STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
Starter Kirk Cousins. Backups Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld.
Cousins and the Redskins couldn't come to a long-term contract agreement by the July 17 deadline, so he will play 2017 on the franchise tag ($23.9 million) and faces an uncertain future in Washington. He has set the franchise record for passing yards in consecutive years and finished last season with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. But a rough game in the season finale against the New York Giants cost the Redskins a playoff spot. McCoy didn't take a snap but is under contract one more year. Sudfeld remains a long-term project.
Starter Rob Kelley. Backups Samaje Perine, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, Mack Brown, Keith Marshall.
Kelley supplanted Jones as the starter in late October and was lauded by coaches for his ability to avoid negative runs and break tackles. Perine's selection in the fourth round of the 2017 draft suggests Jones' days are numbered. He was benched for the final nine games of 2016 for ball-security issues and did not participate in OTAs. Thompson stayed healthy again and is an effective third-down back who holds up in pass protection. Brown is a solid special teams player who will push for a roster spot again. Marshall's speed gives him a puncher's chance to make the roster.
Starter Jordan Reed. Backups Vernon Davis, Derek Carrier, Niles Paul, Jeremy Sprinkle, Manasseh Garner.
The offense got by without Reed in midseason, when he missed two games with a concussion. But a left shoulder separation Thanksgiving Day at Dallas proved harder for Reed to shake. He was a shell of himself down the stretch. When healthy, Reed was among the game's best (66 catches, 686 yards, six touchdowns), but he played in just 12 games. Davis showed at age 33 he still had something left in the tank (44 catches, 583 yards, two touchdowns), and Paul's return from a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 8 will help. Watch out for Sprinkle, a fifth-round pick from Arkansas.
Starters Terrelle Pryor Sr., Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder. Backups Brian Quick, Ryan Grant, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Matt Hazel, Lavern Jacobs, Zach Pascal, James Quick, Kendal Thompson.
One of the NFL's deepest units has been revamped. Gone are Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, who both topped 1,000 receiving yards in 2016. But the Redskins signed Pryor, a 1,000-yard receiver last year in Cleveland. Crowder topped his fine rookie season with 67 catches and has established himself as one of the best slot receivers around. The big question is former first-
round pick Josh Doctson, who missed 14 games last season with a sore left Achilles' tendon. But he was healthy throughout offseason workouts. The Redskins added veteran Brian Quick in free agency and love Ryan Grant's reliability as a blocker and special-teams player.
Starters LT Trent Williams, LG Shawn Lauvao, C Spencer Long, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses. Backups T Ty Nsekhe, G Arie Kouandjio, T Vinston Painter, T Kevin Bowen, T Tyler Catalina, G Kyle Kalis, T John Kling, G Ronald Patrick, C Chase Roullier, T Isaiah Williams.
A top-tier offensive line is back intact. Trent Williams missed four games due to a substance abuse suspension by the NFL, but still made a fifth Pro Bowl. Scherff made the Pro Bowl in his second season. Moses made strides in his third season and was rewarded with a five-year contract extension. Nsekhe played well in Williams' place and is a capable reserve who could start for other teams. Cousins was sacked just 23 times, fourth-fewest in the NFL, but run-blocking needs to improve.
Starters DLE Jonathan Allen, NT Stacy McGee, DRE Terrell McClain. Backups NT Matt Ioannidis, DE Ziggy Hood, DE A.J. Francis, DE Anthony Lanier, DE Joey Mbu, DE Brandon Banks, DT Ondre Pipkins, DE Phil Taylor.
The Redskins desperately needed more young talent on the defensive line and got it when Allen from Ashburn, Va., where Washington trains unexpectedly slipped to them at No. 17 in the draft. He should be an immediate boost after a brilliant career at Alabama. Lanier showed promise as an undrafted rookie while Ioannidis, a 2016 fifth-round pick, didn't even make the team out of camp before signing to the practice squad and eventually seeing snaps late in the year. Washington hopes the free agent additions of McGee and McClain help stabilize this group.
Starters WLB Ryan Kerrigan, ILB Will Compton, ILB Mason Foster, SLB Preston Smith. Backups ILB Zach Brown, ILB Martrell Spaight, OLB Trent Murphy, OLB Lynden Trail, OLB Ryan Anderson, ILB Zach Vigil, SLB Junior Galette, WLB Houston Bates, OLB Chris Carter, ILB Josh Harvey-
Clemons, ILB Nico Marley, OLB Pete Robertson.
Not a ton of speed at inside linebacker, though Foster played well late in the year and Compton is a smart, instinctive player. The Redskins could look to upgrade here. Kerrigan battled through elbow, knee and finger injuries late, but made the Pro Bowl with 11 sacks. Murphy was supposed to switch to defensive end, but the season-ending injury to Galette (Achilles' tendon) pushed him back to linebacker, where he had a nice year with nine sacks. Washington needs more from its pass rush. Smith (4.5 sacks) was a disappointment and needs to make strides entering his third year.
Starter LCB Josh Norman, RCB Bashaud Breeland, SS Su'a Cravens, FS D.J. Swearinger. Backups CB Quinton Dunbar, CB Fabian Moreau, S Deshazor Everett, S DeAngelo Hall, S Josh Evans, CB Kendall Fuller, CB Dashaun Phillips, S Will Blackmon, CB Josh Holsey, CB Tevin Homer, S Montae Nicholson, S Fish Smithson, S Earl Wolff, CB Lou Young.
Norman gives the Redskins a fighting chance every week when facing top receivers. They need more behind him, however. Fuller, a 2016 third-round pick, struggled as the slot corner, but still shows promise. Breeland had an up-and-down year opposite Norman, but plays fearlessly. Veterans Blackmon and Hall, both converted corners, will have to fight for a roster spot.
K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way, KOR Chris Thompson, PR Jamison Crowder, LS Nick Sundberg.
Hopkins fell back to earth in 2017 with eight missed field goals and three missed extra points, but he was reliable enough on kickoffs that there is no competition in camp. Crowder went from one of the worst punt returners in the NFL as a rookie to third (12.1 yards per return). He was a Pro Bowl alternate. Sundberg has been reliable at long snapper since 2010. Way, in his fourth year, faces no camp competition.