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Looking ahead: Redskins 2016 depth chart projection, offense

Jan 13, 2016, 12:00 PM EDT

Redskins-huddle-vs.-Eagles

It’s time to take a look ahead and see what the Redskins’ depth chart might look like on opening day of 2016. Here’s a look at the offense; I’ll cover the defense tomorrow.

Quarterback: Kirk Cousins
Backups: Colt McCoy, draft pick

Cousins will either be signed to a long-term contract or he will get the franchise tag. In any case, he is going nowhere. I’m a little bit iffy on McCoy. He came back here last year thinking that he had a shot at the starting job. Now that he knows he won’t start he may look for another location. I think there will be a developmental quarterback brought in via the draft, somewhere between the fourth and seventh rounds. That QB could be on the practice squad rather than on the 53.

Running backs: Matt Jones, Darrel Young
Backups: Chris Thompson, free agent/draft pick

Putting Jones at the top of the 2016 depth chart was an easy call when I sketched it out a couple of months ago. After he got dinged up a few times and showed that he has a lot of work to do in refining his game to become a full-time starter it’s not so certain. For right now it’s Jones but a draft pick or free agent could supplant him by the time the season starts. It still looks like Alfred Morris will move on, perhaps to a team that emphasizes zone blocking. Thompson was perhaps underutilized with only 35 receptions. Young is a free agent but there is a good chance he will return.

Wide receivers: Pierre Garçon, draft pick
Backups: Jamison Crowder (slot receiver), Ryan Grant, Rashad Ross

As DeSean Jackson struggled to return from a hamstring injury it appeared that he would not be back in 2016. Then after he made a few big plays the focus turned to him being a unique talent. But then there was the fumble on the punt return against the Cowboys and his apparently lackluster effort in trying get the ball across the goal line after a catch against the Packers and his future is back up in the air. Garçon’s return is no sure thing; he had a solid season (72/777/6) but is that worth the $10.2 million cap hit for 2016? If one goes and one stays, I think Garçon is safe but that’s far from certain. If both do not return, a receiver will need to be added in free agency or the draft.

Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Niles Paul, Derek Carrier

Reed can become one of the best in the NFL if he isn’t already. Paul’s rehab from a dislocated ankle is coming along well and he said he plans to be ready for OTAs. If they can find a blocking tight end in the draft they might move on from Carrier.

Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Spencer Long, C Kory Lichtensteiger, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: G Arie Kouandjio, T Ty Nsekhe, 1-2 draft picks

I had Shaun Lauvao back at left guard until I saw him in the locker room on Monday, just off of a second major surgery and in need to a scooter to get around. Perhaps he can make a fast recovery but for right now I’m leaving Long at left guard. They will be on the lookout for a replacement for Lichtensteiger in the draft but the veteran likely holds on to his job for this year.

  1. babyteal1 - Jan 13, 2016 at 12:05 PM

    If they let DeSean walk they will regret it. He stretches the field better than any player in the NFL. Don’t be dumb Redskins!!!

    • cowboyhater - Jan 13, 2016 at 12:36 PM

      Crowder & Draft pick > Mesean Jackson

      • babyteal1 - Jan 13, 2016 at 2:21 PM

        Get your crystal balls out……..yeah right cowboylover

        • cowboyhater - Jan 13, 2016 at 3:01 PM

          Cowboylover?….You can have all that locker room divisive drama from an almost 30 year old receiver who is showing signs of lack of durability. I’ll take an up and coming WR and young draft pick who could make plays for this team

          So what ever your response means, which makes absolutely no sense, or you can clearly give me a reason why I would need this so called crystal ball…let me know.

      • renhoekk2 - Jan 14, 2016 at 9:40 AM

        Sorry I agree with the concept that you don’t let a proven guy go based on hope. You can’t cut guys loose unless you know you have their replacement on the roster. Crowder is a slot WR. Can’t just line him up outside and say now you’re an X or Y. Or hope some draft pick produces his rookie year. I’m not a huge DJAX fan but they don’t have anyone on the roster yet to take his spot. The Eagles let a lot of proven guys go and HOPED the guys they brought in could do the job. They took a nose dive and Chip Kelley is looking for work.

