The Redskins cut their roster down to the league mandated 53 players on Saturday afternoon. There were a few surprises, but the main-stays were a virtual certainty. There still could be some movement in the next few days, but those moves may be more for depth than anything.
Below is a look at the Redskins 2018 offense, and their respective positional grades based on both starters and reserves.
Starter - Alex Smith
Reserve - Colt McCoy
Many in the organization believe Smith is a better fit to run Jay’s offense that his predecessor. I’d like to see at least 4-6 games before making a definitive judgement, but on the outside, I do tend to agree for a few reasons. First, Alex doesn’t turn the ball over. Jay can’t stand turnovers. Second, Smith is like a coach on the field. He can get the team into the best play at the line of scrimmage given what the defense is showing. And finally, he’s very athletic and has great awareness both in the pocket and when on the move.
Behind Smith, the Redskins have a very competent, capable back-up in Colt McCoy. Should Alex miss some snaps during the season, the offense is in very good hands with Colt under center.
Starter(s) - Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson
Reserves - Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley, Byron Marshall (possibly will go on IR)
A healthy, rested Adrian Peterson, who is literally a physical freak of nature, could give this offense a jump-start. He hasn’t had a heavy work-load in a few seasons, and he didn’t have to go through the grind of a normal NFL training camp. He’s 33 years old, but has the body of a 23 year old. If he can give the Redskins 250 carries, he should break 1000 rushing yards and be a force in the redzone. Both Perine and Kelley are capable of spelling Peterson on first and second down.
Chris Thompson is one of the best third down backs in the NFL. If Healthy, he will be a great weapon for Alex Smith in the passing game.
Starters - Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson
Reserves - Maurice Harris, Trey Quinn, Cam Sims
Jamison Crowder has been very consistent and productive since joining the team as a fourth round pick in 2015. He could have a monster season out of the slot with Smith under center. Outside of Crowder, there are some question marks at wide receiver. Josh Doctson has not lived up to his first round draft status, and there are many who doubt he ever will. Paul Richardson, who signed a big free agent deal this spring, had dealt with injuries throughout his first four years in the league. He’s a weapon when healthy, but health will still remain a big question mark.
The reserves certainly offer some tantalizing upside. Harris can play all three wide receiver positions, and has great hands to go along with solid route-running ability. Trey Quinn will be the primary backup to Crowder in the slot, and can also help on special teams. Cam Sims is a physical freak who has an amazingly high ceiling.
Starter - Jordan Reed
Reserves - Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle
There are some huge question marks surrounding this position group. The majority of those questions are on Jordan Reed’s health. The oft-injured starter has played in just 18 games over the last two seasons and found the end zone eight times. He’s never played a full 16 game season, and I don’t expect that to change this year.
Vernon Davis has defied the odds as he’s gotten older, but remember this; Father Time is undefeated. The 34 year old does have some past history and familiarity with Alex Smith, but will that be enough to make him a big threat in the offense if/when Reed misses games? Jeremy Sprinkle in a big, physical target, but may only be used in two-tight end sets when a run is fairly obvious. Neither of the three are what you’d consider good blockers, although Sprinkle is capable with room to improve.
Starters - Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, Brandon Scherff, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier
Reserves - Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tony Bergstrom, Casey Dunn
The starters are solid, and if they stay healthy, have the ability to be a top 10 unit. Reports are Trent Williams has not lost a step following off-season knee surgery, and his partner to the right, Shawn Lauvao, hasn’t felt this good in years. Morgan Moses, who is coming off ankle surgery, was just named the Redskins Offensive Player of the Year for 2017, and the warrior will be entrenched as a bookend opposite Williams. Brandon Scherff is one of the best offensive guards in the NFL, and an extension could be in the future for the Pro Bowler. Second year center Chase Roullier has looked very good in limited preseason action, and it stands to reason that he will make a major jump this season.
The reserves are a bit shaky. Ty Nsekhe has lost a step, and this may be his last season in Burgundy and Gold. The Skins drafted Geron Christian in the third round to be his eventual replacement, but the preseason showed us he’s not ready yet. It’s a pretty safe bet that he’ll be a game-day inactive. Tony Bergstrom will be the team’s back-up center, and undrafted rookie Casey Dunn, in somewhat of a surprise, will serve as the Skins back-up guard.