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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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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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.

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