An Early Look at the 2011 Redskins: The Offense

An Early Look at the 2011 Redskins: The Offense
November 8, 2010, 7:26 pm
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Monday, November 8, 2010 2:30 PM

By Rich Tandler
Redskins Blogger

With a new coach in Mike Shanahan and a new general manager in Bruce Allen, the Washington Redskins are a team in transition. There was significant roster turnover from 2009 to this year and more is expected going into next season. While its still relatively early in the season, the 2011 fates of many starters and key contributors are starting to crystallize. While nothing is final just yet with just half of the season gone we have enough of a body of work to make some educated guesses at who may be staying and who may be going. On Monday and Tuesday, Ill look at the starters and key contributors for the Redskins and assess which of them are like to remain in the same capacity in 2011 and which players might be looking at a change in their rolesor even scenerynext year. Today, we take a look at the offense. (Note: Contract status for 2011 is in parentheses. Status is subject to change pending the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement.) Offensive line In the plans LT Trent Williams (signed)He has held his own against a brutal slate of pass rushers so far. His athletic ability has compensated for his lack of experience. The Redskins plan to have him at left tackle at least through the 2020 season. LG Kory Lichtensteiger (signed)The fact that the 25 year old is in the lineup suggests that he is in the future plans. If he wasnt there would little justification for keeping him as a starter in place of the 30-year-old Derrick Dockery. While Lichtensteiger is struggling, the Redskins are doing what everyone criticized the old regime for failing to doplan for the future. Although Lichtensteigers future may be at center rather than at guard, he is getting some valuable playing time. It seems that Shanahan is viewing it as short-term pain for long-term gain. RT Jammal Brown (unrestricted free agent)The Redskins will be giving up a mid-round pick in the coming draft for Brown and they certainly dont want it to be a one-year rental. This could get to be a little sticky if Brown asks for the higher money commensurate with that of a left tackle, where he spent most of his career and made two Pro Bowls. Considering that he is struggling with injuries and with the adjustment from the left side to the right, his market value may not be very high and it is reasonable to expect that the Redskins will be able to retain him for a reasonable contract. Still, the situation bears watching. Change of role RG Artis Hicks (signed)Hicks play has been acceptable but far from stellar. He was a reserve and utility lineman in Minnesota and he probably is better suited to such a role. The Redskins could target a replacement right guard in free agency or in the later rounds of the draft or perhaps 2010 draftees Erik Cook or Selvish Capers will be given a shot. C Casey Rabach (signed)He has struggled going up against big nose tackles for years and now he is struggling against just about everyone. Rabach will be 34 next year and while he is a heady player and a team leader he is not likely to get any better. His 2011 salary is slated to be 3 million. He could accept a backup role at a reduced rate or perhaps he will be released. Change of scenery G Derrick Dockery (signed)Every week he spends on the inactive list makes one think that he does not fit into the Redskins plans. Then you look at his 2011 salary of 3.8 million and it becomes very apparent that he wont be back next year. It would be nice if they could deal him for a draft pick but that salary makes that unlikely. Receivers and tight ends In the plans WR Santana Moss (contract voids, unrestricted free agent)This is one to watch closely. Moss is on a pace that would lead to the second-best season of his career. However, the remaining three years of his convoluted, often-redone contract will void after this season. One would assume that the Redskins will want to keep their most (only) productive wide receiver around and that Moss would like to stay around the team that has been his home for six years. However, a deal does need to get done if Moss is going to stay and it remains to be seen if that will happen. WR Anthony Armstrong (signed)Armstrong is probably better suited to be a No. 3 wideout rather than a No. 2 but in any case the Redskins will be happy to keep their discovered talent around in some capacity next year. WRKR Brandon Banks (signed)The Redskins cut him at the end of the preseason but he has emerged as a valuable special teams player. They wont be letting him get away again anytime soon. TE Chris CooleyWhile he has been somewhat banged up this year after missing the last half of the 2009 season with a broken ankle, he is one of the best in the business when healthy. Hes signed through 2013 at reasonable salaries in the 3.5 million range. TE Fred DavisAlthough his production has been somewhat disappointing this year, Davis certainly proved that he is a solid backup to Cooley last year. He has another year to go on his rookie contract at 550,000 so he wont be going anywhere. Change of scenery WR Joey GallowayThis has to be his last year with the Redskinsat least I think so. Since its hard to figure out why hes still on the roster as the third wide receiver (a starter for the first half of the season) given his lack of productivity, anything is possible. That includes a receiver who will turn 40 late in the 2011 season still being on the roster. Offensive backs In the plans QB Donovan McNabb (unrestricted free agent)Entire articles have been penned on this topic and plenty more will be between now and when a decision will made. At this moment, the view here is that the Redskins will want McNabb back, he will want to stay, and that a deal will be worked out. But any or all of those elements could change at any minute. QB John Beck (signed)Beck hasnt been a key contributor or anything but hes mentioned here because he is the only quarterback on the roster under contract for next year. At age 30 next season and with only four NFL starts under his belt, its doubtful that he will be the quarterback of the future but he may have to be a stopgap if things with McNabb fall apart. RB Ryan Torain (signed)Assuming that his hamstring heals reasonably quickly, Torain should be the prime running back for the rest of this season and will at least be given as shot at the job next year. Change of scenery QB Rex Grossman (unrestricted free agent)See Joey Galloway above. You have to think hes gone after this year but since you cant figure out why hes here in the first place there are things at work here that we do not know. Anything could happen. RB Clinton Portis (signed)His contract runs through 2013 and has over 25 million remaining on it but he will never see any of that money. It is doubtful that he will be back at all but if he does want to return it will be at a drastically reduced salary. Certainly, when he does return from his groin injury sometime in the next few weeks he will be auditioning for a shot in 2011. FB Mike Sellers (signed)He has his moments, especially when he catches a pass in the open field and can build up a head of steam, and he remains a valuable special teams performer. But the Redskins will have to decide if what he brings to the table is worth the 950,000 he is due to make next year. He will be 36 before the season starts and while fullbacks tend to have great longevity, the Redskins could well decide to go younger and cheaper here. Join Rich Tandler for an in-game chat from the press box at FedEx Field during the Redskins-Eagles game on Monday night. Things will get underway on shortly before kickoff and continue all game long. You can reach Rich by email at and follow him on Twitter @RealRedskins.