Skip to content

Need to Know: Redskins face personnel turnover on special teams

Apr 6, 2016, 5:15 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 6, 22 days before the NFL Draft.


—The Redskins last played a game 87 days ago. It will be about 158 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 12; 2016 NFL draft 22; Redskins training camp starts 113

Hot topic

The Redskins took a major leap forward in special teams last year. They went from near the bottom in one of the most respected rankings in 2014 into the middle of the pack last year. Like the other units on the team they want to keep improving the kicking game. But due to personnel losses it may be hard to do that.

The two players who led the team in special teams snaps, Darrell Young and Jeron Johnson, will not be back. Kyshoen Jarrett, who averaged 10 special teams snaps per game, is a question mark after suffering an injury that affects strength in his arm. Derek Carrier (103 special teams snaps) also is an injury question mark and Dashon Goldson (109) and Trenton Robinson (99) are not currently on the roster.

These players will be replaced. The team signed David Bruton and Terrance Garvin with the idea that they will play a lot of special teams. Nile Paul, a key contributor since he was drafted in 2011, is returning after missing all of last year with an injury. Others, like Deshazor Everett, will have to step up from minor special teams roles into major ones.

But you never know how changes like this are going to work out. It will be up to Ben Kotwica to make sure that the new players learn the system and buy into it.

Fan question of the day

Today’s question is from the Real Redskins Facebook page.


I like it when someone gets right to the point with a question.

The right to the point answer is, there isn’t a whole lot of it. But they may have enough of it on the team right now.

Last year they went with two reserves at tackle, Ty Nsekhe and Tom Compton. The former is still under contract, the latter left as a free agent and joined Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta.

Nsekhe played both left and right tackle last year, filling in when Trent Williams and Morgan Moses, respectively, were sidelined with injuries. He could be the swing tackle again this year and back up both sides. Most of Compton’s snaps came as an additional blocking tight end.

Many teams go with one swing tackle on the roster. If the Redskins want another one, they could look either to the veteran free agent market or perhaps to their practice squad. Takoby Cofield was undrafted out of Duke a year ago but the Redskins paid him the largest allowable signing bonus to sign with them. He spent 2015 on the practice squad and he may be ready to step into a backup role this year.

(Hit me up on Twitter with #NTK @Rich_TandlerCSN or here in the comments to submit a question)

In case you missed it

  1. colorofmyskinz - Apr 6, 2016 at 6:15 AM

    We have some major contracting issues that have to be fixed. We have mad talent set to walk next year that will be real expensive, Reed, DJax, Garçon, Gallette, cousins… Just to name a few.

    We have others making mad money not playing to their price, Garçon, Culliver, Paea, Roberts, Kory, Dhall, Riley.

    2016 needs to be the year of fixing the contracting. We need to either cut or renegotiate terms with overpaid, and we need to pay those we need to keep.

    That is critical for this year before moving to 2017.

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 6, 2016 at 8:24 AM

      No they don’t.

      They will have ~$55 million in 2017 cap space even if they don’t make a single move to reduce spending next year. They can keep some players whose 2015 performances did not live up to their salaries without worrying about having issues next year.

      They will not lose a player because they don’t have the money to pay them.

      • bangkokben - Apr 6, 2016 at 8:51 AM

        Thank you, Rich. Beat me to it and it sounds sooooo much more credible from you.

    • hail74 - Apr 6, 2016 at 9:01 AM

      You are worried that mad talented garçon will be a FA but think he makes mad money now? Personally I agree that most of those players haven’t really provided the appropriate return on the investment but it was Paea and culliver’s first year and culliver was injured most of it. Still not concerned at all about our cap situation.

      • chimpychimps - Apr 7, 2016 at 12:13 PM

        two worst contracts on the team are garcon, an above average number 2 wr at best, and Kerrigans.

        I’m hoping Kerrigan was just hurt last year and will see a resurgence next year.

        Both guys are good guys, they are just being paid far more than their talent warrants.

