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Need to Know: Five backups who could start games for the Redskins in 2016

Jun 14, 2016, 5:45 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 14, 44 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.


Today at Redskins Park: Minicamp practice 11:30; Defensive assistant coaches available coming off of the field, approx. 1:30; Jay Gruden news conference (streamed live on approx. 2:00

—The Redskins last played a game 156 days ago. It will be 90 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 44; Preseason opener @ Falcons 58; Final roster cut 81

Five backups who could start games in 2016

In the NFL, every player on the roster is one or two plays away from becoming a starter. However, some are more likely to get a chance at starting than others. Here are five players who are down the depth chart now who have good chances to get some starts in 2017.

C Austin Reiter—I’m starting off with something of a long shot here. But I keep thinking about Jay Gruden lamenting the lack of a true center to replace Kory Lichtensteiger when he was injured. The only backup center who is not a converted guard is Reiter. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Reiter go in if Steiger has injury problems again.

RB Chris Thompson—Although the Redskins may bring in another running back between now and training camp, as of right now Thompson is the No. 2 back behind Matt Jones. And the smart money is on Jones being unable to go for 16 games and that would mean starts for Thompson. If they do get another back we can revisit this.

DE Ricky Jean Francois—I mentioned this a few days ago. I don’t think that it would take an injury for this to happen; he could flat out earn the job. And even if he’s not in on the first snap there will be some games where he plays more snaps than any other DE except perhaps Chris Baker.

DE Matt Ioannidis—The team had defensive line listed as its top draft need but due to the way the board fell they only took Ioannidis in the fifth round. I think they want him to play nose tackle in their base defense and as soon as he’s ready, which could be in September or maybe November, he could get his chance.

CB Quinton Dunbar—What are the chances of all of the top three cornerbacks staying healthy for 16 games? The Redskins hope they can stay healthier at the position this year than they did in 2015 but some dings here and there are inevitable. If some happen, Dunbar is set up to be the guy who steps in.

In case you missed it 

  1. colorofmyskinz - Jun 14, 2016 at 6:20 AM

    People really underestimate Marshall as a RB. The only reason he was not quickly back in the RB rotation as a starter in college after injury was Gurly. Marshall is more durable than Thompson by far. I give Marshall a better shot than most. Time will tell, but j think he shocks most this year.

    Murphy will look like a completely different player when he does not have to drop into coverage. With him now at 290, he is going to be a beast to deal with. I think he has a shot.

    If Lauvao has injury issues, Arie has a shot.

    Su’a could easily become a starter.

    Fuller could press Dunbar.

    Doctson could find a way in based on injury and then his new found production which will show huge promise.

    Just a few I am looking for…


    • Rich Tandler - Jun 14, 2016 at 6:49 AM

      I’m not sure how you can “underestimate” a seventh-round pick with a history of injuries, but OK. I’ve seen Thompson do impressive things on the field. I’ve barely seen Marshall get on the field. He could be productive but right now I’m skeptical. I’ve see plenty of fan favorites with speed to burn go by the wayside. Maybe Marshall will be different. Until I see something, he’s Lache Seastrunk/Trey Williams to me.

      I’m counting Fuller as a starter at slot corner. That’s essentially a starting position. I’m saying that if Fuller/Breeland/Norman get nicked up, Dunbar will be the first one to come in.

      • colorofmyskinz - Jun 14, 2016 at 6:57 AM

        That makes sense. Not saying you are underestimating Marshall, just saying in general most are underestimating him. I think he is better than Lache. that large injury and then bring Gurly in hurt his starting chances. I just think this 7th rounder is different.

        • kenlinkins - Jun 14, 2016 at 8:28 AM

          Marshall is a very interesting case. He could be something special but like any NFL player taken in the 7th round due to injury concerns he must show up BIG in preseason games. I like his chances but 31 teams did pass on him six times in a row. The good news for him is that the RB position is wide open and he will get chances early and often in preseason games. If he is what I think he is, he could be getting playing time this year.

        • bangkokben - Jun 14, 2016 at 8:46 AM

          Marshall has an excellent chance at making the team simply due to the state of the roster. If he doesn’t make the team, the Redskins can easily stash him on the practice squad because that is the general destination of 7th rounders.

      • John - Jun 14, 2016 at 9:55 AM


        The Skins could use a change of pace back with a running style that contrasts with that of Jones. Thompson is fine as a 2nd and 3rd down receiver but I fear for his life if they try to run him between the tackles. The other backs in camp have not shown a lot. I don’t see Marshall as much of a runner who can cut and make people miss. Pierre Thomas is not there but can be brought in off the couch at any time but he to is not all that exciting an option. I’ve mentioned Reggie Bush as he is quite the athlete, fast and can cut and break defenders ankles. He can also return punts and kicks. He and Pierre are both 31. What do you think of that option and do you know if the Skins have considered kicking those tires?

