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Looking ahead: The Redskins' 2015 depth chart

Looking ahead: The Redskins' 2015 depth chart

During the Redskins’ bye week we’re taking a look ahead at the 2015 version of the Redskins. We’ve looked at the pending free agents and at the salary cap and what adjustments can be made. Now it’s time to take out the crystal ball and see what the depth chart will look like when they line up next September.

Quarterback: Robert Griffin III
Backups: Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy

Griffin may still have issues that need to be ironed out but with three years and all those draft picks invested in him it’s hard to see the Redskins being able to find a better alternative in 2015. There just is no reason not to hold on to Cousins, who will be in the last year of his rookie deal. Unless someone offer McCoy a shot at a starting job, which seems unlikely, he should be back although he should command a better salary than the minimum deal he signed this year.

Running backs: RB Alfred Morris, FB Darrel Young
Backups: Chris Thompson, Roy Helu

Morris will be in the last year of his rookie deal and Jay Gruden seems to believe in him. However, he may not be a lock if the right back is there when the Redskins are picking on the second day of the draft. I think Thompson intrigues Gruden and will have a role if he stays healthy.

Wide receivers: DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts
Backups: Ryan Grant, Leonard Hankerson, free agent/draft pick

I’m going to jump on the “Pierre Garçon could be gone” bandwagon. I think that they might be able to find a trade partner and unload his $7 million salaries for the next two years. Jackson’s the No. 1 and Grant is the first one off the bench. Hankerson is back on a team-friendly deal.

Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen

Reed has yet to break out after returning from his hamstring injury but there’s certainly potential there. Paul and Paulsen are solid special teams contributors and Paul has flashed some ability on offense.

Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Shawn Lauvao, C Free agent/draft pick, RG Spencer Long, RT Morgan Moses

I think that Gruden will shift to more of a power-blocking scheme, which plays to Lauvao’s strength. Power blocking will force a move away from the 280-lb. Kory Lichtensteiger at center. Youth is served on the right side of the line.

Defensive line: Chris Baker, 2015 draft pick, Jason Hatcher
Backups: Stephen Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins

The crystal ball is cloudy here. This unit is aging in a hurry and a high draft pick would give a shot of needed youth. Cap reasons will keep Hatcher in the fold. Bowen could be back on a reduced salary and I’m guessing that Barry Cofield is a cap casualty but not with much confidence. Stay tuned here.

Linebackers: OLBs Trent Murphy, Ryan Kerrigan; ILBs Perry Riley/Will Compton, Keenan Robinson
Backups: Riley/Compton, Jackson Jeffcoat, Adam Hayward, draft picks and free agents

If Murphy is competent for the remaining seven games he’ll get the nod in 2015 although he may change sides with Kerrigan taking on the stronger left tackles and coming from the QB’s blindside. I think Riley and Compton will compete for the Jack LB spot next to Robinson.

Defensive backs: CBs Bashaud Breeland, David Amerson; SS Phillip Thomas, FS draft pick or free agent
Backups: DeAngelo Hall, Trenton Robinson, Akeem Davis, draft picks/free agents

The picture at cornerback looks set for the next few years with Breeland and Amerson starting. Hall could come back at a reduced salary. Robinson could grab that strong safety spot if Thomas can’t. I’m not sure if Davis is more than a special teams guy but I think it would be a mistake to totally rule him out as a possibility at free safety.

Specialists: K Kai Forbath, LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way

Way was one of the better finds this offseason, picked up off the street in August and becoming one of the league’s leading punters in November. I’m now sold on Forbath, who is the most accurate field goal kicker in team history, has banged home some clutch field goals, and has improved his kickoffs.

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Need to Know: Redskins player quick hitters—Offensive starters

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Need to Know: Redskins player quick hitters—Offensive starters

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 21, 36 days before the NFL draft.  

Redskins starters quick hitters—offense

The last couple of days here I looked at how the depth charts are shaping up with a little bit of commentary (offense, defense). Today and tomorrow I’ll take a closer look at the starters with some quick hitters about each one, starting today with the offense.

