It would be mathematically possible for the Redskins to give Sunday off to nearly all of their starting players in Sunday’s game in Dallas, which will have no effect on the team’s playoff positioning. The depth chart lists a different back to each of the 22 starters at every position except one. But how practical would benching the first string be and who would play if Jay Gruden decided to do it? Let’s take a look, starting with the offense:
This is the area that lists one player backing up two positions. Arie Kouandjio is the only reserve guard on the team so he is listed at second string at both right and left guard. With nine offensive linemen, the Redskins could not bench all of their starters.
What they could do is play Spencer Long at his left guard spot. That would leave an offensive line, from left to right, of Tom Compton, Long, Brian De La Puente, Kouandjio, and Ty Nsekhe.
Ponder this lineup for a moment and then consider that the Cowboys will not be resting anyone. Right end Greg Hardy will be trying to get two sacks to earn himself a half-million dollar bonus. On the other side Demarcus Lawrence is going to try to add to his total of eight sacks on the year. Whether you play Colt McCoy or Kirk Cousins at quarterback, the risk of injury playing behind an inexperienced offensive line has to be considered.
I think there are really only two options here. Gruden can either start Cousins and play him for a quarter or a half and then insert McCoy behind center. Or he can start McCoy with Cousins as the backup. I don’t think there is any way that you risk having Robert Griffin III come into a meaningless game after one QB had been knocked out. At some point, that $16 million cap hit for 2016 that could happen if Griffin is seriously injured may be worth the risk but this isn’t the time.
Alfred Morris is listed as the starter but he doesn’t always play the most snaps. Matt Jones sat out last week with a hip contusion and he may or may not be on the list of players who need injury time off. Chris Thompson isn’t an every-down back and Pierre Thomas may not be ready to take on a full workload. This is an area where resting the front line players may work on paper but not in reality.
Sitting Jordan Reed, who currently is healthy but has a history of injuries, might be the most sensible thing to do. But Alex Smith just got here a few weeks ago and Marcel Jensen, who is considered a project, just arrived in town last week. It might be tough to sit Reed the whole game.
Resting Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson sounds great but can the Redskins play Jamison Crowder, Rashad Ross, and Ryan Grant the whole game? Ross only knows Garçon’s position and it’s unclear if Crowder would be comfortable anywhere besides the slot.
Next up: Resting the defense
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