An Early Look at the 2012 Offense

We may still lack elite players, but one thing we don’t lack this year is depth. Don’t get me wrong we still have holes question marks on our roster, but with all the competition that will be going on for a space on the roster, this years training camp and pre-season will be really fun to follow.

We have a few long shots to make the roster, but it’s always fun to root for the underdog and they make the pre-season more exciting.



Robert Griffin - We still don’t know if he is going to be the rainbow farting, fire breathing, unicorn riding beast we all expect him to be, but we have a clear direction and a pilot to steer the ship that is the Redskins franchise.

The bad RG3 – The Dragon looks set to return to torment us back up the QB position..

Kirk Cousins – A lot of ‘controversy’ over this pick. That is if you consider media bullshit to be a controversy… Another young QB to develop as a long-term back up/future trade bait (not compete for a starting job you lunatics) is a great move.

On the Fringe;

Jonathan Crompton – Is a serious long shot to make the roster, but could spend another season on the practice squad (although I’m unsure if he is eligible or not)

For once it’s a nice feeling to know that we are settled at the Quarterback position and unless you buy into RG3 vs KC1 (which you really shouldn’t) we seem night and day away from the Beck vs Rex Grossman fiasco of last season.



Roy Helu – The Tongan Torpedo! He had an outstanding Rookie year and is a firm favourite to be our starting RB, he is also quickly becoming a fan favourite. He brings a nice combination of speed and power to the mix as well as being an effective pass blocker

Before this analysis, I was only high on one of these players. Knocked by scouts for a series of esoteric shortcomings, Roy Helu put on one of the most impressive overall displays the Combine has seen. When you add in an underrated career at Nebraska, his profile entering the league was almost identical to that of a former great. – Profootballfocus

College YPC



40 Time

Speed Score

Short Shuttle

3 Cone

Agility Score

Roy Helu









Edgerrin James









Evan Royster – At the time he was drafted I didn’t get the Royster pick and after a lacklustre pre-season he ended up on the Practice Squad. However, my perception of him changed once he was placed on the active roster. He displayed excellent vision, balance and determination on his way to racking up an impressive 5.9 YPC. It’s a small sample size but he made the most of his opportunities and would form the start of a good platoon with Helu.

On The Fringe;

Alfred Morris – An area our backfield was lacking, was a short yardage gritty runner who could pound the ball between the tackles. He does lack speed, but we don’t need him to tear off 90 yard runs, we need him to move the chains and keep Helu and Royster fresh as both wore down and picked up niggling injuries towards the end of the season. Morris runs like a human bowling ball and rounds off the backfield nicely. He does a good job of identifying running lanes and isn’t a bull in a china shop type runner. He isn’t guaranteed a space on the roster and he will have to work against UDFA Lennon Creer (Or Hightower IF he is re-signed)

Lennon Creer – Lennon Creer transferred from Tennessee to Louisiana Tech. He was a standout at the East West shrine game and was invited as an injury replacement to the Senior Bowl. Again he lacks speed, but is 6’1 220 and will look to make a living making tough yards for us. Like Morris he displays the normal attributes you would expect from a Mike Shanahan back (vision, patience and a good cut) I think him and Morris will be competing for the third RB spot and whichever doesn’t make the cut will be placed on the Practice Squad in-case of injury.

Mike Shanahan is renown for his ability to pick up late round Running Backs and turn them into productive players in his system. Look for Royter and Helu to continue their development and who knows, maybe Creer and Morris could surprise people and contribute to the offense. The Redskins are said to be interested in re-signing Tim Hightower, but nothing has come as of yet. Maybe we are letting him play the field because of the depth we have. If he is re-signed he would be a solid number 3 option.