        • Josh - Apr 9, 2016 at 11:14 AM

          Ryan Kerrigan underplayed his contract?! Kerrigan has been the best player on D since he stepped onto FedEx field!

  2. troylok - Apr 6, 2016 at 7:49 AM

    It seems to me teams always have a lot of turnover on special teams rosters, so not too worried about the final product that appears on the field. Signing a kicker that knock the ball out of the back of the end zone was the single greatest improvement on special teams last year.

    • bangkokben - Apr 6, 2016 at 8:56 AM

      Agreed and then the NFL made kickers like Kai Forbath suddenly valuable with the 25-yard touchback. Now the Redskins need special teamers to tackle and their kicker to boot it high and just short of the goal line.

      • ET - Apr 6, 2016 at 10:15 AM

        It’ll be interesting to see how this rule change plays out. On balance, I’m in favor of it—a virtually automatic touchback is boring.

        • bangkokben - Apr 6, 2016 at 3:18 PM

          This will likely bring back the kick return which is a good thing. Maybe there will be room for the Brandon Banks’ of the world again. Just seems as if the Redskins have been on the “losing” end of this evolution. Will more kick-offs result in more injuries even if men have five yards less to cover? Yes, of course, more than touch backs but will it still be in the threshold of “too dangerous?” I hope not because the return game is an exciting part of football and the potential for “onside” kicks inside the opponents ten offers excitement as well. But let’s not mistake the NFL’s motives. They want more scoring – and scoring from traditional offense. Field position is paramount in scoring and probably one of the main reasons the Redskins were able to improve so drastically in net points. (87 more points scored and 59 less points given up.) I agree that HOW this plays out will indeed be interesting.

  3. Skulb - Apr 6, 2016 at 8:57 AM

    Nsekhe impressed last year and is fine on either side. Not sure if he counts as depth all by himself though. Am I right to be more worried about depth at guard?

    • hail74 - Apr 6, 2016 at 9:02 AM

      We have Arie and long at Gdepth, unless they really are moving long to C. I know lerib is hardly worth mentioning as a starter but emergency fill in he’s fine at.

    • bangkokben - Apr 6, 2016 at 9:25 AM

      NFL teams usually carry eight or nine O-linemen and just eight on gameday (Your starting five, the back-up tackle, and two guys that can play two positions – usually a guard/center and guard/tackle.) The ninth guy is usually a draft pick that isn’t ready and thus inactive on gameday but he was drafted too high to put on the practice squad because he wouldn’t clear waivers – Kuandjio last year and Long/Moses before that and LeRibeus before that. So the bottom line is at least we are worrying about depth. But it isn’t really necessary unless or until injury. If Lauvao and Lichtensteiger return from injury and keep their starting jobs, there is not just depth but experienced depth. If both are gone, there will be draft picks or undrafted free agents stepping in for depth. Even though just eight or nine will make the final roster, they usually carry about 14 or 15 into training camp. That means they’ll draft or sign three to four more O-linemen.

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 6, 2016 at 10:26 AM

        A string of injuries can damage your team at any position.

        Just look what happened to us at tight end and DB last year.

        You have to go by the percentages…teams don’t have a big enough roster to stack every position.

        Personally, I don’t think shrinking the rosters to 53 was a good idea, but owners like the $$$.

        • bangkokben - Apr 6, 2016 at 3:20 PM

          I don’t think the NFL has ever shrunk rosters. Since 1991 the active 45 has remained consistent (except that 3rd QB thing) and the roster has topped off at 53. They should expand the active gameday roster but I doubt they will and that is because of money.

        • ET - Apr 6, 2016 at 6:09 PM

          From a purely strategic perspective, the game day roster makes things more interesting. Activate another guard or a special teams specialist? What if another DB goes down during the game, is there a servcible sub? Waive Frank Kearse for another week or not? (Ha.) Sometimes those end-of-roster guys make big contributions.

          But yeah, it’s really about money. Archives

Follow Us On Twitter