With a new head coach, some intriguing free agents and a quarterback on the comeback trail, the 2014 Redskins are loaded with storylines. Between now and the start of training camp, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will be examining the top 30 questions the Redskins face as they get ready for the season.
How big a concern is Jason Hatcher’s knee injury?
The Redskins managed to get through most of the offseason program injury free but they hit a bit of a bump in the road near the end when free agent defensive end Jason Hatcher underwent arthroscopic knee surgery right after minicamp. Whenever you hear the name of a 32-year-old defensive end and “knee injury” used in the same breath, it’s cause for concern. But just how worried should the Redskins be about Hatcher?
Tandler: If you want to see how important Hatcher is to the Redskins’ plans this year all you have to do is look at his contract. They are paying him $10.5 million in salary and signing bonus this year so, yes, they are looking for big things. Hatcher tweeted yesterday that his “rehab is going great”. That’s good news but you have to keep in mind that players always tend to be optimistic about recovering from injuries, perhaps more so than the facts warrant. Although nobody really knows with the exception of Dr. James Andrews, I think the situation calls for cautious optimism. The positive factors are that the timing of the procedure on Hatcher’s knee was good and his rehab seems to be, dare I say it, ahead of schedule. But there are still reasons to keep a wary eye on the situation, though, because of Hatcher’s age and the fact that he sustained the injury doing non-contact work.
El-Bashir: If there’s ever a good time to be recovering from a minor surgery in the NFL, it’s right now. Hatcher did miss a few minicamp practice sessions, but he managed to accomplish the vast majority of his offseason work prior to the procedure. So he shouldn’t have too much catching up to do from a playbook/conditioning standpoint when training camp begins later this month. If Hatcher’s recovery goes according to plan and he's in the starting lineup Week 1, no one will remember that he even had surgery. But I do agree with Tandler when he says everyone needs to be cautiously optimistic, with the operative word being cautiously. Hatcher is almost 32, and despite not playing starter’s minutes until 2011, he’s a huge man who’s been putting NFL-level strain on his joints since 2006. It’s also a little troubling that he says the injury is the result of years of pounding and not a single, awkward twist or something like that. So, for those reasons, the situation certainly bears watching. But I’m not going to get overly concerned unless he suffers an unforeseen setback or remains limited into the preseason.