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Redskins 53-man roster breakdown: Is Reed the MVP?

Redskins 53-man roster breakdown: Is Reed the MVP?

The Redskins made no deals at the deadline so the 53-man roster remains intact going into the final nine games of the season. As the break for the bye ends, let’s take a look at where they stand with some quick analysis of what to watch for.

Starters in bold.

Quarterback: Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin III

Any thought that Griffin would be traded was sheer fan and media speculation; the Redskins never received or made a phone call about dealing him. At this point it looks like it will take multiple injuries for him to play.

Running backs: Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, FB Darrel Young

Morris remains the designated starter as Jay Gruden said there would be no changes at running back. But Jones could well get more touches. Could some of the running game woes be fixed by Darrel Young getting more than the six snaps per game he has averaged this year? There are not two tight ends on the roster who can block well.

Wide receivers: Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder (slot receiver), Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Rashad Ross

If Jackson is healthy and active, who goes to the inactive list? Is it Roberts, who did not dress for the Falcons game? Or will it be Ross, who hasn’t produced much at receiver but has been good as the kickoff returner?

Tight end: Jordan Reed, Derek Carrier, Anthony McCoy

Is Reed the MVP? They are 3-2 with him, 0-2 without him.

Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Spencer Long, C Kory Lichtensteiger (injured, neck), RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses, C Josh LeRibeus, G Arie Kouandjio, T Ty Nsekhe, T Tom Compton

It would not be shocking if Lichtensteiger came back for the Patriots game and it wouldn’t be surprising if we didn’t see him until after Thanksgiving. A neck injury is tough thing to figure out.

Defensive line: Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Stephen Paea, Frank Kearse, Kedric Golston

Hatcher has been getting close without getting a sack more often than anyone else on the defense. That could bode well for a good second half of the season but the Redskins are hoping that his knee holds up.

Linebackers: OLBs Trent Murphy, Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Jackson Jeffcoat; ILBs Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Mason Foster

There has been plenty of chatter of Smith getting more playing time if not starting; same for Compton. We will see if that comes to pass.

Defensive backs: CBs Bashaud Breeland (injured, hamstring), Chris Culliver (injured, knee), DeAngelo Hall (injured, toe), Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, Quinton Dunbar; Safeties Dashon Goldson, Trenton Robinson, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett

I figure that when everyone is healthy, Breeland stays in the starting lineup and then moves to the slot when needed with Hall coming in to cover the outside. Does Jeron Johnson get a shot at redeeming himself in the second half of the season?

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

Hopkins came out of nowhere to become the best kicker in recent memory, although we’re looking at a small sample size. Way is getting better at refining his craft.

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Five takeaways: A lot to like about the Redskins' dominant primetime win.

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Five takeaways: A lot to like about the Redskins' dominant primetime win.

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 27-10 win over the Raiders:

This was the Redskins best defensive performance since 1991. That was the last time they held an opponent to under 128 total yards. They were physical, smart, determined and they made plays. If not for two turnovers they would have had a shutout. Oakland did not cross the Washington 48 without the benefit of a gift. Just dominant. 

With a strong defense, you can do what you want to on offense. I asked Kirk Cousins how much running for a couple of yards a pop as Samaje Perine was doing early in the game helped the offense. He answered in part by saying that the offense can afford to run for a low average per carry when the defense is playing so well. That's true. A punt isn't a bad play when you are confident that you are likely to get the ball back three plays later. 

Chris Thompson just keeps getting better every week. His patience when he has the ball in his hands and his ability to burst into the opening when it's there are textbook excellent. Oh yeah, his open field speed, which he gets to show off after being patient and cutting is amazing. Even the smaller plays, like two near the end of the half, when he wove his way through the cracks in the defense and then got out of bounds after gaining everything he could, are fun to watch. He is the Redskins' offensive MVP so far. 

Doctson showed why the Redskins drafted him on one flash. Nobody is going to give Josh Doctson an MVP award but we did see his potential when he went up and took that deep pass away from David Amerson for the touchdown. Plays like that make you see why the Redskins drafted him in the first round and why they have been patient with him. He will need to develop consistency but in the meantime, splash plays like that help a lot.

It’s hard to find fault in this one. Normally in these posts, I try to find a positive in a loss and something to be critical of in a win. But it’s really hard to find much to be critical about in the immediate aftermath of this one. Jamison Crowder’s muff of a punt certainly was an issue and perhaps Samaje Perine could have made more out of the line’s blocking for him. But from the defense to Cousins to Thompson to Zach Brown to D.J. Swearinger and many more, it was as dominant a game as we’ve seen from this team in a while. Can they keep it up? Tune in next Monday from Arrowhead Stadium and we’ll find out.

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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With one catch, Josh Doctson proved just how dangerous he can be for the Redskins

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With one catch, Josh Doctson proved just how dangerous he can be for the Redskins

LANDOVER, Md. — It took a while, longer than likely anyone expected, but Josh Doctson's first career touchdown catch may just have been worth the wait.

In the third quarter of the Redskins' 27-10 win over the Raiders on Sunday night, Kirk Cousins lofted a deep ball from a bit beyond midfield toward Doctson, who was being boxed out by David Amerson. And as the pass made its descent, Amerson went up to go snag it.

There was just one problem for the corner: Doctson went up and got to it first.

The result? A 52-yard touchdown that made the score 21-0 in favor of the hosts but, far more importantly, opened — quite forcefully, too — everyone's eyes to the sheer talent No. 18 possesses.

MORE: WHY THE DEFENSE'S EFFORT WAS SO ENCOURAGING

"I just made the play," the second-year wideout said afterward, about as nonchalantly as he made the TD look even though it absolutely wasn't. "It was pretty simple to be honest."

Against the Eagles and Rams in Weeks 1 and 2, Doctson suited up for Washington's offense but wasn't involved at all. And in the early going vs. Oakland, it again looked like he'd walk off the field with the same statline as an inactive player, on the verge of facing more questions about why he isn't producing. 

But that all changed on one jump-ball, which is exactly what his head coach has been anxiously waiting for.

"I think it was some relief for him," Jay Gruden answered when asked about the highlight. "I think the players have seen him do that in practice quite often but nobody else has... It wasn't a perfectly thrown ball, but to give him a chance where he can go up and make a big time catch, hopefully we'll get more of that."

RELATED: REDSKINS PLAYERS SIT AND KNEEL DURING ANTHEM

Doctson's QB, who gestured toward him during the post-score celebration as if to say There's the dude you've all been hearing about for months, certainly appreciated it.

"I do like Josh's ball skills and his ability to catch the ball up in the air and I thought, 'You know what, I'm going to give him a chance, they have been asking me to give him that chance and let's give it to him," Cousins said.

As fans of the team know all too well by now, Doctson isn't someone that can be counted on yet. He's oft-injured, and the grab he made over Amerson, while spectacular, was just the third of his career. 

But that sequence provides hope that many more similar to it will follow if he continues to stay healthy and gains more of Gruden's and Cousins' trust this year. He's still far from validating his 2016 first-round selection, but it's now obvious he has the skills to distance himself from those who so badly want to label him a bust.