The Redskins’ 90-man offseason roster is set, at least for the time being. It’s time to take a look at who they have, who will start, and who will be around when the Sept. 9 opener in New Orleans rolls around.
We’ll start this series off with a look at the offensive backs.
Starter: Robert Griffin III
Reserves: Rex Grossman, Kirk Cousins
Fighting for a job: Jonathan Crompton
It took just two sentences by Mike Shanahan at the end of the rookie minicamp to clarify the picture here. He said that Griffin “is the starter, period.” And he said that “with the three quarterbacks we’ve got right now, I am excited to keep three quarterbacks.”
That means that both Grossman and Cousins will be on the roster backing up Griffin, not necessarily in that order. It seems likely that Grossman will hold down the No. 2 job at least at the start of the season but the rookie Cousins could jump ahead of Grossman as the season goes on. Crompton is there as a camp arm and in case of injury. He is eligible to return to the practice squad but with three QB’s on the 53-man roster that is unlikely to happen.
Starter: Roy Helu Jr.
Reserve: Tim Hightower, Evan Royster
Fighting for a job: Alfred Morris, Tristan Davis, Lennon Creer, Antwon Bailey
Hightower could end up starting or it could be Helu. And it won’t matter. The prime running back will be the guy getting the carries in the fourth quarter and we won’t know who that is until the fourth quarter of the first game. Even then, it could change from week to week.
We wrote extensively about Hightower’s possible role here earlier this week.
Helu has shown that he has some special ability so he may be the starter regardless of Hightower’s status. But Helu wore down when his workload got to be about 25 carries per game late in the season. He needs to carry 15-18 times a game and either Hightower or Royster can spell him.
Royster did not get off of the practice squad last year until the 11th game of the season. He responded well with over 100 yards rushing in two late-season games. The rookie averaged 5.9 yards per carry, an impressive number albeit one based on a small sample size of 56 attempts.
Morris, a sixth-round draft pick has a very good chance of sticking around if Hightower or another veteran back is not signed and he has a decent chance to make it even if another back is added if he can back up at fullback (see below).
Davis, Creer and Bailey have only slim chances of making the roster out of camp. However, there likely will be a running back on the practice squad and the three will be vying for that spot.
Starter: Darrel Young
That’s it, at least for right now. There have been rumors of the Redskins looking to sign a veteran fullback but that has yet to happen.
Morris did line up at fullback at times during the rookie camp. If he can become a solid option as a backup there, he would greatly enhance his chances of making the team.