Skip to content

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was includes starter turnover, stability in key spots

Jun 18, 2016, 5:51 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, June 18, 40 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.


—The Redskins last played a game 160 days ago. It will be 86 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 40; Preseason opener @ Falcons 54; Final roster cut 77

Hot topics from the Redskins week that was

Five under the radar Redskins to watch—Articles about obscure players who have a shot at making it generally draw a lot of attention. I guess fans like to root for the underdog and learn something about the lesser-known players. Out of the five I listed, I think that Dashaun Phillips has the best chance of playing a role this year without having someone else get injured.

Redskins right side is set, for a change—Even in the offseason work a year ago the right side of the Redskins’ O-line was somewhat up in the air. Spencer Long was a question mark after seeing no action in his first season and not everyone was sure if top draft pick Brandon Scherff was suited to play tackle in the NFL. Now the massive Morgan Moses is a very promising right tackle and Scherff seems to be a can’t-miss star at guard.

Gruden has high hopes for Grant after ‘great’ OTAs—The first thing that stuck in my head about Ryan Grant came during a practice during the last week of the lost 2014 season. He was practicing as though they were getting ready to play in the Super Bowl, focused, intense, and making sure that every route was run just right. I think that if fans could see this side of him he would be much more of a fan favorite than he is now.

How many new starters for the Redskins?—There’s a lot more starter turnover than you might anticipate on a 9-7 division champ. But 75 percent of the change is on defense and that unit certainly needed a boost.

Cousins: ‘I haven’t plateaued—and that’s exciting’—Kirk Cousins seems to have a pretty good handle on his own abilities. In spite of the fact that he was pretty successful last year he realizes that he has a lot to work on to get to where he needs to be.

Tandler tweets

In case you missed it 



  1. redskins12thman - Jun 18, 2016 at 5:59 AM

    Based on OTAs and mini-camp, which positions have more solid talent than they will keep (i.e., more slots than spots)? I’m guessing CBs and TEs. Hopefully some of these players can make the practice squad.

    • colorofmyskinz - Jun 18, 2016 at 7:18 AM

      Jensen vs Paulsen for blocking TE.

      • John - Jun 18, 2016 at 10:39 AM

        Paul will be here, Jensen wiil be gone. Once Carrier comes back, Paul or Paulson would also be gone.

        • colorofmyskinz - Jun 18, 2016 at 12:24 PM

          I think it will be Reed, Paul, Davis, Jensen… Possible Jensen beats Paulsen out.

        • bangkokben - Jun 18, 2016 at 3:41 PM

          Niles Paul isn’t going anywhere. He’s the h-back — the one TE that will line up in the backfield as a FB on the 40 or so plays they decide to go with that look. Carrier only makes the team if McC decides he wants to keep him at least until he loses the pick he spent on him (next year’s 5th). He probably starts the season on the PUP list and takes over for some guy on offense that ends up on the IR. Reed, Davis, and Paul are the locks to make the team and whoever does a better job blocking Paulsen or Jensen will be the final guy. Color actually has this one right. Paulsen should have the upper hand but there were at least two beat reporters that though Logan was on the chopping block last year before the injury. He and Lauvao benefited from their own absences since the drop off of production in the run game was so significant. Their average play beforehand has now become the stuff of legends since not doing the job is a helluva lot worse than average.

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 18, 2016 at 3:50 PM

          Bang: you’re spot on. Nikes Paul isn’t going anywhere. He’s another player who doesn’t get enough respect from some fans. The guy is a gem who was unfortunately injured last year.

          Really good point about Carrier though. I honestly didn’t even know we hadn’t given up the draft pick yet. I think McCloughan would keep any young player he believes in. But if it’s close, plus the injury, then he will probably save the draft pick. Do you know when he would have to be cut for us to not lose the pick?

