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Need to Know: A post-draft look at the possible 2021 Redskins offense

Need to Know: A post-draft look at the possible 2021 Redskins offense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 15, seven days before the Washington Redskins start OTAs.  

Looking ahead—The Redskins core offensive players in 2021

Earlier this year, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2021 (offensedefense). That was before free agency and the draft. Now that the Redskins have their personnel mostly set, let’s revisit that look and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today (Tuesday), the defense later this week. 

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory, but if you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Ages are as of Week 1 in 2021

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30), Derrius Guice (24)
Changes from earlier projection: Added Guice

The key word here is “potential” blue chip players. I am hesitant to jump on the Guice hype train at this very early stage. But he does seem to have what it takes to be a blue chipper if he stays healthy and if he has some blue-chip players like Scherff and Moses blocking for him. He also has youth going for him. He doesn’t turn 21 until next month.

Trent Williams is the lone blue-chip player on the team right now. But he’ll be 33 when the 2021 season rolls around, and while he still can be a very capable player at that age, he likely will not be one of the very best in the game. A combination of age and injury could well keep Jordan Reed from being on the team three years from now. 

Solid starters: Paul Richardson (29), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes from earlier projection: Added Richardson, removed Jamison Crowder (28)

I could be very wrong about this but I’m starting to think that Crowder won’t be around past this year. If Trey Quinn, this year’s seventh-round pick, shows starter potential, they could very well let Crowder walk. The cap will force some hard choices and Crowder could be one they decide to let go. 

Richardson and Doctson are here based on potential and projection. Neither has accomplished enough to be locked in. If Doctson is here it would be on a second contract. Richardson’s deal runs through 2022. 

Potential starters: Chase Roullier (28), Alex Smith (37), Quinn (25)
Changes from earlier projection: Removed Spencer Long, Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine, added Smith

I almost put Roullier up in the “solid starters” category. I might be persuaded that he has a better chance of still being around in 2021 than any of the receivers. But I’ll slow the roll with him a bit, given that he has just seven NFL starts.

Smith, of course, has a ton of NFL starts, 152 to be exact. Will he still be starting caliber at age 37? Since 2000 only seven quarterbacks have thrown for adjusted net yards per attempt of 6.0, about the number needed to rank in the middle of the pack these days, in their age 37 seasons. That puts the odds against Smith being effective in 2021 but we will see. 

The future is cloudy for some other players like Quinn (25) and Geron Christian (25), this year’s third-round pick. Health and opportunity could well dictate their chances of being long-term contributors. The same could be said of some players who got limited playing time as rookies last year—TE Jeremy Sprinkle (27) and WR Robert Davis (26). Maurice Harris (28) also could be contributing in three years if he can start producing consistently. 

Bottom line, here are the potential 2021 starters:

LT Williams
LG Someone who will be a college senior this fall
C Roullier
RG Scherff
RT Moses
QB Smith
RG Guice
WR Doctson
WR Richardson 
WR Quinn
TE ?

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

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Desmond Howard, the current ESPN analyst and former Heisman Trophy winner and 1992 first-round draft pick of the Redskins, was born on this date in 1970. 

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 28
—Training camp starts (7/26) 72
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 86

The Redskins last played a game 135 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 117 days. 

In case you missed it

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Redskins Week 3 injury report — Lauvao out, O-line will have to shuffle

Redskins Week 3 injury report — Lauvao out, O-line will have to shuffle

The Redskins will be without starting left guard Shaun Lauvao against the Packers on Sunday. Lauvao has been out of practice all week with a calf injury.

In his absence, starting center Chase Roullier will move over to left guard and veteran Tony Bergstrom will start at center. Earlier this week Gruden explained that the coaches believe that this is their most effective combination. 

Reserve safety, Troy Apke, is also out. He will miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury. 

Questionable are WR Maurice Harris (concussion), WR Paul Richardson (shoulder), and LB Zach Brown (oblique). 

Harris missed the last three preseason games and the first two games of the regular season with his concussion. After being a full participant in practice all week, it appears that he is ready to play but they are awaiting final word. 

“We’re going to find out tomorrow whether he can go or not,” said Jay Gruden. “But he’s been cleared to practice, he had a good week of practice. We’ll find out the final word tomorrow.”

