The Redskins will be brining back all 12 members of the draft class of 2011 this year. Which players will have the same role as they did in 2011, which will have increased responsibilities and which will have diminished roles this year? After OTAs and minicamp, here is how it shakes out:Same workloadOLB Ryan Kerrigan (1056 snaps, 9 sacks in 2011)You cant do much more than he did last year. Kerrigan didnt miss a snap and recorded nine sacks last year. He hit a rookie wall, getting only one sack in the last five games. If he can produce consistently 2012 should be the first of many double-digit sack seasons for Kerrigan.RG Roy Helu Jr. (554 snaps, 151 carries, 640 yards, 2 TDs)Helu had a chance to put a stranglehold on the starting halfback job for this year but he could only get on the field for 11 plays in the past two games. Health issues derailed him during minicamp as well. Based on last year, it looks like he will have some great games in 2012 and he will be a spectator for some games as well.LB Markus White (no defensive snaps in 2011, active and played special teams in two games)Special teams are likely to Whites role again as it will be hard to get three-down players Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo off of the field.NT Chris Neild (163 snaps, 2 sacks)Neild should continue doing what he did last year, giving Barry Cofield an occasional breather. His roster spot is probably safe although Chris Baker could make a run at the job.Increased workloadDE Jarvis Jenkins (on IR all of 2011)He is still recovering from that knee injury but once he gets into football shape it will be hard to keep him out of the starting lineup.WR Leonard Hankerson (126 snaps, 13 receptions, 163 yards)He showed enough in his limited action last year for the organization to have some confidence in his ability but not enough to where they felt they could stand pat at the position. Hankerson should see plenty of playing time and will have a chance to make a big impact.S DeJon Gomes (210 snaps, 19 tackles, 3 QB hurries)We looked at Gomes in some depth in a recent article. The bottom line is that he has a chance to be a starter either this year or next. In any case, he should get more than 210 snaps.TE Niles Paul (164 snaps, 2 receptions)Pauls storyline will be among the most interesting to follow this year as he transitions from wide receiver to being an undersized tight end.RB Evan Royster (158 snaps, 56 carries, 328 yards)Royster came a long way last year. He looked lost in training camp but he finished out the year strong with two 100-yard efforts in the last three games. It is unlikely that he will become the primary back this year but he will get some opportunities as there is likely to be no primary back on the team.WR Aldrick Robinson (did not play in 2011)In minicamp, Robinson has had the look of someone who is ready to make the roster and contribute. He is someone to watch in training camp.Decreased workloadCB Brandyn Thompson (4 snaps in 2011)Thompson has some playmaking ability and that kept him around. But he didnt flash much in the offseason practices and he could end up losing his roster spot to rookies Chase Minnifield and Richard Crawford.OL Maurice Hurt (557 snaps, started 8 games)The player who saw the most offensive snaps as a rookie last year could be in danger of not making the team in 2012. He has been playing tackle during the offseason workouts and he will have to beat out Willie Smith, Tyler Polumbus, and James Lee. Might not make it.
With his ability to limit opposing team's kickoff returners by consistently producing touchbacks, Dustin Hopkins is a solid weapon for the Redskins in the field position game.
A rule that Washington is proposing to NFL owners at their upcoming meetings, however, suggests that the Redskins want Hopkins and other strong-legged kickers to become even more of an asset than they already are.
In addition, the rule would also breathe some much needed intrigue into kickoffs, which have been reduced to the second-best time to grab another beer behind a commercial break.
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The proposal is this: If a kicker splits the uprights with his kickoff, then the other team's offense will take the field at the 20-yard line. As things stand now, any touchback — whether it's downed in the end zone, flies out of the back or sails through the middle of the goalposts — is brought out to the 25-yard marker.
A rule this funky isn't likely to pass on its first time through voting. In fact, who knows if it'll ever pass.
But maybe, just maybe, one day it will, and guys such as Hopkins and Justin Tucker will become a bit more valuable than they are currently. So, if you're ever watching an NFL game and hear the words, "THE KICK IS GOOD!" on a kickoff, you'll know which team to thank.
The Redskins’ wide receiver corps is growing in more ways than one.
The team has signed former Rams wide receiver Brian Quick, according to the player’s agent. At 6-4, he would have towered over most of the Redskins’ other wide receivers a year ago. Now he’s just another tree in the forest.
The starting wide receivers were Pierre Garçon, who was 6-0, and DeSean Jackson, who was listed at 5-10 but that was being a bit generous. Now the Redskins will line up Terrelle Pryor, 6-4, on one side and the 6-2 Josh Doctson on the other. As substitutes they will be able to bring in Quick and the 6-3 Maurice Harris.
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It should be noted that Jamison Crowder is the favorite to end up as the team’s leading receiver and he measures 5-9. So it won’t be all about the big guys but having so many tall targets will help Kirk Cousins in the red zone, where the team struggled last year.
Being tall is one thing, but Quick must prove that he can be a consistently productive NFL receiver. Actually, the Redskins would be very happy if he can produce for them like he did for the Rams in 2016 when he caught 41 passes for 564 yards and three touchdowns. But before last year he never had more than 25 receptions or 375 yards in a single season.
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Quick’s addition could put the Redskins career of Ryan Grant in some jeopardy. Grant has been a favorite of the coaches of his work ethic but after playing 16 games in each of his three NFL seasons he has averaged 13 receptions for 137 yards per year. That makes it hard to stay around for a fourth year.