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Redskins roster breakdown: Going into stretch run, roster still churning

Redskins roster breakdown: Going into stretch run, roster still churning

The Redskins are heading into the stretch run and are in first place in the NFC East. As the injuries have mounted it sometimes it seems like this team is held together with duct tape and chewing gum.

Here’s a look at the 53-man roster (actually at the moment it’s 52 players with one opening pending) followed by some roster stats that will interest you.

Starters in bold.

Quarterback (3): Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin III

Last year the depth chart seemed to change on a weekly basis with injuries and ineffective performances forcing Jay Gruden to shuffle the deck. In 2014 it has not changed a bit as Cousins has taken firm control.

Running backs (5): Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, Pierre Thomas FB Darrel Young

None of them are playing well except in flashes here and there. Sometimes it’s the blocking, sometimes it’s them. But it’s been a disappointing group.

Wide receivers (5): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder (slot receiver), Ryan Grant, Rashad Ross

The move to place Andre Roberts on injured reserve doesn’t have much of an effect on the group as he was often a healthy inactive and wasn’t very productive when he was in (11 receptions).

Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Alex Smith, Je’Ron Hamm

Smith was signed last week and immediately moved ahead of Hamm on the depth chart; Smith played 16 snaps against the Bills while Hamm was inactive.

Offensive line (9): LT Trent Williams, LG Spencer Long, C Josh LeRibeus, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses, G Arie Kouandjio, T Ty Nsekhe, T Tom Compton, C Brian De La Puente

Center Kory Lichtensteiger is eligible to start practicing this week and he could be activated if the Redskins reach the playoffs. With LeRibeus not exactly lighting it up in the middle of the line it seems likely that Lichtensteiger will go back to his starting job when he is ready.

Related: Bye week Redskins roster breakdown

Defensive line (6): Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Frank Kearse, Kedric Golston

Free agent disappointment Stephen Paea was put on injured reserve with a toe injury. Nobody was added; Kearse will simply go from being inactive every week to being active.

Linebackers (9): OLBs Trent Murphy, Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Houston Bates; ILBs Perry Riley (injured, foot), Will Compton, Keenan Robinson, Mason Foster, Carlos Fields

Compton has supplanted Robinson as the starter at Mike linebacker, a move that was prompted by both performance and nagging injuries to Robinson. Riley will be out at least another week with a broken bone in his foot but Foster has played well in his place.

Defensive backs (9): CBs Bashaud Breeland, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, Quinton Dunbar, Dashaun Phillips; Safeties Dashon Goldson, DeAngelo Hall, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett

If anyone had told you at the beginning of the year that Quinton Dunbar would be lining up against the likes of Beckham, Bryand, and Watkins during critical late season games you would not have believed them. But Dunbar has done that and has held his own pretty well.

Specialists (3): K Dustin Hopkins, LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way

Hopkins replaced Kai Forbath in Week 2 and the Redskins haven’t looked back.

Breakdown: 24 defense, 25 offense, 3 specialists

Roster changes since the bye week (15 total transactions):

Moves off the roster (8): WR Andre Roberts (IR), TE Derek Carrier (IR), TE Anthony McCoy (waived), C Kory Lichtensteiger (IR-return), DL Stephen Paea (IR), OLB Jackson Jeffcoat (waived-injured), CB Chris Culliver (IR), S Trenton Robinson (waived-injured)

Additions to roster (7): RB Thomas, TE Smith, TE Hamm, C De La Puente, OLB Bates, ILB Fields, CB Phillips

Others added to 53-man roster after season opener and prior to the bye (5):

ILB Foster, CB Blackmon, CB Dunbar, CB Phillips, CB Everett

 

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Week 7 Redskins-Eagles Preview: Monday night means more than it usually does

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Week 7 Redskins-Eagles Preview: Monday night means more than it usually does

After five straight defeats, the Eagles decided enough was enough and beat the Redskins on their home field in Week 1. In a bizarre turn of scheduling, Washington will face Philadelphia for the second time this season before playing any other NFC East opponent. 

For the Redskins, that means the time for a win is now. Behind the arm of Carson Wentz, the Eagles have streaked out to a 5-1 record, not to mention 2-0 in the division. Jay Gruden's squad sits at 3-2 and 0-1 in the division. Another loss to the Eagles, even though it's still early in the year, would put a major dent in the Redskins hopes of a NFC East title. 

"It’s a big game. The NFC East, they’re in the lead. They’re 5-1 and we’re 3-2. I mean, just do the math," Gruden explained this week. "If you look at 3-3 and 6-1 and we’ve lost twice to them, that’s a big difference. 4-2 and 5-2 and we’re right there in the thick of things as far as the NFC East is concerned."