    • goback2rfk - Jan 13, 2016 at 1:50 PM

      Jackson is hit or miss. He either goes big or does not go at all. His playoff performance was very concerning.
      He is too unpredictable. Clearly you can not count on him all the time. He is a great talent and I definitely want him on the team but is there anyway to renegotiate that contract a tad?

      • babyteal1 - Jan 13, 2016 at 2:22 PM

        Yeah with an extension :-)

      • ET - Jan 13, 2016 at 3:00 PM

        Jackson is a force to be reckoned with when he’s on. But is his presence worth the price tag? No.

        This is something that can be addressed in the draft. Wide receiver is a fairly strong position group even without Jackson. Let’s use that money elsewhere.

        • bangkokben - Jan 13, 2016 at 6:46 PM

          Channeling your inner Chip Kelly?

  2. skinsdiehard - Jan 13, 2016 at 12:37 PM

    I would let Jackson go. The offense needs the speed. The 1st round receivers this year are mostly possession type (Treadwell).

    I think they draft a RB and C.
    I think Compton, LeRibeus and/orCofield can serve as adequate backups on the O-Line with Kouandjio. Draft picks are needed for other areas in 2016 like FS, CB, DE, RB.

    • babyteal1 - Jan 13, 2016 at 2:24 PM

      How many of our other deep threats scored?…that’s right we don’t have any. Let him go???….madness I tell you!!!

      • AJSkinsFan - Jan 14, 2016 at 2:47 PM

        Rashard Ross

  3. bk70 - Jan 13, 2016 at 12:46 PM

    Need a blocking TE with a backup; I see four TE (Reed, Paul and two others) on the roster in 2016.

    I think Tom Compton will still be around, resigned as a utility OL and extra TE.

    Center is the most interesting opening on the OL. Yes Lichtensteiger to start (in pencil) but someone should be added to the roster that’s around 6’3 and north of 310 pounds, and less than 27 years old. Don’t know if Reiter has been asked to bulk up in the off season, or if he’s progressing after a full season on the practice squad.

  4. bangkokben - Jan 13, 2016 at 1:41 PM

    Rich, are all of the coaches safe? Sure the team did well but the running backs regressed or didn’t live up to expectations and we couldn’t seem to get anything out of a back-up tight-end. Carrier looked more like a receiving TE than a blocking one and outside of Smith’s 1st quarter catch against Green Bay, I couldn’t remember the last time I saw the back-up TE make a play. Is the TE coach safe as well? It’s not like they were helping in the run game either.

  5. bangkokben - Jan 13, 2016 at 1:51 PM

    I’m for allowing the window on the receivers remain open for one more year AND draft a top one if available. Keep the strength of the team – the passing game – strong. I’m fine with Jones and Thompson as a one two punch but that depends on what the team wants to be its identity. Does it want to be run first – ground and pound – to set up the pass or does it want to be pass first team that gets the defense chasing all over the park that than sprinkles in a run or a bunch of runs – like Green Bay did in the 2nd half? If it’s the latter, I’m fine with Jones and Thompson and maybe Pierre Thomas; if it’s the former, then we need some help. As for the O-line, that is a bummer to hear about Lauvao and then we are looking at another two O-linemen to be drafted. A 5th rounder on Carrier, I think he stays.

    • goback2rfk - Jan 13, 2016 at 2:06 PM

      I would like to see a big tall tough ass reciever get signed on the team. We need a megaton, someone that can go up and get the ball out of the air. Jackson is a great deep threat but he does not produce much other than that. I would love to see him on the team next season along with a tall chain move type of reciever. We need a guy that can work the middle of the field a little more.

  6. 226thebeatdontstop - Jan 13, 2016 at 2:03 PM

    This is ridiculous Rich , how is Desean not back, this offense struggles without a consistant deep threat without speed. Speed cannot be taught

    Cousins produced one season, one! He’s not worth 20 million nor did his play in the second half of the Greenbay playoff game reflect that. I don’t care what records he broke he did nothing to move the offense

    • babyteal1 - Jan 13, 2016 at 2:28 PM

      I agree on DeSean…….he’s on the team.