Pierre Garcon – Time will tell if we overpaid for his services or not, or if he can be a go-to-guy for RG3, but one thing is for sure the dude can fly and is a big play waiting to happen. The fact that he had his best year without Peyton Manning should allay any fears of him being a product of playing with an elite QB. Here are some highlights from his earlier years in the league

Leonard Hankerson – He was a huge steal in the 2011 draft and many of us pinned high hopes for Hank the Tank. He had a disappointing pre-season and was being flagged for lapses in concentration and drops; it looked like he needed a lot of work. Suddenly he broke out with a 100-yard game against Miami but was cruelly lost for the season with a torn Labrum. Many are expecting big things from him this year and if healthy he is slated as one of our starting receivers (according to Rotoworld)

Dark Horses;

Josh Morgan – An underachiever by some accounts, blessed with prototypical size and athleticism for an NFL receiver. Again, we paid a high price for his services and only time will tell if it was worth it. He did play for an anaemic offense for his first 3 years and hasn’t reached his potential. With the depth we have at the position it is hard to tell where he fits in and how much playing time he will receive. I do like the move though, but would have liked it more if we paid less for him.

Santana Moss – A firm fan favourite over the last 5 or so years, he has managed to produce and be a bright spot for us throughout his career here. He has the makings of one of the best slot receivers in the NFL and I for one am excited to see how could he could be with other viable receiving weapons (other than a TE) taking the heat off him. For years we salivated at the prospect of him lining up in the slot and drawing single coverage. He had one down year and people are calling for him to be cut? People are saying he lost a step last year… New’s flash! He lost ‘that step’ years ago, his game isn’t predicated on being the deep threat-cowboy killer that we all loved. His game evolved into a precise, savvy possession guy who knows how to get open and move the chains. He isn’t guaranteed to make the roster, but I could see him having a really strong year.

Aldrick Robinson – An explosive deep threat coming out of college, his speed and vertical game could be a nice addition to the offense. He was stashed on the Practice Squad last year and was apparently promoted because another team was trying to poach him, if he improves on Special Teams and impresses the coaches this off-season he could earn himself an opportunity to start the season on the active roster

Lance Lewis – Here is an undrafted guy who could sneak his way onto the roster. He isn’t an explosive athlete, but is a very natural receiver. He has great hands and can beat defenders in tight coverage to go up and get the ball. He will have to be a quick learner and turn some heads in training camp, if not I think he is a prime candidate for the Practice Squad. Look at what he did to Stephon Gilmore and the Gamecocks

On the Fringe;

Jabar Gaffney – Publicly on the Trade Block, although he hasn’t drawn any interest, Mike Shanahan has also said that he is welcome back if no trade partner is found. Personally I’m high on Gaffney and thought he was outstanding last year, I’m not saying he should have been a Pro-Bowler or was one of the best players at his position. He just came in, did his job and had the best year of his career. His game is similar to Moss’ but he has better hands. There might not be room for Gaffney at the Inn and he could be playing for another team next year, but I for one would be sad to see him go. Gaffney has now been released, so I guess he is the fringest of the fringe...

Anthony Armstrong – Burst onto the scene in 2010 as a great deep threat and had the third highest YPR in the league (despite being under thrown numerous times) he had a key reception against the Giants in week one and a 50 yard bomb against Seattle, but otherwise he had a very unremarkable year and fell off the map completely. If he can regain his 2010 form he could be a candidate to be our 5th or 6th receiver otherwise he won’t make the team.

Terrance Austin – Pre-season starlet, who couldn’t capitalise on his opportunities in 2011 after given more time on offense. I would’ve liked to see him have a shake at returning Kicks and Punts, his odds are stacked on making the roster and I would be surprised if he does.

Brandon Banks – Banks was a special teams stand out in 2010 and was one of the best return guys in the NFL. He thrilled every time he touched the ball and was a threat to take it the distance, penalties eradicated 2 return touchdowns, which would have been game changers. The 2011 Banks only flashed his previous form and never re-captured that spark which made him special. He didn’t earn his roster spot last year and to me he is totally expendable and another long shot to make the roster.

Darius Hanks – A product from Alabama who has the size and speed and skills you look for in a receiver, but the wrap on him is that he is soft and shies away from contact. He is looking like a camp body and potentially a Practice Squad option

Kerby Long – I don’t know much about this kid and there isn’t a great deal of information on him. He wasn’t very productive at a low level of competition but has 4.3 speed. His odds of making the roster are higher then Jamarcus Russell’s Codeine intake.

