Breaking Down the Redskins Depth Chart

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Updated: August 7, 2013
Shanny with kneeling players

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The Redskins released their first depth chart of the preseason earlier this week and I have tried not to make a big deal out of it since it isn’t a real depth chart in the sense that it represents how the coaching staff sees the personnel at each position. In some cases it just represents who the starter was last year — and the Redskins return 23 of 24 starters from last season [including kicker and punter] — so it isn’t terribly illuminating. In other cases, the depth chart merely reflects who has been practicing with the first team or second team or third team. That often means something, but other times it does not. Nevertheless, lets do this position-by-position. In some cases, it won’t take long.

OFFENSE

QB: Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Rex Grossman, Pat White

Cousins is listed as the backup even though he’s been the starter in training camp because RG3 isn’t allowed to do any 11-on-11 drills and won’t play in any preseason games. That’s because everyone knows RG3 will be the starter on opening night if he’s healthy, as it appears he will be. White is a longshot to make the team. Grossman could get cut, too, but I think that’s unlikely because of RG3‘s health issues.

RB: Alfred Morris, Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster, Keiland Williams, Chris Thompson, Jawan Jamison

This is all jumbled after Morris, who is a sure thing. Helu is the favorite to be the third down back, but that’s no sure thing, particularly with his injury history. Thompson has the speed the team wants so he’s not really a fifth-stringer. However, he won’t play in the first preseason game and Jamison will probably get a good, long look. Williams may have a tougher time making the team than Thompson and Jamison, who can both be stashed on the practice squad. Royster will probably lose his job if Thompson, Helu and Jamison prove their worth.

FB: Darrel Young, Eric Kettani

Nothing to see here. Young will make the team and start. Kettani will do neither.

WR: Pierre Garcon, Aldrick Robinson, Donte Stallworth, Devery Henderson, Skye Dawson, Chip Reeves

WR: Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, Dez Briscoe, Lance Lewis, Nick Williams

The problem here is that there are at least three wide receiver positions on the Redskins and every other NFL team. This one is missing the slot receiver. Garcon is the X receiver and that job is safely his. Morgan is the Z receiver and while his job isn’t exactly safe, odds are very good he will start there on week one if he’s healthy. Is Santana Moss really a third-stringer? Of course not. He led the team in TD catches last year despite appearing in less than half their plays from scrimmage and he’s having a very good training camp so far. Moss is the team’s slot receiver and when the team is running plays that include a slot receiver in the formation, it’ll be Moss on the field. So he’s not a third-stringer at all and whenever the Redskins open with a 3-WR set, Moss will technically be a starter. Robinson is also having a very strong training camp so far and if it continues, the Redskins will do what they have to do to get his speed on the field in the regular season. If that means sitting Josh Morgan at times, they’ll do it. They won’t be taking a healthy Pierre Garcon out of the lineup, though. He’s a terrific blocker and the team went 9-1 with him in the lineup last year. You don’t mess with those numbers.

LT: Trent Williams, Tom Compton, Xavier Nixon

RT: Tyler Polumbus, Tony Pashos, Jeremy Trueblood

That looks fine, particularly on the left side. Nixon is probably headed for the practice squad if he plays well enough and Trueblood is probably headed for the waiver wire unless he really turns his career around quickly. [Don't bet on it.] The real battle is at RT between Polumbus and Pashos. Polumbus is the starter now, but that’s mostly because he was the starter last season. [He only became the starter because Jammal Brown predictably couldn't play football anymore.]

LG: Kory Lichtensteiger, Josh LeRibeus

RG: Chris Chester, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt

Only comment to make here is that Maurice Hurt can play multiple positions along the line — either guard and RT — so he’s not your average third stringer. Versatility on the offensive line makes a player valuable to a coaching staff trying to juggle numbers on cutdown day. All five of these guys could make the team.

C: Will Montgomery, Kevin Matthews, Tevita Stevens

Lichtensteiger can also play center so don’t be shocked if Montgomery is the only one of these three to make the team.

Orakpo and defense

DEFENSE

LDE: Jarvis Jenkins, Chris Baker, Dominique Hamilton

RDE: Stephen Bowen, Kedric Golston, Phillip Merling

So, what’s wrong with DE here? Well, Jarvis Jenkins is listed as a starter even though we know he’s suspended for the first four games of the season for PED abuse. Will he regain his starting job when he returns in October? Maybe. Maybe probably. It depends on how well Chris Baker and Kedric Golston play in Jenkins’ absence. While Golston is listed as Bowen’s backup, he’s actually been getting a lot of starting reps at LDE, meaning he could be a starter on the left instead of a backup on the right. In any case, Golston will fill in at both end spots. That’s what he does.

NT: Barry Cofield, Chris Neild, Ron Brace, Chigbo Anunoby

This is right. The big battle here is whether or not Neild can hold off Brace for the backup job. Anunoby will need to have an incredible preseason or an injury to someone else at the position. Of course, when Jenkins returns in October, Chris Baker could be back at the NT, right behind Cofield on the depth chart. Or maybe he’ll play so well at end Baker will wind up staying there. Or maybe Neild will play so well that Baker is bumped down the depth chart. We won’t know until we see them play and Jenkins returns from PED suspension.

