Redskins GM Bruce Allen acknowledges increased focus on special teams

Redskins GM Bruce Allen acknowledges increased focus on special teams
May 7, 2014, 3:15 pm
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Considering the utter disaster the Redskins’ special teams were in 2013, it should come as no surprise that one of the team’s top priorities this offseason has been to upgrade those units.

It began in free agency and, according to General Manager Bruce Allen, will continue in the draft.

“In free agency … we looked at all of the free agents with that type of eye,” Allen said on Tuesday. “I think some of the linebackers were signed was [because of] their special teams performance in the NFL.”

Indeed, many of the 14 free agents the Redskins have signed will be counted upon to bolster special teams. The most notable contributors figure to be linebackers Akeem Jordan and Adam Hayward, each of whom will play on coverage teams. Meantime, wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts could be involved as a returners, though it’s not clear to what extent.

There also figures to be some competition among the specialists after the addition of punters Robert Malone and Blake Clingan, who will battle to replace Sav Rocca, and kicker Jake Rogers, who was signed last month to push incumbent Kai Forbath.

And the additions are not done. Allen acknowledged that prospects’ special teams grades will be carefully considered during this week’s draft.

“[New special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica] has been involved in all of the draft meetings and has been able to evaluate the special team-type players,” Allen said. “Meaning the receivers, running backs, defensive backs, linebackers who can make an impact on special teams. Once again, that information—[and] their special team grade—goes into the final grade that [Director of Player Personnel Scott Campbell] puts on the players.”