    • Mr.moneylover - Jun 14, 2016 at 12:26 PM

      I think mack brown is getting over looked too…I heard good things about mack brown who got most of the reps behind matt Jones in OTAs and I forgot about the undrafted rookie who been opening ppl eyes…Chris Thompson is nothing more then a third down back he’s not capable of backing up matt Jones because he will end up getting hurt quicker then matt Jones and I heard redskins are fed up with Chris Thompson getting injured and to me he’s not big enough to take contact everytime he get hit a lil bit hard on third down he gets up slow he down pop up like Darren spoles… redskins need a small guy build with muscles who got speed and can take a big hit…I don’t see them adding a free agent RB…if another guy step up and look better then Chris Thompson I wonder what the redskins gonna do will they put chris Thompson on the pup list until he’s ready to come back or just release him…I doubt he added muscle mass because the injury he had training camp go by so fast I think he’s missing valuable reps he needs… we seen how he play when he’s away not getting reps he miss running lanes and fumble the ball I don’t think he’s as safe as what ppl and reporters think I think if another RB stepup then he’s gone

  2. kenlinkins - Jun 14, 2016 at 8:20 AM

    The good news is that none of the people on the list would make me want to bet against the Redskins if they started. Even Thompson at RB would not concern me to the point of thinking the Redskins were dead in that game. I see a lot of good football players on the Redskins roster this year and very few “just a guy” types. Now the coach’s have to put everything together and make it work.

  3. John - Jun 14, 2016 at 9:37 AM

    Marshall has the body and the speed but does not impress me as a threat as a runner. In those YouTube highlights its be in a open spot, catch it and race down field. In the NFL it won’t be that easy. He was replaced in the lineup partly due to injury but even if he was healthy, Gurley would beat him out hands down.

    Regarding Murphy, there is no beast there. He has rushed the last 2 seasons with his hand in the dirt at defensive end on 3rd downs and passing situations without much in the way of results. The extra weight will just slow him down.

    Cravens will not start. He is not big enough to be a backer and not ready to play at safety fulltime. If anything he will be a 2nd and 3rd down specialist in the mold of Monte Coleman. Right now, he is a tweener with a lot to learn.

  4. mtskins - Jun 14, 2016 at 10:13 AM

    I have been pulling for Reiter, but realize if he wins the backup job at center he will have far exceeded expectations. If he can only back up that one position it might be tough to keep him on the 53 Man roster. Has anyone read anything about or seen him working at the guard positon? Maybe the plan is to put him back on the practice squad and then call him up in event of injury instead of going out and getting another Brian De La Puente type player.

    • bangkokben - Jun 14, 2016 at 10:25 AM

      I think the more likely scenario is Reiter making the practice squad once again and getting called to the active roster if Lichtensteiger gets injured again. The problem with that scenario is ‘steiger would have to be on IR or another guy at the end of the roster would be cut to make room from Reiter.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jun 14, 2016 at 10:29 AM

      If Reiter can beat out LeRib for 1st center off the bench, that’s good enough.

  5. redskins12thman - Jun 14, 2016 at 11:35 AM

    Any of the above could transpire but I hope not because it means either injuries have occurred or players projected to start are falling short of expectations. Based on contributions, Smith and Kouandjio could start too.

  6. sidepull - Jun 14, 2016 at 12:09 PM

    Hope Spaight beats the odds.

    Just goes to show you how when a player has an injury with no timetable for return, the player falls off the proverbial map. Kyshon Jarrett come on man get better!

  7. Mr.moneylover - Jun 14, 2016 at 12:39 PM

    I been saying that 2 years ago …Trent Murphy is just a wasted roster spot by him changing postion will only make his job harder now he’s gonna get to go back on the field with his mind spinning because now he gotta think about his assignments as a DL I wish the redskins just move on from that guy…he don’t look that much bigger to me…I seen him get man handle a couple times when he did get his hands in the dirt and coming off the edge Trent Murphy and Jason Hatcher was the weak link on our defense last year…I’ll be shocked if I see anything different from Trent Murphy…I think Scot m. Was on the verge of cutting Trent Murphy I think jay gruden fought for him to not get cut and convince scot m. He will be a better DL…scot m. see everything and he attack it head on

    • wvredskins - Jun 14, 2016 at 12:49 PM

      LOL your funny. So you think Scott wanted Trent gone, but Jay fought for him. That is quite the imagination fella.

    • bangkokben - Jun 14, 2016 at 1:06 PM

      “I been saying that 2 years ago…”

      All the more reason for the opposite to be true.

    • truethbetold - Jun 14, 2016 at 2:58 PM

      Your posts are nearly unintelligible, but from what I can make out of them, they seem to show an astounding lack of knowledge, awareness, judgement and common sense …almost as if you were still in middle school.

      If that’s not the case, your time would be much better spent going back to night school to learn about punctuation and spelling. I’m not sure what can be done about your general lack of critical thinking ability.

  8. wvredskins - Jun 14, 2016 at 12:44 PM

    I could see Dunbar starting as the Nickle guy for the first game. Seems like he is playing at a high level and I wouldn’t be surprised if he started over Fuller.

    • wvredskins - Jun 14, 2016 at 12:46 PM


      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jun 14, 2016 at 1:42 PM

        Last year when Dunbar came in, he’d take one of the outside CB spots, and Blackmon would shift into the slot CB.

        Kendall Fuller seems like an ideal size and attitude for slot CB. So I think he has the edge for that spot.

        But Dunbar has a ton of upside. He turn into what none of our other CBs are: an actual shutdown corner.

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jun 14, 2016 at 1:44 PM

          ** could **

        • ET - Jun 14, 2016 at 3:42 PM

          We’ll see if he can become a real shutdown corner. I have my doubts.

          But dang, Dunbar has a lot of potential. One advantage he has over many DBs is a soft pair of hands. Once Dunbar’s fully acclimated, I could see him having some multi-interception seasons even if he’s still a situational player. Archives

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