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Way too early Redskins 53-man roster projection–Offense

May 14, 2015, 9:20 AM EDT

Redskins-huddle-offense-camp

The Redskins will hold their first major on-field activity of their preseason program tomorrow when they start their rookie camp in Ashburn. That’s too early to predict who will make the 53-man roster when all of the preseason activity is done and the final cuts are made on September 5. But that won’t stop me. Here is who I think ends up making the offensive portion of the final 53; looking at the defense tomorrow.

Starters in bold

Offense (25)

Quarterback (3): Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy, Connor Halliday

This scenario may be overly optimistic on Halliday’s potential. He is a pure project, coming out of a no-huddle, spread shotgun offensive at Washington State. If he shows enough the Redskins may want to keep him on the 53 and not risk losing him while trying to slip him onto the practice squad. They could dangle Kirk Cousins as trade bait to a team that lost a QB to a preseason injury. If Halliday goes to the practice squad or doesn’t make it Cousins is likely to be back.

Offensive line (9): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Tom Compton, Morgan Moses, Arie Kouandjio, Chris Chester

Looking at the last player in that list first, I think that Long is able to win the starting job at right guard but Chester stays with a contract that cuts his $4.8 million down to the $1.5-$2 million range. They would rather keep the veteran Chester as a backup who has some flexibility rather than Josh LeRibeus, who can’t play anything other than left guard.

Wide receiver (6): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder, Evan Spencer.

This seems to be cut and dried as far as the six players on the roster. What remains to be seen is how much rookies Crowder and Spencer push for playing time over Grant and Roberts. Gruden seems to be high on the two draft picks and Roberts in particular was a disappointment last year.

Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul

This is the status quo from last year. Although the team might have liked to add a tight end in the draft there were very few to be found. I don’t think you can rule out another blocking tight end making it but four tight ends would create a squeeze at another position.

Running back (4): Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Matt Jones, Silas Redd

There is a numbers crunch here that could lead to some very tough decisions. If Chris Thompson can stay healthy, they might want to keep him around as a third-down back. And there is some buzz about rookie Trey Williams, who could have some playmaking ability that the team is lacking. Redd will need to be on top of his game to hold on to that fourth spot.

–25 offensive players, six new to the Redskins organization in 2015.

  1. troylok - May 14, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    Wow. Bold indeed, and I am not talking about the lettering. I’m not sold on Halliday plus, I am a Cousins fan, so I will grumble in disagreement at your QB assessment. I see Halliday as a practice squad candidate and not sure that all of those teams that passed on him in the draft will be anxious to sign him away from the practice squad. I agree that Cousins is trade bait. I keep having these visions of Cousins in Buffalo, so let’s see if that is true prognostication, or just some bad tequila talking. Variable number one: if Cousins is traded, that could open the door for Halliday, but unless the kid shows something more than a raw talent that is clueless about NFL offenses, I believe in that scenario the Redskins would look for a grizzled veteran to keep the bench warm at third string. Variable number two: if RG3 stinks it up, this whole dynamic could change. They might push the rookie into the lineup just to look for some glimmer of hope on the horizon – especially if neither McCoy or Cousins can take the job outright.

  2. bowlregard - May 14, 2015 at 9:59 AM

    Between Trey Williams and Jamison Crowder they should have an exciting return game. I like the idea of having two returners like that. Depth.

  3. hk2000 - May 14, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    Only 6 new players and of the 6 only 1significant addition, then again, our weakens was not in the players we had, it was the coaching and still is. We are the only team who does not have a true offensive coordinator!!

    • bangkokben - May 14, 2015 at 11:50 AM

      Gruden is the coach and no amount of lamenting is going to change that. We get it. You’re not a fan. In fact you’re so anti-Gruden that it seems that you would rather him fail then the Redskins succeed. WAAAAAH! Gruden can’t coach! WAAAAAH! Gruden can’t coach! Dude, you’re like the baby in the crib that keeps crying. No one’s coming to comfort you. Gruden is going to coach this team barring catastrophe. Figure a different way to cope. You could do like the baby and suck your thumb or you could be an adult and drink until you have no liver.

      • hk2000 - May 14, 2015 at 12:16 PM

        If I’m not a fan why the hell do I care? I’m not the only one speculating here. Everybody is putting in their $.02 on what they see the team doing. All I’m saying is the coach had his chance and we saw no change from game one to game 16, they don’t want to fire the coach, fine, but let us have a real OC whose job is designing plays and who’s smart enough to devise a contingency for every situation: I watched Joe Gibbs come out in second halves of games where the ‘Skins were trailing badly and came out like a whole new team in the second half. That’s what I’m talking about. And your response is crybaby? WOW.

