After looking at the official list of cuts, the Redskins have 52 players on their roster.There is one spot open, perhaps for a player to be acquired in a trade or in a waiver claim.To be sure, there could be surprise or two still in waiting. And trades and waiver claims could further shake things up. But here is how it appears that it stands right now, with some quick analysis.SpecialistsIn (3):P Sav Rocca, LS Nick Sundberg, PK Billy CundiffThis was set earlier this week when Neil Rackers and Graham Gano were released and Cundiff was signed.DefenseDefensive backsCornerback (4): DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Cedric Griffin, Richard CrawfordSafety (5): Brandon Meriweather, Madieu Williams, DeJon Gomes, Reed Doughty, Jordan BernstineThe suspension of Tanard Jackson, who would have been one of the top three safeties, helped Bernstine land a spot. It is still somewhat odd that they are keeping four corners and five safeties and this is one of those areas where further moves could be made.LinebackersOutside (4):Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Rob Jackson, Chris WilsonInside (4):London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Lorenzo Alexander, Keenan RobinsonIt was thought to be a battle between Wilson and Markus White for the last roster spot and Wilson won it. Bryan Kehl also was a surprise release.Defensive lineIn (6): Stephen Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins, Adam Carriker, Kedric Golston, Barry Cofield, Chris BakerOffenseRunning backs(4):Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster, Darrell Young, Alfred MorrisThe shocker of the day was the release of Tim Hightower. It was thought that the team would wait out until his knee, injured last October, got close to 100 percent.Tight ends(3):Fred Davis, Niles Paul, Logan PaulsenNo drama here after Chris Cooley was released on Tuesday.Wide receivers(7):Pierre Garon, Leonard Hankerson, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson, Brandon Banks, Dez BriscoeBanks will be more of a kick returner than a wide receiver so there are really six here. Briscoe beat out Anthony Armstrong for the last spot. Most thought Briscoe was the superior receiver during training camp and the preseason but there was a chance that Armstrongs special teams play could keep him on the roster.QuarterbacksIn (3):Robert Griffin III, Rex Grossman, Kirk CousinsRex Grossman was never, ever in any danger of being cut.Offensive lineIn (9):Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Josh LeRibeus, Jordan Black, Adam Gettis, Maurice HurtWhile none of the individual names here is a surprise the overall number is. The Redskins have kept eight offensive linemen the last two years. But they did get burned to an extent last year when a rash of injuries hit the line.
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.
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:
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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 looks ready pic.twitter.com/opUrNtdInQ— ceroy (@ceroy16) February 23, 2017
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.
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