        • bangkokben - Jun 18, 2016 at 5:42 PM

          Carrier was acquired for the Redskins 2017 5th rounder. So that pick is lost. Carrier got the same injury as Griffin last year against the Bears — December 13. So he’s got another four weeks recovery time than Griffin but plays a position much more dependent on his legs. Also, as far as I know, he’s not ALL-IN for week 1. Even so, Griffin was held out of training camp. So basically, the bottom line is the entire offseason is getting back to where Carrier was physically.

          Usually, GMs are marked by some sort of ego and bailing on a player before the compensation one gave up for said player is due, usually results as a stain on one’s resume. Let’s face it, it’s not that a big deal but the kind of fuel “haters” like to use when they have a case to tear you down. Point is, with Carrier being a draft pick — albeit it a 2017 5th rounder — he gets the benefit of the doubt that is afforded to all draft picks. So even though his injury recovery and there being a log jam somewhat talented tight ends, he has that draft pick going for him.

          Is it enough to leap frog him over Reed, Davis, or Paul? No. Over Paulsen or Jensen? Not really because they have a different role. In my mind, it gets him on the roster over the last guy on offense. The likelihood that no one from the projected offense is injured or on IR when Carrier comes off the PUP list is slim. Now if Carrier doesn’t go on the PUP list, he may face a similar fate as Tim Hightower did when he didn’t make the team.

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 18, 2016 at 7:21 PM

          I see. I obviously misunderstood what you said.

          I agree with what you’re saying though. I’ve been telling people all offseason that Carrier had a decent chance of sticking around because we gave up a draft pick for him. I thought the depth chart would eventually be Reed, Paul, Davis, and Carrier. It’s just hard to know what they’ll do with the PUP and practice squad; especially with risking putting a player through waivers. The Colts screwed us with Tevin Mitchel last year in a semi-similar situation last year. There’s just not a lot of quality TE talent coming from college these days. So we’ll see.

        • bangkokben - Jun 18, 2016 at 8:18 PM

          Agreed on the TE talent coming out of college. Carrier is basically a lighter version of Jordan Reed — lighter in the sense of talent not actual weight — but in the same mold: good hands, not a particularly strong blocker. Davis has been touted as a good blocker but that has more to do with his experience and the state of the league than him actually being a blocking TE. Paulsen and Jensen fit that mold and with what happened last year — using Compton as a TE — I got to believe that one of them has a spot on the team.

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 19, 2016 at 3:57 AM

          I’m maybe overly optimistic about the impact Davis could have. Because you’re right, he was never a great blocking TE. Anyone who says we can depend on him for blocking (including me) is saying that based off his veteran savvy. But he is a big, strong, athletic guy who knows all the tricks and has seen everything. He only needs to catch a pass or two a game and run block to keep defenses interested. Especially in the redzone.

          I like Carrier though. I just said in another post that I didn’t see enough to be sure but I saw promise. Also, if Niles Paul is who I think he is then we have receiving TEs covered for the foreseeable future. You’re right about the other guys. We need a mauler who, again, can just catch a pass every now and then to keep the defense honest. It will be interesting to see who they settle on. This is one of the more interesting position battles outside of the interior defensive line.

        • bangkokben - Jun 19, 2016 at 8:44 AM

          Count me as one who was initially skeptical about Davis but Chris Cooley being high on him has influenced my tepidness and may justify your optimism. Cooley as an analyst has been spot on at least 90% of the time.

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 19, 2016 at 5:56 PM

          That’s interesting. I don’t get to listen to Cooley but it’s good to know he’s on board.

          Davis is (or was) a spectacular talent. I’ll
          Never forget how he took over that playoff game vs. New Orleans to get the 49ers to the NFC championship. He’s obviously dipped in production but it has to be more complicated than his age. That would be a meterioric drop from one of the top players in the game to a bum. Has to have something to do with Kap and Peyton. Guys who seem less genetically gifted have played well into their 30s and did just fine.

          But of course he’s going to slow down a bit. So hopefully we use him wisley. We could use the size in the redzone especially. With 4 TEs on the roster and all of our receivers we could have a real nice rotation going to take full advantage of him.