    • goback2rfk - Jan 13, 2016 at 4:42 PM

      The score of the Green Bay game would have been much different if Rg3 was under center. r.i.p – rg3

      • John - Jan 13, 2016 at 6:36 PM

        Yeah, the score would have been a lot worse as RG3 would have been lost after not playing all season. That and he would have tried to scramble and end up injured with the team on the hook for $16 million. That LSD must be working, cause you are totally delusional.

        • goback2rfk - Jan 13, 2016 at 6:53 PM

          Its was a joke guy. LoL

    • ajbus1 - Jan 13, 2016 at 10:39 PM

      329 yds & 2TDs is doing nothing to move the offense?

  7. John - Jan 13, 2016 at 2:14 PM

    Rich,
    I’ve been say in for sometime that they could use a stud/#1 receiver with size and speed (Art Monk, can you get young real quick, if not a Julio or AJ type), a running back who can make some cuts like the kid in Atlanta (Davonte) that ran all over us, a big time center to tie the line together (a bigger Jeff Bostic out of the Big 10) and a tight end who can block consistently (perhaps Carrier with another year in the system). Of course we also have major issues on Defense. Unfortunately most of it will have to come out of the draft as the free agent crop looks light.

  8. rtcwon - Jan 13, 2016 at 2:24 PM

    There is plenty of cap room to keep both DJax and Garcon on their current deals. And I would expect both to get an extension before outright released. Garcon only has $2.2M & DJax $2.5M dead money to roll into an extension so not much ‘kicking the can down the road.’ (By the way, Djax only needed his left foot, which he got inside the pylon, to touch the endzone to have made that a touchdown. Everyone wanting him to do something with the ball has it wrong, the hit was coming from that direction and there was no need to put the ball at risk, just get that foot down in bounds!)

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see 4 TEs over DY. Calahan has relegated him to a teams only player with Hayward and Johnson already under contract in that role. Plus Jensen is also under contract.

    To me, Long was a disaster and needs to show tremendous improvement just to make it as a back up next year. No way would I even pencil him in as a starter. Lauvao could be released saving $3M and only $2M dead but I’m surprised Rich got the impression he needs a ‘fast’ recovery to be considered. To me, not walking within 3 months is not a concern. It may mean he might not be ready for the earliest OTAs in May but I’m unclear how he wouldn’t be ready for mini-camp? Lastly, other than a major diamond in the rough, I find it implausible to expect an upgrade over Lichtensteiger.

    • goback2rfk - Jan 13, 2016 at 4:40 PM

      Jackson could have made a big boy play and tucked the ball away and drove through the defender and into the endzone. He tried to use his speed to avoid taking a hit just like he did with that punt return where he ran 25 yards in the wrong direction. 2 rememberable awful plays in my worthless opinion.

    • unknownskinfan - Jan 13, 2016 at 5:42 PM

      The Desean play is that the BALL must break the plane. It could be that all of Desean except for the hands holding the ball are in the end zone and it would be a non touchdown. That’s how Cousins was able to get the ball in on that goal line drive in the regular season after he got turned backwards and got the hands over the line and had the ball break the plane.

      • rtcwon - Jan 13, 2016 at 7:02 PM

        The ball did break the plane. The problem was his foot went out of bounds just prior.

        I’m sure you’ve heard some version of “the goaline wraps around the world” cliche, what that means is the plane is a trapezoid. In other words, the ball can cross the plane even while outside the sideline or “out of bounds” as long as some part of the runner breaks the plane inbounds.

        So again, it would have been a touchdown even while protecting himself and the ball if that last stride was just a bit shorter and came down in the end zone instead of across it.

        I think he thought “get the pylon” which he did, just didn’t know to get the foot down.

        • bangkokben - Jan 13, 2016 at 7:10 PM

          That I believe to be the old school interpretation kind of like two feet down and it’s a catch. Didn’t they change this recently where the ball actually has to cross the plane INSIDE the pylon? Thus all the intentional hitting the pylon with the ball.

    • John - Jan 13, 2016 at 6:50 PM

      Leribus was still learning the position and was excellent at times. It was probably a mistake to pull him for the playoff game. In terms of getting a center, they are usually available in the mid to late rounds. Not demanded as much as left tackles or gaurds.

