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Fan questions: Redskins' depth, Seastrunk, O-line and more

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Fan questions: Redskins' depth, Seastrunk, O-line and more

I got a lot of great questions this week so we're going to do this in two parts; look for more tomorrow. Let's dive right in.
@Rich_TandlerCSN #RedskinsTalk Which of this year's Redskins rookies will make a significant impact this season?

— Gene Wu (@TheWuWu) May 14, 2014
I don't see any of them having a "significant" impact if you're talking about having seasons like RG3 and Alfred Morris in 2012. But if you're looking for a Redskins rookie of the year, I'll make Lache Seastrunk my favorite. When we asked Jay Gruden which of his pick he was most anxious to see on the field he named Seastrunk. I think that the former Baylor back will get some opportunities in relief of Morris and will make some SportsCenter top 10 type runs.
@Rich_TandlerCSN which position on offense and defense do we have the best depth in? #RedskinsTalk — ThePorchReport (@ThePorchReport) May 14, 2014
I just talked about that exact topic yesterday on Redskins Nation so let's go all multimedia here with a video answer to this question:

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@Rich_TandlerCSN #RedskinsTalk project starting OLine week 1?

— Gary (@gimmedemcookies) May 14, 2014
Obviously Trent Williams will be the left tackle and I think Shawn Lauvao is pretty well locked in at left guard. Do the other three who are on top of the depth chart right now keep their jobs, at least for the start of the season? Mike McGlynn and possibly Adam Gettis will push Kory Lichtensteiger at center, Spencer Long will challenge Chris Chester, and Morgan Moses will give Tyler Polumbus a run for his money. My projection is subject to change after seeing some of these guys on the field but right now my projection is that the starters on Sept. 7 from left to right will be Williams, Lauvao, Lichtensteiger, Chester, and Moses.
@Rich_TandlerCSN Surprised no ILB "project" was taken in the draft? More they like who they have or not like who was available?#RedskinsTalk

— Derek Childress (@Poker_Donkey) May 14, 2014
Not really. From what I hear they like Keenan Robinson and he is their "project" guy. They would like to have him ready to start by Week 1 or at least at some point during the season. Until then, Akeem Jordan will probably hold the spot down with some others rotating in on nickel packages. If they liked somebody they might have taken him but they didn't think there was a particular need there because of Robinson.
@Rich_TandlerCSN seems like there is a crowded backfield now that seastrunk is here. Who gets cut in your opinion? #RedskinsTalk

— S.N. (@SankyNagz) May 14, 2014
It was already crowded with Chris Thompson coming back from injured reserve and now Seastrunk leaves them with five tailbacks on the roster. Obviously Alfred Morris isn't going anywhere. As far as the rest, pick two between Thomas, Seastrunk, Roy Helu, and Evan Royster. Seastrunk is probably safe but he has a lot of development to do before taking over a significant role. Helu, I believe, stays around for that reason. That would leave Thompson and Helu on the outside looking in.
@Rich_TandlerCSN What's the word on Spencer Long playing center? #RedskinsTalk

— AJ (@AJ_bus) May 14, 2014
No word right now. Some think that will be his NFL position in the long term and I'm sure they are thinking about it. But for right now, he's a guard and he'll have plenty to learn there. Would I be shocked if he's the starting center for the 2015 season opener? Not in the least.
@Rich_TandlerCSN what does our new OLB coach bring to the table and how is he going to make our starters better? — HTTR (@BrandonLeta) May 14, 2014
Excellent question. Brian Baker's title is outside linebackers coach but he's really the pass rush coach. He won't just work with Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy and the others, he'll also work with Jason Hatcher, Barry Cofield, Perry Riley and everybody else in the front seven to try to teach them pass rush techniques. Among the Pro Bowl pass rushers Baker has coached are DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Jay Ratliff, Julius Peppers, Kevin Williams, Robert Porcher and Luther Elliss. We'll have to wait and see what specifically they do differently but his hiring shows that there will be an added emphasis on getting pressure on the QB.
@Rich_TandlerCSN #RedskinsTalk which of our picks do you see starting

— Slappy (@VolSkins) May 14, 2014
Right now I don't see any of them starting on Sept. 7. It could be quite a different story by November. By then, there's a decent shot that Morgan Moses and Spencer Long will make up the right side of the offensive line.
@Rich_TandlerCSN Does the addition of Murphy hint at someone moving back to the D-line? Will they move to a 4-3? Who'll be gone in 2015?