MLB: London Fletcher, Roddrick Muckelroy, Will Compton, Nick Barnett

JLB: Perry Riley, Bryan Kehl, Jeremy Kimbrough, Marvin Burdette

This is also muddled. Kehl has actually been playing a lot at the Mike linebacker, not the Jack. And he’s played well enough to surpass Muckelroy on the depth chart at that position. Of course, they’re both just holding the space warm for the newly-acquired Nick Barnett, who will take over as London Fletcher‘s backup once he’s back in fighting form and up to speed on the defense. So Kehl probably is still the backup to Perry Riley, though he could move over to the Mike if needed. Muckelroy will struggle to make the team.

ROLB: Brian Orakpo, Rob Jackson, Vick So’oto

LOLB: Ryan Kerrigan, Darryl Tapp, Brandon Jenkins, Ricky Elmore

This is jumbled because of yet another four-game suspension, this one to Rob Jackson. He’ll be back in October and until then expect Tapp and Jenkins to work on both sides when necessary. So’oto and Elmore are longshots to make the team, needing great special teams play and perhaps an injury to stick.

LCB: DeAngelo Hall, E.J. Biggers, Chase Minnifield, Ryan Mouton

RCB: Josh Wilson, David Amerson, Richard Crawford, Jerome Murphy

This looks right, though Crawford will help his cause if he hangs on to the punt returner role. Amerson is not going to be cut so his job is safe. Wilson and Hall are the starters if healthy, which they have not been so far in training camp. Minnifield has a tough road to go, but the Redskins believe in him enough to have kept him around through all his injury troubles. If he plays very well the Redskins may be forced to keep him and economize elsewhere. After all, both starting cornerbacks will be free agents in 2014 and the Skins have to be ready for that.

SS: Brandon Meriweather, Reed Doughty, Phillip Thomas, Jose Gumbs

FS: Bacarri Rambo, DeJon Gomes, Jordan Pugh

This also looks right, though Thomas will not be cut unless he’s terrible in the preseason. Rambo is the only rookie listed as a starter and he’s the favorite to get the job unless he proves in the preseason that he can’t handle it. Neither Pugh or Gomes are starter material, though both have shown something on special teams. Doughty will probably be Washington’s best special teamer this year so he’s not going anywhere. Gomes, Gumbs and Pugh could all struggle to make the team.

SPECIAL TEAMS

P: Sav Rocca

K: Kai Forbath, John Potter

H: Sav Rocca

LS: Nick Sundberg

KR: Niles Paul, Aldrick Robinson, Chris Thompson, Skye Dawson, Nick Williams, Keiland Williams

PR: Richard Crawford, Santana Moss, Chris Thompson, Skye Dawson, Nick Williams

This is all fine. Rocca and Sundberg have no competition in camp and Forbath’s competition is for show; he’ll be the kicker on opening night. The real battles are at KR and PR and they both list last year’s incumbent as the starter. Paul’s competition is Robinson and Thompson. Both are faster than he is, but Robinson failed in that role two years ago and Thompson is a rookie. Thompson has a shot at PR, too, but he’ll have to justify a spot on the game day roster as a running back since it is unlikely the Skins will do what they did for Brandon Banks — keep a player on the game day roster just for his returner abilities. With the kick return mostly neutered under NFL rules now, it just doesn’t make sense to do that anymore.

Below is the depth chart in its entirety.

OFFENSE

WR: Pierre Garcon, Aldrick Robinson, Donte Stallworth, Devery Henderson, Skye Dawson, Chip Reeves

LT: Trent Williams, Tom Compton, Xavier Nixon

LG: Kory Lichtensteiger, Josh LeRibeus

C: Will Montgomery, Kevin Matthews, Tevita Stevens

RG: Chris Chester, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt

RT: Tyler Polumbus, Tony Pashos, Jeremy Trueblood

TE: Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul, Jordan Reed, Emmanuel Ogbuehi

WR: Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, Dez Briscoe, Lance Lewis, Nick Williams

QB: Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Rex Grossman, Pat White

FB: Darrel Young, Eric Kettani

RB: Alfred Morris, Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster, Keiland Williams, Chris Thompson, Jawan Jamison

DEFENSE

LDE: Jarvis Jenkins, Chris Baker, Dominique Hamilton

NT: Barry Cofield, Chris Neild, Ron Brace, Chigbo Anunoby

RDE: Stephen Bowen, Kedric Golston, Phillip Merling

LOLB: Ryan Kerrigan, Darryl Tapp, Brandon Jenkins, Ricky Elmore

MLB: London Fletcher, Roddrick Muckelroy, Will Compton, Nick Barnett

JLB: Perry Riley, Bryan Kehl, Jeremy Kimbrough, Marvin Burdette

ROLB: Brian Orakpo, Rob Jakcson, Vick So’oto

LCB: DeAngelo Hall, E.J. Biggers, Chase Minnifield, Ryan Mouton

RCB: Josh Wilson, David Amerson, Richard Crawford, Jerome Murphy

SS: Brandon Meriweather, Reed Doughty, Phillip Thomas, Jose Gumbs

FS: Bacarri Rambo, DeJon Gomes, Jordan Pugh

SPECIAL TEAMS

P: Sav Rocca

K: Kai Forbath, John Potter

H: Sav Rocca

LS: Nick Sundberg

KR: Niles Paul, Aldrick Robinson, Chris Thompson, Skye Dawson, Nick Williams, Keiland Williams

PR: Richard Crawford, Santana Moss, Chris Thompson, Skye Dawson, Nick Williams