The Redskins have clearly made a push to go younger entering this season, and during his news conference on Friday evening Coach Mike Shanahan explained the decision to release some veterans before the start of camp.
Center Casey Rabach and defensive lineman Phillip Daniels were two of the longtime Redskins released earlier this week, and Shanahan said he wanted to give both players, as well as nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu, an opportunity to find a new team in free agency.
Rabach, 33, spent the last six seasons with Washington, playing and starting in all but one game during that tenure. Centreville and Virginia Tech-grad Will Montgomery is expected to replace Rabach at center and took all of the reps there on the first day of training camp.
“I think Casey Rabach is one class individual,” Shanahan said. “And I thought it was fair to him as I told him after we looked at film, we evaluated our football team, I said, ‘I could keep you around here for a couple weeks and then release you but I don’t think it’s fair to you.’ … I think he earned the right for me to release him a little quicker than normal.”
Daniels, 38, was a 15-year veteran who spent the last six seasons in Washington, registering 17 1/2 sacks. Over the last few seasons, Daniels, a 6-foot-5, 302-pound lineman, bulked up to be able to shift to tackle and play end or nose in the Redskins 3-4 system.
The veteran started 61 of 63 games in which he played for the Redskins from 2005 to 2009, missing the 2008 season with a knee injury, and returned to Washington in a reserve role in 2010.
Shanahan said Daniels had earned the same respect as Rabach regarding an early release that allowed him to find another team.
“I told him with the addition of some our players I wasn’t just going to keep him on our football team to release him at the end,” Shanahan said. “Give him the possibility to go and look at another football team and hopefully he can make another team. At the end of his career I told him, ‘Hey you’re the type of guy that you’d like to have back in the organization as a coach or somewhere in the organization,’ because he handles himself so well.”