Last year, the Redskins suffered through one of the worst injury seasons in franchise history. Few thought it could happen again, but history has a way of repeating itself.
On Sunday in Tampa, Jay Gruden's team will be without a number of offensive starters: Paul Richardson, Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff, Shawn Lauvao and Chris Thompson. Additionally, a number of important players are questionable against the Bucs, and that includes Morgan Moses and Jamison Crowder, who hasn't played in the last four games.
All of this means significant upheaval on the depth chart, particularly along the offensive line and at the receiver position.
Below is a best guess as what the depth charts will look like in Tampa after spending the week watching practice and talking with players and coaches.
Left tackle - Ty Nsekhe
Left guard - Jonathan Cooper
Center - Chase Roullier
Right guard - Tony Bergstrom
Right tackle - Morgan Moses
- Moses made clear in conversations he wants to try and push through a sprained MCL and play against the Bucs. Whether or not he's able to will be a different situation. All week, Moses looked gimpy on the leg, but Friday he did go through team drills. Moses will certainly test the knee Sunday morning, and should he not be able to go, Gruden said that rookie Geron Christian would get the start. Christian was not overly impressive last week in relief duty against Atlanta, but outside of a handful of very bad plays, he was steady.
- One thing to keep in mind: For most of the week at practice, newly signed Austin Howard lined up at right tackle instead of Christian. Still, Gruden was unequivocal about Christian's role if Moses can't play. The coach said, "If Morgan can't go then we probably have to put [Geron] Christian in at tackle and move some people around." Howard has played nothing but tackle in a seven-year NFL Career, including starting all 16 games for the Ravens last season at right tackle.
- Cooper signed this week as a free agent, but has a reasonably impressive resume for a player that was available in mid-season. A Top 10 pick in 2013, Cooper started 13 games for the Cowboys last season at left guard.
The situation at wide receiver is a bit more fluid, both because of the nature of the position and because of Jamison Crowder's murky status for Sunday. If Crowder can go, and that's a big if, the situation would be much more clear. What is crystal clear is Josh Doctson will start and play the X receiver position.
If Crowder plays, he will man the slot receiver role and Maurice Harris will be lined up outside opposite Doctson as the Z receiver when the team lines up in their three wide receiver personnel grouping. If Crowder can't play, things get more interesting. Harris moves inside to play the slot, and Michael Floyd and Brian Quick will split time at the Z receiver.
- Speaking Friday, Gruden on Crowder's availability: "He did a little bit more today. He did pretty good. We'll have to see a little bit more tomorrow, see how he's feeling and go from there." Hardly a ringing endorsement than Crowder will play.
- If Crowder can't play, Harris mans the slot. His backup at that position? Likely Jordan Reed.
- Jehu Chesson is technically the backup for Doctson, but Chesson is a special teams ace that the Redskins would probably hesitate to line up much on offense. Should something happen to Doctson, some combination of the other healthy WRs would rotate to the X spot.