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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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Redskins 2017 position outlook: Defensive line

Redskins 2017 position outlook: Defensive line

With the season opener fast approaching, it’s time to put the Redskins’ depth chart under the microscope. Over the coming days, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Defensive line

Starters: Jonathan Allen, Stacy McGee, Phil Taylor
Other roster locks: Terrell McClain, Ziggy Hood, Anthony Lanier
On the bubble: Matt Ioannidis, A.J. Francis, Joey Mbu

How the defensive line compares:

To the 2016 Redskins: The addition of Allen is a boost but the losses of Chris Baker (free agent) and Ricky Jean Francois (released) can’t be overlooked. Second-year players Lanier and Ioannidis should improve and Hood will be a rotational player instead of a starter, a role better suited to his ability. Andi new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will get the most out of them. The key to improvement will be McClain and McGee. If the two free agents live up to their contracts the line should be better than it was last year. If not, they will struggle again. Slightly better

To the rest of the NFL: But let’s not mistake an improved Redskins D-line for one of the better units in the league. While it’s tough to compare a 3-4 line to a 4-3 front, it still would be quite a leap for the Redskins to move from the bottom of the pack to the lower middle. Tomsula inherited a multi-year rebuild; one draft pick and a couple of free agents are not going to transform the line into a force. Bottom third

RELATED: 2017 OUTLOOK: WIDE RECEIVER

2017 outlook

Biggest upside: Since I used his name in conjunction with that of Dave Butz above, that has to be Allen. He has both the physical ability and the mental makeup to be a very, very good one.

Most to prove: Nearly every player on the line has something to prove but only Phil Taylor has been out of football for the last two years. He has worked his way up from a brief retirement to a futures contract with the Redskins to a roster long shot to a probable starter. But he still only has 21 preseason snaps under his belt and he has a long way to go before he reestablishes himself as a legitimate NFL player.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS-PACKERS MUST-SEE PHOTOS

Rookie watch: The only rookie with a realistic shot at making the roster is Allen. His Nick Saban-Alabama background has him well prepared to handle the scrutiny that comes with being a top draft pick and the expectations that come with playing in a place like Washington.

Bottom line: The best-case scenario here is that Taylor anchors the line in the middle, Allen’s learning curve is short, Lanier contributes six sacks in a nickel role, and the rest of the players make up a good rotation. Anything more would be a big bonus. Anything less would be back to being one of the worst defenses against the run.

Quote-unquote

Jay Gruden on Phil Taylor:

Well, I’ll tell you, I was in Cincinnati for three years when he was at Cleveland and I know what a force he can be at nose. He was tough to deal with, he really was. We had him for a workout, and I didn’t even know he was on the streets. His knee looked better. He was in good shape. He had a whole offseason and did some good things. I think his body is finally back to where he feels really good. He’s moving around, he’s active, he’s strong, so I like where he is right now. He’s just got to continue to maintain 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.

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Long's injury gives Redskins' backup center Roullier an opportunity

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Associated Press

Long's injury gives Redskins' backup center Roullier an opportunity

Let’s be clear here.

The Redskins’ loss of center Spencer Long for two weeks due to a knee injury is not a good development.

Long is going into his second year as the starter and he still has a lot to learn. Although he should be back for the games that count, he could have benefitted from the 30 or so snaps he would have taken against the Bengals in the team’s third preseason game this Sunday.

Also, the Redskins’ offensive line has struggled this preseason, especially when blocking for the run.

Another half with the full starting unit playing together would have helped them work on those problems. The third preseason game is supposed to be a dress rehearsal and it’s tough to have one of those if you don’t have all your lead actors.

RELATED: COULD REDSKINS PURSUE RETIRED JETS' CENTER?

However, in the NFL one’s player’s bad fortune can be an opportunity for another. Chase Roullier was a sixth-round pick of the Redskins. With Kory Lichtensteiger retired and John Sullivan departed to Rams, Roullier became the backup center by default. While many expected the Redskins to make a move for a veteran backup center, they have kept Roullier running with the second-team offense through OTAs, minicamp, training camp, and the first two preseason games.

He was a bit shaky against the Ravens in the first preseason game but he was solid against the Packers on Saturday. It should be noted that Roullier will be facing the Bengals’ defensive starters on Saturday, not backups and players whose names will soon appear on the waiver wire as he was in the first two games.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS-PACKERS MUST-SEE PHOTOS

The competition that Roullier will face, however, is one of the upsides here. If the Redskins need their backup center during the season, their opponent is not going to pull its starter and line up a reserve player against him. He will be facing starters. The Redskins organization should have a pretty good idea of what they have in Roullier after a half against the Bengals’ front-line players.

Again, it would be better if Long was there for the line to work on its game. But the Redskins will have a chance to make the best of a bad situation by finding out if they are set at backup center or if they will need to pull the trigger on finding a veteran option.

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.