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Looking ahead: Redskins 2016 depth chart projection, offense

Looking ahead: Redskins 2016 depth chart projection, offense

It’s time to take a look ahead and see what the Redskins’ depth chart might look like on opening day of 2016. Here’s a look at the offense; I’ll cover the defense tomorrow.

Quarterback: Kirk Cousins
Backups: Colt McCoy, draft pick

Cousins will either be signed to a long-term contract or he will get the franchise tag. In any case, he is going nowhere. I’m a little bit iffy on McCoy. He came back here last year thinking that he had a shot at the starting job. Now that he knows he won’t start he may look for another location. I think there will be a developmental quarterback brought in via the draft, somewhere between the fourth and seventh rounds. That QB could be on the practice squad rather than on the 53.

Running backs: Matt Jones, Darrel Young
Backups: Chris Thompson, free agent/draft pick

Putting Jones at the top of the 2016 depth chart was an easy call when I sketched it out a couple of months ago. After he got dinged up a few times and showed that he has a lot of work to do in refining his game to become a full-time starter it’s not so certain. For right now it’s Jones but a draft pick or free agent could supplant him by the time the season starts. It still looks like Alfred Morris will move on, perhaps to a team that emphasizes zone blocking. Thompson was perhaps underutilized with only 35 receptions. Young is a free agent but there is a good chance he will return.

Wide receivers: Pierre Garçon, draft pick
Backups: Jamison Crowder (slot receiver), Ryan Grant, Rashad Ross

As DeSean Jackson struggled to return from a hamstring injury it appeared that he would not be back in 2016. Then after he made a few big plays the focus turned to him being a unique talent. But then there was the fumble on the punt return against the Cowboys and his apparently lackluster effort in trying get the ball across the goal line after a catch against the Packers and his future is back up in the air. Garçon’s return is no sure thing; he had a solid season (72/777/6) but is that worth the $10.2 million cap hit for 2016? If one goes and one stays, I think Garçon is safe but that’s far from certain. If both do not return, a receiver will need to be added in free agency or the draft.

Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Niles Paul, Derek Carrier

Reed can become one of the best in the NFL if he isn’t already. Paul’s rehab from a dislocated ankle is coming along well and he said he plans to be ready for OTAs. If they can find a blocking tight end in the draft they might move on from Carrier.

Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Spencer Long, C Kory Lichtensteiger, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: G Arie Kouandjio, T Ty Nsekhe, 1-2 draft picks

I had Shaun Lauvao back at left guard until I saw him in the locker room on Monday, just off of a second major surgery and in need to a scooter to get around. Perhaps he can make a fast recovery but for right now I’m leaving Long at left guard. They will be on the lookout for a replacement for Lichtensteiger in the draft but the veteran likely holds on to his job for this year.

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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

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USA Today Sports/AP Images

Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

There is nothing quite like January playoff football and Sunday night's Vikings vs. Saints game further proved this point.

In case you have been off the grid the past 12 hours, the Minnesota Vikings literally got a last second win against the New Orleans Saints.

With 10 seconds left in the fourth and facing a 3rd and 10, quarterback Case Keenum heaved the football near the sideline to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who dodged two defenders while managing to stay inbounds for a 61-yard touchdown as the clock expired. 

It was one of the most remarkable playoff walk-off wins, if not the most remarkable one, in football.

So, where does it stand among the others?

RELATED: FORMER TERP PLAYS HERO IN VIKINGS' MIRACLE PLAYOFF WIN

Broncos vs. Steelers 2011 AFC Wild Card game: Remember Tim Tebow's 80-yard overtime touchdown to Demaryius Thomas during the 2011 Broncos vs. Steelers AFC Wild Card game? It was the first and last snap of overtime and it was wild.

Mile High Miracle: On third and three with 43 seconds left in the game, Ravens' Joe Flacco launched one towards wide receiver Jacoby Jones, who got in front of the Broncos receiver and ran the ball in for a 70-yard game-tying touchdown. The Ravens would eventually go on to win the game in double overtime. Some could argue it was the defining moment in the Ravens' Super Bowl run. 

Cardinals vs. Steelers Super Bowl XLIII: Under the brightest lights of all, Ben Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes with 43 seconds in the fourth in the back of the end zone for a toe-dragging, Super Bowl-winning catch. 

RELATED: WHAT REDSKINS CAN LEARN FROM THIS WEEKEND'S PLAYOFF GAMES

Saints vs. 49ers 2012 NFC Divisional game: Sunday's loss wasn't the first time the Saints have experienced a fourth quarter letdown. Back in 2012, Alex Smith threw one to the endzone on 3rd-and-three with 14 seconds left that sealed a win.

While these are only a few, we can't wait to add more to the list in years to come.

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Redskins can't base Kirk Cousins decision on the makeup of the final four

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Redskins can't base Kirk Cousins decision on the makeup of the final four

For many fans who would like to see the Redskins move on from Kirk Cousins, the case was closed by the results of the divisional playoff round.

When the dust settled from the weekend, three of the four winning quarterbacks were Nick Foles, Blake Bortles, and Case Keenum. In Foles and Keenum, two journeymen who were free agents last March, available to any team that had a million bucks or so of salary cap space. Bortles was the third overall pick of the 2014 draft but he was widely viewed as a big-time bust.

MORE REDSKINS: WHAT CAN THE REDSKINS LEARN FROM THE PLAYOFFS?

So, to some the lesson was that you can roll any random quarterback out there and if you have some other pieces in place you can get to the final four.

Not so fast, my friend. Such thinking is based on a small sample size. This year is very much an outlier in terms of the quarterbacks who make the conference championship games. Let’s expand the sample size and look at the final four QBs standing in the previous six seasons.

2016: Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger

2015: Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Peyton Manning, Brady

2014: Russell Wilson, Rodgers, Brady, Andrew Luck

2013: Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, P. Manning, Brady

2012: Kaepernick, Ryan, Joe Flacco, Brady

2011: Brady, Flacco, Eli Manning, Alex Smith

There are 13 different quarterbacks here. Ten of those, Ryan, Rodgers, Brady, Roethlisberger, Newton, Palmer, Wilson, the two Mannings, and Luck, are true franchise type quarterbacks. Of those, five were first overall picks in the draft, Ryan was the third pick, and Roethlisberger was the 11th, and Rodgers went later in the first round. Only Wilson and Brady were late-round finds.

Of the three others, Smith (1st overall) and Flacco (18th) were first-round picks. Kaepernick was a high second-rounder.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

At the time of their playoff games, all of the 13 quarterbacks were on the teams that drafted them. None of them were looking for work the previous March, or at any time, for that matter.

As the Redskins decide if they should make a desperation attempt to retain Cousins or let him walk and start over at the most important position on the field, which data point should they consider? The most recent season in front of them, or the six prior years (and many more before that)?

Let’s say you’re looking to sell your house and you want to figure out a fair price. One comparable house down the street recently had sold for $200,000. But the previous six houses that sold in the last couple of months all went for around $300,000, Are you going to price your house based on the most recent sale? Or are you going to factor that in but pay much more attention to the six previous sales?

You have to step back and look at the larger sample size before using a particular set of facts as even a partial basis for a major decision with far-reaching ramifications.

With all that said, there are other factors at play besides what other teams have been able to accomplish. There are plenty of valid reasons for moving on from Cousins and those may outweigh the case for keeping him. But pointing to three quarterbacks on four teams and saying, “case closed” is way too simplistic an approach.

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