QB Alex Smith—The deal is done, and the Redskins have their man for five years at $22.2 million per year or, if they prefer, three years at $23.7 million per. It seems like most fans are behind him but there will have to be a few more wins than losses this fall for that to become permanent.

RB Samaje Perine—He got better as the year went on, averaging nearly a half yard per carry more in the last seven games compared to the first nine. But the 3.4 average per carry certainly did not stop both Doug Williams and Jay Gruden from talking about drafting a running back early.

TE Jordan Reed—According to reports, he is rehabbing well from the hamstring and toe injuries that severely limited him last year. Still, expect him to be kept in bubble wrap until training camp and even then, his action may be limited.

WR Josh Doctson—Did Kirk Cousins look away from Doctson too often, lacking the confidence in him to let him go get the 50-50 balls? Will Smith have more confidence in Doctson? The answers to those questions may determine if the third-year receiver breaks out in 2018 or he continues to tease with flashes of ability.

WR Paul Richardson—He’s capable of the acrobatic catch, which should be fun to watch. Richardson was good with Russell Wilson on the off-schedule plays, maybe he can do the same with Smith.

WR Jamison Crowder—I guess it’s fair to say he had an off year in 2017 but his receiving yardage only dropped by 60 yards from 2016. It will be interesting to see if they keep him in as the punt returner after he averaged 6.3 yards per return (23rd of 25 qualifiers) last year.

LT Trent Williams—The six-time Pro Bowler is still in the relatively early stages of recovering from surgery to the knee that kept him from practicing from about Week 6 on. Don’t look for him until training camp and even then, the early workload is likely to be light.

LG Arie Kouandjio—This is the one offensive position that remains up in the air. Kouandjio has shown some grit as a spot starter but I don’t think the organization views him as a 16-game starter.

C Chase Roullier—Shortly after Roullier got the starting job when Spencer Long went out injured, Jay Gruden said that Roullier would be the Redskins’ center “for a long time”. There is no reason to doubt that at this point in time.

RG Brandon Scherff—His concern no longer is trying to live up to having been the fifth pick of the draft. Scherff has to play well enough to justify his 2019 option-year salary, which will be in the vicinity of $13 million.

RT Morgan Moses—He had surgery to repair his ankles, which were an issue most of last season. Still, he didn’t miss a start. Like Williams, even if he’s ready for training camp, don’t expect to see a whole lot of him.

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

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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 27
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 129
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 173

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Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report


Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report

Free agent pass rusher Pernell McPhee visited the Redskins on Monday, and by Tuesday night a report emerged that Washington offered the veteran outside linebacker a contract.

Last week, Trent Murphy signed with the Buffalo Bills and things remain uncertain between the Redskins and Junior Galette. That means the organization has a need for an edge rushing linebacker, and that's exactly the role McPhee can play. 

A 29-year-old that played the last three seasons with the Bears, McPhee posted 14 sacks while in Chicago. Prior to his time with the Bears, McPhee was a solid contributor on some good Ravens teams. 


His best season in Baltimore came in 2014 when he posted 7.5 sacks. That's also the last season McPhee played a full 16 game schedule. He's missed 12 games over the last three years in Chicago. 

McPhee could provide the Redskins with solid veteran depth at outside linebacker, and he's also considered a plus defender against the run. With Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith cemented as the starting outside linebackers, if signed, McPhee would pair up with Ryan Anderson on Washington's second unit. At 6-foot-2 and 275 lbs., McPhee carries more weight on his frame than either Kerrigan or Smith. 

Pro Football Focus gave McPhee a strong grade for the 2017 season. He notched a +11.5 and ranked 13th out of 46 outside linebackers graded. For comparison, Broncos star Von Miller ranked 1st at +57, Kerrigan ranked 8th at +22.9 and Galette ranked 10th at +16.2.

It's unclear what a move for McPhee would mean between the Redskins and Galette, but it's hard to imagine it helps.

Free agent Johnathan Hankins also visited Washington on Monday, and while he plays an interior defensive line position different from McPhee, it's also unclear what this offer would do to any negotiations between the Redskins and Hankins. 

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