The roster has been set, and the Washington Football Team is down to 53 players along with 16 on their practice squad. Now we get to the question of who will be starting for the team, and what positions they will be playing in the new offense/defense. Washington updated their depth chart yesterday as the roster is mostly locked in going into Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Starting QB has been set with Ryan Fitzpatrick being tapped by Head Coach Ron Rivera. The team kept 3 QBs this year, and the vet had the upper hand throughout the competition. Taylor Heinicke had an amazing game filling in for Alex Smith against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoffs last season. He secured the #2 spot going into the season. Kyle Allen first year in Washington ended due to an ankle injury that required surgery. He hurt the same leg in training camp which put him behind in the backup competition. He will start the year as the team’s #3 QB and will be inactive on game days.
Terry McLaurin is Washington’s unquestioned number 1 receiver. Ron Rivera and Scott Turner brought in a familiar face in Curtis Samuel to give the team another speedy target. Samuel has been dealing with a groin injury for months, but returned to practice yesterday. Washington kept 5 other receivers on their initial 53-man roster. Adam Humphries is a familiar target for Fitzpatrick, and the team’s other FA signing was DeAndre Carter who has returner experience. Cam Sims is the only other returning WR from last season besides McLaurin. Two rookies round out the group(Dyami Brown and Dax Milne).
Antonio Gibson is the team’s #1 RB again this season, and has “humble” goals of 1,200 yards rushing, 12 TDs, and 2,000 yards from scrimmage. J.D. McKissic returns as the #2 RB and will hopefully be the same weapon he was last year for the offense. Jaret Patterson was Washington’s only UDFA signed this year, and he beat out veteran Peyton Barber for the final RB spot.
Washington kept four TEs on their initial roster, and only starter Logan Thomas was on the roster last year. John Bates was drafted in the 4th round, and will back up Thomas. Sammis Reyes is another underdog who made the roster after just switching from basketball to football this year. Ricky Seals-Jones rounds out the group.
The offensive line has gone through some changes since last year. Long-time starting RT Morgan Moses was released, and he has been replaced by 2nd round pick Sam Cosmi. Washington jumped at the chance to sign LT Charles Leno Jr. when the Bears released him, and he will be the Week 1 starter. Ereck Flowers returned to Washington via trade, and has likely won the starting LG position with Wes Schweitzer backing him up. Brandon Scherff got the franchise tag again, and he will hold down the right guard position again after his first All-Pro selection in 2020. Chase Roullier once again returns as the starting center, but he will be backed up by veteran Tyler Larsen. Saahdiq Charles is the backup for both RG and RT.
Ryan Fitzpatrick | Taylor Heinicke | Kyle Allen
Terry McLaurin | Dyami Brown
Adam Humphries | DeAndre Carter | Dax Milne
Curtis Samuel | Cam Sims
Logan Thomas | John Bates | Sammis Reyes | Ricky Seals-Jones
Antonio Gibson | J.D. McKissic | Jaret Patterson
LT: Charles Leno Jr. | Cornelius Lucas
LG: Ereck Flowers | Wes Schweitzer
C: Chase Roullier | Tyler Larsen
RG: Brandon Scherff | Saahdiq Charles
RT: Sam Cosmi | Saahdiq Charles
The defensive line is expected to be the strongest unit of the team again, and it is loaded with 1st round talent. Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young and Montez Sweat are listed as the team’s starting DEs and they have big goals for the tandem sack record. They have some young depth behind them with James Smith-Williams, Casey Toohill, and Shaka Toney. The Alabama Wall of Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen are the starters with Tim Settle and Matt Ioannidis behind them. Expect to see a lot of all four of them this season as the team rotates them frequently.
Washington’s coaching staff includes some pretty decent LBs from their time playing in the league. Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio know what to look for in LBs in the NFL, and have hopefully found enough talent to work with here(but they are still looking). Cole Holcomb and Jon Bostic are listed as the starters at OLB, and 1st round pick Jamin Davis gets the top spot at MLB. Khaleke Hudson is listed as Davis’s backup at MLB, and David Mayo is the only backup for both OLB spots.
Washington kept 6 CBs on their initial 53-man roster. Four of them weren’t on the team last season, and one of them converted to corner from safety. Kendall Fuller will be getting a lot of playing time along with the team’s big signing on defense, William Jackson III. Third round rookie Benjamin St-Juste has impressed in camp, and will have a big role in this defense. Torry McTyer was a signing no one really noticed in January, but he made a big impact in camp and the preseason. Darryl Roberts was another under the radar signing that helped clear out last year’s CB room. Troy Apke converted to CB, and will hopefully be seeing the majority of his playing time on special teams.
Kamren Curl exceeded everyone’s expectations as a rookie after he filled in for an injured Landon Collins. Now he is listed as the team’s starting free safety. Collins tore his Achilles on October 25, 2020 against the Dallas Cowboys. His return has been remarkable, and he looks like he slimmed down and got faster. He currently has the starting strong safety spot locked up. Deshazor Everett returns again as Collin’s backup and a key player on special teams. Washington signed Bobby McCain and he is listed as the backup FS, but could see time at multiple positions.
DE: Chase Young | James Smith-Williams
DT: Daron Payne | Tim Settle
DT: Jonathan Allen | Matt Ioannidis
DE: Montez Sweat | Casey Toohill | Shaka Toney
OLB: Cole Holcomb | David Mayo
MLB: Jamin Davis | Khaleke Hudson
OLB: Jon Bostic | David Mayo
Kendall Fuller | Benjamin St-Juste | Darryl Roberts
William Jackson III | Torry McTyer | Troy Apke
SS: Landon Collins | Deshazor Everett
FS: Kamren Curl | Bobby McCain
The three big roles in special teams were locked up for a few years, but that changed with Nick Sundberg’s offseason back surgery. Washington traded up in the draft to take LS Camaron Cheeseman in the 6th round. The change in chemistry within the group was apparent early, and it was being “worked on” throughout the preseason. The team didn’t even bring in any competition for Dustin Hopkins, but did once again sign a practice squad kicker(Eddie Pineiro).
There were a lot questions about who would be handing returner duties this year. DeAndre Carter is listed as both the punt and kick returner. Jaret Patterson made some waves with a good kick return in the preseason, and is now listed as the only backup kick returner. Rookie Dax Milne is listed as the only backup punt returner.
KR: DeAndre Carter | Jaret Patterson
PR: DeAndre Carter | Dax Milne