Redskins mailbag: Doug Williams, Michael Sam, Kyle and Kirk, and more

Doug Williams officially joined Washington's front office on Monday. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Doug Williams officially joined Washington’s front office on Monday. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

It may be the offseason, but there’s nothing quiet about it. The Redskins this week continued to reshape their organization with the addition of Doug Williams to the front office. Michael Sam became the first openly gay NFL prospect. Last week Kyle Shanahan landed a new job, as offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns.

We tackle all those topics and more in this week’s Redskins mailbag.

Thanks as always for taking part, and keep your questions coming for next week’s edition. E-mail me at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line of “Mailbag question.”

Here we go.

What exactly will Doug Williams be doing for the Skins since he now has a front office position working for Bruce Allen? I’d be curious. Why was he let go from Grambling?

– Elliott Michnoff

As personnel executive for the Redskins, Doug Williams will work with director of player personnel Scott Campbell in the scouting of college prospects, and with director of pro personnel Morocco Brown on the evaluation of free agent talent. He also will help with the evaluation of the Redskins’ roster, and assist George Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden & Co. with decision-making. My colleague Dave Sheinin did a really good piece on Doug Williams shortly after his dismissal from Grambling. Sounds like it was a very dysfunctional situation with little logic involved on the parts of the school’s administration. Check out the link!

(Editor’s note: Mike had an interview yesterday with Williams, where he outlined some of what he expects his role to be, and praises Michael Sam, who is the subject of the question below.)

With the news of Michael Sam coming out as the first openly gay player, there has been talk of whether he would be accepted in certain locker rooms. Would the Redskins locker room be capable of handling this added “distraction” given all the drama they had last year with RGIII and now dealing with a first-time coach in Jay Gruden. I personally don’t think it would be a problem, and at 255 pounds, he seems a good fit for a 3-4 outside linebacker with speed off the edge.

– Dave Shockey, Sacramento, Calif.

The Redskins have had a good locker room with strong leaders like London Fletcher and Santana Moss, but could find themselves in a transition mode as Fletcher is expected to retire, and Moss’s future remains uncertain for now. Barry Cofield is a strong leader, and Robert Griffin III is viewed by his teammates as a leader as well. DeAngelo Hall is another player that coaches see as a veteran leader, but it remains to be seen if they can get a deal done to re-sign him. One thing’s for sure, because this team always seems to have some type of circus going on, buzz over an off-field issue isn’t new to these players. Could they handle this? Probably so. Like Doug Williams said when I talked to him yesterday, there will be some “knuckleheads” here and there, but that in general, Michael Sam would probably be accepted in a locker room. He added, however, that the bottom line is can he play? That’s a big question. Even before his revelation, Sam was considered a tweener, rather than a stone-cold lock of a pick. At 6-foot-2, 255 pounds, Sam isn’t built like most 4-3 defensive ends. He has more of the body type of a 3-4 outside linebacker. But he’s very raw at that position. I remember watching him a couple weeks ago at the Senior Bowl practices, where he was asked to play linebacker. He looked very much like a guy that was learning on the fly. He was stiff, and because of a lack of comfort at that spot, his reactions were a little slow. Now, that’s not to say that he can’t learn the position. He wasn’t viewed as a first-round pick because of his limitations, but he did show enough promise for him to receive a second- to third-round rating prior to this. We’ll see if his stock takes a hit, or remains the same.

With the Jags being open to trading the No. 3 pick, would something along the lines of Cousins and two second-round picks (this and next year) pull it off? Then we could draft Jadeveon Clowney and have a scary front seven. Thoughts?

– Josh, New Zealand

When you hold the No. 3 pick, you have the chance to get a franchise player. If the No. 2 pick got the Rams a total of three first-round picks and a second two years ago, I don’t think that Cousins and two second-round picks would be enough to land the third overall pick. Although he very well could develop into a quality NFL quarterback, there are still a lot of questions regarding Cousins, so you’re not giving away that high a draft pick for him, even if there are a couple of second-rounders involved.

