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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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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.

NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.

Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.

This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.

This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.

Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on it.

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.