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53: Running back-fullback

53: Running back-fullback

Is this Marcus Mason's year

Between now and the start of training camp I'll be making my predictions about who will be on the final 53-man roster for the Washington Redskins--who's there, who's in, who's on the bubble, and who's out. The predicted roster will be revised and updated as preseason events warrant. Today, running backs and fullbacks:

Who's here Now: (9) FB: Mike Sellers, Eddie Williams. RB: Anthony Aldridge, Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright, Dominique Dorsey, Jonathan Evans, Marcus Mason, Clinton Portis

How many will stick: 4

Starters: Portis and Sellers. When the Redskins went to the playoffs in 2005 and 2007, Portis pulled the wagon, finishing off strong to lead the charge to the postseason. Last year he was the bell cow early in the year and, along with the team's record, faded down the stretch. We'll see if that was a function of Portis wearing down or of better defenses and an overall team slump. Sellers led the way for many of Portis runs and, fittingly, he accompanied him to the Pro Bowl.

Solid backups: Betts. He averaged just 3.4 yards per carry last year, quite a decline from the 4.7 average he had in 2006 when he filled in for an injured Portis and gained 1,154 yards. He'll be 30 at the end of August. Certainly, he doesn't have a lot of miles on him—just 720 carries in seven NFL seasons—but he needs to take better advantage of his opportunities.

Last man on: Cartwright. I was very, very tempted to go with Mason here. Given the facts about Betts I think that they have to look at who is going to be Portis' long-term successor and he's the only one currently on the roster who has that potential. But Cartwright is the special teams' Swiss army knife and that makes him too valuable to let go, especially given that James Thrash, another teams ace, is gone. It's possible that they'll find a way to keep another RB and keep Mason around but right now I don't think he'll make it. Stay tuned on this one, though.

First man off: Mason. Williams will stick on the practice squad as the backup fullback. Dorsey is a wild card, if he has a great preseason returning kicks he could force some tough decisions and creative thinking on roster spots.

Spots taken so far: 22

Spots to go: 31

Next: Offensive line

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

Related: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

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.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

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.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.