, who also has failed multiple drug tests and has been suspended for four games in 2009, suspended for a year in 2010, and then again in 2012. That doesn’t sound like someone who has the discipline and reliability to serve as your last line of defense. The Redskins probably will be better off sticking with Bacarri Rambo at free safety and letting him develop because he is the long-term answer at that position.

The ongoing pain the Redskins have had to endure because of the salary cap penalties has been well documented. Did the team gain any long term benefit from its contract restructuring in 2010 that lead to the penalty?

– Eric Barker

Considering that Albert Haynesworth’s contract was one of the main “illegally structured” contracts that season, and he wound up being one of the biggest free agent busts ever, I’d have to say no, the Redskins did not benefit long term. They would have last offseason had the league not decided to penalize them. The Redskins were poised to enter free agency with plenty of money to spend in the same offseason that saw them draft Robert Griffin III. But instead, they had $18 million docked against them in each of the last two seasons, which has forced the Redskins to place a high emphasis on the draft while also signing more affordable free agents.

Any chance that Washington would look at J’Marcus Webb and consider moving him to the right side? It would allow him to do what he does best (run block) and take away the pressure of having to protect the blind side — unless Pat White’s in the game. LOL.

– N. Sidwell

The Minnesota Vikings actually claimed Webb off waivers. The Redskins are content going into the season with Tyler Polumbus as their right tackle once again. The feeling within the organization is although they know he has limitations, at the same time, he understands the scheme and what coaches want from him, and he has developed good chemistry with right guard Chris Chester. The greater concern for me is the lack of proven depth behind Polumbus and Trent Williams. Tom Compton is the only other tackle on the roster, and he has never played in a game. There’s a significant drop-off from Williams to Compton. The Redskins would have to decide whether to start Compton at left tackle if Williams got injured, and keep Polumbus on the right; or, would they move Polumbus to the left and put Compton at right? It’s not often you have a lot of starter-level talent on your bench, but it definitely is nice to have a veteran to call upon in a pinch.

I’ve been wondering about this for a while. I’ve seen a lot of talk about how the coaches have spent time breaking down Oregon film this offseason to prepare for the Eagles game. Do they do spend a lot of the offseason reviewing all the teams on their schedule? Or just the teams they play early on? Just the teams in their division? Just the teams implementing new systems? Or does the opener get the most attention?

– Mark Hawryluk

Yes, the coaches spend the offseason studying all of the season’s opponents, and then once the season begins, they spend additional time going over film of whatever opponent they have coming up next. Because the Eagles will have a new system, Jim Haslett and his staff did review a lot of Oregon film, and they have studied Philly’s preseason games as well. The team started doing a limited amount of preparation for the Eagles as the preseason neared its end, and now this week, they will concentrate all of their efforts to game-planning for the Eagles. Then, once that game is over, the preparation for the next game begins.

I suppose bringing back Brandon Banks for punt returns is not an option, is it? When he was great, unstoppable.

– Liz Cecil

Brandon Banks remains out of work, but the Redskins have closed the book on him. He was far too inconsistent on his returns, and fumbled too often. Banks also was too one-dimensional. It’s hard to use a roster spot on a guy that can’t help you in more than one facet of the game. The Redskins believe that they can develop running back Chris Thompson into a dangerous punt returner, and if needs be, they feel they can always turn to a veteran such as Santana Moss.

I DVRed the Buffalo game last Saturday and watched it Sunday evening. I noticed that Kai Forbath, Sav Rocca and the Bills place kicker weren’t wearing thigh or knee pads. I thought the refs were going to not allow them on the field without pads. What’s up with that?

– Merle DeLancey

Kickers and punters are the only players in the league that the new knee and thigh pad rule doesn’t apply to. Those players don’t get hit, or at least shouldn’t unless the opposing team wants to earn a penalty, so they are free to go pad-free on their lower body.

I have an idea on how they fix (get rid of) preseason. First off, why don’t they cut it in half? Make it two games if they feel that there has to be preseason games. And then, with the additional time, add two more games and an additional bye week. Each team plays two preseason games, gets 2 bye weeks, and plays 18 games. Two byes allows for fewer injuries and better play since the players get more rest, 18 games makes the fans and owners happier, and less preseason makes everyone happier.

– John Vandendriessche

I’ve actually heard this proposal before, and it does seem to make some sense. But, as Mark Maske reported last week, this remains “a non-starter” in the eyes of most of the owners. Two bye weeks would help ease the wear and tear a little, but then, there’s the question of player salaries. Right now, they’re set up for 16 game checks. Wouldn’t they need pay increases if they were playing two more games? Players don’t get game checks during the preseason, although some of revenue from the preseason is accounted for during their regular season salaries. Another option Maske reported on was two preseason games, and an expanded playoff season. But the problem there is how many teams do you include? One? Two? And then, are you allowing 8-8 teams into the playoffs? Are they really deserving of it if they can’t finish above .500? Unfortunately, there’s just not a simple solution for any of this right now.

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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Mike Jones · September 2, 2013

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