  2. colorofmyskinz - Jun 18, 2016 at 7:12 AM

    ILB is deep as well. I believe Garvin, Spaight, Daniels, and Heyward are fighting for 1-2 spots.

    Ioannidis, Hood, and Kedric might be battling for 2 spots.

    Toler, Phillips, and Carrington battling for a spot.

    Evertt and Matias-smith fighting for a spot.

    These are some good battles here. Defense will be deep at most positions except OLB.

    • Trey Gregory - Jun 18, 2016 at 7:23 PM

      ILB is deep and defense is deep at every position other than OLB. Is that a joke?

    • John - Jun 19, 2016 at 1:08 PM

      A lot of guys competing for spots but in reality bits a lot of average guys. Being a later rounder, walk on or low key free agent (Toler, Reyes, Hood) are just guys. They might start at some positions but are average they are just guys. Trent Murphy is, has been and will be nothing more than a guy. One may be better on any given day and that may merit starting but does not make a star. A lot of average players makes for an average defense.

  3. troylok - Jun 18, 2016 at 9:42 AM

    I think the fans would like Grant a little more if he would start making some clutch plays. The things that stick in my mind are falling down so the other team intercepted the ball and a lot of dropped balls. If you compare him to Crowder, there really is no comparison. Crowder get can get open and he hangs on to the ball. Grant sounds like a that will always look good in practice and very little of that will transfer to a real game. After drafting Doctson, Grant is number five on the depth chart and fighting it out with UDFA’s, so the coaches must feel the same way.

    • bangkokben - Jun 18, 2016 at 10:27 AM

      I don’t think coaches feel the same way. They see the effort and consistency at practice and assume at some point it will show up in the games. Until any of UDFAs show that, his position as the 5th WR is secure and until Doctson learns the playbook and gets on the field, Grant will be ahead of him.

      • John - Jun 19, 2016 at 10:24 AM

        Perhaps you should read some of the articles from when the H Back came into existence. The H Back was originally devised to move Kellen Winslow off the line and moved around to make it easier to move without the typical chucks by 2 linebackers with the 3-4.

        When in Washington, it was used to move the blocker, a bigger better blocker, a tight end closer to the line to deal with LT. By being closer it made it easier to block but also easier to get ahead of the lb on routes. Also, by moving him around, you never knew where the blow was coming from.

        Later, they would split Didier out and move Monk in and put him in motion, making Monk the H Back.

        Later when they had 3 receivers, Monk was the H Back but not so much for blocking.

        The H Back takes many forms and plays many roles but is always on the move….

        Regarding the early edition here in Washington. They did not have a fullback, except Otis Wansley, who generally blocked only on short yardage situations (ex: 70 chip the play that sprung Riggins to Super Bowl glory).

        Riggins may have had the body of a fullback but he was a running back and was used as such by Gibbs and Pardee before him. He unlike a lot of running backs did not need/require a lead blocker. He said it best when George Rogers came to town and folks talked of 2 backs in the backfield. Riggins said of blocking for each other, “he can’t and I won’t”.

        • bangkokben - Jun 19, 2016 at 2:14 PM

          John, take your own advice. Monk being in motion has nothing to do with being an H-back. Here’s the wikipedia link –so it has to be true ;-)

        • John - Jun 19, 2016 at 3:21 PM

          If its on the internet its true? Then you must be a french model bon jour.

          Read the other articles, Byner know H Back was a good one….

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 19, 2016 at 4:34 PM

          John I can’t tell if this post was meant for me or not. But, if it was, I wasn’t trying to attack your view of an Hback when I said I think of them as something different than Reed.

          The thing is, you can look at a lot of specific instances when team’s used an Hback but there isn’t just one. Different offenses are going to use positions differently. I’m not sure there is a single definition of Hback. That’s why I said, “It depends on your definition…” Then I gave you my definition so we could figure out if we’re talking about the same thing. Wasn’t tying to debate the history of Hback. Just wanted us to speak the same language.

