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Need to Know: Rebuilt D-line could be on the way for the Redskins

Need to Know: Rebuilt D-line could be on the way for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 6, one day before the Washington Redskins play the St. Louis Rams at FedEx Field.

Nickel coverage—Is the D-line a top priority this offseason?

—While you hear a lot about needs on the offensive line, the defensive line could be a greater area of need. As noted here yesterday there are players on the roster who could be quality replacements on the offensive line; the same can’t be said along the defensive front.

—End Stephen Bowen and nose tackle Barry Cofield both will be 31 next year and in 2015 they currently have the fourth- and fifth-highest salary cap numbers on the roster. That’s hard to justify given that both have been very limited by injuries and neither has been very effective when playing. Jarvis Jenkins is a free agent and just a guy in his better moments. Chris Baker has been playing well and Jason Hatcher is getting a lot of pass pressure if not as many sacks as the team would like.

—The only young player waiting in the wings is Frank Kearse, who is tied for third on the team with three sacks. And he’s not so young at age 26. Kedric Golston will be 32 and a replacement will need to be found sooner rather than later. Robert Thomas, a 23-year-old nose tackle, has been on the practice squad this year and has potential to be a contributor as a reserve.

—If Bowen and Cofield are cap casualties, the Redskins will need to add two starting caliber defensive linemen and one or two reserves. Quality defensive linemen will be at a premium in free agency; teams just don’t like to let them go. We don’t yet know what underclassmen will come out in the draft so it’s hard to dig too deeply into that at the moment. The top senior prospects right now who look like fits for the Redskins are Danny Shelton of Washington and Carl Davis of Iowa. They are currently considered late first round and second round picks.

—The wild card in all of this is the possibility that a new defensive coordinator would have the Redskins shifting to a 4-3 as their base alignment. If that happens outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy likely would shift to playing with their hands in the dirt at end and the offseason defensive priority would shift to finding linebackers who fit the 4-3.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park; no media availability

Days until: Rams @ Redskins 1; Redskins @ Giants 8; 2015 NFL Draft 146

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

roullier-ap.png
Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 

RELATED: WHAT SHOULD THE REDSKINS DO AT RUNNING BACK?

The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0

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