Over the next few weeks, Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ 2017 depth chart as the team enjoys some R&R ahead of training camp. Some positions are easy to handicap. Others have moving parts and, thus, are more complex. So, who’s in? And who’s in trouble?
Position: Offensive tackle
On the roster: Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Vinston Painter, John Kling, Kevin Bowen
Locks: Williams, Moses, Nsekhe
Williams seems to be on a quest to earn first-team All-Pro honors this year. He may have been on way last year before a disputed four-game substance abuse suspension benched him in midseason. Going into his eighth year, Williams created a bit of a stir by skipping voluntary OTAs. Instead, he worked out in Houston on his own to get into what he called “ultimate shape”. We will see if the conditioning pays off over the time working with teammates.
After signing Moses to a contract extension, the Redskins are now set at tackle through the 2020 season. Moses’ five-year deal averaged $7.65 million in new money, making him the third highest-paid right tackle in the league. He is rock solid and the Redskins are happy to have him locked up for the long haul.
By now, everyone knows the story of Nsekhe’s journey through the minor arena leagues to the NFL. He is a very good backup tackle but to suggest that he’s close to being as good as Williams is silly. In four starts last year Nsekhe gave up one sack, 3 QB hits, and 13 hurries. In 12 game Williams’ numbers were 2 sacks, 1 hit, and 10 hurries. Again, Nsekhe is a solid reserve but let’s not make him into something he’s not.
On the bubble: Painter, Kling
Last year, Painter joined the team after training camp was over and he spent the first three games on the practice squad before being moved up to the 53-man roster. He played just 10 snaps on offense. The third-year player will have to earn his roster spot in Richmond.
MORE REDSKINS: Redskins 53-man roster projection, defense
All we really know about Kling is that he is huge, at 6-8, 320. That will get him noticed as he tries to beat out Painter for the fourth tackle roster spot—if they decide to keep four tackles.
Long shot: Bowen
It looked like Bowen’s season might be over when he had to be taken off the field on a cart at the end of one of the Redskins’ OTA practices. But the leg injury turned out to be relatively minor and he will be ready for training camp. He also is massive at 6-9, 335 and that gives him dark horse status in the backup competition.
Certainly summer marks the time for optimism around the NFL, though speaking with Redskins defenders it becomes clear that the new coaching staff has changed much of the conversation on the practice field and in the film room.
Numerous players, from Josh Norman to Will Compton, have talked about learning more from their coaches this offseason, with a focus on teaching conceptually. That things sound different makes sense, as most of the defensive coaching staff has been overhauled.
Joe Barry and Perry Fewell are gone. In their place come Greg Manusky, promoted from OLBs coach, and Torrian Gray.
Jay Gruden described some of the previous defensive coaching staff as "big-picture type coaches" and explained now that the focus is on hands-on teaching. For a defense that invested heavily in the 2017 draft, that seems like a good move.
The truth is the Redskins defense underperformed in 2016. While some of that was likely not enough talent, especially up front, on the back end confusion seemed to reign. Gray could help, if he can teach like Gruden expects him to.
Washington ranked 25th in the NFL in pass yards allowed last season, hard to imagine with Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland. The front office invested at safety, which should help, but if Norman and Breeland can more properly understand the defensive philosophy will help too.
Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!