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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection, offense

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection, offense

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 18, 39 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 29
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 53
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 84

Redskins roster projection—offense

The Redskins are done with their offseason program and are headed into a six-week break prior to training camp. A lot will be sorted out in Richmond but it’s not too early to project what the 53-man roster will look like when the final cuts are made on September 2.

Here is a look at the offense; we'll look at the defense here tomorrow. Changes are from the last projection prior to OTAs.

Players new to the organization in 2017 are in italics. Rookies are also underlined.

Quarterback (3)

Starter: Kirk Cousins
Backups: Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

Nothing is changing here. Sudfeld is progressing, albeit slowly. McCoy is the man Gruden trusts as his backup. And Cousins is the $24 million starter. All in Sharpie.  

Running backs (3)

Starter: Rob Kelley
Backups: Samaje Perine, Chris Thompson

After skipping OTAs, Matt Jones did show up at minicamp, saving himself the $80,000 he would have been fined for missing it. That didn’t change his status as the fifth-string running back. One day during minicamp he was on a knee drinking water while others were doing special teams drills. Even if there is an issue with the top three backs, Mack Brown, not Jones, would be the next man up. If they decide to go with three tight ends, Brown gets the fourth job here.  

Wide receivers (6)

Starters: Josh Doctson, Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder (slot)
Backups: Maurice Harris, Ryan Grant, Robert Davis

Change: Grant in, Brian Quick out

Quick did not impress anyone during the offseason program, opening the door for Grant to return for a fourth season. It’s another year for a receiver who does everything but catch passes. If Quick does make it, it will be at the expense of Davis’ spot, not Grant’s. Davis has been a little slow to catch on but he likely will make enough progress to be the sixth receiver, who usually is inactive on game days.   

Tight ends (4)

Starter: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Niles Paul, Jeremy Sprinkle

They have only kept three tight ends the last few years but carrying four is not unprecedented. In 2013, they drafted Reed and added him to the group that already had Paul, Logan Paulsen, and Fred Davis. Sprinkle has been slow to develop in minicamp and he will have to show progress in Richmond to make the roster.

Offensive line (9)

Starters (left to right): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses
Backups: Ty Nsekhe, Arie Kouandjio, Chase Roullier, John Kling

Change: Kling in, Vinston Painter out

The starters are in Sharpie. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Redskins picked up a veteran center to back up long while sixth-round rookie develops on the practice squad. I have Kling edging out Painter for the other backup tackle job.

Last three on: Sprinkle, Kling, Roullier

Last three cut: RB Keith Marshall, Brown, TE Derek Carrier

Offensive breakdown: 25 players, four rookies, a total of five new to 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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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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