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#HailMail: Tight Ends, Running Backs, Wide Receivers And More


The NFL Scouting Combine is set to begin next week, and fans have questions about the roster and potential moves in the draft and free agency. Here's what Redskins fans want to know:

Did the Redskins hire a female coach? What are the pros? -- Charles S.

The Redskins officially hired Jennifer King last week as a full-year coaching intern. She has worked with Ron Rivera in two previous stints when he was coaching the Carolina Panthers and will be assisting running backs coach Randy Jordan this year.

King brings plenty of experience as a player and coach at the collegiate and professional levels. With the Panthers, she worked with the wide receivers in 2018 and the running backs in 2019. Prior to joining the Redskins, she was an offensive assistant at Dartmouth College.

King also brings more than a decade of experience as a player, including seven All-American seasons with the Carolina Phoenix of the Women's Football Alliance. You can check out a more detailed layout of her accomplishments, HERE.

Are we drafting a running back or getting one in free agency? -- Monir A.

Anything is possible, but if the Rivera and the Redskins do want to bring in another running back, it will not be one of their top priorities.

It's true that Chris Thompson is set to become a free agent on March 18, but the Redskins have three quality running backs still on their roster. In addition to Adrian Peterson, who is officially signed on for the 2020 season after the team exercised its club option on him, the team also spent high draft picks on Derrius Guice and Bryce Love. Both backs have a history with injuries, but Guice and Love are predicted to be ready for the 2020 season.

There is a good chance that those three players will be among those rotated in during the season. But again, there is always a chance the team could bring in a player or two before training camp to compete for a spot on the practice squad.

Do you think the Redskins will bring in a veteran wide receiver during free agency? -- Chris T.

Given the youth on the Redskins wide receiver corps, there is certainly a possibility the Redskins could bring in a veteran wide receiver this offseason.

There are currently five wide receivers on the Redskins' active roster, and their average age is 23. Among those five, the only one who has more than one season of experience is Cam Sims, who has only played in eight games and started in one. There's also Trey Quinn, but his second season ended on Injured Reserve.

While this receiver group is clearly talented, there is a need to bring in a more experienced player. This year's free agency class features plenty of talented veteran options. A.J. Green, Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb and Tavon Austin are among the players who could be available should the Redskins decide to sign a receiver during free agency.

Will the new team structure have any focus on penalties? -- Timothy C.

Rivera has not directly addressed the Redskins' penalty issues from last season, but based on who Rivera is as a coach and person, he's not one to let those same issues continue under his tenure.

The Redskins were around the middle of the league last season when it came to number of penalties per game. According to Team Rankings, they were 15th in the NFL with an average of 6.6 penalties. However, they were among the worst in terms of penalties yards with a 52.2-yard average per game.

Conversely, the Panthers were one of the least-penalized teams behind only the Indianapolis Colts. They accounted for 47.1 penalty yards per game, which was also second-best in the league last year. They were second-best in the league in 2018 as well.

Rivera wants the new Redskins' culture to start and end with discipline. Penalties and discipline rarely mix, so there's a good chance Rivera will focus on playing smart football this upcoming season.

Is the team going to draft off position need or the best player available? -- Kierstyn S.

The simple answer to this question is that it will likely be a little bit of both.

The Redskins hold the No. 2 overall pick this year, which puts them in great shape to draft the best player available. If they decide to draft Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, as many are predicting them to do, then it would not necessarily address a position of need. They already have four first-round picks invested in their defensive front, three of which have come in the past three seasons.

Once that No. 2 pick has been spent, the Redskins will also be in position to address more direct needs. Based on what happens during free agency, the Redskins will need to find answers on the offensive line among other positions. You can look at which players are set to become free agents, HERE.

Does Ron Rivera hold greater weight as a liaison between ownership and players? -- Chris S.

If Rivera's previous tenure with the Panthers is any indication, the answer is yes.

Rivera has a stellar reputation around the league and is almost universally liked by players and executives. His past players vouch for him, and although he was ultimately relieved of his duties in Carolina, the organization gave him a send-off that is rare in any professional sports league.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has already given his strong support for Rivera; after all, he did start recruiting Rivera to be his next head coach only days after he left the Panthers. Plus, the players only have positive things to say about Rivera when they are asked about him.

So, Snyder and his players can agree that Rivera is a good man and coach who has their interests in mind and will treat everyone fairly.

What are the Redskins' plans for Cam Sims? -- Tyller J.

Sims is in the final year of a two-year contract and is set to become a free agent in 2021.

From a contract standpoint, the Redskins are in a solid position to do whatever they want with Sims. If they decide to keep him, he will likely compete with the rest of the team's young wide receivers for playing time during the 2020 season. He only had three targets in 2019, two of which he caught for 27 yards.

There is a chance Sims could be released, but there has been no indication that will be the route Rivera and the coaching staff takes this offseason. It's only been 10 days since Rivera started to evaluate the team, so the answer as to what he will do with Sims will come soon enough.

What are the chances of the Redskins drafting a tight end in the second or third round? -- Josh P.

Barring a trade for more picks, the Redskins do not currently have a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. It's a long way between the No. 2 overall pick and the Redskins' third-round selection at No. 66, but there is a good chance a quality tight end could be there when they're on the clock again.

It is clear that the Redskins got virtually no production out of their tight ends in 2019, as both Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed were out for most or all of the season with concussions. Jeremy Sprinkle led the position in receiving yards, but that only amounted to 241 yards and one touchdown on 40 targets.

Sports Illustrated ranked their top tight ends available in this year's draft last week. Notre Dame's Cole Kmet, Washington's Hunter Bryant and Purdue's Brycen Hopkins are their top three players, respectively, but there is a strong chance none of them will be available when the Redskins make their pick. In that case, they would have to settle for other options like Vanderbilt's Jared Pinkney.

What positions will the Redskins concentrate on in free agency and the draft? -- John R.

CBS Sports gave their take on the Redskins' top needs on Jan. 21, and the list includes offensive tackle, wide receiver, interior offensive line, cornerback, linebacker, tight end, edge rusher, safety and running back. I don't see cornerback, edge rusher, safety or running back as priorities for the Redskins. They're either set at those positions or have young players who can grow with time and experience.

That leaves offensive tackle, wide receiver, interior offensive line, tight end and linebacker on my list. The Redskins have youth at linebacker and wide receiver, so if they do decide to address those positions, it will likely be in free agency to get veterans.

I've said all offseason that the offensive line as a whole is the biggest area of need to me. With only two starters from last season under contract after March 18, I still hold that opinion. The Redskins will probably use both free agency and the draft to get a mix of starters and depth for that group.

What is the health status of Reuben Foster and what do you believe his role will be? -- Aric R.

Foster is still recovering from the torn ACL he suffered at the start of OTAs last May. There are no recent official updates on his recovery, but it has been almost a year since he was placed on Injured Reserve. It is unknown when he will be able to resume football activities.

But for the sake of the question, I will say that Foster would be a valuable asset for the Redskins as an outside linebacker. He was a solid player for the San Francisco 49ers, accounting for 101 total tackles in one and a half seasons. He has not played in a game since Oct. 28, 2018.

As for how much Foster would actually play in 2020, that would depend upon his recovery. He has been working hard in his rehabilitation, but two years is a long time without playing the sport. I would guess he would start the season as a rotational player until he gets accustomed to playing in live games again.

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