MORE: TEN TIMES PHILADELPHIA FANS WERE THE WORST

The coach knows the stakes. Redskins fans certainly do, too. All the coverage starts at 7:30 on NBC Sports Washington with Redskins Kickoff, and here are three storylines to watch for the game:

  1. Blount force - In the Week 1 loss to Philadelphia, the Redskins defense did a fine job of stopping the Eagles rush attack. Zach Brown and the 'Skins held Philly to just 58 yards rushing. In that game, LeGarrette Blount rushed 14 times for only 46 yards, averaging less than 3.5 yards-per-carry. Well, Blount and the Eagles run game looks mighty different now. In their last four games, Blount is averaging more than 6 yards-per-carry and posted more than 330 yards. Known for his strength between the tackles, Blount will present a problem for the Burgundy and Gold playing their first game without rookie star defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. The challenge will be real, and D-coordinator Greg Manusky knows it: "He does a great job of making people miss at the hole, in the hole. So we have got to make sure we get in his face and be able to get him down. He is a big-body guy." 
  2. No wiggle room - For the most part, the Redskins defense did a solid job against Carson Wentz in the first matchup against the Eagles. Unfortunately, with a mobile QB like the 6-foot-5, 240 lb. Wentz, a few broken plays can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of the game. Think back to early in Week 1, the Redskins forced Wentz from the pocket and as he scrambled, he kept his eyes downfield and connected with WR Nelson Agholor for a long touchdown. On that play, two different 'Skins defenders nearly brought Wentz down in the backfield. But they didn't. And the 'Skins secondary did a good job in coverage for more than eight seconds. In that ninth second, however, Wentz struck. He's been doing it each game since, as he's emerged as an NFL MVP candidate with more than 1,300 pass yards to go with 13 TDs against just 3 INTs through six games. His ability to escape trouble must be incredibly frustrating for defenders, and Eagles head coach Doug Pederson explained his passer's skill, saying, "He is strong in the pocket and usually the first guy, an arm-tackle guy, can’t bring him down. He usually sheds that block and can escape."
  3. 8 or more - Throughout the 2016 season, the Redskins frustrated their fans by getting out to slow starts. In 2017, the opposite has been true. In four straight games, Kirk Cousins and the 'Skins offense have scored a first quarter touchdown and taken early leads. In the second half, however, the offense has stagnated. While the Redskins average about 23 points-per-game, the team is only scoring about 8 points-per-game in the second half. Against a Philly team capable of scoring every time they touch the ball, Washington will likely have to score more in the second half to get a victory.

News & Notes

  • This will mark the Redskins 70th game on Monday Night Football, and their ninth MNF matchup against Philadelphia.
  • Kirk Cousins enters the game 3rd in NFL history in completion percentage (65.9) among players with at least 1,500 career attempts.
  • With 100 yards receiving, Chris Thompson could break a tie with Dick James, Craig McEwen and Larry Brown (two each) for the most career 100-yard receiving games by a Redskins running back in records dating back to 1960.
  • A win would snap a four game losing streak on Monday Night Football for the Redskins and give the Redskins their first Monday win since a 20-17 overtime win at Dallas on Oct. 27, 2014.
  • The Redskins rank first in the NFL and the NFC in fewest penalty yards (204).

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Can Brandon Scherff do something that no Redskins O-lineman has done since 1991?

Can Brandon Scherff do something that no Redskins O-lineman has done since 1991?

Those who doubted the wisdom of the Redskins drafting a guard with the fifth overall pick in 2015 (yes, I was one of them) should be preparing to eat their words.

On draft day and during the two and a half years since then, there has been plenty of talk that the Redskins would regret taking Brandon Scherff, who played tackle in college but seemed destined to play guard in the NFL, so early. Not that anyone thought that Scherff would be a bad NFL player but given that they left DL Leonard Williams and edge rusher Vic Beasley on the board, he needed to develop into an All-Pro caliber guard to justify such a high pick.

Well, don’t look now but Scherff is making his way towards becoming one of the best guards in the game. Not just Pro Bowl good; he checked that box last year. Scherff could become the first Redskins position player to be named a first-team All-Pro since Darrell Green and Jim Lachey earned the honors in 1991.

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Asked about Scherff’s play this year, Jay Gruden was effusive in his praise.

He’s reacting. He’s anticipating. He’s pulling. He’s pass-blocking. He’s run-blocking. He’s double teaming. He’s doing everything you want him to do out in screens, out in space. He’s the best guard out in space by far in this league. It’s fun to watch him.

You can listen to Gruden’s full comments on Scherff in the video above.

Gruden is not exactly an unbiased observer. But other, more neutral analysts also have been heaping praise on Scherff.

An article on Pro Football Focus said that Scherff had an “elite” game against the 49ers, not allowing any pass rush pressures and dominating as a run blocker.

RELATED: IN A MUDDLED NFC WHY NOT THE REDSKINS?

Two other analysts clipped some plays from the 49ers game to illustrate just how well he was playing.

This one from Brian Baldinger of the NFL Network shows one play, the 49-yard screen pass to Chris Thompson on which Scherff threw a key block.

I’m not sure what the scouting credentials Brandon Thorn has but he did put together a nice collection of clips of Scherff making quality blocks both in space and in the interior vs. the 49ers.

Will Scherff earn All-Pro honors? That could depend on how well the team does. While the All-Pro teams are supposed to be individual honors, it’s tough for an offensive lineman to get many votes if he’s not on a winning team, especially one like Scherff who would be trying to break into the club for the first time.

But the Redskins are not really worried about All-Pro votes. If he keeps playing the way he’s playing and he gets no such consideration it will be fine with them.

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.