After a week in Mobile, Ala. coaching the Senior Bowl’s South team, the Washington Redskins’ coaches have gone their separate ways for a 10-day vacation. They will report back to team headquarters Feb. 7 for a full-on dive into draft class and free agency evaluations.
Coach Mike Shanahan and his staff conducted a top-to-bottom evaluation of their own roster immediately after the season ended. During the first week, offensive coaches evaluated their own players, while the defensive coaches did the same. During the second week, the coaches did a cross-check, with offensive coaches evaluating the defense and vice versa.
Shanahan said the Redskins already have decided which players remain in their plans, which impending free agents they hope to re-sign, and who they will let walk.
“We’ve looked at our players. We spent a lot of time on our players over a two-week time frame. We’ve got a good pecking order,” Shanahan said. “…We’ll come back to work a week from Tuesday.”
Shanahan usually gives his coaches a three-week break after that initial post-season evaluation. But the Senior Bowl fell in the middle of that time period, so he gave them time off afterward.
“We spent time on [our free agents], but now when we get back, we’ll look at the free agents [on other teams] and we’ll look at the draft choices, so when we go to Indy, we’ll have a pretty good idea.”
Starting Feb. 20, NFL teams can begin applying the franchise tag and transition tag on players who they don’t want to lose in free agency, or to ensure that they at least have the right of first refusal. The deadline for those decisions is March 5. (The Redskins didn’t use either tag last season).
From Feb. 22 to 28, Shanahan, his assistants and other team brass will attend the NFL Scouting Combine to further evaluate draft prospects.
Shanahan said coaching the Senior Bowl has helped save some time, because the Redskins were able to eliminate some players from consideration and affirmed positive opinions of others.
“You don’t get a chance to do it very often,” Shanahan said. “You spend a lot of time evaluating these players, but you don’t get to be around them for a week. You’re constantly trying to go to the drawing board, and find out as much as you can from the scouts, Indy. Sometimes you’ll go back to the college campuses just to spend an hour with them, so to spend a whole week with them is big.”
Free agency starts at 4 p.m., March 13.
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