12 Receivers competing for 6-8 slots, we are absolutely rammed at wideout expect the last few slots to be a big time competition. Hopefully we can unearth some nice weapons for RG3. Playing time will be scarce though for anyone behind the fourth receiver on the depth chart, so special teams ability might be the difference maker. For those wondering where Niles Paul is, I am including him with the Tight Ends.

Tight End;


Fred Davis – Sleepy Fred came alive last season and was having a great year. A dumb off the field decision detracted attention away from how good he really was. He’s a lock to make the team and will hopefully be extra motivated to improve his image and build on what was otherwise a great year (He is also playing on a franchise tag so he is effectively in a contract year as well)

Niles Paul – I’m not suggesting that Niles Paul will be the second TE on our team (although stranger things have happened) but with his ability to play WR, TE and Special Teams he is pretty much guaranteed a place on the roster. He is quickly becoming the Lorenzo Alexander of the offense, which is high praise indeed. I really liked the way he competed last year, and did whatever the coaches asked of him. His move to TE is very interesting and could pay off for us time will tell, but for now he brings to much to the team to not be on the roster.

Chris Cooley – Good ol’ Captain Chaos, long time fan favourite and bright spot on what has been a dark era for our offensive football play. Cooley has a good chance of making the roster this year and if he is healthy I expect him to be back to his productive self. There are still questions regarding his health and whether or not he has begun to slow down. I hope not, because I’ve just bought a Chris Cooley Jersey…

On the Fringe;

Logan Paulsen – A UDFA out of UCLA, He seems like a good hard working guy who couldn’t quite step up when we needed him to. He is ok as a third option, but he could be upgraded. I’d say he’s about 50-50 to make the roster.

Richard Quinn – Was heralded as a great blocking TE coming out of college and was drafted with in the 2nd round, he only has one career reception. He is a long shot unless he can show that he is a dominant blocker and can contribute on Special Teams

Rob Myers – Undrafted out of Utah State, he bounced around a few teams Practice Squads, is probably another camp body. The odds are seriously stacked against him making the roster.

I was hoping that we would add some depth at the TE position. We are one drug test and an injury away from starting Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen… Hopefully this is an indication that the team believes Fred can­ stay clean and Cooley is over his injury problems. We’re still waiting to see Cooley and Davis at their best playing next to each other; maybe, just maybe this is the year…



Trent Williams – I though Trent had a really disappointing season last year, not because of his actions on the field, but because of his actions. Just as he was rounding into a player who looked worthy of the 4th overall pick, he was slapped a 3 game suspension. I really like Silverback and if he can improve on the same tangent as last year, he could be in order for his first Pro-Bowl. Especially with a lot of eyes focusing on RG3. The sky is the limit for TW, if he cuts out mental errors and sorts himself out off the field, I believe he could be one of the best Tackles in the NFL.

Willie Smith – An UDFA out of ECU, who was forced into the mix due to a suspension and a lack of depth. He showed that he has the physical attributes to be a starting Tackle in the NFL, he is still raw and needs to work on his technique and understanding of the game but I thought he showed enough to be a solid developmental prospect. He could also be in the race for the starting RT position.



Kory Lichtensteiger – Licht was our best interior lineman before going down with a severe knee injury. He is on schedule to return to fitness in time for the season, but sometimes injuries of that nature take more then a year to fully recover from, although some never do. I think he will make the roster but his starting status depends on how well he recovers from the injury.

Josh LeRibeus - A surprise selection in the 3rd round pick which many viewed as a reach. He doesn’t look like an NFL starter, but you can’t judge a book by its cover. I’ve read that he doesn’t have much quickness and struggles getting to the second level, but if you watch Zach Line highlights or the SMU offense against Houston he shows a better than anticipated level of athleticism (albeit against a lower standard of competition than he will face on Sundays) He is gritty and tough and blocks to the whistle which I like. I think he could do with losing some weight and bulking up a bit as it will increase his athleticism enough to make it a strength and give him the additional power he will need on Sundays. All in All it’s too early to tell if he was a good pick or not, he definitely filled a need and is going to be in the mix as the day one starter at LG.

