The Redskins have a lot of holes to fill on their roster, some of which may be easier to address than others. A look at their most pressing issues:
Wide Receiver: In seeking to remake a group that lacked a 1,000-yard receiver in 2011, the team signed Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan as free agents, made Santana Moss the team’s third receiver and hoped for a contribution from Leonard Hankerson. The results have been mixed. The Redskins say Garcon is a legitimate No. 1 receiver when healthy, but he’s been hurt virtually the entire season. And aside from the injury issue, there is room to wonder if that is true whether he can truly be a top target.
Right Tackle: Veteran would-be starter Jammal Brown hasn’t played all season because of an ailing hip. Tyler Polumbus has played reasonably well as the fill-in starter. But if the Redskins want to reach contender status, they might need to upgrade at this increasingly important position. In this pass-happy era of the NFL, many defenses utilize top pass rushers off both edges, instead of just one.
Tight End: Fred Davis’s contract expires following the season after the Redskins re-signed him to a one-year deal as their franchise player, and he’ll be recovering from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon that ended his season early. Can the Redskins re-sign him and will he be the Pro Bowl-caliber player they thought he would be? If not, is the current trio of Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul and Chris Cooley enough? Will Cooley even return at all?
Cornerback: The Redskins have had one of the league’s worst pass defenses all season, and it’s clear they must upgrade in the secondary. But a top cover NFL cornerback is extremely expensive, generally requiring either a first-round draft choice or a handsome free agent contract.
Safety: Team officials thought they would be set with the offseason additions of Brandon Meriweather and Tanard Jackson as projected starters. But Jackson is missing the season after being suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Meriweather has been sidelined all season because of a knee injury. The Redskins hope Meriweather plays after the bye and becomes a stabilizing force. But Jackson’s status remains unclear, and the Redskins likely will have to make other plans at that spot.
Pass Rusher: Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo’s season ended early because of a torn pectoral muscle, the same muscle he tore in the final game of the 2011 season but in a different spot, according to the Redskins. That raises questions about how heavily the team can continue to count on him to be the leader of its pass rush. Top pass rushers are at a premium, and the Redskins likely won’t be able to make any moves here in the short term, given their other concerns.
— Mark Maske