By Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir
The Redskins now have 83 players under contract and seven draft picks. Out of those 90 players, Mike Shanahan and Co. will choose the 53 who will make up the roster for the Monday night season opener Sept. 9.
Who will those 53 be? Armed with the full knowledge that OTA’s have not started yet, training camp is over two months away and plenty could change, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler project their survivors. Today, we pick the offense and tomorrow we'll reveal our choices on defense.
Tandler (3): Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Rex Grossman
El-Bashir (3): Griffin, Cousins, Pat White
Tandler (4): Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Chris Thompson, Evan Royster
El-Bashir (4): Morris, Young, Roy Helu Jr., Jawan Jamison
Tandler: The quarterback trio has been set ever since Griffin ended the season with his knee under Dr. Andrews’ scalpel. Any thoughts of trading Cousins were thrown out the window, as was any plan to save a roster spot and go with two QB’s on the 53. There is a chance that Jawan Jamison will knock Royster off of roster but they like Royster’s dependability. Thompson flat beats out a healthy Roy Helu Jr. for the change of pace back job.
El-Bashir: White will be the surprise of training camp – the former WVU star has been out of football since 2009 – and makes an improbable comeback as RG3-lite. And let’s face it, if both Griffin and Cousins are sidelined in ’13, the season is probably done, anyway. Helu gets healthy and hangs on, while Thompson starts on the practice squad. Meantime, Jamison earns a job and Royster ends up on a team where he gets a bigger role.
Tandler (5): Pierre Garçon, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson
El-Bashir (6): Garçon, Morgan, Moss, Hankerson, Robinson, Briscoe
Tandler (4): Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen, Jordan Reed, Niles Paul
El-Bashir (4): Davis, Paulsen, Reed, Paul
Tandler: The first four receivers are locks and so is Robinson if he can show even some incremental improvement. There is one fewer wide receiver than there was last year—goodbye Dezmon Briscoe—to make room for Reed as the fourth tight end. Reed’s ability to line up in the slot and possibly even split out wide on occasion will eliminate the need for a sixth wide receiver. Paul’s ability on special teams makes him a lock, especially in the wake of Lorenzo Alexander’s departure.
El-Bashir: Garçon, Morgan and Moss will pick up where they left off, while Hankerson continues his upward trajectory and also enjoys an increase in responsibility. After not being targeted in the final six games last season, Robinson rebounds with a strong camp and snags a spot. Briscoe, meantime, is one of my breakout candidates. He’s still only 23 and, at 6-2, 210, he’s the biggest receiver on the roster. Paul’s potential and contribution on special teams keep him around.
Tandler (4): Trent Williams, Tyler Polumbus, Tom Compton, Jeremy Trueblood
El-Bashir: (4): Williams, Polumbus, Compton, Maurice Hurt
Tandler (5): Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Adam Gettis, Josh LeRibeus
El-Bashir (5): Lichtensteiger, Montgomery, Chester, LeRibeus, Gettis
Tandler: Polumbus, Compton, and Trueblood will fight it out for the starting right tackle job through OTA’s and training camp and perhaps into the season. Gettis and LeRibeus will continue to be groomed to be starters. The odd man out will be Maurice Hurt, who can play both guard and tackle but neither position particularly well.
El-Bashir: Polumbus reclaims the starting right tackle job, beating out Trueblood and Tony Pashos. Montgomery makes quick work of Kevin Matthews and Gettis and LeRibeus continue to get some seasoning. Sticking around as backup tackles are Compton and Hurt, whose versatility will serve him well. Hurt, don’t forget, was decent in place of Polumbus in Philly last season. The coaching staff probably would like to keep a veteran like Trueblood, but if they do, they’ll have to part with a homegrown prospect like Compton or Hurt.