        • bangkokben - May 14, 2015 at 12:46 PM

          You’ve had the same response irregardless the topic. Running back, quarterback, free agency, the draft, the schedule, general manager’ it doesn’t matter it comes down to the coach. I watched Gibbs do his magic at halftime as well and we haven’t had one single coach since then that produced the same results including Gibbs the second time around. Not Shanahan, Zorn, Spurrier, Marty, Turner, or Petitbone. So Gruden elevates McVay to OC and tries to win with Shanny’s pieces and it’s all on him? Many of us don’t have time but every time you change you have to give it time. You were probably right there with the rest of the city that wanted Gibbs out after his start as well. But you’re right. Keep changing. That has worked wonders for us.

  4. vtsquirm - May 14, 2015 at 11:21 AM

    I don’t think there is any way we keep Halliday on the 53 man roster. These spots are too valuable for someone who is not going to be able to play this year and probably wouldn’t make anyone elses 53 man roster unless he lights it up in the preseason. Its not like we spent a draft pick on him either. He’ll make a good practice squad candidate though.

    • vtsquirm - May 15, 2015 at 4:44 PM

      Halliday must have read my comments and knew he wasn’t going to make the roster… thus deciding to step away from the game. Cheers!

  5. skinsdiehard - May 14, 2015 at 12:16 PM

    Larsen at center and Takoby Cofield should make it as reserve linemen over Chester and Compton. Cofield will be better than Compton in pass protection which is key. Compton is just not athletic enough. Chester is too expensive for a backup.

    Backups: Morgan G/RT, Larsen C, Cofield LT, Kouandjio G

    • ET - May 14, 2015 at 1:00 PM

      While I admire your optimism about the incoming OL prospects, your scenario would mean the backups have virtually no NFL experience.

  6. bk70 - May 14, 2015 at 12:20 PM

    Bold move and Way too early…Ok I’ll bite. I think the Skins will only keep 2 QBs (Griffin and Cousins) and a third on Practice Squad (Halliday). I’m hoping they’ll hold on to 10 OL and prepare for the future, an extra center (Larsen) and replace Chester with LeRibeus or another OG. I’m no longer buying in to the concept of Chester as the BU center. WR, TE and RB, I’m with you. Practice Squad will also include Devin Mahina (TE), Austin Reiter (C) and Takoby Cofield (OT).

  7. skinsdiehard - May 14, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    I’d keep Trey Williams over Redd and Thompson. Thompson has not been durable over two seasons. That’s enough of a track record for me.

  8. kenlinkins - May 14, 2015 at 1:02 PM

    Rich, I see that you have both Offensive guys over 29 (Chester and Kory L) making the team. If I see Hall, Hatcher*, Golston, Goldson* and Hayward making the 53 man roster from your Defense way to early story, would it be fair to say that you believe that the new GM is not planning a major youth movement this year? Are there that many guys in the 25 to 29 year range that the Redskins new GM just doesn’t believe in that he would keep 6 or 7 30 and over guys? ( * = guys IMO are locks to make the team). My first cut at the 53 man roster only had 3 guys over 29 (Hatcher, Goldson and Chester). For the first time in a long time I see guys would might be placed on the Practice Squad who would be a major risk to lose to another team. I am hoping for less of the same old . same old players this year.

    • kenlinkins - May 14, 2015 at 1:03 PM

      Or do I just have to wait for the next story before I start picking it apart.

  9. mr.moneylover - May 14, 2015 at 2:17 PM

    I like trey Williams…he comes out of the SEC I think he has a good chance to make the roster if he dont get injured…college players must realize staying in the gym will benefit them alot on the nfl level guys are bigger stronger and faster…the rookies who play good against the vets when they start doing 11 on 11 drills will have the best chance to start or be a solid backup…one thing the rookies have to do is not feel they have to do extra or dont put alot of pressure on they self because thats when you go out there and get injured thats what happen to dante flower jr

  10. mr.moneylover - May 14, 2015 at 2:27 PM

    I think arie kouandjio should play next to brandon scherff…arie kouandjio be taking out two players at one time and he does a solid job in his one on one match up…let spencer long and whoever battle for the backup postion…

  11. wvredskins - May 14, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    I see Kirk Cousin’s being on this team and if they did trade him away due to an injury during preseason or what not that would be kinda silly since RG is known to be injury prone. I just dont have the faith in Colt McCoy. I would like to see them keep Conner Holiday, hopefully he clears waivers so we can get him on the practice squad just in case we go into next year like we did this year (very disappointed with our QB position) The running back situation is quite a dilemma. IMO we have to many running backs that are the same. Obviously we are gonna keep Morris and 3rd rd pick Matt Jones. IMO we need a speedster and guy who is fast and can catch the ball for passing downs and Trey Williams might be that guy. It makes me wonder why he didnt get drafted tho.

