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Need to Know: Five Redskins backups who could start in 2014

Jan 29, 2014, 4:51 AM EST

Adam Gettis

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 29, 99 days before the NFL Draft.

Nickel coverage

Here are five Redskins who were backups in 2013 who could be starters in 2014.

1. OT Tom Compton—If the Redskins don’t bring in a right tackle in free agency, Compton could compete with Tyler Polumbus for the starting job there.

2. G Adam Gettis—Chris Chester is in the unenviable position of his age and salary cap number being high and his performance level being a bit too low. That could open the door for Gettis to step into the starting role.

3. CB Richard Crawford—He wasn’t a backup last year because he was on injured reserve. And he’s not really in line for a starting job in a traditional lineup. But he could earn nickel back spot and with teams going with so many multiple wide receiver sets, that is basically a starting spot.

4. S Phillip Thomas—A preseason Lisfranc injury cost him his rookie year before it ever got going. Thomas wasn’t really looking like a starter when he was injured but there will be opportunity there and another offseason of work could get him in position to challenge for what could be an open job at strong safety.

5. DE Chris Baker—He did start the last three games last year so maybe you could stay he is a returning starter. There is the little matter of signing the free agent to a new contract as well. He could battle Stephen Bowen, who is coming off of a knee injury, for the job at right end.

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Timeline

—It’s been 31 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 221 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 21; NFL Free agency starts 41; Offseason workouts start 68; NFL Draft 99

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  1. internetcareer - Jan 29, 2014 at 6:20 AM

    How about Jawan Jamison on this list? Alfred Morris is a tough running back to bring down but when a player fumbles multiple times in several games and then at the end of the season fumbles in the Pro Bowl game as well, serious consideration has to be given to the fact that Morris cannot hang on to the ball.

    The Redskins cannot win games if Morris cannot hang on to the ball. Ya just can’t fumble the ball, and Morris had that history in college and now in the NFL it appears to be happening again. Jamison is another tough running back with moves similar to Barry Sanders…cuts on a dime. If Morris cannot hang on to the ball in the first few games, I look for Jawan Jamison to get an opportunity to start.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 29, 2014 at 6:26 AM

      I don’t think Jamison makes the team. He showed nothing to indicate he’s an NFL player in training camp and preseason. Maybe he will blossom this offseason but I don’t see it.

      If Morris’ fumbling issues get to be unacceptable–I think you’re overreacting but it could be an issue–then you put the ball in the hands of Helu or Chris Thompson or someone else you drafted. Jamison is the last player I see getting a regular role in the offense in 2014.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Jan 29, 2014 at 6:40 AM

      Barry Sanders moves???? That’s a huge stretch. He looks nothing like Barry. Infact I haven’t seen anyone with moves like Barry Sanders yet. Its funny how when a RB makes a guy miss he is compared to Barry. Not even close. You don’t replace a guy who averages 5 yards a carry with someone who has shown nothing especially whe you have Helu and Royster who are both Proven and have had multiple 100+ Yard games

      • internetcareer - Jan 29, 2014 at 7:09 AM

        well I will say this about Jamison. He is built like Sanders, he is compact, has strong legs and quick feet, and is tough to bring down like Morris. I agree that he has not shown much, of course it is possible that is due to not being able to have an opportunity to play. Getting 11 carries in the final mop up duty in the final preseason game for 34 yards is not Pro Bowl material but it is also not much of an opportunity playing with scrubs and replacement players. AND..he doesn’t fumble. He also has good hands and catches passes. Does NOT have Barry Sanders or Alfred Morris vision yet, but perhaps more playing time and better coaching could improve that. But the kid has moves and is shifty….and did I mention he doesn’t fumble. P.S. Royster won’t make the team this year due to lack of speed and being average.

        • Rich Tandler - Jan 29, 2014 at 7:19 AM

          Sanders averaged 4.1 fumbles per year during his NFL career, Morris averages 4.5. Big deal. A ton of backs out there don’t fumble, that doesn’t mean they can be NFL starters or even heavy contributors.

          Again, I watched every minute of every training camp practice and I never saw Jamison do anything that make me say, wow, that guy deserves more playing time.

          We’ll see.

