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A look at the Redskins 53-man roster changes from 2014 to 2015

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A look at the Redskins 53-man roster changes from 2014 to 2015

Since the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster a year ago they have been through a 4-12 season and they hired a new general manager. As one might expect there have been some changes to the makeup of the roster. Here are the changes the team has made since the 53-man roster they took into the 2014 season.

Offensive line

Out: Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus
In: Brandon Scherff, Arie Kouandjio, Ty Nsekhe

Chester was serviceable at right guard but he was on the wrong side of 30 and had a cap hit that demanded a higher level of play. Scherff steps into his starting job. Polumbus started part of the season at right tackle before Tom Compton took over for him. Now that job belongs to Morgan Moses who has some learning to do but could be at least a slight upgrade immediately.

Offensive skill positions

Out: Roy Helu, Silas Redd, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul, Aldrick Robinson, Santana Moss
In: Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, Derek Carrier, Rashad Ross, Jamison Crowder

Jones is the power back the offense has been missing for a number of years. Thompson has the potential to be an upgrade over Helu but has to show it on the field. Robinson was fast but never polished his route running and Moss was at the tail end of a great career. Crowder and Ross bring youth and speed but neither has taken an NFL snap. Paul and Paulsen would have been on the 53 had the not been injured.

Defensive front seven

Out: Jarvis Jenkins, Clifton Geathers, Barry Cofield, Brian Orakpo, Gabe Miller, Adam Hayward, Akeem Jordan
In: Terrance Knighton, Stephen Paea, Ricky Jean Francois, Preston Smith, Jackson Jeffcoat

Perhaps the biggest upgrade on the team from year to year is Knighton at nose tackle. Cofield did well for an undersized nose tackle but Knighton brings a combination of size and athletic ability few can match. It turned out to be a bad year for Orakpo, who had a half sack in seven games before a season-ending injury. The combination of Smith and Trent Murphy could be an improvement over the 2014 Orakpo. The addition of Paea lets Chris Baker come off of the bench where he can be most effective.

Defensive backs

Out: Tracy Porter, E.J. Biggers, Ryan Clark, Brandon Meriweather (opened season on suspended list), Bacarri Rambo, Akeem Davis
In: Chris Culliver, Justin Rogers, Deshazor Everett, Dashon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jerrett

The cornerbacks are better with the addition of Culliver, who may go from side to side to cover the top receiver. The safety group may be better but perhaps only by default. Goldson will have to play better than he did the last two season in Tampa Bay and Ihenacho will need to improve in coverage. But they have a low bar to clear following Clark, who provided leadership but had clearly lost multiple steps, and Meriweather, who was unreliable due to his penchant for injuries and drawing suspensions.

The specialists, K Kai Forbath, P Tress Way, and LS Nick Sundberg, all remain the same.

 

Total: 20 players who were not on the initial 2014 roster, 12 on defense, 8 on offense

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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.

NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.

Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.

This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.

This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.

Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on it.

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