Dark Horse;

Maurice Hurt – Mo’ Hurt is a great name for a lineman and he played surprisingly well in 2011. For the most part he didn’t disgrace himself against some good defences, but at times looked completely out of his depth and a bit of a turnstile. He was carrying a lot of bad weight last year, but hopefully that has been addressed and has slimmed down which would improve his overall athleticism and agility. I think his chance of making the roster depends on how hard he has trained this off-season and if he has dedicated himself into getting into shape fitting of a pro-athlete.



Will Montgomery – He had a solid year last year and apart from a poor stretch of games where he played Left Guard to fill in for the injured Kory Lichtensteiger he did a good job lat year. He’s pencilled in as our day one start at Center and I think there is a high chance he will be. He is a good pass-protector which will pay dividends for RG3’s development.

On the Fringe;

Erik Cook – Erik was terrible when called upon to start at Center and shouldn’t make the team this year. With the depth we have added at OG it would enable Chester, Lichtensteiger or either of the two rooks to slide over to center. I think he is a long shot and camp-body at best.

Grant Garner – I don’t know much of anything about Garner, but he can’t be much worse then Erik Cook right? He could be stashed on the Practice Squad as injury insurance.



Chris Chester – Chester had an up and down season in 2011 his play improved gradually over the course of the season until he could be considered serviceable. His athleticism makes him a great fit in this offensive scheme and hopefully he can build on what was a disappointing season. He is pencilled in to start at RG and has the versatility to play Center if needed.

Adam Gettis – Another uber athletic specimen at Guard, he is undersized, although almost exactly the same size as Lichtensteiger, so it’s not like he has to put on drastic amounts of weight to have a chance. He projects very well as in the Mike Shanahan offense and his development will be interesting to watch. He could end up as a starter somewhere down the line.


On the Fringe;

Jamaal Brown – The incumbent from 2010 and 2011, currently it is his job to lose. Before being traded to the Redskins he was a Pro-Bowl Left Tackle, unfortunately he hasn’t played anywhere near that level. Apparently Yoga is going to help him recapture some of that form. To give him his dues he’s been working hard this off-season to get into shape so maybe he can pull it off? I don’t know why but I have a feeling that he might surprise a few people this year. As stated by Shanahan his fate will be determined by his health. Even if he returns at an average starters level that would be an improvement.

Tom Compton – I don’t know much about this him. He is a small school guy who has an NFL frame and had a great combine. Right now he adds depth but looks like he could potentially be developed into a starter somewhere along the road. He may be thrust into the line-up in his Rookie year due to a lack of any proven, starter calibre options ahead of him.

Tyler Polumbus – An UDFA pick up from Shanahan back in the Denver days, he has bounced around the league and has some experience as a starter (19 games) He has a chance to make the roster and may even be in the race for the starting Right Tackle position (Yep, that’s how desperate we are)

Our offensive line looked like a strength going into last season and appeared to be, up until injuries to Lichtensteiger and Williams destabilized the unit. With a lack of depth the line really struggled but still managed to produced some decent efforts. The biggest question marks for me were Kory Lichtensteiger and Jamaal Brown’s health. Both positions were addressed in the draft and figure to add some depth and maybe a potential starter. I think Trent Williams, Will Montgomery and Chris Chester are going to be tough to overthrow, but Left Guard and Right Tackle are wide open. This year we added depth and competition to our line and although we aren’t set yet, we still are improved from last year.

In General the offense is starting to take shape. Shanahan has rounded out the roster and is letting everyone duke it out for a job, while also adding young talent. If we don’t turn the corner next year, we’ve got to be pretty damn close

So there you have it 3,619 words worth of my useless opinion... If you read down to here you must be extremely bored, but I hope you enjoyed! I'm going to try and get around to doing a similar article for the defense


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