    • nomaan78 - Jan 29, 2014 at 8:46 AM

      Morris is solid and fumbles happen. Morris has 2800 yards and 20 touchdowns in his two years and you just don’t give up on talent like that. Morris has not caused the Redskins to lose by his fumbles. The issue was much bigger than Morris’s fumbles last year.

    • fraja926 - Jan 29, 2014 at 9:59 AM

      Of all the players you want to call out your going to pick our franchise RB who is probably a better man than he is a player. The guy is a pro-bowler and with all the holes that we need filled I just don’t get the fact that you would pick ALMO.

  2. internetcareer - Jan 29, 2014 at 6:32 AM

    How about Brandon Jenkins on this list? With pass rushers being at a premium Jenkins could possibly be the Redskins best pass rusher. Brian Orakpo may not even be back, and even so, with a new coaching staff it is possible that they may be looking to have competition and put the best players on the field, instead of just handing veterans a job. That was the problem last season: 21 of 22 starters from the previous season were brought back and everybody just assumed they had a job. Now we are hearing the term “fire in his belly” and hopefully that will extend to players as well, which can only happen when the coach opens up competition at EVERY position.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 29, 2014 at 6:43 AM

      Perhaps if Orakpo leaves Jenkins could have a bigger role. I thought he should have been given some more snaps last year but they kept him glued to the bench.

  3. timwillhidetimwillhide - Jan 29, 2014 at 6:32 AM

    What about Mo’ Hurt? I think he could step up and compete for one of the multiple jobs that should be open along the line

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 29, 2014 at 6:45 AM

      Hard to put any faith in a guy who was out of shape all of last year. I mean, a knee scope during OTAs knocked him out for the season? That’s a guy who can be a starter for you?

      He’s one OL who needs to drop weight if he’s going to stick around.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Jan 29, 2014 at 6:59 AM

        I just assumed he had complications I never read anything about him being out of shape. Sad to hear that. He didn’t play bad in spot duty thought this would be the year he steps up. Maybe with a new staff him and and the the other lineman that I did hear came in over weight will get their act together.

  4. nomaan78 - Jan 29, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    Only Phillip Thomas will start out of this group at SS and FS will be acquired in FA or the draft. Redskins will sign an OT and a OG or two. CB is not that big of a need as DeAngelo Hall, Amerson and Crawford/Minnifield can man the CB positions, but I wouldn’t mind getting a Jean-Baptiste to make our secondary bigger and more physical.

    • fraja926 - Jan 29, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      I like Jean-Baptiste too but when I watched him at the senior bowl it seemed like he had tight hips. Not sure if he’s more suited for CB or Safety but he’s definitely an interesting prospect. I don’t see any reason not to bring Hall back, of course at the right price. To me, Gruden made it very obvious that he wants to fix the back end, and I expect exactly that in both FA and in the draft.

      • nomaan78 - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:25 AM

        I didn’t watch the senior bowl. However I think 3rd round pick Jean-Baptiste could be coached into a solid corner in the league and having him opposite Amerson with Phillip Thomas at SS and someone like Malcolm Jenkins, TJ Ward, or Jarius Byrd at safety would be awesome. I would like FA OT Jared Veldeheer, OG Jon Asomoah, FS TJ Ward, WR Jeremy Maclin, and WR Hakeem Nicks. LOL Imagine Garcon, Maclin and Nicks on the same team with ALMO, Helu Jordan Reed, and 2nd round pick TE Austin Sefarian-Jenkins. for RG3 as his arsenal. Dreaming of what could be. Don’t know if they could bring back their own players and still afford the above. HTTR!!!

  5. fraja926 - Jan 29, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    Very interesting list. For OL, as much work as we know it needs we do have some potential.
    -JD Walton was a 2 year starter for Denver at center, if healthy he could be a HUGE addition to this team.
    -I believe Adam Gettis is ready to be the full time starter at one of the guard spots.
    -If we can bring in a guy like Collins at RT in FA, and maybe draft another guard or pick a mid tier guard up in FA or roll the dice with Chester for another year, I think could be in better shape then we originally envisioned.
    PS: Le’Rib if your reading this, get your butt in the gym and get a nutritionist

  6. NICK - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Mike Mayock said Thomas has the best ball skills of his draft. He should be starting at free, not strong.

