USA Today

Diving into the Redskins depth chart

We know the 53-man roster, but how the Redskins will deploy the players in Week 1 against the Dolphins isn't clear in all cases.

The Washington Redskins will release their official depth chart ahead of the season opener against the Miami Dolphins. Things to ponder about the formation and usage of the 53-man roster until then...

1. Return game - Kind of odd that we're on the cusp of the season kicking off and the pecking order for neither the kick or punt return game is clear. Andre Roberts? Chris Thompson? Jamison Crowder? That "kick return dude" Rashad Ross? Roberts struggled at times last season, but is the likely PR option wwith Thompson handling kicks, maybe. The Redskins ultimately want to get the ball in Crowder's hands and the return game is the clearest way. Then again, don't get forget Ross looked the part with his 19-yard punt return in the preseason finale.

2. Outside linebacker - Coach Jay Gruden announced Sunday that Trent Murphy would start oppoite Ryan Kerrigan with Preston Smith ready as the tag-team partner. This seemed like the plan considering Murphy is the better run stopper and therefore best suited for the early down. Smith impressed with his motor in the preseason. Even if Murphy remains the starter, the plan might need tweaking to ensure plenty of snaps for the rookie. Also curious if the coaches reward Jackson Jeffcoat's sack-heavy preseason with snaps in the real game.

3. Offensive line - Not that keeping 10 is bizarre, but probably one more than ideal. What's not ideal is the uncetainty on the bench other than...actually, I'll get back to you. At least one ends up deactivated on Sunday's. Best guess right now is either guard Spencer Long or tackle Ty Nsekhe. Oh, by the way, remember when so much of the media coverage back during the early days of training camp focused on first round pick Brandon Scheff shifting to guard and whether he and Morgan Moses could handle the right side? Simpler times.

4. Running backs - Bruising rookie runner Matt Jones impressed during preseason, but typically ran against backups and future waiver wire fodder. Meanwhile Alfred Morris labored with the starting offensive line. There's no depth chart change on the horizon, but the usage plan will be all kinds of interesting. You can bet Gruden wants to run the ball early and often against Miami - and most weeks - to help take pressure off new starter Kirk Cousins. But how close will the RB touches finish near a 50-50 split -- or not at all? That Jones is a passing game threat and Morris is so, so, so not that guy adds to the intrigue. That the fear of Jones' pounding style leading to injury is real

5. Quarterback - Come on, you know. No, not the starter, but with 10 or 16 = number two. Have to assume the answer is Colt McCoy and not just because Robert Griffin III remains in the NFL's concussion program last we heard. The risk isn't worth the reward.

[RELATED -- ANATOMY OF THE REDSKINS ROSTER]


Breaking Burgundy Top Stories