Now that the Redskins have set their 53-man roster and the season is less than a week away, it’s time to put the depth chart under the microscope. Where are they better? Where will they still have issues? The series started with the offensive line. Now we look at the offensive skill positions.
Offensive skill positions
Starters: QB Kirk Cousins; RB Alfred Morris; FB Darrel Young; TE Jordan Reed; WR Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson
“It’s Kirk’s team,” said Jay Gruden when he announced that Cousins will start ahead of Griffin. If Gruden wants it to remain Jay’s team his move had better work out. If the team ends up with the three-quarterback circus it had last year, Gruden’s job security would become shakier with each QB change. The key for Cousins is to stay away from interceptions.
Morris needs to reverse a trend that has seen his production decline in each of the last two seasons. And he needs to do it with a new power-blocking scheme that may not play to his strengths and behind a line that could take some time to gel. If he is not getting it done, rookie Matt Jones could be breathing down his neck sooner rather than later. Young is versatile and a good special teams contributor.
It’s pretty simple with Reed. If he can stay on the field he is a threat to put up Pro Bowl numbers. If he can’t, his future could be in doubt after the season is over.
Garçon and Jackson are one of the better starting tandems in the NFL who stand to benefit the most if the quarterback situation stabilizes.
Reserves: QB Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy; RB Matt Jones, Chris Thompson; TE Derek Carrier; WR Andre Roberts, Jamison Crowder, Ryan Grant, Rashad Ross
The benching of Griffin and the “will he stay or will he go” drama over him has been well chronicled here and elsewhere so there’s no need to rehash it here. McCoy is good to win you a game or two but he is not a 16-game answer at this point in his career.
Jones and Thompson have looked good all year but Jones has no experience in actual NFL games and Thompson’s experience is very limited. We will have to see how they fare when the other team’s starters are in the game for 60 minutes. They both have some injury history so keep a wary eye on that.
Carrier just arrived a few weeks ago so we really don’ t know what he brings to the table. Given Reed’s injury history and the lack of any other backup tight ends we may well find out. It should be noted that offensive tackle Tom Compton is likely to line up as a blocking tight end for a number of snaps each game.
We will have to see if Roberts has shaken the drop problems that plagued him last year. He still had some issues during the preseason so he still has a lot to prove. Crowder and Grant will fight for snaps as reserves. It seems likely that Ross will be inactive most games unless someone gets injured.