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Redskins roster breakdown: Going into stretch run, roster still churning

Redskins roster breakdown: Going into stretch run, roster still churning

The Redskins are heading into the stretch run and are in first place in the NFC East. As the injuries have mounted it sometimes it seems like this team is held together with duct tape and chewing gum.

Here’s a look at the 53-man roster (actually at the moment it’s 52 players with one opening pending) followed by some roster stats that will interest you.

Starters in bold.

Quarterback (3): Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin III

Last year the depth chart seemed to change on a weekly basis with injuries and ineffective performances forcing Jay Gruden to shuffle the deck. In 2014 it has not changed a bit as Cousins has taken firm control.

Running backs (5): Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, Pierre Thomas FB Darrel Young

None of them are playing well except in flashes here and there. Sometimes it’s the blocking, sometimes it’s them. But it’s been a disappointing group.

Wide receivers (5): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder (slot receiver), Ryan Grant, Rashad Ross

The move to place Andre Roberts on injured reserve doesn’t have much of an effect on the group as he was often a healthy inactive and wasn’t very productive when he was in (11 receptions).

Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Alex Smith, Je’Ron Hamm

Smith was signed last week and immediately moved ahead of Hamm on the depth chart; Smith played 16 snaps against the Bills while Hamm was inactive.

Offensive line (9): LT Trent Williams, LG Spencer Long, C Josh LeRibeus, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses, G Arie Kouandjio, T Ty Nsekhe, T Tom Compton, C Brian De La Puente

Center Kory Lichtensteiger is eligible to start practicing this week and he could be activated if the Redskins reach the playoffs. With LeRibeus not exactly lighting it up in the middle of the line it seems likely that Lichtensteiger will go back to his starting job when he is ready.

Related: Bye week Redskins roster breakdown

Defensive line (6): Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Frank Kearse, Kedric Golston

Free agent disappointment Stephen Paea was put on injured reserve with a toe injury. Nobody was added; Kearse will simply go from being inactive every week to being active.

Linebackers (9): OLBs Trent Murphy, Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Houston Bates; ILBs Perry Riley (injured, foot), Will Compton, Keenan Robinson, Mason Foster, Carlos Fields

Compton has supplanted Robinson as the starter at Mike linebacker, a move that was prompted by both performance and nagging injuries to Robinson. Riley will be out at least another week with a broken bone in his foot but Foster has played well in his place.

Defensive backs (9): CBs Bashaud Breeland, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, Quinton Dunbar, Dashaun Phillips; Safeties Dashon Goldson, DeAngelo Hall, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett

If anyone had told you at the beginning of the year that Quinton Dunbar would be lining up against the likes of Beckham, Bryand, and Watkins during critical late season games you would not have believed them. But Dunbar has done that and has held his own pretty well.

Specialists (3): K Dustin Hopkins, LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way

Hopkins replaced Kai Forbath in Week 2 and the Redskins haven’t looked back.

Breakdown: 24 defense, 25 offense, 3 specialists

Roster changes since the bye week (15 total transactions):

Moves off the roster (8): WR Andre Roberts (IR), TE Derek Carrier (IR), TE Anthony McCoy (waived), C Kory Lichtensteiger (IR-return), DL Stephen Paea (IR), OLB Jackson Jeffcoat (waived-injured), CB Chris Culliver (IR), S Trenton Robinson (waived-injured)

Additions to roster (7): RB Thomas, TE Smith, TE Hamm, C De La Puente, OLB Bates, ILB Fields, CB Phillips

Others added to 53-man roster after season opener and prior to the bye (5):

ILB Foster, CB Blackmon, CB Dunbar, CB Phillips, CB Everett

 

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Jay Gruden wants DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon back, but 'won't blink' if they're gone

Jay Gruden wants DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon back, but 'won't blink' if they're gone

The Redskins face the very real prospect of losing receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon via free agency. Head coach Jay Gruden wants both players back, but is prepared to roll with the guys on the team if Jackson and Garçon depart. 

"Obviously DeSean and Pierre had great years. 1,000 yards each. Those are going to be hard to replace," Gruden said to reporters in Indianapolis. 

