The Washington Redskins finished in third place in the NFC East for the third year in a row in 2018, and head coach Jay Gruden is officially on the hot seat.
After yet another season which was decided by the injury report, the Redskins made quite a few changes to their roster. They have a new starting quarterback, a quarterback who they spent their first draft pick on, a first-round pass rusher and a couple of new wideouts who could come in and make an immediate impact.
This defense could be one of the best in the league. Their potential, however, seems to hinge on the offense's ability to produce. No defense can dominate if they spend the majority of the game on the field due to an inefficient offense.
Now that Saturday has come and gone, the Redskins officially have their 53-man roster. While most of the moves were made on Saturday, there were a few big developments that occurred this week.
|QB||Case Keenum||Dwayne Haskins||Colt McCoy|
|RB||Derrius Guice||Adrian Peterson||Chris Thompson||Wendell Smallwood|
|LWR||Terry McLaurin||Robert Davis|| |
|RWR||Paul Richardson Jr.||Kelvin Harmon|| |
|SWR||Trey Quinn||Steven Sims Jr.|
|TE||Jordan Reed||Vernon Davis||Jeremy Sprinkle|
|LT||Donald Penn||Geron Christian|| || |
|LG||Ereck Flowers||Wes Martin|| || |
|C||Chase Roullier||Tony Bergstrom||Ross Pierschbacher|| || |
|RG||Brandon Scherff||Wes Martin|| || |
|RT||Morgan Moses||Geron Christian|| || |
Heading into Sunday, it appeared that the Redskins had elected to keep five running backs. Then, their Week 1 opponent released someone Washington found interesting.
Perhaps the most important storyline that has emerged in Washington surrounds the potential return of All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams. A recent report surfaced on Tuesday that suggests Williams will be back "sooner rather than later" for the Redskins.
The Philadelphia Eagles surprised many when they released running back Wendell Smallwood. With several talented running backs, the Eagles had to make the tough decision to cut the 25-year-old, and the Redskins jumped on the opportunity to claim him. Washington released running back Byron Marshall to free up room.
According to Field Yates, Smallwood was the most popular player to hit the waiver system this weekend. Three other teams tried to claim him, those franchises being the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals. It's unknown what the Redskins plan to do with their newest running back. Smallwood will help the Redskins prepare for his former team this week, but one has to wonder how many snaps he will get in this backfield.
Following this weekend's cuts, the Redskins also made some additions to their practice squad. According to NBC Sports Washington, the Redskins have signed five offensive players: wide receiver Cam Sims, tight end J.P. Holtz, running back Craig Reynolds, wide receiver Jehu Chesson and offensive tackle Timon Parris.
A big development was where Guice appeared on the depth chart. He will apparently be the starter for Washington when they take the field against Philly on Sunday with Peterson backing him up.
The Redskins' three-way quarterback battle was the most highly anticipated competition coming into the preseason, but it ended in a very anticlimactic way. Keenum, the only signal-caller to start through three preseason games, was named the official starter last week. McCoy was tagged as the starter when the depth chart came out initially, but he failed to play in a single preseason game due to offseason leg surgery. It will be interesting to see what happens once he is ready to play, however.
Keenum is the starter now, but you have to imagine that he will be on a short leash with two capable guys behind him. The Redskins' offensive line also played poorly throughout this preseason, which will make Keenum's job more difficult. Is this quarterback competition really over?
The Redskins are going with the veteran Penn at left tackle, which was probably the right move. While Christian does have potential, he's not the best left tackle on the roster right now.
The much-maligned Flowers gets the start at left guard, but hey, it's better than left tackle. Washington believes Flowers has potential when playing on the inside of the offensive line, and he will be a storyline to follow in the early stages of the regular season. The Redskins may not have a slated backup on the right side of the ball in this scenario, but rookie center Pierschbacher is expected to see some time at guard.
Rookie wide receivers McLaurin and Harmon could be in line for more playing time than expected in Year 1. With Josh Doctson now gone, it's clear that Gruden is confident in his younger guys.
|DE||Jonathan Allen||Caleb Brantley|| || |
|NT||Daron Payne||Tim Settle|| || |
|DE||Matt Ioannidis||Treyvon Hester|| || |
|OLB||Ryan Anderson||Montez Sweat|| |
|ILB||Shaun Dion Hamilton||Josh Harvey-Clemons||Tanner Vallejo|| || |
|ILB||Jon Bostic||Cole Holcomb|| || |
|OLB||Ryan Kerrigan||Cassanova McKinzy|
|LCB||Quinton Dunbar||Fabian Moreau||Jimmy Moreland|
|RCB||Josh Norman||Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie||Greg Stroman|
|SCB||Fabian Moreau|| || || || |
|FS||Montae Nicholson||Troy Apke|| || |
|SS||Landon Collins||Deshazor Everett|| || |
The Redskins signed a former Eagle to help them prepare this week on the offensive side of the ball in Smallwood, and they did the same on defense with the addition of Hester.
John Keim of ESPN reports that Hester, who was cut by Philadelphia this weekend, is an athletic but raw defensive lineman. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 2017 NFL Draft, but was later cut. Last year with the Eagles, he recorded 13 combined tackles and one sack in 12 games.
So far, NBC Sports Washington is reporting that the Redskins have signed five defensive players to their practice squad: defensive lineman Ryan Bee, cornerback Adonis Alexander, safety Jeremy Reaves, linebacker Chris Odom and linebacker Darrell Williams.
Allen, Payne and Ioannidis make up one of the most talented defensive fronts in the NFL. The linebackers are a bit of a question mark, however.
While Kerrigan is a bonafide star, the Redskins have two new starters at inside backer. Bostic was signed just before training camp and Hamilton should get his first chance as a starter.
As for the other pass rusher spot, that is currently occupied by Anderson. He has been waiting patiently for his chance to start for a couple of seasons now, and this is his shot. With that being said, it will be hard to keep his backup in a reserve role. The Redskins traded back up into the first round to select Sweat out of Mississippi State in April, and it feels like just a matter of time before he's a major part of this defense.
Nicholson has earned the right to start alongside Collins at safety. In the Redskins' second preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he recorded a 96-yard pick six off of a tipped pass. He started half of the season last year before Washington traded for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and performed fairly well. With running mate like Collins to work off of, he could be due for big year.
|K||Dustin Hopkins|| || |
|P||Tress Way|| |
|LS||Nick Sundberg|| || |
|KR||Steven Sims||Wendell Smallwood||Greg Stroman|
|PR||Trey Quinn||Steven Sims||Greg Stroman|
Hopkins had a career year in 2018, making 26 of 29 field goal attempts and also missed just one extra point attempt. He also recorded a new career-long field goal with a 56-yarder against the Carolina Panthers in Week 6.
Way also had a career year, and earned the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award in Week 10.