Redskins mailbag: On Chase Minnifield, Mike Shanahan and Aldon Smith


Redskins cornerback Chase Minnifield had a strong training camp in 2013, but struggled in the preseason. (Steve Helber/Associated Press)

It’s an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink type of mailbag today as the countdown to the draft continues. Yesterday, we took a look at some of the top tackles in the draft, and tomorrow, Mark Bullock will examine the defensive linemen. The 2014 schedule should be coming out any day now, as well.

But here in the mailbag, we discuss everything from updates on Chase Minnifield, Reed Doughty and Mike Shanahan to whether or not Washington should consider Aldon Smith, if he gets released by San Francisco … and a couple of other interesting topics.

What are the chances of Chase Minnifield making the team this year? Any rumblings about him from the organization? I really like this kid and think he can make a big jump two years removed from knee surgery!

– Devin May

Redskins coaches like Minnifield, the former U-Va. star who went undrafted because of knee problems, missed all of his rookie season because of a second knee surgery, and then spent the bulk of last season on Washington’s practice squad. But questions remain about his development, potential and durability. That’s why the Redskins signed Tracy Porter and re-signed E.J. Biggers to compete for the third and fourth cornerback jobs. Minnifield had a strong training camp and impressed coaches and veteran teammates. But he struggled in the preseason games. The offseason practices will represent prime opportunity for Minnifield to display improvement in his game.

It seems it would be almost impossible for a two-time Super-Bowl-winning coach to just disappear. But Mike Shanahan has done one amazing vanishing act. Do you have any idea what he is doing since exiting Ashburn? Has he made appearances at any charity events or delivered speeches to groups? … As contentious as his exit from D.C. was, I’m sure he wants to stay unemployed for a full 365 days and squeeze out every penny of the $7 million Daniel Snyder owes him. Any buzz, though, if he’s working friends and contacts for a possible return to football in 2015 (on a field, in an office, or on a TV set)?

– Sam Hall, Berryville, Va.

I heard from a couple of people that Mike Shanahan is enjoying life, traveling and playing a lot of golf. A few weeks ago, a Redskins fan shared a picture he had taken with Shanahan at a golf course in Florida. I’m not sure what his future plans entail. But I’d be a little surprised to see him coach again, and he doesn’t seem like the TV type. He only fulfilled the media obligations that he did as head coach because he was required to do so.

With the Redskins’ defensive problems still not completely solved, would it make much sense if they make a dash for 49er linebacker Aldon Smith, provided we can get him at a basement bargain price once he is released? We all know he is most likely going to be suspended for part of the season and then probably released. We have given players a second chance before, why not Smith? Just imagine for a minute Smith playing behind Kerrigan and Orakpo!

– Olufemi Adepoju

No, I don’t think that’d be a good move. I don’t think they’re that desperate. Smith seems rather unstable. He doesn’t just have the alleged false bomb threat issue he’s dealing with, but also three felony gun charges from a separate incident, and last season he left the 49ers multiple times to deal with a drinking problem. There’s no indication just yet that he will be released, but even if he does, the Redskins are much better off steering clear and finding another talent in the draft.

Was surprised to see Reed Doughty has not yet re-signed with the Skins. What is the reason for this? Has the team decided to move on or is it a question of money?

– Tom Hallam

It appears as if they have decided to move on. Doughty was a reliable special teams player, and a very intelligent guy, whom coaches trusted greatly on defense as well. But he did have his limitations. The Redskins opted to re-sign Brandon Meriweather and sign Ryan Clark, and they’re still hoping that Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo can still develop into something. I don’t know that the door is closed entirely on a Doughty return. But for now, it doesn’t sound as if anything’s cooking. The two sides had engaged in talks earlier this offseason, but little progress was made. Doughty, for now, is still training and preparing himself in the event that another opportunity arises.

Give me a short description of every beat reporter down at Redskins Park most days. Like who is the smartest, who is the best-looking dresser, who smells of whiskey the most? Keith McMillan really wanted me to ask this question after I posted it in the comments section.

– Alex Zeese

Haha, class superlatives, huh? I can’t say that anyone smells of whiskey. We all know Tarik El-Bashir has trouble running in a straight line without falling on his face, but that’s not because of alcohol. Best dressed would have to go to Mr. Chick (Hernandez, that is) – edging out Dianna Russini and Lindsay Murphy because of his color-coordinated handkerchiefs, ties and shoes. (No word on if the underwear matches, too). The biggest diva title may have to go to my guy Jason Reid, but we love him anyway. The title of funniest guy in the room belonged to Grant Paulsen, but he has moved on to bigger and better things, hosting his own radio show for 106.7 The Fan. There will be a big void in the room this coming season. Joseph White of the Associated Press is the room’s expert on Dr. Who (because he’s the only one on earth that watches it) and the outdoors, stargazing  and hiking. Zac Boyer of The Washington Times is probably the most sarcastic of the bunch, and also the most meticulous, especially when it comes to his creepy, tiny handwriting. Mark Maske is the smartest guy in the room, knows the league inside and out and just cranks like a machine. Rick Snider, of The Post Express, and who also is publishing a book this year on 100 Things Every Redskins Fan Should Know, is the historian of the bunch. John “Cakes” Keim of ESPN also ranks among the most insightful because he’s covered the team for 40 years. (I’m kidding. It’s only been since the early ‘90s.) But he’s the best Xs and Os guy. He also is a stud when it comes to the grill or smoker, although I have to say (and Cakes will agree) I make the best pulled pork in the room, contrary to what Kent Babb will try to tell you. Keim and I also go head-to-head in the best youth sports coach category. But he’s got more years under his belt, so his basketball team probably would get the best of mine, although he probably has nothing on me when it comes to girls softball. I know I’m missing people, but that’s a quick glance around a pretty unique room that you’d have to see to believe.

Have a question about the draft or anything else concerning the Redskins? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

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Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

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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