It's still possible the Redskins keep both Jackson and Garçon, or keep one of the two, just as both players could leave the organization. In his comments, it seemed like Gruden does not expect one or both guys to be back, and that the team will move on without them. That could mean losing Jackson's 1,005 receiving yards or Garçon's 1,041. 

"Coach the guys that we have. Free agency you’re never going to be able to sign everybody you want as a coach," he said. "I’d like to have Alshon Jeffery, Pierre and DeSean. Heck, give them all to me. I know that's not going to happen."

Gruden tends to joke often speaking with the media, and clearly the prospect of signing Jeffery, a star wideout for the Bears that will hit free agency next week, along with Jackson and Garçon isn't going to happen. The receiver market in free agency will be interesting to watch, as a number of top options will be available. Jeffery, Jackson, Garçon along with Cleveland's Terrelle Pryor and younger prospects like Kenny Stills and Kenny Britt. 

Asked if it was "necessary" to bring at least one of Garçon or Jackson back, Gruden bristled. 

"Would never say necessary. I’d love to have them both back, I'd love to have one back. If we are unfortunate enough to lose them both, I'm not gonna blink."

The coach explained the team has a good crop of young pass catchers already on the roster. 

"I do feel very good about Jamison Crowder, Ryan Grant, Josh Doctson. I love the fact that Mo Harris got a lot of work in, he’s gonna develop."

The coach should feel good about the young receivers, their development is part of his job. Crowder looks like a future star in the slot. Still, Jackson and Garçon accounted for more than 40 percent of Kirk Cousins' passing yards in 2016. That's a lot of yardage to lose. 

Of course, Doctson's development will be a major theme this offseason. A first-round pick in 2016, the Redskins got next to nothing from him as a rookie as he dealt with an Achilles injury. A healthy 6-foot-2 Doctson could offset some of the lost productivity that would come with the departure of Jackson or Garçon.

And then there is always free agency. It's entirely possible Washington could sign another, perhaps cheaper, wideout on the marketplace should they lose two the same way. Gruden said the team has 'other free agents' the team could pursue.

"We have Plan B's and Plan C's ready to go," Gruden said. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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The Redskins aren't willing to trade Kirk Cousins unless they are

The Redskins aren't willing to trade Kirk Cousins unless they are

Shortly after Kirk Cousins got the exclusive franchise tag from the Redskins on Saturday, two sort of conflicting reports. One, from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, was that Cousins “is not going anywhere” and a trade is essentially off the table. Mike Florio of Pro Football talk, quoting “a source familiar with the dynamics of the situation” reported that the Redskins would have to be “blown away” by a trade offer in order to pull the trigger on a deal.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 4.0

On the face of it, the reports conflict. One says that Cousins is available, the other says that he isn’t. But that valuation of them assumes the sources for these reports were intent on putting out the truth. The fact is that Cousins is very much available for the right offer.

A conversation along the lines of this one could well take place in Indianapolis this week:

“How much do you want for your house?”

“It’s not for sale.”

“No, really, how much do you want.”

“Really, it’s not for sale.”

“I’ll give you $50,000 over whatever it gets appraised for.”

“Sold!”

In short, you don’t need to have a “for sale” sign up in front of something to sell it. In fact, sometimes it’s better to act as though you have no intention of selling whatever it is. That can intrigue potential buyers even more.

The analogy falters a bit as it seems that the Redskins are unlikely to get a premium over whatever Cousins’ valuation on the open market might be. The receiving team will have to give the QB a massive contract. In addition, a team that wants Cousins is likely to be able to get him with no compensation in a year, when Cousins is likely to be an unfettered free agent. But you get the idea.

More Redskins: What happens next with Cousins?

The message from the Redskins is, don’t come at us with a couple of mid rounders. There is some point where the compensation for giving up Cousins a year earlier than they might have to isn’t enough. It literally would be better to rent Cousins for one more season than get, say, a third-round pick with a 2018 fifth thrown in.

That being said, they are not going to get the RG3 type haul—three firsts and a second—in exchange for Cousins. The likely would accept something south of that in exchange for Cousins’ rights.

So, he’s not available at any price—unless the price is right.

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.