      • bangkokben - Jan 13, 2016 at 7:07 PM

        The good ones get taken early. LeRibeus was worse for the eleven games he played except for Steiger playing like LeRibeus against Green Bay. Hardly proof that ‘Steiger playing was a mistake. “Excellent at times.” Are these the times he snapped the ball too early or times he snapped it too late or the times he snapped it three feet to the right of Kirk or just the other times? He never made it to the 2nd level in the run game and often was pushed back in both pass pro and run blocking. So the times he wasn’t outright sucking, he was excellent? Okay.

  9. metalman5150 - Jan 13, 2016 at 2:36 PM

    remember when the skins had three top 60 picks, in ginny cerato’s final draft class?
    Two mister receivers (one speedster and one possession -type?)
    Vinny also drafted fred davis.
    Ah how naive i was to believe in that draft class.

    Thank GOD for Scotty M.

    • unknownskinfan - Jan 13, 2016 at 6:10 PM

      Actually that wasn’t his final draft. You forgot the 2009 draft that netted Orapko (or something like that [.02 to Cerrato]) who is the ONLY player from the 08 and 09 Skins draft classes still playing. The only other one who was until being released in the preseason was Chad Rinehart.

      • bangkokben - Jan 13, 2016 at 6:58 PM

        Yes true. However the Redskins did sign the undrafted Chase Daniel in 2009. He’s still Alex Smith’s back up in KC. Does Vinny get any “credit” for spotting this “diamond in the rough” even though he was among the Redskins final cuts in 2009?

    • John - Jan 13, 2016 at 6:31 PM

      I thought Devon Thomas was coming on pretty good before Shanahan got rid of him. Imagine Jordan Reed and Fred Davis together. Not a bad TE combo. Malcolm who?

  10. murphsman - Jan 13, 2016 at 5:28 PM

    Rich, what about Thomas and Logan Paulson? I don’t know what kind of contract Thomas signed, and I can’t remember if Paulsons contract is up.

    • John - Jan 13, 2016 at 6:40 PM

      Per Scott M in an interview not long ago, Pierre Thomas, Alex Smith and a few others were short term veteran fixes.

      Paulson’s contract should be up. If the keep Carrier, he’s out

  11. Dave - Jan 13, 2016 at 6:51 PM

    D Jax too good not to resign. Sign Reed now as he has proven his worth.

  12. hitmeimopen - Jan 13, 2016 at 6:53 PM

    I got my wants and desires, too, but we all know they’re going to build their board and follow it as they take best-available-player throughout the draft. I, for one, am signed on with this approach.

  13. garg8050 - Jan 13, 2016 at 8:11 PM

    The problem is that both Garcon and Jackson are really #2 receivers. Jackson is a one-trick pony. Deep routes and that’s about it. He doesn’t make the tough catches across the middle, he can’t get you 7 on 3rd and 7. That being said, he would be a perfect #2 with his ability to stretch the field and open up the middle of the field for Reed and Garcon. If they both are willing to restructure, I think you bring them both back. In all honesty, Reed is really the #1 receiver on this team.

    There’s been chatter on the radio by Doc, plus Cooley, about Nsekhe at LG possibly. How realistic is that?

  14. JOHNNY B - Jan 13, 2016 at 9:53 PM

    Kirk stopped throwing to Djax twice this year. The game after his return fumble,and the Packers game. I think that Cousins has lost trust in him. He was open a bunch in the Packers game. I think that de or safety will be our first pick in the Draft. We need someone to replace Hatcher. So wr second pick tall and fast good hands. Alf will be back. And who was that tight end that we picked up that got injured he was a good blocker. There’s going to be a lot of interest in Mccoy. We might not get him back. Keep Griffin as a backup lol

  15. lorcanbonda - Jan 14, 2016 at 5:24 PM

    Colt McCoy will want to find another team where he could compete for the starting position. I would lay odds that nobody will choose him. If that is the case, we should still draft a young talent, but bring Colt in as he develops (or fails to.)

    Colt is a good quarterback. We shouldn’t waste that talent.

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