          But that position has evolved. I started noticing people calling guys like Percy Harvin and Cordalle Patterson Hbacks a couple years ago even though they did absolutely zero blocking. Colleges also started evolving the position. Baylor had a receiver two years ago (I feel really bad I can’t remember his name) who was built like a RB. So they would use him in a “Hback” role from time to time. He would line up just off the line and either block for a receiver catching a slant or get a head start, build momentum, catch it himself then be a bowling ball downhill. That’s what they called an Hback. It just depends on the offense.

    • Trey Gregory - Jun 18, 2016 at 7:25 PM

      He had one play where he slipped and suddenly he doesn’t make clutch plays and can’t hold on to the ball?

      • goback2rfk - Jun 18, 2016 at 7:50 PM

        He is the next Andre Droperts

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 19, 2016 at 4:39 AM

          If you’re just trying to say stupid things, you’re crushing it.

  4. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jun 18, 2016 at 9:50 AM

    Left guard looks to be an interesting battle.

    Other than that and 2nd TE, it would seem the offense is set barring injury.

  5. John - Jun 18, 2016 at 8:11 PM

    Regarding TEs, I see it as Reed (HBack) and Davis (on the line) as the first two. Backups would be Paul and Carrier. Paul bulked up to block but how good a blocker is yet to be seen. Carrier can block but needs to work on it. Carrier is also a decent receiver who can run after the catch. He also has that basketball experience like a lot of the better tight ends these days.

    Paulson was close to not making it last year. Jensen was on the practice squad last year. If he was any good, should have gotten some time, especially after they cut loose the 3 youngsters after injuries to Paul, Paulson and Carrier.

    • redskins12thman - Jun 18, 2016 at 9:52 PM

      Jensen was acquired late December and was the fourth string TE, at the time, behind Jordan Reed, Alex Smith and Je’Ron Hamm. I think the Redskins liked his size and skills and are giving him a shot to compete for a roster spot this off season and training camp.

      • John - Jun 19, 2016 at 7:59 AM

        By that time, Hamm had been cut loose and Compton was being brought in to block as a tight end. Were Jensen any good, one would think he’d been a better option.

        • bangkokben - Jun 19, 2016 at 8:58 AM

          Jensen was signed off the Bills practice squad to the Redskins 53-man roster on December 22, 2016 — two days after playing the Bills. He played ten offensive snaps and six special teams snaps in the finale against Dallas less than two weeks later. Tom Compton played the blocking TE since week 3. Jensen was clearly brought in for 2017 and not 2016. Jensen remains on the roster. Compton and Alex Smith are gone.

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 19, 2016 at 4:47 PM

          John: I would normally agree with that kind of logic. But I’m not sure it applies with Jensen. Obviously he wasn’t a better option last year or else, you’re correct, they would have used him. But that doesn’t mean is isn’t any good. He’s a young player who came to a new team late. Not a longtime vet like Blackmon who has seen a lot and can pick things up quickly. Maybe with a full offseason on the team and more time to develop he could be a pretty serviceable TE. Maybe not. But we don’t know yet.

    • Trey Gregory - Jun 19, 2016 at 3:48 AM

      I guess that kind of depends on your definition of an Hback. Because I personally see Paul as that guy. When I think Hback I think if a guy who run block, pass protects, and also splits out for a pass. Reed isn’t much of a blocker and I don’t know if we want to line him up like that with his injury history even if he could block. Let’s face it, Reed is more of a receiver than anything else. And that’s fine, he’s phenomenal. That’s just what he’s good at.

      Paul though: we saw him block even before last year. He bulked up to get better (and you’re right, we didn’t get to see that) but he did it before too. Wasn’t great but I would say he was better than Reed.

      It’s hard for me to say about Carrier. He looked promising but it was a small sample size. He appeared to have to qualities of a good modern TE but who knows? Same with Jensen or just about any other TE on this roster. I don’t know if Davis and Paulson can still play and I don’t know about the other young TEs. Just have to trust Gruden and McCloughan to chose the best player for our team.

