With a new head coach, some intriguing free agents and a quarterback on the comeback trail, the 2014 Redskins are loaded with storylines. Between now and the start of training camp, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will be examining the top 30 questions the Redskins face as they get ready for the season.
Will the Redskins keep a fullback on the roster?
Last year Redskins fullback Darrel Young played about 20 percent of the Redskins’ offensive snaps (231 of 1,172) last year and contributed on special teams. In Cincinnati, Jay Gruden utilized a fullback even less, lining one up on about seven percent of the snaps (83 of 1,155). In fact, the Bengals didn’t employ a fullback, using a tight end and a defensive tackle to fill the role. Will the Redskins consider doing something similar this year? Is Young’s roster spot in jeopardy?
Tandler: Earlier we examined whether or not the Redskins would be able to carry two kickers on the roster. In our depth chart series examining the dilemma that they face in deciding how many offensive linemen they will carry. There are tough choices to make all over the place and Young, who has been with the team since 2010, could be caught in a numbers crunch. They could figure out a way to get things done without Young. Gruden could line up Logan Paulsen or Niles Paul in the backfield when the play calls for a fullback and perhaps he could get a big body like Chris Baker into the backfield in goal line situations. But the fact they could do without Young doesn’t mean that they will. He’s in his prime at age 27 and he is a valued contributor on special teams. If Gruden and Bruce Allen keep the best 53 football players it’s difficult to see them leaving Young off of the team. Difficult, but not impossible.
El-Bashir: I have a really tough time seeing Young not making the team, particularly if Gruden, as expected, retains the ground game concepts that made the Redskins a top-five rushing offense each of the past two years. Young has been a big part of Alfred Morris’ success. Morris has said it on a number of occasions. And the numbers prove it. Here’s a good example, courtesy of my game story from Atlanta last December: Young left the game with a nagging hamstring problem late in the second quarter. Prior to leaving, Morris averaged 6.8 yards per carry including a 37-yard scamper set up by Young’s block downfield. With Young out of the game, Morris averaged only 4.8 yards per the rest of the way. Afterward, Morris said: “When D.Y. is in there, it just seems like everything clicks.” So if the Redskins want to continue their recent production in the ground game in 2014, they’ll need all of the parts that made it “click” in 2012 and 2013. And that means keeping Young, who, by the way, also made six tackles on special teams last season.