  7. dcsportsfan2277 - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    If Compton and Gettis step up it would be huge for the Skin’s! I still we need to sign a quality FA right tackle (this is the one signing that I spend top dollar for), however these 2 could provide excellent depth and that is sorely needed. It also would allow BA to focus primarily on strengthening the defense with the draft.

    I am not sure about Phillip Thomas. He got injured and never really showed what he could do. He is an enigma right now and we would be wise to sign and draft a safety or two. The jury is still out on Rambo.

    Brandon Jenkins is someone to watch and now has some time under his belt watching quality LB’s play with Rak and Kerrigan. I expect him to make the next step but can he stay healthy?

    I would really like to trade Cousin’s for a 2nd or 3rd rounder preferably with the Brown’s if Kyle signs with them. An extra pick here could help with speed and depth by taking the best player available. HTTR!

    • kenlinkins - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      I hope the Browns do not hire Kyle Shanahan as I live in Columbus Ohio and do follow them some what (I do not want that kind of drama for a team that I follow). I do know that the noise out of Cleveland has been that they have an interest in Cousins and they have a ton of draft picks to use and a lot of Cap Space. IMO they will offer a High 3rd and High 4th for Cousins. Cleveland fans would like to see them Draft Johnny Football but they have been burned a few times drafting a QB since 1999 (Couch, Quinn and Weeden) in the first round. I think the Redskins would push for a 2nd and 4th round pick, but on draft day the Browns may do the deal if Johnny Football is off the broad come 2nd round, then it becomes a game of chicken.

  8. coachemup1 - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    In other words none of them have shown anything and won’t start. Non topic. For the o-line they bring in Anthony Collins and one higher priced Free Agent.

  9. kenlinkins - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    Rich, How far down the list is William Compton (ILB)? In preseason last year he played ok (out of position a lot but seemed to tackle ok). Could Tevita Stevens or Troy Kropog make a move on the O-Line, did they show anything in practice that showed they have a chance to break into a 53 man roster in the NFL?

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      I think W. Compton’s ceiling is a reserve/special teams guy, don’t see him as a starter. As always, that’s based on what I’ve seen, improvement can happen.

      We can’t watch practice during the season so I have to go back to training camp on Stevens. He didn’t stand out then but maybe he got better in practice as the season went on. I’d be surprised if he’s a factor this year.

      • kenlinkins - Jan 29, 2014 at 6:13 PM

        Rich, Is not being able to watch practice in season a NFL rule or was it a Shanahan rule? The reason I ask is that Shanahan always pointed to “practice” as a reason some players didn’t play (ref: The Shanahan Dog House). I can understand “game plan day” as being off limits in season if you plan to use some kind of top secret defense or a trick play or start someone the other team may not be ready for, but after the first few games everyone in the NFL knows about what each team has planned. I remember 007 back in the days of Coach Allen if it was Dallas week but I was thinking that you reporters could watch most of the practices. So, I guess we have to take Mike Shanahan’s word for all of these “good” or “bad” practices some players had in 2013. Maybe LeRibues was under valued and could still be an answer to the O-Line problems or am I beating a dead horse always bring up LeRibues? (I just do not understand how a guy could go from showing skills in 2012 even after holding out a bit after being drafted to a guy who just doesn’t get what it takes to be a starter (or even back up) in the NFL. Just call me “Shoemaker” if I am off base about LeRibues.

        • Rich Tandler - Jan 29, 2014 at 6:39 PM

          I’ve been covering the Redskins going back to Gibbs 2.0 and practice has never been open with the exception of the league-mandated first 30 minutes. The league permits teams to set their own policies but the PFWA reported last year that all but a few close practice to reporters. The Eagles were among the teams that had them open then but they have since closed them.

          Even teams that have them open severely restrict what can be reported. Even if we could watch, I doubt that any of us could write, “yeah, Fred was dogging it during practice” without risking getting our credentials revoked. What you see is strictly on background/off the record.

  10. coachemup1 - Jan 29, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    I think the O-line will be a easy fix. What I want to see is who the bring in on D. I guess RAK stays but if the price is as high as expected I would let him go for a better cover guy with nearly the same pass rush. Their one , maybe two available to fill the bill. Safety’s and a CB is the real issue and fix. The D backs need to be fixed to make a run.

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