Interview with Doc Walker: Part 2

Washington Commanders

In Part 2 of our interview, we continue where we left off. Doc gives his thoughts on if the Redskins have a chance of recouping some of the lost cap money and evaluates the tight ends not named Cooley. Walker also explains how the Redskins will prevent a sophomore slump for Robert Griffin III and gives his bold prediction on how Alfred Morris will do in 2013.

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JR: That’s the OLD burgundy and gold method. It’s not the method anymore.

DW: No. I like what they’re doing now. They don’t say a lot. You don’t know what they’re thinking. They’re finally running this thing right.

JR: That has Shanahan stamped all over it.

DW: I like it. I’m not mad. I’m frustrated because I’d like to know. But I respect the fact that they’re finally in charge and running the program like a football operation and not a marketing arm. Because they’re the best in the world marketing. But as the product improves, they are going to be even better at that.

JR: You’d rather see the news in the fall than the spring, right?

DW: Absolutely. We won the offseason. I want to win. Look, they’re in good hands now. You can always get better. To me, I just want to see Lorenzo Alexander, Rob Jackson – I want to see those guys that planted the flag to restore the glory, rewarded. That, to me, is important.

JR: Do you think the Redskins have a shot of getting their cap money back?

DW: No. I don’t but they did well without it last year. They’ll do it again. They really impressed me in how they draft well on the second day. They draft a lot of guys who are on their team. All those picks — a lot of people have a lot of picks and they never win. Having the picks is one thing. Getting the picks and helping the picks learn how to play pro football is another. So now we’re starting to see players actually get better here. That didn’t happen for years in my opinion. Guys here flatlined. Now guys are improving. Niles Paul learned a new position and is improving. You get a guy like Richard Crawford. That’s improvement to me. When you get Aldrick Robinson, that’s improvement for me. Those are guys that — second-day guys — they come on and help you win. When you look at Alfred Morris. That’s selection and that’s coaching. The Skins are now getting it. Grow your own. Develop your own. Scheme to fit your talent. Now it’s starting to come together. See, you don’t necessarily need all the number ones. It would be nice if they’re lineman… great. I’d rather have a smart staff that can teach than a lot of high picks because I’ve seen that. Free agent day I’m sour on unless it’s like a London Fletcher. London [was signed] because he’s a character guy. You can’t bring in jackasses. It costs you money and you don’t get any results out of it. So the guy, whoever picks the talent, I’m more concerned about evaluating the guys who pick it. And right now I’m pleased based on the record. Logan Paulsen. That’s drafting a guy that can play and he’s getting better and better because of his coaching and scheme.

JR: Playing time, too, helps a lot.

DW: They had him here before and he wasn’t playing.

JR: And [Fred] Davis gets hurt.

DW: That’s the way this league is. If you go down you shouldn’t be guaranteed to get your job back. It’s the NFL. Unless you’re a champion, which they have none of those on their team that have won here… so everything’s up for grabs until you prove it. And that’s the way it ought to be. And if Freddie’s healthy, Freddie’s starting. Freddie’s the best.

JR: Do you think he’s coming back?

DW: I do. I do. I think he can make more here and I think that you’re going to see Fred, Garçon, Joshua [Morgan] — if Joshua and Garçon, coming off the toe and the ankle, getting those screws out of his ankle as Joshua did – ferocious.

JR: Do you think [Davis] will come back on a franchise deal?

DW: I don’t know. I think Freddie will be — you’ve got to be smart about it. You’ve got to look at your options, too. There are a lot of tight ends out there that are similar to him, not him. Of the guys available, he’s the best to me. And he knows your scheme. He’s just outstanding. I’m crazy about him, Freddie, because he’s a difference maker. He’s not a catch and drop guy. He’s a catch and explode and score guy. They are hard to get.

JR: Do you think they’ll bring back Lorenzo? John Keim reported that he rejected their first offer to him.

