If the Redskins offensive line improves this season to the point of surprise, many a pundit will have that proverbial egg on their face.That's because right now, most outside observers are not viewing this unit with anything close to sunny-side up optimism.Rotoworld's Evan Silva is the latest to rank the NFL's 32 offensive lines with the Redskins slotted way down the line at 26. No stunner there. Silva stated hisprojections were based on his own notes from the dozen or so games he watches each week; research from Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus; factoring in"the impact of blocking schemes, rookie expectations, and free agency additions".His evaluation assumes the typical starting lineup with Kory Lichtensteiger at left guard andJammal Brown at right tackle plus rookies Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis joining reserves Maurice Hurt, Tyler Polumbus and Erik Cook (not sure why, but tackle Willie Smith, not listed). "Overview: This is another group that could have benefited from continuity that is so vital for zone-blocking teams. Trent Williams (6), Lichtensteiger (11), and Brown (4) combined to miss 21 games due to injury and suspension last season. Though a system fit for the Shanahans' scheme, Chester's game lacks requisite power for right guard. Lichtensteiger, considered a solid starter when healthy, is now coming back from ACL and MCL surgery. Hurt and Cook gained valuable spot-starting experience due to the injuries in front of them, but this year's priority needs simply to be staying healthy. If the Redskins somehow find durability on the line, this could shoot from a bottom-seven unit to the middle of the pack. Robert Griffin III should definitely make it look better."After drafting three lineman and the primary portion of free agency in the books, any improvement figures to come from the current members, though the Lichtensteiger and Brown injury scenarios linger.For comparison's sake, the Eagles (7),Giants (14) and Cowboys (16) all ranked well ahead of the Redskins, though others might quibble on the gap.Of their 2012 non-NFC East opponents, only the Rams (32) finished behind the Redskins while five units ranked among the league's top 10.
Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 19, 38 days before the NFL draft.
Free agency notes and nuggets
Looking at the 2018 depth chart—offense
The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions and there is the draft, but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the offensive side of the ball stands now. The defense is up tomorrow
Quarterback: Alex Smith
Backups: Colt McCoy
The only question here is if the Redskins will draft a late-round project quarterback to develop as the backup. McCoy is in the last year of his contract and he may not be back in 2019.
Running back: Samaje Perine
Backups: Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, draft pick
This is an area to watch. Thompson could end up being the only carryover if they get a draft pick who can start and decide to keep 2017 late-season addition Kapri Bibbs or if they find another veteran. They also could go with only three running backs.
Wide receivers: Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder
Backups: Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Brian Quick
They may not carry six, so Harris, Davis, and Quick might battle it out for two spots. It’s possible that they will put a draft pick into the mix as well.
MORE REDSKINS: The Redskins week that was
Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle
As of right now, this appears to be one of the few position groups you can write in with a Sharpie. If the Redskins are going to be better in 2018, a lot of the improvement will have to come from improvement of 2017 draft picks like Sprinkle. If he can develop into a solid blocker and a moderate receiving threat he will be an asset.
Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Arie Kouandjio, C Chase Roullier RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: T Ty Nsekhe, G/T Tyler Catalina, G Kyle Kalis, T T.J. Clemmings
Kouandjio is a placeholder at left guard for the moment. He was solid pass blocking but struggled in run blocking in six starts in injury fill-in duty. I think that if they bring in another interior O-lineman in free agency or in the draft, Roullier will remain at center. I think Jay Gruden likes the way he is developing there and wants to continue.
Tandler on Twitter
If you have to restructure Kerrigan to get an extension done for Preston Smith you do it. But 1st year cap hits on extensions off of rookie deal generally low. https://t.co/WIvIp5PoBw— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) March 18, 2018
—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 28
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 130
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 174
In case you missed it
- Looking ahead—Key Redskins 2019 free agents
- The 2018 salaries of 5 Redskins become fully guaranteed today
- LB McPhee reportedly visiting with 'Skins
NFL free agency doesn't care about your brackets.
While you were watching UMBC, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee is currently on a visit with the Redskins:
Pernell, 29, was drafted in 2011 out of Mississppi State by the Baltimore Ravens. He played there for three years before spending the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears.
Pernell has 182 career tackles and 31 career sacks.