Quick Links

Need to Know: Will the Redskins go running back by committee?

redskins-rbs.jpg

Need to Know: Will the Redskins go running back by committee?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 2, one day before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 players.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Off day, no availability

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 236 days ago. It will be 10 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 16; Browns @ Redskins 30; Redskins @ Ravens 37

Stock up/stock down vs. the Bucs

—I like Mack Brown and I think he could be a helpful player to have on the roster. But I just don’t see a spot for him. If they do take on a fourth running back I think it will be someone from outside of the organization, a veteran or an experienced back cut by another team. But I’d say they should stick with three; a fourth running back is like a fifth wheel. Keep Brown on the practice squad in case someone gets injured.

—The bigger implication of Wednesday night at running back may be in the division of carries. It seems that the offseason plan has been to give Matt Jones the vast majority of the carries, upwards of 75 percent of them. But the way that Robert Kelley ran, and the way he ran throughout the entire preseason, may prompt Jay Gruden and company to call his number more often. Jones will still get most of the rushing attempts but it may be more like a 60/40 split with Kelley and maybe Chris Thompson getting the other carries.

—If I was making the decision I probably would put Nate Sudfeld on waivers and try to get him through to the practice squad. If he gets claimed, oh well, find another developmental quarterback. But I don’t make those decisions and I think that the people in the Redskins organization who do will keep Sudfeld on the 53. It’s a defensible position, certainly. For one thing, a few teams needed three quarterbacks last year. For another, they have invested a lot of time in training Sudfeld in their system and they don’t want to start from scratch with another QB with the regular season getting underway.

—As of this writing, Josh Doctson is on the PUP list. He won’t be when Saturday rolls around. He has not practiced yet but they are not going to put him on the shelf for six weeks. I would look for him to be limited in practice the week leading up to the Steelers game and then inactive for the game. That pattern will continue for a few weeks until he gets up to full speed.

—On my final projection I have the Redskins keeping seven defensive linemen and 10 defensive backs. They could change that to keep Deshazor Everett on the roster. I don’t think that they really like their D-linemen beyond Chris Baker and maybe Ziggy Hood. If they think that their best 11 defensive backs are better football players than their best six D-linemen, why not set up the roster that way and keep Anthony Lanier and Corey Crawford on the practice squad.

Tandler on Twitter

The answer was yes, I made it out. But it was close.

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTuneshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!