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Need to Know: Which Redskins could rise up the depth chart in 2015?

Mar 3, 2015, 4:53 AM EDT

Chris-Thompson-TD-vs.-Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 3, seven days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL start free agency.

Question of the day

We’re going back to the NTK format we’ve been using since last month. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

Let’s revive an tradition here on Need to Know and look at five backups and practice squad players who could have prominent roles in 2015. Of course, a lot of this could depend on who the team acquires in free agency and in the draft:

G Spencer Long—Starting with the one who has been talked about the most. It’s still uncertain if Chris Chester will be on the team much longer or, if he is, if he will be the unchallenged starter. Long is his likely successor and many would like to see that happen sooner rather than later.

S Phillip Thomas—Right now he is the only player on the roster with a substantial number of NFL snaps at strong safety. Both the free agent group and the draft class are weak at the position so Thomas could get at least a chance to compete for the starting job.

NT Robert Thomas—He was on the practice squad last year. With Barry Cofield gone and Chris Neild a free agent, Thomas could move up into the backup nose tackle spot. At 6-3, 325 he has the classic nose tackle build and he looked good in spots as a rookie in training camp.

RB’s Chris Thompson/Silas Redd—I’m putting them together here because I’m not sure if there are roles for both of them even though they are different kinds of backs. But if Roy Helu one could step into a more prominent role. Redd needs to overcome fumbling problems and Thompson needs to avoid the injury butg.

OLB Jackson Jeffcoat—He was inconsistent but flashed some when he got some snaps late in the year. Jeffcoat, who starred at Texas as a senior in 2013, is a candidate to take the next step and take a regular role on defense and contribute on special teams.

Timeline

—It’s been 65 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 194 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 7; Redskins offseason workouts start 48; 2015 NFL Draft 58

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. skinsgame - Mar 3, 2015 at 7:12 AM

    What happened to Joe Green?

    • bangkokben - Mar 3, 2015 at 9:25 AM

      I think he was banned for ‘character’ issues. Too bad. It was good to hear his contrarian views but he couldn’t give it without being personal.

      • jonevans511 - Mar 3, 2015 at 12:06 PM

        I heard upon his exit from the RR comment section, he saw some little kid in the hallway and threw his game-worn jersey on to the kid. The kid responded “thanks, Mean Joe!” and everyone walked away happy. So, don’t worry about good ol’ Mean Joe Green, he’s stirring up trouble on message boards all over the internet lol.

      • captblood3000 - Mar 3, 2015 at 3:22 PM

        Joe still posts as “Walter is a moron” on Walter Football.

        I will miss him. A contrarian in this comments section is often the voice of reason.

  2. bk70 - Mar 3, 2015 at 7:52 AM

    Agree completely, I might add Ryan Grant as the #4 WR, one of the top 3 WR may need replacement for a short time in 2015.

    • bangkokben - Mar 3, 2015 at 9:27 AM

      If he can hold on to and produce from the #4 WR, that would be an improvement. It seems like he lost that to Santana Moss later in the season.

  3. skins4lyfe - Mar 3, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    Bravo rich u hit this one right on the head and if these players can take the next step this will truly be a youth movement. I agree with all but would like to add a dark horse in Compton no not Tom but Will Compton. Will is the middle lb that took the place of Robinson and Riley when they were injured this year. He is probably the best cover linebacker we have and I could see with a new coaching regime making changes maybe not making I’m a starter but being a specialist on 3rd downs. I also want to add to the mix the Frank kearse who could very well be our starting D.E. to start the season. One more would be Akeem Davis with our roster at that position at this point he is a starter right now.

    • 214hof - Mar 3, 2015 at 11:33 AM

      I agree, when Riley was out and Compton came in I was wondering myself if he could take his place. Maybe with an off season under his belt and hitting the weights hard he can displace Riley. As for Thompson, add me to the list of doubters. It would be nice if he could stay healthy and crack the game day roster, but I don’t see it happening. I could however see Gruden drafting RB between rounds 4-6 and getting his “Giovanni”. Providing Helu hits F/A which looks more then likely.

      • kenlinkins - Mar 3, 2015 at 11:58 AM

        I liked what I saw of Will Compton in preseason games and thought he out played Riley hands down. He is what I call a gamer, someone who plays better in games than on the practice field. Today, gamers are hard to find as most coach’s seem to have a system they use in practice (i.e. measurable skill level test and drills) and forget that some guys just get jacked up in games and play beyond their tested levels. Being “game day ruff, tuff and ready has mostly lost its place in the NFL! (coaching by the numbers sucks!)

