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#HailMail: Greetings From Super Bowl LIV


MIAMI -- The Washington Redskins have been posted up from Radio Row at Super Bowl LIV all week, but the discussions have rarely centered on the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera is here, and so is No. 1 wide receiver Terry McLaurin and long snapper Nick Sundberg, the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee. They've all stopped by the table to discuss a variety of topics, and you can watch each of their interviews on

In addition, we're back with another edition of our weekly mailbag. Here's what Redskins fans want to know:

Does our new coach build a team and system around the strengths and weaknesses of his players or build his team to fit his system? -- Vince C.

All signs point to the former philosophy.

In his introductory press conference, Rivera preached about having a "player-centered culture" that prioritized those who take the field on Sundays.

Offensive coordinator Scott Turner echoed a similar sentiment in his introductory conference call. He said the coaching staff is currently in the process of evaluating the Redskins' entire roster and trying to gain a deeper understanding of what they have at their disposal. That way, they'll have a better sense of how each player should and will be used.

"Just really trying to figure out the pieces that we have on offense and then fit our scheme to our personnel and what they do well and not ask them to do stuff they don't do well," Turner said. "Now obviously we're going to push them and develop them to improve the things that they don't do quite as well, but we really want to develop our scheme around the strength of our players."

Will Coach Rivera and his coaching staff place emphasis on drafting offensive linemen first, middle linebackers, and then defensive line/cornerbacks before drafting running backs, wide receivers and tight ends? -- Paul P.

Rivera and his coaching staff have not unveiled a specific plan for how they'll attack free agency and the draft, and that's because they're still figuring out exactly what they have.

But from an outsider's perspective, it seems as though the Redskins will focus on a combination of the position groups you mentioned. There's uncertainty surrounding the offensive line, as three starters from last season are set to become free agents and the status of Trent Williams remains uncertain. There are even more questions at tight end, where the top two options -- Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed -- missed most of or all of the year because of concussions.

Those positions should be a priority over the next few months, as should the linebacker corps and adding another cornerback. Running back, wide receiver and defensive line appear to be much more stable, but there's always the possibility the coaching staff restructures those groups as well.

Has coach Rivera shown any special interest in any single player in the 2020 NFL Draft? It would be great to see which player he believes would be a good fit for the Redskins. -- Kyle P.

Rivera has not mentioned any specific players when discussing the 2020 NFL Draft. After all, the coaching staff and scouting departing are still going over all of the possibilities that stem from having the No. 2 overall selection. They could draft one of the best players available, such as Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young, or trade back for more draft capital.

Above all, they're preparing for any situation.

"First and foremost, we say, 'If this happens, this happens and this happens, we know we can do these things," Rivera said from Radio Row on Thursday. "So the biggest thing we have to do is we have to go ahead and say, 'Okay, if they do this, this is our guy. Now, if they do this, this is our guy. Or, if this happens, and all of these other things are in play, what happens if somebody wants to make a move?'

"What I'm saying is that everything is on the table as far as the draft is concerned."

I have always wondered how many people teams like the Patriots and Steelers have on their scouting staff. Do you have an idea how the size of our staff stacks up with some of the better drafting teams in the league? -- Bernard D.

The Patriots do not list their scouts on their website, but in comparing the Redskins and Steelers, they have about the same number of people in their scouting department.

That being said, quality is more important than quantity when it comes to evaluating players, and the Redskins have done a solid job of that the past three seasons. In fact, the 2019 rookie class was named the most productive in the NFL.

Eventually, that young core will equate to more positive results.

"The last three drafts, look at how many of those young guys played and competed for us, how many of those guys started," Rivera said. "I mean Montez Sweat played a lot, [Cole] Holcomb played a lot, Daron [Payne] played a lot, **[Dwayne Haskins**]. We had three rookie receivers that started this year. So, you go, 'Man, there's a good, young foundation of players.'"

What is the status of Trent Williams? In the last Hail Mail, you addressed the free agent status of several offensive linemen. What are the chances of Williams coming back? -- Corey S.

The short answer is that I don't know.

