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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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If Luke Kuechly wants to coach, would Ron Rivera hire him for the Redskins?

If Luke Kuechly wants to coach, would Ron Rivera hire him for the Redskins?

One of the best linebackers of the last decade, Luke Kuechly retired from football this week in a move that stunned many. For years Kuechly has dealt with injuries, including multiple concussions, and decided his body could not withstand anymore life in the NFL. 

Or at least being on the field. 

A new NFL Network report suggested that Kuechly could be looking to stay in the game in a coaching or consulting role, and that it could happen this season. 

"I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Luke Kuechly in the NFL. As a player we have," Mike Garafolo said on Good Morning Football.

The natural question for Redskins fans becomes if Kuechly could land in Washington. New Redskins coach Ron Rivera was with the Panthers when the team drafted Kuechly ninth overall in 2012, and the duo worked closely together. It's been widely reported that Kuechly and Rivera have a strong relationship too. 

When Kuechly announced his retirement, Rivera took to Twitter to compare the linebacker to Hall of Famers Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher. Rivera also said he "will remember Luke’s sense of humor, his leadership & 4 being a great teammate."

The Redskins recently announced their assistant coaches and linebackers coach Steve Russ worked with Kuechly for the past two seasons in Carolina. There is no assistant linebackers coach on the staff, but that's a role that could be created. There are few rules about assistant coaches in the NFL; for example, last season the Redskins employed an inside linebackers coach and an outside linebackers coach because they played a 3-4 system. This year the team will play the 4-3. 

It's unclear what role Kuechly would want, and while the connection to Rivera is obvious, so is the connection to Carolina. 

"Certainly the Panthers would love to have him be a part of their organization in some capacity," Garafolo said. 

What happens next for Kuechly remains unknown. He just retired from football a few days ago. He might need time to make his next series of decisions. 

Based on Rivera's actions so far as the new Redskins boss, however, it would not be a surprise at all if the head coach tries to get Kuechly to Washington. Rivera has hired just about everyone else that was with the Panthers in the last decade; why not add one more?

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Jason Garrett reportedly to stay in NFC East, becomes Giants offensive coordinator

Jason Garrett reportedly to stay in NFC East, becomes Giants offensive coordinator

Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has agreed to become the new offensive coordinator of the New York Giants, according to a report from ESPN

He will join the staff of first-year head coach Joe Judge.

Garrett was recently let go after a 10-year unimpressive stint with the Dallas Cowboys. In that span, he only led the team to three playoff appearances and with that two playoff wins. 

The team underperformed in 2019 after starting the season with Super Bowl aspirations. Stumbling to an 8-8 record, It became clear that Garrett was the not the answer at head coach. Following the end of the regular season, the team decided to go in another direction replacing him with former Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

The Princeton alum led the Cowboys to an 85-67 overall record during his tenure in Dallas.

As a former backup QB for the Giants (2000-03) and Cowboys (1993-99), he has an extensive background in game-planning against the NFC East.

Judge was named head coach on Jan. 7 after spending eight seasons with the Patriots. He was promoted to special teams coordinator in 2015, and also became the team's wide receiver coach in 2019.

Garrett and Judge will be tasked with developing a young roster with some intriguing options at their disposal, as well as the No. 4 overall pick in April's draft.

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