  4. kenlinkins - Mar 3, 2015 at 11:49 AM

    That’s the great thing about the start of every new NFL season. We fans get to hope and pray that some of our favorite players can take the next step and become impact players. All six of the guys listed could do just that but with so many disappointments in 2014 whether due to injury or poor play (or both) the list of players who could improve is very long. Starting with the O-Line, Pass Rush, DB’s, TE’s, and ending Special teams / back ups anyone of 25 guys could be the next A. Morris and be the start of fans thinking this years team has a shot of getting into the play-offs. By most accounts, there should be about 22 new guys on the 53 man roster, many will be younger middle level Free Agents signing their 2nd contract (that’s my hope anyway) and young draft picks. If the new GM can keep Allen and Snyder’s hands off the roster and allow the 2nd year head coach and his new staff to prove then can coach, maybe we will see a few become NFL impact players. As far as getting to 8 and 8 in 2015, well that still sits in the lap of the QB’s. If both RG3 and Cousins fail to improve (and if there are no new adds at the QB position) then we fans are in for another long season of disappointments. I can not believe that we Redskins fans have been asking for a winning QB for so long without results. Maybe 2015 will be the start of someone good. I wish I could blame the coaching staff for the record the past two seasons, but it seems to me that the problems are 95% on the roster. So IMO the more turn over, the better!

    • 214hof - Mar 3, 2015 at 12:02 PM

      I’m setting the bar HIGH for 2015…

      6-10!!!

      I’ll call that a win. It will keep me satisfied as a fan anyway, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I know everyone’s going to say it’s been decades, but with the constant turnover in staff year in and year out what could you expect? With an actual GM in place, I say 6-10 gives Gruden at least one more year to get 8-8 or better. Who knows, 6-10 this year could be 10-6 next year with the right moves.(and stable QB play)

      • bangkokben - Mar 3, 2015 at 12:38 PM

        6-10 to me is a push. 7-9 to me will indicate a mark of improvement. Sure we’ve got problems across the board but we play teams with about or the same problems (Tampa, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, and NYJ) The division is what it is but I’d like to improve to .500 in the division. Then there are the Bills, Dolphins, Saints, and Panthers – all better teams but they are only where we strive to be – mediocre.

  5. brucealmty - Mar 3, 2015 at 12:27 PM

    I think there will be a 50% turnover of the Redskins’ roster by the time the final 53 are decided. Redskins have so many marginal players I think training camp will be a revolving door of players. It’s way too early to start talking about who’s moving up the depth chart. IMHO

  6. jonevans511 - Mar 3, 2015 at 2:24 PM

    Rich (could be for NTK but it’s a pretty specific question)- Your thoughts on the Skins potentially going after Cary Williams? I saw the Eagles released him, and while I’m not saying he’s a stud he does have some size and physicality that we could badly use. I’m just grasping at straws here due to the lack of DB depth in the draft & FA…..

  7. ET - Mar 3, 2015 at 4:38 PM

    I have high hopes that Jeffcoat will develop into a decent OLB. I was somewhat surprised that he went completely undrafted.

    Not exactly in the same category, but I think Darrel Young is criminally underutilized. He can run the ball, catch and block well. The fullback designation is limiting, and Gruden should be able to use his talents in a more disruptive fashion.

    • bangkokben - Mar 3, 2015 at 5:48 PM

      Agreed on DY. For now he is a surprise. Why not make him more of a 1st option in the red zone? Then maybe some those weapons (Garcon, Reed, Jackson, Morris) will have more space. Heck, it might even open things up for Griffin if a LB has to cover DY in the flat.

      • ET - Mar 3, 2015 at 8:01 PM

        Exactly. I think of Young in a hybrid H-back / fullback / tight end fashion. Regardless of where he lines up or what he’s called, he’s a good asset and can create some real mismatches in coverage. Or just throw a crucial block.

  8. murphsman - Mar 3, 2015 at 6:01 PM

    I’ve asked before but I’ll ask again since you didn’t answer last time- what about John LeRibeus? Any clue about his place on the depth chart?

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 3, 2015 at 7:15 PM

      LeRibeus will be given a shot to make the roster. I have zero belief that he’ll have any impact.

      > > >

  9. bangkokben - Mar 3, 2015 at 6:51 PM

    Josh LeRibeus is a Shanahan pick. He was labeled a reach then. I don’t see how his status has improved much with the selection of Long but it would be interesting if there are any new impressions.

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