  12. abanig - May 14, 2015 at 5:02 PM

    Here is my best guess.

    Offense: (25)

    QB (3) – Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy

    [b]RB (4) – [/b]Alfred Morris, Silas Redd, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson

    FB (1) – Darrell Young

    TE (3) – Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul

    WR (5) – Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder

    LT (2) – Trent Williams, Morgan Moses
    LG (2) – Shawn Lauvao, Josh Leribeus
    OC (1) – Kory Lichtensteiger
    RG (2) – Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio
    RT (2) – Brandon Scherff, Tom Compton

    Defense: (25)

    RDE (2) – Jason Hatcher, Frank Kearse

    NT (2) – Terrance Knighton, Chris Baker

    LDE (2) – Stephen Paea, Ricky Jean Francois

    ROLB (2) – Trent Murphy, Preston Smith

    RILB (2) – Keenan Robinson, Will Compton

    LILB (3) – Perry Riley, Martrell Spaight, Adam Hayward

    LOLB (2) – Ryan Kerrigan, Jackson Jeffcoat

    CB (5) – Chris Culliver, Bashaud Breeland, Deangelo Hall, Tracy Porter, Tevin Mitchel

    FS (2) – Dashon Goldson, David Amerson

    SS (3) – Jeron Johnson, Phillip Thomas, Akeem Davis

    Special Teams: (3)

    K (1) – Kai Forbath
    P (1) – Tress Way
    LS (1) – Nick Sundberg

    Practice Squad:

    C Austin Reiter
    S Kyshoen Jarrett
    WR Evan Spencer
    NT Robert Thomas
    DE Corey Crawford
    TE Devin Mahina
    OT Xaiver Nixon
    ILB/SS Dyshawn Davis
    QB Connor Halliday
    WR Quinton Dunbar

    • ET - May 14, 2015 at 7:19 PM

      I think Jarrett and Spencer probably make the final 53. I’d be surprised to see LeRib make the roster, however.

      Thompson, Thomas and Porter better pray they don’t get injuries or Jay might cut them loose. They might get cut loose anyway, but at least they each have a good shot if they stay healthy. I predict one of the three won’t make it ’cause of the injury bug.

      • abanig - May 14, 2015 at 10:04 PM

        My thought process with Leribeus is that we’re going to keep 9 offensive linemen, or we should keep 9 Or even 10.

        Wouldn’t you rather keep Leribeus than Chester?

        Guys like Larsen and Reiter can go on the practice squad for a year. Same with Spencer.

        I see potential in both Thompson and
        Thomas still. Thomas is still our most talented young safety, unless he totally looks like trash this offseason, we should keep him as the 4th safety and continue to develop him.

        Thompson is the only running back on our roster who offers a change of pace and can be a poor man’s Darren Sproles type. Thompson’s issues since a college has been injuries. I have to think at some point Thompson stays healthy enough to be the redskins scat back, pass catcher or third downs out of the backfield and a return man. He has the talent to be that and the explosiveness to be special.

        • ET - May 14, 2015 at 11:25 PM

          Don’t get me wrong, I’d like Thomas and Thompson to do well. I agree that they have plenty of potential. If they can stay healthy and contribute, that’d be great. Gruden clearly showed frustration with their injuries last year, though.

          LeRib, I’m not a fan. But I do understand your logic.

        • Rich Tandler - May 15, 2015 at 8:09 AM

          Problem with LeRibeus, as I noted in the post, is that he plays one position–left guard. Maybe he could do RG in a pinch but he can’t do center. Without Chester, who is the backup center?

          In many ways it’s better to keep LeRibeus (younger and, even if Chester takes a pay cut, cheaper). But flexibility is critical for the backup lineman and he doesn’t have it.

        • abanig - May 15, 2015 at 10:25 AM

          It’s hard to tell what versatility both LeRibeus and Long have. The previous year’s they played for Forester, who is Chris Chester’s biggest fan in the entire NFL.

          Both LeRibeus & Long practiced some at center in their rookie years, but they never played there.

