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Way too early Redskins 53-man roster projection--Offense

Way too early Redskins 53-man roster projection--Offense

The Redskins will hold their first major on-field activity of their preseason program tomorrow when they start their rookie camp in Ashburn. That’s too early to predict who will make the 53-man roster when all of the preseason activity is done and the final cuts are made on September 5. But that won’t stop me. Here is who I think ends up making the offensive portion of the final 53; looking at the defense tomorrow.

Starters in bold

Offense (25)

Quarterback (3): Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy, Connor Halliday

This scenario may be overly optimistic on Halliday’s potential. He is a pure project, coming out of a no-huddle, spread shotgun offensive at Washington State. If he shows enough the Redskins may want to keep him on the 53 and not risk losing him while trying to slip him onto the practice squad. They could dangle Kirk Cousins as trade bait to a team that lost a QB to a preseason injury. If Halliday goes to the practice squad or doesn’t make it Cousins is likely to be back.

Offensive line (9): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, Tom Compton, Morgan Moses, Arie Kouandjio, Chris Chester

Looking at the last player in that list first, I think that Long is able to win the starting job at right guard but Chester stays with a contract that cuts his $4.8 million down to the $1.5-$2 million range. They would rather keep the veteran Chester as a backup who has some flexibility rather than Josh LeRibeus, who can’t play anything other than left guard.

Wide receiver (6): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder, Evan Spencer.

This seems to be cut and dried as far as the six players on the roster. What remains to be seen is how much rookies Crowder and Spencer push for playing time over Grant and Roberts. Gruden seems to be high on the two draft picks and Roberts in particular was a disappointment last year.

Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul

This is the status quo from last year. Although the team might have liked to add a tight end in the draft there were very few to be found. I don’t think you can rule out another blocking tight end making it but four tight ends would create a squeeze at another position.

Running back (4): Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Matt Jones, Silas Redd

There is a numbers crunch here that could lead to some very tough decisions. If Chris Thompson can stay healthy, they might want to keep him around as a third-down back. And there is some buzz about rookie Trey Williams, who could have some playmaking ability that the team is lacking. Redd will need to be on top of his game to hold on to that fourth spot.

--25 offensive players, six new to the Redskins organization in 2015.

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Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy underwent surgery this offseason to repair a broken bone in his foot, per a source with knowledge of the situation. Murphy has completely healed and is a full participant at training camp. 

The injury came late in the 2016 season and he played the Redskins final game of the season with the broken foot. He was listed on the injury report for that game as limited with a foot injury. He was not listed on the Week 16 injury report against the Bears.

Hit with a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs this offseason, Murphy won't suit up for the Redskins until Week 6. He will be forced to miss the first four games, and then the Redskins have a bye in Week 5. 

Murphy had a breakout season in 2016, finishing the year with nine sacks and 47 tackles. A second round pick in 2014, Murphy had a combined six sacks in the two seasons prior. Last offseason, Murphy was tasked with gaining weight for a position switch to defensive end. After he gained the weight, outside linebacker Junior Galette was lost for the season, and Murphy was moved back to outside linebacker. 

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Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

RICHMOND—The Redskins offense is dealing with some challenges on the field. Their top two wide receivers from last year left as free agents and replacements Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have little game experience with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Tight end Jordan Reed (toe) was a surprise entry on the PUP list. Running back Rob Kelley needs to prepare to get ready to carry the load for 16 games.

There is one other change the team must deal with. Sean McVay, the team’s offensive coordinator, left in January to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. He had been calling the plays for the past two years. That duty will now fall on head coach Jay Gruden.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Play calling is not new to Gruden. He did it from 2011-2013 for the Bengals when he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Gruden also made the play calls in 2014, his first season as the Redskins head coach.

Still, he wants to make sure that he’s ready to retake the play caller’s headset. The method he will use is to throw away the script.

“I think early on we’re going to have scripted practices, and once we get going, get our main core of plays in there, I think we’ll have a lot of unscripted practices where I can call plays,” he said. “So I think that’s the most important thing, the unscripted practice. Whether it’s two -minute, whether it’s drives down the field, whether it’s third downs, all that good stuff, do a lot of unscripted work, red zone and go from there, but I feel pretty comfortable already.”

That certainly makes sense. Games are not scripted and the successful play callers who can adjust to the ebb and flow of the game. You can’t duplicate the dynamic but you can come close in 11 on 11 work on the practice field.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Another key to making this work will be trusting his defensive and special teams coaches. If Gruden can’t delegate to them he will be getting pulled in too many directions on game days.

“How well I handle that will be how successful I will probably be as a coordinator calling plays and as a coach,” he said. “I feel good about the staff that I have around me. Coach [Greg] Manusky and Jim Tomsula and Torrian Gray on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t think I have to worry so much about that, Ben Kotwica, Bret Munsey on the special teams. The big thing is I have got to be involved in the football game, make sure I’m ready for the red flag tosses and all that good stuff, but for the most part I have confidence in the defense and special team coaches and players.”

We will see how well it works out. As a rookie coach he occasionally seemed to be overwhelmed by all that he had piled on his plate (the situation was complicated by his curious decision not to hire a quarterbacks coach). But now, with three years under his belt and an exponentially better understanding of what is involved in coaching an NFL game, there should be more confidence that he can handle 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.