Williams said towards the end of the 2019 campaign that he could not see himself returning to the Redskins. But after the Redskins rearranged the front office and training staff, Adrian Peterson said "it's a possibility" Williams comes back to the team that drafted him in 2010.

Speaking from Radio Row in Miami on Thursday, Rivera said he'd like to sit down with Williams and see where he is not just mentally, but physically. That way, they'll have a better understanding of where he fits in with the franchise going forward.

"We have not really had the contact we need to have to know," Rivera said. "He's still our guy, but until we go through this process, we're not going to know where everyone fits in. These are pieces to the puzzle that we've got to put together."

Is Ron Rivera looking to have one workhorse like Christian McCaffrey or more of an running back by committee that we've had the past couple of years? -- @Lazi41f

Over his three-year NFL career, Christian McCaffrey has averaged nearly 205 carries and 101 receptions per season. In 2019, he touched the ball an astounding 394 times (278 rushes and 116 catches).

No one in the league is putting up those types of numbers, but the Redskins could move away from a running back by committee situation depending on the health of Derrius Guice.

Guice has been tabbed as an every down running back; he just hasn't been healthy enough to validate that claim. Over his first two professional seasons, he's only played in five games.

If Guice's durability improves, Rivera could use him in a similar fashion as he did with McCaffrey in Carolina. Otherwise, it'll be some sort of split between Guice, Peterson, Bryce Love and potentially Chris Thompson, who is set to become a free agent.

Will Fabian Moreau be played on the outside, where he seems most comfortable and seems to excel? -- Lee J.

Whether Moreau plays on the outside or in the slot will ultimately depend on the status of fellow corner Josh Norman.

Norman began the year starting opposite Quinton Dunbar, but he was ultimately benched for unspecified reasons and replaced by Moreau starting in Week 12. Over the next four games, Moreau shined with three interceptions, four pass breakups and 12 total tackles (eight solo). His three interceptions were second-most on the team to Dunbar.

Norman is entering the final year of his contract, so if the Redskins want him, he'll be back in the burgundy and gold. That did not seem likely with the old regime, but that might change now that Rivera and his fellow Panthers assistants are in Washington. Norman played in Carolina from 2012-15.

If Norman stays, expect Moreau to spend much of his fourth NFL season as a nickelback. But if Norman goes, Moreau has already shown the aptitude to excel on the outside.

Can we get a tight end that can stay healthy and be a playmaker? -- Andrew W.

That's the goal, and both Rivera and Turner said that will be a point of emphasis this offseason.

The answer will most likely come in free agency or the draft, Rivera said. The Redskins' top two tight ends last year were Reed and Davis, and both of them missed significant time with concussions. There's a chance neither of them are on the roster in 2020.

One name to keep an eye on is the 34-year-old Greg Olsen, who just mutually parted ways with the Panthers. Olsen is the only No. 1 tight end Rivera has ever had as an NFL head coach, and now he'll be a free agent. Nothing other than that connection suggests Olsen will come to Washington, but at least it's a possibility.

How is Alex Smith, and if he returns what is going to happen to Case Keenum? -- Nicholas W.

Smith has plans to play in 2020, but whether he returns or not is unlikely to affect Keenum's future in Washington.

With Haskins taking over as the starter and Keenum set to become a free agent, Keenum could sign with a team that gives him a better chance to be a No. 1 quarterback. Keenum, 31, has started for four franchises over the past four seasons, so he's used to moving around with the hopes of playing more.

Can we expect to see more shots down the field with Turner's offense? -- Jared T.

Based on the offensive system alone, the answer is yes.

The Redskins ran the West Coast offense under former head coach Jay Gruden, which uses a quick, horizontal passing game to set up the run.

But under Turner, the team will use an offensive scheme known as the Air Coryell, which was developed by former San Diego Chargers head coach Don Coryell in the 1980s.

Turner is the son of former Redskins coach Norv Turner, who has implemented a version of the Air Coryell throughout his coaching career. Now his son will bring a similar system, also known as the "vertical offense," to Washington.

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