The Washington Redskins have gotten their rookies on the field, and in the coming weeks, things will begin to take shape as full-squad offseason practices kick into high gear.
For now, plenty of questions remain, including how things will play out in the secondary – particularly at safety – and on the running back depth chart.
Thanks, as always for taking part, and keep the questions coming! E-mail me at email@example.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and we’ll do it all over again next Tuesday.
Here we go!
How do you see the secondary shaking out? We have a ton a talent at the corners with Norman, Breeland, Dunbar, Fuller, but who would be the ones to play safety? That was a big issue last season. And what is your percentage that Jarrett plays this year?
– Felix Trammell, Brandywine Md.
The Redskins are still waiting for the findings of the most recent specialist that Jarrett saw about the nerve damage in his right shoulder and neck, Coach Jay Gruden said on Saturday. But other people within the organization say that it doesn’t look good. Not only is it unlikely that Jarrett will play this season, but some people in the organization wonder if Jarrett’s professional career is over, I was told. Now five months after the hit that knocked him out of the regular season finale against Dallas, Jarrett still doesn’t have much feeling in that arm.
It’s really a sad situation. It would be for any player, but especially for Jarrett, who came in as a sixth-round pick out of Virginia Tech and provided a bright spot in the secondary because of his versatility and smarts. It initially seemed like he might be a long-term piece to the puzzle. But that nasty hit has changed things.
As far as the rest of the secondary goes, look for Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland to start, with Kendall Fuller serving as the third corner. Now, will he play on the inside against slot receivers, or will he take over on the outside, with Breeland moving to cover the slot? That’s a key question that will sort itself out once Fuller fully completes his rehab from microfracture surgery. (He’s expected to return within the next few weeks.)
At safety, it’s DeAngelo Hall at free safety, and possibly Duke Ihenacho at strong safety. Su’a Cravens could work his way into the mix, but for now, he’s working at inside linebacker to learn the defense, and will eventually do a lot of roaming all over the field. David Bruton Jr., Will Blackmon and DeShazor Everett also could compete for playing time at safety. As things currently stand, the Redskins have bodies at safety for sure. But it’s a matter of finding the right fit.
The Redskins have a young, versatile backfield, but should they be concerned [about] injuries due to the fact that none of their backs completed a full season? Finding consistency, and production is key. But durability and having an every-down back is a major concern. Your thoughts?
– Jovan Williamson
Scot McCloughan said that he would feel comfortable going into the season with the running backs he currently has on the roster. That’s the group led by Matt Jones, Chris Thompson and Keith Marshall. Mack Brown, Kelsey Young and Robert Kelley are the others aiming to force their way into the mix.
However, I still have to think McCloughan and his pro scouts have to have their eyes peeled for the right veteran to add to the mix at an affordable price. I do find it concerning that Jones, Thompson and Marshall all lack track records of durability. You’d like to have one more proven guy in the mix.
Ronnie Hillman (Denver) and LeGarrette Blount (New England) remain on the market, as does Pierre Thomas, but it’s hard to say if Washington has interest in either, or if Hillman and Blount would settle for a minimum deal.
Scratch that. Hillman and Blount are both off the market after re-signing with their respective teams. Arian Foster and Joique Bell are probably the top unsigned backs, but bringing back Thomas might be the smarter move.
The Redskins still have time. They could wait to see how the young guys do during offseason practices, and then pick up a veteran before training camp.
Is there a competition at right outside linebacker: Junior Galette versus Preston Smith? Where will Galette and Smith line up in the nickel defense? Will Smith be inside of Galette?
– Ryan Chase
It’s still a little early to tell. We haven’t gotten to see the veterans on the field yet. That first glimpse will come Wednesday of next week. I imagine that they’re going to be on the field at the same time quite a bit. There’s a long way to go between now and the start of the season, or even training camp. With Galette still working his way back, Smith could possibly handle the snaps in the base package, with Galette rotating in. Or, in some packages, Galette or Smith could line up on the inside, rushing as a down lineman, and the other coming off the edge out of a two-point stance. I’d expect Joe Barry to do a lot of experimenting with those two, and Ryan Kerrigan. Stay tuned.
Crowder is the current slot receiver. Which other receivers on the roster are good slot receivers also?
– Bruce Patton
Yes, Jamison Crowder proved himself a threat as a slot receiver, but the Redskins have good versatility with the other veterans – Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Ryan Grant – also capable of operating out of the slot. Rookie Josh Doctson also can play both on the outside, or inside.
Who do you foresee in the NFC East as being our biggest threat to repeating as divisional champs?
– Matt Hofstetter
If Tony Romo is healthy, then it could be Dallas. It appears that they intend to get their running game back on track following the drafting of Ezekiel Elliott (and we’ll see if Alfred Morris and/or Darren McFadden earn key roles as well). So, if Romo recovers and the run game is back, their offense will be hard to stop. And, you can never count out the Giants, who spent a lot of money to upgrade their defense this offseason. They always have a chance with Eli Manning under center. It’s hard to say how the Eagles will do as they begin the next chapter under a new head coach. So, for now, I’ll say Cowboys and Giants.
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