— J. Brown (@Jaybro215) May 14, 2014
No, nobody is moving anywhere. No, they're not changing to a 4-3. In case you hadn't heard, Brian Orakpo is on a one-year deal called the franchise tag. Murphy gives them options if they can't or don't want to pay what Orakpo will be looking for in 2015.

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Need to Know: Who are the Redskins' roster locks?

Need to Know: Who are the Redskins' roster locks?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 23, 21 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on May 22.

Timeline

It’s been 142 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 110 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 21
—Training camp starts (7/27) 65
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 79

Who will surprise in 2017?

As OTAs start today, all 90 players on the roster have something to work for. But few dozen of them don’t have to work for a job. These are players who either because of their contracts or draft status or importance to the team who are locks to make the 53-man roster. Here are the 2017 roster locks.

Offense (18)

Backs: QB’s Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, and Nate Sudfeld; RB’s Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson, and Samaje Perine.

I’ve had Sudfeld on the bubble ever since the Redskins drafted him but he’s past the point where they are going to give up on him and risk putting him on the practice squad. A year ago, Kelley was on the outside of the bubble and now he is a mortal lock.

WR/TE: WR’s Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder; TEs Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis

Receivers Maurice Harris and Robert Davis are close to being locks but there is a lot of competition going on in the bottom of the depth chart. Jeremy Sprinkle is likely to make it as a tight end but he may have to beat out special teams stalwart Niles Paul.

O-line: OT’s Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, G’s Shawn Lauvao, Brandon Scherff, Arie Kouandjio; C Spencer Long

You can argue about Lauvao but the fact that the team did not draft or sign serious competition for him tells me he is safe. Someone who can back up a center is a lock to make the roster. That could be sixth-round pick Chase Roullier or a veteran plucked off waivers.

Defense (18)

D-line: Terrell McClain, Stacy McGee, Jonathan Allen, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood

Lanier will still be a project but after keeping him last year the Redskins will hang on to him again to see if he can develop into a pass-rushing threat. Matt Ioannidis could be the sixth defensive lineman but he could get beaten out.

Linebackers: OLB’s Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Junior Galette, Ryan Anderson; ILB’s Will Compton, Zach Brown, Mason Foster

Trent Murphy will be suspended for the first four games so he won’t be on the initial 53. Martrell Spaight is close to being a lock but competition will be fierce for that last inside linebacker spot.

Backs: CB’s Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar; Safeties Su’a Cravens, D.J. Swearinger

Five or possibly six positions are up for grabs here. Third-round pick Fabian Moreau is a lock to be with the organization but he could be on the PUP list.  

Specialists (3): LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way, K Dustin Hopkins

It would be very surprising if they brought in competition for Hopkins.

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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Jay Gruden views Chris Thompson as the NFL's best third-down running back

Jay Gruden views Chris Thompson as the NFL's best third-down running back

In 2016, Chris Thompson simply needed to prove to Jay Gruden that he could handle 16 NFL games.

Now, looking ahead to 2017, the fifth-year running back hopes to show his head coach he can shoulder 16 NFL games and a larger workload.

"I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year," Thompson said Monday at the Redskins Charitable Golf Foundation. "[Gruden] knows now that I'm healthy and I can stay healthy, which I think that was one of his biggest concerns. So now he sees that I can handle the load, I think that I'll get a lot more opportunities this year."

Last season was by far the best in the 26-year-old's career. He played a full slate of games after playing in just 19 over his first three seasons combined, and he set career highs in rushing attempts (68), yards (356), receptions (49), receiving yards (349) and total touchdowns (5).

MORE REDSKINS: TEAM IS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE WITH PLANS FOR NEW STADIUM

He also held up well in pass protection, a key duty for him as the team's third-down running back. And it's all of those qualities — being able to contribute on handoffs and with catches while also providing help in keeping Kirk Cousins upright — that make him an excellent fit for a popular NFL duty.

The most excellent in that duty, actually, if you ask Gruden. 

"I think Chris Thompson's role is big," he said. "When you're talking about third downs, that's the most important down in football. There's nobody better as a third-down back in my opinion than Chris. He's got a huge role on this football team." 

Gruden went on to indicate that an increase in Thompson's responsibilities is likely coming, though No. 25 will still do the majority of his work when the offense needs him most.

"Whether he does some more stuff on first- and second-down will be determined," he said. "I'm sure he will. But he's so valuable on third-down that I gotta keep him in that role for now."

A 2013 fifth-round pick who came into the league with a history of injuries, Thompson has now fully gained the trust of his coaches and teammates. The 5-foot-8 running back may be small in stature, but the Redskins know he's not small in importance.  

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