After looking at the official list of cuts, the Redskins have 52 players on their roster.There is one spot open, perhaps for a player to be acquired in a trade or in a waiver claim.To be sure, there could be surprise or two still in waiting. And trades and waiver claims could further shake things up. But here is how it appears that it stands right now, with some quick analysis.SpecialistsIn (3):P Sav Rocca, LS Nick Sundberg, PK Billy CundiffThis was set earlier this week when Neil Rackers and Graham Gano were released and Cundiff was signed.DefenseDefensive backsCornerback (4): DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Cedric Griffin, Richard CrawfordSafety (5): Brandon Meriweather, Madieu Williams, DeJon Gomes, Reed Doughty, Jordan BernstineThe suspension of Tanard Jackson, who would have been one of the top three safeties, helped Bernstine land a spot. It is still somewhat odd that they are keeping four corners and five safeties and this is one of those areas where further moves could be made.LinebackersOutside (4):Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Rob Jackson, Chris WilsonInside (4):London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Lorenzo Alexander, Keenan RobinsonIt was thought to be a battle between Wilson and Markus White for the last roster spot and Wilson won it. Bryan Kehl also was a surprise release.Defensive lineIn (6): Stephen Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins, Adam Carriker, Kedric Golston, Barry Cofield, Chris BakerOffenseRunning backs(4):Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster, Darrell Young, Alfred MorrisThe shocker of the day was the release of Tim Hightower. It was thought that the team would wait out until his knee, injured last October, got close to 100 percent.Tight ends(3):Fred Davis, Niles Paul, Logan PaulsenNo drama here after Chris Cooley was released on Tuesday.Wide receivers(7):Pierre Garon, Leonard Hankerson, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson, Brandon Banks, Dez BriscoeBanks will be more of a kick returner than a wide receiver so there are really six here. Briscoe beat out Anthony Armstrong for the last spot. Most thought Briscoe was the superior receiver during training camp and the preseason but there was a chance that Armstrongs special teams play could keep him on the roster.QuarterbacksIn (3):Robert Griffin III, Rex Grossman, Kirk CousinsRex Grossman was never, ever in any danger of being cut.Offensive lineIn (9):Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Josh LeRibeus, Jordan Black, Adam Gettis, Maurice HurtWhile none of the individual names here is a surprise the overall number is. The Redskins have kept eight offensive linemen the last two years. But they did get burned to an extent last year when a rash of injuries hit the line.
The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”
Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.
Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.
More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities
Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.
For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro
2012 Raiders (4-12)
Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston
It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.
2013 Raiders (4-12)
Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson
They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.
2014 Raiders (3-13)
Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson
Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.
Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 17, 100 days before the NFL draft.
—NFL franchise tag deadline 44
—NFL free agency starts 52
—First Sunday of 2017 season 237
A six pack of potential first-round draft picks for the Redskins
We’re at a nice, round 100 days until the NFL draft starts. The deadline for underclassmen to declare has passed and the first of the postseason all-star events, the East-West Shrine game, is starting up this week. It’s time to look at some possibilities for the Redskins’ first-round draft pick, which is No. 17 overall.
—We’re still not sure of what defensive scheme the Redskins will run this year but it’s likely that they could fit Stanford DE Solomon Thomas into it. He’s not the classic edge rusher type but he is big (6-2, 275), violent and he can collapse the pocket.
—Michigan S Jabrill Peppers is a top-five pick according to one NFC executive but it’s a little early to put him up that high. He’s a versatile defender and he has drawn comparisons to Troy Polamalu, Charles Woodson, and Tyrann Mathieu. If he’s there at 17 the Redskins might find it hard to resist pulling the trigger.
—There has been very early buzz about the Redskins having some interest in Michigan State DL Malik McDowell. He can play end in a 3-4 front or tackle in a 4-3 and provide disruption and pass rush from either spot. The 6-6, 276-lb. McDowell was a top-five prospect on many early boards but he stock has slipped to the point where he could be available for the Redskins.
—The upgrade the Redskins are looking for at inside linebacker could be Florida ILB Jarrad Davis. He’s tough, tenacious, smart, and instinctive. The most important part of the combine for him won’t be his 40 time or bench press, it will be the medicals. He has missed some games with assorted injures including a torn meniscus in 2014.
—Another flexible linebacker who could help inside in a 3-4 or outside in a 4-3 is Vanderbilt LG Zach Cunningham. At 6-3, 230 he plays very well in space and he shows a great ability to take on blockers. He needs work on tackling and pass rushing techniques but he has the tools to be an impact defender very quickly.
—Although a defender would be a popular and logical pick here, the Redskins could go off script. After the 2015 draft, it was reported that Scot McCloughan might have taken Todd Gurley if he had been able to trade back from No. 5 overall to a little later in the first round. So I think it would be a mistake to dismiss the possibility of him going with an offensive skill player such as Florida State RB Dalvin Cook if he’s on the board and McCloughan has him rated as the best available player.
Tandler on Twitter
It’s an interview, folks. Save the disbelief and outrage for whoever they actually hire.— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) January 16, 2017
In case you missed it
- Report: Redskins to interview ex-Raiders defensive coordinator
- Redskins plan to interview Rob Ryan, per report
- Tandler & JP name Redskins' Defensive Player of the Year
- Projecting the Redskins 2017 roster—Offense
- Cap room a dilemma for Redskins McCloughan?
- Report: Redskins sign CB Tharold Simon