Regarding trading Cousins, what if the Redskins paired Cousins with their second-round pick to move up to the first? Realistically, how far up could they move, or do you think no one would be interested? Maybe if Cleveland didn’t get the QB with their first pick, they would trade the one from Indy?

– Elliott Hoefling

The Redskins first selection would be the 34th overall pick of the draft, but I don’t know if that pick plus Cousins is enough to move up to 26th overall for Cleveland’s second pick of the first round. We also don’t even know that the Browns are even interested in Cousins. Yes, Kyle Shanahan had him here, but he’s not calling the shots in that organization (although Cleveland just let its CEO and GM go). We also don’t know if Shanahan truly believes that Cousins can be a franchise quarterback after working with him for an extended portion of action down the stretch of last season. Few teams – if any – would be willing to part with a first-round pick for a former fourth-round pick that has had trouble taking care of the ball and still has a fair amount of questions regarding his game.

Do you think since Kyle Shanahan signed with Cleveland he might want Kirk Cousins in a trade? If so what draft pick do you think the Skins could get for him? Wouldn’t he be considered better than any of the quarterbacks coming out in the draft?

– Kerry Triplett

This ties into what I was saying in the above response. Kyle Shanahan said this last week when asked about Cousins in an interview: “I think Kirk’s a hell of a player. … He had some good moments, and he had some moments I think he’ll learn from, but I think Kirk did a good job for us and really was a good backup player for us out there.” It’s hard to say if Shanahan sees Cousins as “a hell of a player” that could start for him and win him a lot of games, or “a hell of a player” that can fill in for your starter here and there. Last week, NBC4’s Dianna Russini reported that the Browns didn’t have interest in Cousins, and Mary Kay Cabot, Browns beat writer for Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com, also reported that it was unlikely that the Browns would pursue a trade for Cousins. But who knows? The Browns just this morning announced that they have fired general manager Michael Lombardi after just one year, and so that franchise is in pretty rough shape right now. It’s still way too early to know if they’d want to pull the trigger on a trade come May, when the NFL Draft takes place. Also, I don’t think you can say that Cousins is better than any of the quarterbacks coming out of the draft right now. Maybe he’s a little better prepared because he’s entering his third season. But, some of the quarterbacks in the draft could have a higher ceiling. What is Cousins’s ceiling? We don’t know because he hasn’t played a whole lot. And because of that uncertainty, a team would possibly think twice, or thrice before sending an early-round pick to Washington in exchange for him.

Okay, so we know that they need help in the special teams area. With Aldrick Robinson being “undersized,” but extremely fast, would or should they ever consider moving him to special teams? His speed might prove helpful in this area and make up for all of his predecessors who clearly missed the mark. And what is the reasoning to re-signing Hall, how many touchdowns did he give up and where does that rank with the other corners in the NFL? I don’t get it.

– Amber

It’s hard to say how a new special teams coordinator will view Aldrick Robinson’s skill set. He struggled when it came to fielding punts in his rookie preseason and second preseason, and when Richard Crawford went down this past preseason, the Redskins didn’t consider Robinson. He does have very good speed, but more goes into it than that. If he’s smart, however, he’ll spend this offseason working on fielding punts and kicks so he has more to offer his new coaches.

Whatever happened to Tanard Jackson who had a drug suspension?

– Lisa Bilder

Ah, the long-lost Tanard Jackson question. It’s been a while since someone brought him up! We had quite the streak going during the season. But to answer your question, nothing has changed with Tanard Jackson’s status. He applied for reinstatement, which would end his indefinite suspension from the NFL. But the commissioner has not granted his request yet.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

More from The Post:

Sam’s announcement prompts NFL to examine itself

Jenkins: Sam’s coming out resonates from NFL to Sochi

D.C. Sports Bog: Invited RGIII to a wedding | Morris in a pink tie

Williams’s role includes college and pro evaluation | Williams hired

Should Redskins part with Meriweather? | Offseason questions series

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