      I love two TE sets. Obviously that goes back to Gibbs but New England really made me realize the value of that lineup. However, I’m also becoming more and more a fan of 5 man protection. Split 4-5 receivers out and get rid of the ball quickly, which Cousins is getting pretty good at. I think we’re going to see that more frequently. So I’m especially interested in TEs for their run blocking unless we’re going to send both TEs out for a pass. Blocking TEs are getting harder to find too.

      • John - Jun 19, 2016 at 7:46 AM

        When I think H Back, I think Kellen Winslow, Art Monk also played the role a lot as well as Clint Didier, Terry Orr and Craig McEwen. Sometimes on the line but mostly on the move to take advantage of mismatches or to avoid getting chucked at the line. Since Reed is not that good a blocker, he could come in motion and chip or block down.
        When Gibbs initially came here, he used Don Warren on the line and Warren at H Back, moving him around, lots of motion to set up blocks. The idea was to replace the FB with a bigger guy who was a better all around blocker, especially since FBs rarely run the ball.
        In this case, Reed is not the blocker but shows a willingness to block but would be aided by going in motion. One would think teams will put more emphasize trying to limit his catches. Put him in motion and make life more difficult for defenders. Davis has played down on the line, so it makes sense to put him there. Davis should provide some red zone ability as well as another target with some size. He did not perform the last year or so due to the lack of QB play and switching systems.

        • John - Jun 19, 2016 at 7:53 AM

          To clarify my earlier point, I meant, Don Warren #85 on the line and Rick Walker #88 at H Back. Later, Didier #86 at H Back but Monk was in there most of the time later on.

        • bangkokben - Jun 19, 2016 at 9:24 AM

          Monk was never an H-back. He was your typical WR in motion with the ability to make the crack-back block. Gibbs used motion primarily to un-disguise the defense revealing where the coverage was but it also allowed the smaller TE to get some impetus behind blocking on the line.. The “H-back” was the term they used because Gibbs switched to a single back system in 1982 and Riggo was a “full back.” They didn’t use a half-back and kept the H to denote the new position.

      • John - Jun 19, 2016 at 12:04 PM

        Scott M brings in the ingredients and plugs the leaks when injuries occur. The coaches decide who stays. Scott M doesn’t decide on the final 53.

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 19, 2016 at 4:24 PM

          I’m almost positive that McCloughan absolutely decides the final 53. Isn’t that was control over the final roster means? And that’s a pretty normal arrangement for NFL teams. The GM chooses the roster and the coach uses them I’m not trying to get into an argument, that’s just how I understand it.

  6. John - Jun 19, 2016 at 5:39 PM

    I was responding to Bang. The H Back has taken many forms over 30+ years. It started with Kellen Winslow in San Diego under Gibbs as O coordinator. It morphed again with Gibbs in Washington with different variations (Doc Walker as a blocker, Didier a TE but a guy who was not blocker but a big receiver, who blocked but that was not his strength and Monk in 3 receiver sets with 1 tight end, endlessly on the move to give him freedom off the line like Winslow and to make the occasional block). Now with the spread in college, its a another animal.

    • John - Jun 19, 2016 at 5:51 PM

      Regarding the 53, back in Gibbs day, Beatherd brought in the players and Gibbs sorted them out.

      In the current regime, I’m sure the GM has input but the coaches work with the players more directly. They are going to have a better feel for who fits and who doesn’t. They are the ones who figure out the player grouping as well. They have to deal with them day in and day out during the season.

      The players have the biggest part in who stays and who goes. Some get overwhelmed by the playbook and the lingo. Some get overwhelmed by seeing their idols on the field and don’t realize they made it and belong. Some get there but don’t belong. Some are past their primes, etc.

    • Trey Gregory - Jun 19, 2016 at 6:01 PM

      Just checking. It’s an interesting conversation. But it seems we agree it’s taken many forms. Archives

Follow Us On Twitter