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Looking ahead: Redskins 2016 depth chart projection, offense

Looking ahead: Redskins 2016 depth chart projection, offense

It’s time to take a look ahead and see what the Redskins’ depth chart might look like on opening day of 2016. Here’s a look at the offense; I’ll cover the defense tomorrow.

Quarterback: Kirk Cousins
Backups: Colt McCoy, draft pick

Cousins will either be signed to a long-term contract or he will get the franchise tag. In any case, he is going nowhere. I’m a little bit iffy on McCoy. He came back here last year thinking that he had a shot at the starting job. Now that he knows he won’t start he may look for another location. I think there will be a developmental quarterback brought in via the draft, somewhere between the fourth and seventh rounds. That QB could be on the practice squad rather than on the 53.

Running backs: Matt Jones, Darrel Young
Backups: Chris Thompson, free agent/draft pick

Putting Jones at the top of the 2016 depth chart was an easy call when I sketched it out a couple of months ago. After he got dinged up a few times and showed that he has a lot of work to do in refining his game to become a full-time starter it’s not so certain. For right now it’s Jones but a draft pick or free agent could supplant him by the time the season starts. It still looks like Alfred Morris will move on, perhaps to a team that emphasizes zone blocking. Thompson was perhaps underutilized with only 35 receptions. Young is a free agent but there is a good chance he will return.

Wide receivers: Pierre Garçon, draft pick
Backups: Jamison Crowder (slot receiver), Ryan Grant, Rashad Ross

As DeSean Jackson struggled to return from a hamstring injury it appeared that he would not be back in 2016. Then after he made a few big plays the focus turned to him being a unique talent. But then there was the fumble on the punt return against the Cowboys and his apparently lackluster effort in trying get the ball across the goal line after a catch against the Packers and his future is back up in the air. Garçon’s return is no sure thing; he had a solid season (72/777/6) but is that worth the $10.2 million cap hit for 2016? If one goes and one stays, I think Garçon is safe but that’s far from certain. If both do not return, a receiver will need to be added in free agency or the draft.

Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Niles Paul, Derek Carrier

Reed can become one of the best in the NFL if he isn’t already. Paul’s rehab from a dislocated ankle is coming along well and he said he plans to be ready for OTAs. If they can find a blocking tight end in the draft they might move on from Carrier.

Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Spencer Long, C Kory Lichtensteiger, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: G Arie Kouandjio, T Ty Nsekhe, 1-2 draft picks

I had Shaun Lauvao back at left guard until I saw him in the locker room on Monday, just off of a second major surgery and in need to a scooter to get around. Perhaps he can make a fast recovery but for right now I’m leaving Long at left guard. They will be on the lookout for a replacement for Lichtensteiger in the draft but the veteran likely holds on to his job for this year.

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Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Of course, Kirk Cousins is disappointed the Redskins didn’t make the playoffs, but among the various things he’s done in the offseason, one of them is a little curious.

Sunday, Cousins wasn’t just watching the Falcons dominate the Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship Game. He sent out a picture on Instagram from the stands of the Georgia Dome.

“Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!” Cousins wrote.

But — especially with rumors that Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be offered the head coaching position with the 49ers — is there more to this post than the Redskins’ quarterback simply watching the game?

Shanahan was the Redskins’ offensive coordinator from 2010-2013 and was reportedly “integral” in the team selecting Cousins in the 2012 NFL Draft.

So if Shanahan makes the move out to San Francisco and if the Redskins don’t put a franchise tag on Cousins, could the pair be reunited?

It’s possible, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who said, “don’t be surprised if the 49ers make a run at Kirk Cousins if the Redskins do not make him their exclusive franchise player.”

There’s a lot of if’s involved for that to happen, but it’s possible. It’s also possible Cousins was just enjoying the NFC Championship Game and decided to Instagram about it. 

MORE REDSKINS: Why Matt Cavanaugh makes sense for Washington

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3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:

  1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
  2. Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
  3. Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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