With training camp just around the corner we know that Redskins fans have plenty of questions about the upcoming season. Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler answer them in this week’s Q&A presented by Wendy’s.
There are going to be intriguing battles all over the place, but I think the tightest battle could come at kicker. Laugh all you want, but kickers win and lose games every Sunday in the NFL. Here’s what we know: the incumbent, Kai Forbath, is a clutch field goal kicker. Just two years ago, he led the league in accuracy. But we also know that he ranks toward the bottom of the heap in touchback percentage. Enter rookie Zach Hocker. The Redskins thought enough of the Arkansas product to use a seventh round pick on him. He’s also accurate on field goals and uses his powerful leg to put kickoffs through the end zone. What we don’t know, however, is how Hocker will perform in an NFL environment. In the end, this battle could also be the easiest to track since we’ll be able to compare field goal and touchback percentages after practices and preseason games.--TEB
Actually, it’s kind of a chicken and egg question you’re asking here. One of the reasons that the Redskins targeted Murphy in the draft is because they were fairly certain that Orakpo wouldn’t be getting a long-term deal done this year. So if there was going to be a new contract for Orakpo they probably go another direction in the draft and Murphy’s role is a moot point. The bottom line is that the plans have not changed. They will play him at least a few hundred snaps, mostly in nickel situations either as a third outside linebacker, a second OLB with Kerrigan playing end, or with his hand in the dirt at end. That was the plan from the moment they draft him and it remains the plan.--RT
I’m going to go with four, including the fullback. This is the way I see it playing out: Alfred Morris, Roy Helu Jr. and Darrel Young are locks in my mind. I suspect the fourth back will be either Lache Seastrunk or Chris Thompson. From what we saw this spring, Seastrunk is very raw. But he’s also Gruden’s pick. Don’t underestimate that. If Thompson shows he can be counted on to return punts that will bolster his case. Both players are eligible for the practice squad, and I suspect that would be the landing spot for whichever back doesn’t stick. Evan Royster probably faces the longest odds out of all of the returning running backs. But I feel like we say that every year. One more player to keep an eye on: Silas Redd earned praise from his teammates and the coaching staff this offseason. The USC product would need a monster camp to squeeze his way onto the 53, but stranger things have happened.--TEB
I assume you’re asking about offensive skill players since Trent Williams is at the point where he’s pretty much an annual lock to make the Pro Bowl squad. How about the guy who doesn’t have to worry about how many footballs there are, the quarterback? Robert Griffin III will handle it on every play regardless. They take six QB’s total (remember that there are no longer conference lines drawn in the selection process) and usually two of them are playing in the Super Bowl so they can’t go. Can Griffin be one of the top eight or so QBs in the league this year? If the team is successful, that’s a possibility. Among the pass catchers, if one goes I think it’s Pierre Garçon. He might not catch 113 passes again but he’ll have a good season and he could get a make-up invite.--RT
If the Redskins keep six wide receivers, they’ll have three spots to fill after Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts are accounted for. So there would be room for Grant, who impressed coaches this spring but still is in need of some seasoning, and two more. Jay Gruden recently gushed about 35-year-old Santana Moss, who enjoyed a strong offseason and provides veteran leadership to a group that may need it. For those reasons, I suspect Moss is safe. That’s five. So it’s possible Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson, who is attempting to rebound from a bad knee injury, will find themselves battling for the final spot.--TEB