If Harris plays that means that it is likely that new receivers Brashaud Perriman and Michael Floyd will be inactive. That is Gruden’s preferred plan as both just joined the team earlier this week. 


O-line injuries: Redskins will shuffle line if Lauvao is out
The passing game: Redskins, Smith seek balance


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Week 3 Redskins vs Packers Preview: Aaron Rodgers in the way of a much needed bounce back

Week 3 Redskins vs Packers Preview: Aaron Rodgers in the way of a much needed bounce back

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. 

That might be the opening of some famous literature, but it also applies to the first two weeks of the Redskins season. 

In Week 1 the Redskins thrashed Arizona, dominating both sides of the ball en route to a 24-6 victory. In Week 2 the Colts thrashed the Redskins, at home, as Washington could not run the ball or get key stops on defense in a 21-9 loss.  

Looking forward, what Redskins team will show up on Sunday as the Packers come to FedEx Field for Week 3?

Four Factors

  1. Start running - Against the Cardinals, the Redskins dominated time of possession by running the ball. Adrian Peterson ran for nearly 100 yards and Chris Thompson added another 65 yards on the ground. The Redskins had the ball more than 22 minutes in the first half of that game. By Week 2, Peterson ran for just 20 yards on 11 carries. The Redskins could get nothing going on the ground. Nothing. The team must run better if they're going to beat the Packers, not just for offensive balance, but to rest the defense and keep Aaron Rodgers off the field. 
  2. Starts up front - One thing that will help the Redskins run the ball will be better play from their offensive line. That group will take a hit Sunday because starting left guard Shawn Lauvao won't play, and that means Chase Roullier moves to guard and backup Tony Bergstrom lines up at center. Regardless of what five players are on the field, the unit must produce more push against Green Bay than they did against Indianapolis. That starts on the edges, with Trent Williams and Morgan Moses, and a Pro Bowl type performance from Brandon Scherff. It's true these guys are banged up, but if they're on the field, the performance needs to be stronger. 
  3. Gandalf the White - Why are we writing about a fictional wizard? The ever-loquacious Josh Norman gave Packers all-world QB Aaron Rodgers the nickname of Gandalf because of the magic tricks that he pulls off week after week. One of the greatest QBs of all time, Rodgers is a constant threat on the field, literally every snap. Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said the team will be prepared for the quick snap, one of Rodgers' favorite tricks that often leads to free plays and offsides calls. For the rest of Rodgers tricks, the Redskins defense needs to be prepared for a passer with a rocket arm and the sharpest eyes in the NFL. 
  4. Call the play, and execute - The Redskins did not have their best offensive game plan last week. Jay Gruden admitted as much this week. The Redskins offense also did not have their best game last week. Alex Smith and the receivers cannot get into a groove, and there is a chicken or egg discussion on if Smith needs to throw the ball downfield more or if the wideouts need to make more plays. The answer might reveal itself on Sunday. 

They Said It

  • Jay Gruden on facing Aaron Rodgers: "I mean he can do everything. His mobility probably sets him apart from some of the other guys. He stands in the pocket. He can move. He's a winner. I don’t know. I think if any team had him on their team and you're picking, whether you're picking first in the fantasy football quarterback draft or fifth, and you've got Aaron Rodgers, you feel good about winning every game that you play."
  • Greg Manusky on Redskins defensive scheme: "From our standpoint, we go into each game with the plan that we have."
  • Alex Smith on keeping pace with the Packers offense: "I think that you can get sucked into that. In the end, of course, we want to dominate regardless of the offense we are playing."
  • Packers coach Mike McCarthy on facing Alex Smith: "He’s definitely an excellent addition to the Washington Redskins and he’s going to be a big challenge for a defense."

Numbers & Notes

  • Adrian Peterson has 100 career touchdowns, good for No. 7 on the all time NFL list. John Riggins sits at No. 6 on the list with 104 TDs. 
  • In 17 career games against Green Bay, Peterson has run for nearly 1,800 yards and 13 TDs.
  • Matt Ioannidis has sacks in consecutive games, and a sack on Sunday would be the first time in his career with a sack in three consecutive games. 
  • The Redskins have not opened a season with a 2-1 record since 2008. 

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