Redskins shift into retooling mode

Redskins shift into retooling mode
November 10, 2011, 1:32 pm
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In a span of three days earlier this week, the Redskins signaled that while they are going to continue to try to win games this year, they are looking for players who can help them in 2012. On Sunday, rookies Roy Helu, Leonard Hankerson, and Maurice Hurt all made their first NFL starts. Then on Tuesday, four new players were signed to contracts replacing three older players and one rookie draft pick. Although Mike Shanahan is hesitant to say that he is rebuilding, make no mistake, this team is retooling with an eye towards 2012. The new players, DE Kentwan Balmer, DB D. J. Johnson, OT Tyler Compass, and WR David Anderson, are unlikely to play major roles this year barring injuries to players in front of them. But they will be evaluated in practice and the Redskins will get to know them and see if they are good fits for the team going forward. The ones that are might be offered 2012 contracts and will get a chance to compete for a job during the offseason and in training camp. Those who are not a good fit may last only a couple of weeks before getting released so that the team can evaluate another players potential fit for their roster. The bottom three or four spots on the roster may churn until the season is over. Most of the impact of those moves will be seen on the practice field. There will be other decisions made that we will see on the field on Sundays. The three rookies who started last Sunday may be only the start of younger players taking the places of older ones. It would not be surprising, for example, to see second-year player Perry Riley get some play at inside linebacker. Starter Rocky McIntosh will turn 30 next season and he returned to the Redskins on a one-year deal after the lockout ended. The Redskins may want to see if Riley is capable of holding down the job so they will know where they stand going into the offseason. Other rookies who might see some meaningful snaps are safety DeJon Gomes and wide receiver Nile Paul (after he recovers from a toe injury). Perhaps you could say that this means that the Redskins are throwing in the towel on this season with eight games to go. But it remains to be seen if having players like Helu and Hankerson on the field diminishes or enhances the teams chances of winning.