          Maybe under new, better and less biased coaching from Bill Callahan, both LeRibeus & Long can develop better, show off versatily to play center & guard and beat out Chester.

          The only reason Chester is on the team is because he’s an experienced vet and Long still isn’t perfect with everything in practice. If LeRibeus continues to take strides like he did last offseason and Long finally makes the coaches comfortable with him knowing everything he has to do when starting, Chester will be gone.

          I’m banking on Chester being gone before September and either LeRibeus or Long proving in preseason that they can play some center and be Kory’s back up.

    • captblood3000 - May 14, 2015 at 7:58 PM

      The Redskins cut Xavier Nixon when they signed Cofield. Also, I see them cutting LeRibeus, most likely for Larsen. It IS too early for this.

      • abanig - May 14, 2015 at 10:06 PM

        I meant to edit the practice squad players and forgot to switch out Nixon for someone else like Spencer Larsen or an OT but I couldn’t edit it once I posted.

  13. abanig - May 14, 2015 at 5:07 PM

    The only way Halliday makes the active roster is if we trade Cousins or Griffin. I guess it’s possible but probably unlikely. I think he’ll be on the practice squad.

    I had is keeping 5 ilbs & 3 SS’s because I think Compton, Hayward, Spaight and Akeem Davis are our best special teams players. I can see Evan Spencer making it for his special teams play and maybe Chris Thompson doesn’t make it but, I think we can use Thompson some as a scat back and I think he’ll prove valuable at it and I wouldn’t rule him out making a rebound as a return man either.

    He has the talent to be a great return man, he just needs better coaching and more practice and playing time as a return man this preseason.

  14. goback2rfk - May 14, 2015 at 11:43 PM

    It will be interesting to see how RG3 has developed after having 3 seasons to get a feel for thing. This will be his break out year, or it should be, I am looking for him to put up some rookie season numbers. He has weapons, we got decent RB’s, we got decent WR’s, the O-Line should be improved, the T.E’s are solid.
    There is no reason to think that this Offense will not score more points this year.

    • abanig - May 15, 2015 at 11:00 AM

      I don’t really want RG3 to have his rookie season #s, I want him to have his rookie season EFFICIENCY!

      I want him to complete more than 258 passes, I want him to throw for more than 3200 yards (like he did in 2012 & 2013), and I want to throw more than 20 tds.

      I do want Griffin to complete at least 65% of his passes, for 8 avg yards per completion, for at least a 5.1 td %, 5 tds (or at least less than 10) and have a RTG of 100 or higher.

      We need Griffin to be smart with the football, not try to do to much on his own, not try to be super man, and take what the defense gives him. We need him to be efficient, be smart, to run when he has open lanes, but when he runs to learn to protect himself, get out of bounds, learn to slide, and get down instead of taking big hits.

      What I don’t want is for Griffin to be running the ball as much as he did in 2012. We don’t want Griffin to be the most hit qb in the NFL again like he was in 2012. We don’t want Griffin to have 120 carries and run for 815 yds.

      What I want to see out of both Griffin & Gruden is enough runs to keep the defense honest and to think that Griffin can still be and at any time will be a running threat. If they can find that balance, that will open up things more for the passing game and lanes for the running backs.

      I’d like to see Griffin run similar to how he did in 2013. He ran the ball 86 times, 6.6 times a game, had a 5.7 avg per carry, ran for 37 yds a game and had 489 yds for the season in just 13 games.

      What we didn’t get in 2013 was the TDs out of Griffin, because Kyle/Mike didn’t run enough zone read in the redzone or qb sneaks/keepers for Griffin inside the 10 yard line. Gruden didn’t do that in 2014 either, but he did run those plays for Kirk & Colt some in the redzone.

      Which is head scratching to me…

      I want to see more of Griffin being used as a running option inside the 10 yard line. In 2012, Griffin had 7 rushing TDs. In 2013, he had ZERO! In 2014 he had only ONE td against Philly and ironically, that’s the ONLY game the Redskins won in the second half of the season.

      So, to me, we have to use Griffin more as a run option in the redzone, especially inside the 10 on the zone read, qb sneak, bootlegs/qb keepers off the bootlegs. If Gruden does that, then the Skins redzone TD efficiency will go through the roof like it was in 2012.

      Here’s what I believe Griffin’s stat line can look like in 2015 and what I’d like it to look like:

      Passing: 65%, 4,000 yds, 250 yds a game, 25 tds, 10 ints

      Rushing: 75 carries, 450 yds, 6 yds a carry, 5 tds

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