Which starters are set in stone?

Which starters are set in stone?
May 18, 2013, 9:45 am
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The Redskins start OTA’s on Monday and for the first time since January they will line up as a team. Twenty-two players will line up as “starters”, others on the second team, third team, and so on. Of those lining up with the first team, which ones are certain to be the first to take the field when the Redskins play the Eagles in the season opener on Sept. 9? Which players will be in a battle for a starting job? Let’s take a pre-OTA’s look (players in bold are locked into starting jobs.

Offensive line: Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus

The line is 80 percent set, with only Polumbus’ right tackle spot up for grabs. It remains to be seen how open the competition will be between Polumbus, who started 15 games last year and was widely considered to be the weakest link on the line, and Jeremy Trueblood, Tom Compton, and Tony Pashos. This is a battle that could go into the season unless somebody steps up and really seizes the job.

Offensive backs: Kirk Cousins, Alfred Morris, Darrell Young

Cousins is in for Robert Griffin III. How long Cousins is in the starting role remains to be seen. It will be at least through OTA’s and likely a good chunk of training camp and perhaps through some of the regular season.

Receivers: Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, Logan Paulsen

Both of the players who started most of the games last year are likely to be spectators during OTA’s. Josh Morgan underwent surgery to his ankle and both hands and Pierre Garçon is rehabbing the toe injury that cost him six games last year. Moss will return to his role as slot receiver when the starters are healthy but Hankerson might have a shot at unseating Morgan as the starter. At stake is about 150 snaps over the course of the year. Fred Davis will take the starting tight end spot when his torn Achilles is sufficiently rehabbed.

Defensive line: Stephen Bowen, Barry Cofield, Jarvis Jenkins

Adam Carriker may eventually push Jenkins to get back the left end job he had until he suffered a quad injury in Week 2 last year. But after a setback in his rehab nobody seems to know when he will be ready.

Linebackers: Brian Orakpo, London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Ryan Kerrigan

We could put a small question mark next to Orakpo and a large one next to Fletcher in terms of their participation in OTA’s. Orakpo has said on multiple occasions that he is 100 percent after suffering his second torn pectoral muscle in less than a nine-month span last September. But he still could be held out of all or most of the offseason work. And Fletcher had surgery for the first time in his career (ankle, elbow) and he is likely to see a light workload as well.

Defensive backs: DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Reed Doughty, DeJon Gomes

There will be many changes at cornerback over the course of the year but it would be a major upset of Hall and Wilson were not the starters on Sept. 9. Brandon Meriweather will be the starting strong safety, assuming his knee is in good enough shape. The free safety spot is wide open.

So there are 14 set in stone starters who should be participating in OTA’s plus a few more like Jenkins and Hankerson who could work their way into the starting lineup. That looks like a pretty solid percentage. 

Looking to the start of the regular season, if you add in Griffin, Garcon, Davis, and Meriweather and you have 18 of the 22 starting spots spoken for and the other four up for grabs to one degree or another.