PHOENIX – The offensive line ranked among the Washington Redskins’ top needs to address as they entered the offseason, but now two weeks after free agency began, the team has yet to make any signings along the line.
However, General Manager Scot McCloughan says he has a plan, and that the team isn’t done shopping on the free agent market. McCloughan also anticipates using the draft to fill remaining needs on the roster.
McCloughan explained that although the team has needs at those positions, he didn’t approach free agency as if they represent the only holes on the roster. He sees weaknesses all over, and so, he went shopping for good football players at any position.
“Again, and any position, I didn’t go into this thing saying we’re going to sign five defensive guys – three defensive linemen, a corner” and safety, McCloughan said on Tuesday. “I don’t narrow it down. You can more so in free agency than the draft to need. But I was like, ‘Let’s get some good football players for the right price.’ We’re not going to go out and sign one or two guys and think that we’re that close to being a playoff contending team. We’re not. We’ve got to start building and building and building. … We’re not done with free agency yet, of course, the draft is coming. But it’s not narrowed down, ‘We have to draft an offensive lineman because we don’t have enough.’ It’s not that way. Now, if all of a sudden we get down to the fifth, sixth, seventh round, things might change, and we might say, ‘We did draft another defensive lineman. We’ve got some depth there. So, you know, maybe then we can go offense for sure.’
“But we’ve still got some things we’re working in free agency, and I understand, there’s holes still left to be filled, and we’re working on it,” McCloughan continued. “It’s not an overnight fix, but we made steps in the right direction, to help us get better.”
Washington’s line struggled mightily last season, particularly at the left guard, right guard and right tackle positions. McCloughan aims to fortify that unit piece by piece.
“I want to get it better no matter what,” he said. “I don’t care if we’re coming off of a 12-4 season, I’m always trying to improve every position. There’s guys that are working their tails off this offseason that are under contract for the Redskins, and I respect that. But again, I need to see these guys in person. I can do tape after tape, which I do for college stuff. But I don’t really get to know them until I can see them in person, see the body language, see how they react on the field, see how they react in games, and then get a feel for who can and can’t play.”
McCloughan said this year’s draft features great depth along the offensive line positions, and that in the coming weeks, he and offensive line coach Bill Callahan will narrow down their list to the prospects that best suit their purposes.
“We have a very similar philosophy about big guys, smart guys, tough guys, being able to run the football, being able to pound the ball and get that D-line to really want to quit,” McCloughan said. “Understand, you play the Washington Redskins, we’re coming at you. We’re coming at you no matter what, and so I’m interested in seeing how those [draft planning] meetings play out with the coaches.”