Here is what you need to know on Wednesday, September 5, four days before the Washington Redskins open their 2018 season against the Arizona Cardinals.  

Talking Points

Change is a constant in the NFL.

Players come and go as free agents change teams and older players get replaced by younger, cheaper draft picks. It’s not quite to the point where NFL teams are like college programs, replacing graduating seniors and players who entered the draft early every year, but it’s getting there. 

The Redskins’ rate of turnover slowed down this year but there still was significant roster churn. They are welcoming 15 players who were not with the organization last year. 

Of those 15 players, 11 are rookies. The team had eight picks in the regular draft, with seven making the official 53-man roster. The only one who isn’t is Derrius Guice, who is on injured reserve. They also kept supplemental draft pick Adonis Alexander and undrafted rookies Cam Sims, Danny Johnson, and Casey Dunn. 

The other four newcomers are Alex Smith, acquired in a trade, and veteran free agents Paul Richardson, Adrian Peterson, and Pernell McPhee. The 15 newcomers add up to a 28-percent turnover rate. 

Last year, the Redskins had 19 newcomers to the organization on their initial 53-man roster. That’s a turnover rate of 36 percent. 

Another way to look at turnover is the number of new starters a team has.

Washington will start four of the five offensive linemen that started in Week 1 last year, with Chase Roullier taking over at center. They will have two new receivers in Josh Doctson (Terrelle Pryor was the week 1 starter) and Paul Richardson plus a new QB in Smith and, more than likely, Peterson at running back. 


On defense, they will have two new starters on the line in Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis. The four linebackers will be the same. At corner, Bashaud Breeland is out and Quinton Dunbar is in and Montae Nicholson is the starting safety. 

That totals nine new starters from Week 1, a 41-percent turnover rate. That is on the high side, but the number is somewhat inflated by looking at just Week 1.

By Week 2, Nicholson and Ioannidis were starters and Doctson worked his way into the starting lineup and he ended up playing more snaps than any other receiver. 

So, if you say that you really have six new starters, that’s a rate of 27 percent. It’s hard to have a much lower rate the way things are set up. 

By comparison, the 2017 Redskins had 10 new starters compared to the start of the 2016 season. That comes to a 45 percent turnover in the starting lineup. 

The Agenda

Today: Alex Smith press conference 12:00; Practice 1:00; Jay Gruden press conference and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Upcoming: Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 4 days; Home opener vs. Colts (Sept. 16) 11 days; Packers @ Redskins (Sept. 23) 18