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Need to Know: Five Redskins reserves who could have bigger roles in 2017

Need to Know: Five Redskins reserves who could have bigger roles in 2017

 

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 12, 56 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 48
NFL draft 105
First Sunday of 2017 season 241

Five Redskins backups who could have significant roles in 2017

G Arie Kouandjio—In his second season in the NFL, Kouandjio got two starts and filled in during some other games. He did struggle early in the year but his performance in a late-season start in Philadelphia was better. If he keeps things moving in that direction he could push Shawn Lauvao, who has a $5 million cap number and turns 30 early in the season, for the starting left guard job.

WR Maurice Harris—Even if Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson both leave as free agents, they aren’t going to make Harris one of the top three receivers. But he could be the fourth receiver, a role that would increase his role from the 20 percent of the snaps he played last year to around 40 percent. By the end of the year he had moved past Ryan Grant, playing more snaps in six of the last seven games. There is a big difference between going through the offseason and training camp trying to make the team and going through it all preparing to play a substantial role during the season. If he takes to the added coaching and work with the first team he could benefit considerably.

ILB Martrell Spaight—The second-year player got a little bit of run after the replaced an injured Will Compton for a game and a half. He still has a lot to learn but he does know how to tackle, a skill that was missing on the defense for much of the year. If he can polish his game, particularly against the pass, they might find it hard to keep him off the field.

DL Anthony Lanier—After he made the team as an undrafted rookie he wasn’t active until Week 8 and a leg injury put him on the shelf after Week 12. But it’s telling that the defensive coaches designed a package of plays to take advantage of his pass-rushing skills. Look for the new defensive coordinator to try to get the most out of Lanier. As with Harris, Lanier will get the added attention that goes with a player who is trying to improve his game rather than just make the 53.

CB Kendall Fuller—It was an up-and-down year for Fuller, who went from spending the first three games on the game day inactive list to being the primary nickel corner to playing zero and one snap in two key late season games. The organization remains high on the third-round pick out of Virginia Tech. Fuller will get a full offseason after being hampered by a knee injury last year and if he takes advantage the added time he could find himself either starting at cornerback should Bashaud Breeland move to safety (at this point, a possibility but not a likelihood) or play 60 to 70 percent of the snaps as the nickel corner.

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Two other Redskins RBs intend to learn whatever they can from Adrian Peterson

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Two other Redskins RBs intend to learn whatever they can from Adrian Peterson

A few weeks ago, running backs coach Randy Jordan floated a hypothetical out to his unit: If you could start a franchise with any guy, who would you pick?

Rob Kelley's answer was Adrian Peterson. And as fate would have it, Peterson is now a part of Kelley's franchise, a fact that has the third-year back floored. 

"I was kind of amazed," Kelley said on Tuesday, which was Peterson's first day as a 'Skin. "I have a opportunity to play with Adrian Peterson, it feels surreal."

Kapri Bibbs' reaction was much of the same.

"It's amazing having him in the building," he told reporters. "I couldn't hope for anything better."

Samaje Perine wasn't in a position to speak to the media by the time the locker room was closed, but at least in the eyes of Kelley and Bibbs, Peterson's arrival is something to embrace. It's not too often you get to go through drills and meetings with a guy who's going to have a bust in Canton sometime soon.

"I don't think there really is a cap to that," Bibbs answered when asked what he's hoping to pick up from Washington's new No. 26. "There's not too much you can learn from him."

"I got him here, what can I learn from him?" Kelley said in reponse to a similar question. "What can I gain from this situation? How can I make myself a better player by watching him?"

Bibbs revealed that Peterson is already "spilling information" to him, which lines up with Peterson saying at the podium in Ashburn he wants to come in and be a positive influence on the rest of the group.

However, Peterson also said in his presser that he "without a doubt" wants to be the starter, and if that does eventually happen, it'll come at the expense of someone else's spot on the roster or someone else's reps in a game, whether that be a Kelley, a Bibbs or a Perine.

That's not something that bothers two of the options already in the Burgundy and Gold's backfield, though.

"I'm always gonna come in every single day, regardless," Bibbs said when Peterson's resume and talents were brought up as something that could pressure him.

Kelley isn't stressed, either.

"Right now, I'm just putting my head down and working and trying to get better."

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Does Adrian Peterson want to start for the Redskins? 'Without a doubt'

Does Adrian Peterson want to start for the Redskins? 'Without a doubt'

Adrian Peterson wants to be a good teammate, but he also made clear that he came to the Redskins to compete for the starting running back job. 

"Without a doubt," Peterson said when asked if he wanted to start. "And I would be cheating myself if that wasn't my approach."

The legendary running back is right, of course. 

Elite athletes always want to be at the top, and that drive is what gets them there. Peterson has run for nearly 12,000 yards in his NFL career, and that doesn't happen by accident.

Coming to Washington presents a different challenge for Peterson. 

Unsigned until August 20th, Peterson ran for a career low 3.4 yards-per-carry last season in split time between the Saints and Cardinals. It's no sure thing he even makes the roster, let alone starts for the Redskins on September 9 when the season begins. 

Peterson, however, is confident he has more left in his legs. 

"I continue to work because at the end of the day I control my output. So that’s why I continue to work hard. I knew an opportunity would present itself. And at the end of the day, God’s willing, stay healthy, the guys up front stay healthy as well, I know that I’ll be able to contribute in a big way in the run game."

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