Although the Redskins aren’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, they really don’t have a realistic shot at defending their NFC East title or even contending for a wild card spot. But they do have five games—or about 30 percent of the season—remaining and the league requires them to show up for those contests.
So how should the Redskins handle the remaining 20 quarters of play? Should the treat it as the start of the 2014 preseason and give some young players who are the future of the team a chance to show what they can do? Or should the Redskins continue to play their current starters in hopes of winning as many of the remaining games as possible? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir debate the question in this week’s edition of Point-Counterpoint.
Tandler: I think that the Redskins, who have 20 free agents on the roster, do need to give some of the players they drafted and others that they have developed as undrafted free agents. Two players they should put into the lineup for every defensive snap between now and the end of December are Bacarri Rambo and David Amerson. All four starters in the defensive backfield are free agents in 2014. DeAngelo Hall is likely to be the only one the Redskins will want back and he could decide to go elsewhere. The Redskins need to find out if they have solutions in Rambo and Amerson or if they need to look for DB’s in the draft or free agency. As far as the offensive line, their three young draft picks, Adam Gettis, Josh LeRibeus, and Tom Compton all need to be given honest shots at earning some real playing time.
[Related: 3 and out, Redskins bottoming out]
El-Bashir: While I do feel that this is a good time to see what they’ve got in Rambo, Compton, Gettis, etc., I do not want to see them raise the white flag. Evaluating their young reserves is important. But evaluating their veterans and, more important, how the team responds to Mike Shanahan is even more so. Does Brian Orakpo deserve a big contract extension? If London Fletcher retires, is his replacement on the roster? Can Perry Riley handle the role? Is Nick Barnett a possibility? What about the offensive line? There are going to be changes. But who stays and who goes? And, most important, how does the group respond to Shanahan and his staff? Do the players rally around their embattled their coaching? Or do they mail it in? They're facing a lot of questions over the next five weeks. But emptying the bench won’t help provide any answers.