DW: I hope Lorenzo comes back because if Lorenzo Alexander is not worthy of compensation based on what he does for you then nobody is. I would go with Zo and sign guys later — all the older guys. It’s a youth league.

JR: He’s another one of those guys that’s more valuable to the Redskins than any other team, too.

DW: Maybe. I don’t know. He can play defense, too. The thing about Zo, I think Zo can play every day and be a linebacker. And he can do teams. So you’ve got to be careful with Zo. Jackson proved that. Unlimited potential. I’d love to see him, Rak, and Kerrigan because you can never have enough people that can rush the passer. I’d love to see all three of them coming. He’s a versatile guy and I’d love to see it.

JR: The Panthers just went through this with Cam Newton and being the dynamic, offensive threat that he was his rookie year. And now everyone has seen RGIII and how he went through his first year. How difficult will it be for the Redskins to duplicate what they did last year coming into this season since everyone knows what to expect now? And how hard will it be for them to make changes on offense to keep everyone guessing?

DW: It’s game-to-game. Kyle Shanahan will be able to come up with schemes. They knew what was happening last year. They hadn’t seen it. They’re not the only team that runs it. Four or five teams run it so people are going to get more and more familiar with it. Alfred Morris is the key. He’ll even be better next year.

JR: You think so?

DW: I know so.

JR: Even more than 1,600 yards?

DW: Yeah, I believe he’s capable of doing that because Mike and Kyle — if they’re committed to the run they can get it done. Because you’ve seen what happens when — they did this with Garçon out a lot, Joshua coming off an ankle, Fred out. If they’re fortunate enough to have their people healthy, when they four and five wide and they can still run the stretch, how are you going to stop it? It’s too many weapons. And it’s like New England but with bigger threats. Because really, New England runs a tight end-based offense. Gronk, Hernandez, and those guys, they’re outstanding but there’s no catch and score guys. They’re hell on wheels in the red zone with Gronk but when you’re talking about the element of speed these guys potentially have and can put out there now with [Aldrick] Robinson in the package, Santana, who I hope suvives this [cap situation] but I don’t know how likely it is because I just don’t know how far they can continue to go and expose their youth. I just don’t think they can do it.

JR: I can’t write a story for without asking about a story of the 5 O’Clock Club. Can you tell me a good story about the 5 O’Clock Club that nobody knows about?

DW: No. We can’t. We’re sworn to secrecy. What you’ve heard… legend is true. The one thing about the 5 O’Clock Club is very few stories you’ve heard are exaggerated and that’s the whole beauty of it.

JR: Drinking after practice never happened?

DW: I don’t remember that. I didn’t see any drinking after practice. I just saw guys playing cards, watching film, talking about the upcoming opponent.

JR: As a tight end, what do you think about Niles Paul’s transition to tight end from receiver?

DW: It’s a slow one but steady. To do it in the pros is very difficult. I got a chance to do it in college. So I had two years. He’s going to be good at it. And I just foresee him – and it’s not fair – but I think Shannon Sharpe every time I see him. And that’s not fair because Shannon was phenomenal. But he did it in this offense. And I think this kid has similar skills. Now he’s going to have to prove that he can do [it]. Because Shannon had to make the conversion, too, with Mike. And I think Mike saw Shannon in [Niles]. Niles is such a terrific [special] teams player. He is explosive. I mean how many tight ends run back kicks? This guy is special. The problem is it’s going to maybe take him another year. But it’s beautiful to have Fred to where he’s not pressed. You can put packages together for him but ultimately I think Niles is going to catch 80 or 90 balls at the tight end position. Maybe a few years down the road but I just foresee him doing that. He’s too good an athlete not to get this done but you do have to learn the position. And it’s difficult when you’re the kill release guy on teams. He’s playing all the cover things on special teams and he’s a return guy. And then you’ve got to block defensive ends and stuff. That’s tough.

Stay tuned for Part Three on Tuesday.

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