The Washington Redskins lost Kirk Cousins to the Minnesota Vikings. To replace him, the team traded for Alex Smith in hopes to be competitive in 2018. They started off 6-3, with impressive wins against the Green Bay Packers as well as division rival Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. Washington was in the conversation as a sleeper team to watch come playoff time but that all changed in Week 11 against the Houston Texans. During that game, Smith was injured on a sack and suffered a compound and spiral fracture to his tibia and fibula in his right leg. It was a severe injury that not only ended the Redskins playoff hopes, but potentially Smith’s career. After that, the team had multiple quarterbacks under center (Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez, and Josh Johnson). They ended the season 1-6, finishing the year 7-9.

Outside of Smith, the team had a total of 25 different players on injured reserved, which was the most by any team in 2019.

Coming into the offseason, the team made some changes. To replace Smith, they traded for Case Keenum as well as using their first-round pick on Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins. They used their later first-round pick on Mississippi State OLB Montez Sweat to boost the linebacking core. In free agency, they signed Landon Collins from the division rival Giants to a massive six-year, $84 million contract.

What does the position group look like for the Redskins as they head into Week 1 of the 2019 Regular Season? Let’s take a look.

Quarterbacks

Credit: John Bazemore/AP Photo
  • Starter: Case Keenum
  • Backup: Dwayne Haskins
  • Preseason Cuts: Colt McCoy, Jalan McClendon
  • Out for the Year: Josh Woodrum
  • PUP: Alex Smith

Like stated earlier, Smith’s career is likely over so there is a new QB under center for the team. Keenum was announced as the Week 1 starter, with Haskins staying put in the backup role for now until the team feels he is ready.

I think Keenum has a short leash here. If Washington struggles to put points on the board early, we could end up seeing Haskins being thrown into the lineup sooner rather than later. He is the franchise quarterback and should be on the field in 2019 at some point.

Running Backs

Credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
  • Starter: Adrian Peterson
  • Backups: Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine
  • Preseason Cuts: Byron Marshall, Craig Reynolds, Shaun Wilson
  • Non-Football Injury: Bryce Love

I’m really liking the running back department in Washington. After a two-year span of injuries and inconsistent play, Peterson joined Washington last season and rushed for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns. While he’ll get the majority of carries, I expect to see Guice a lot in the offense after missing out his rookie season due to a torn ACL. Guice is a former second-round pick out of LSU and I am excited to see what he can due now that he is finally healthy.

Perine will get some looks as the power back of the group while Thompson has been a consistent third-down pass-catching back. Love was a fourth-round pick in 2019 that had an excellent career at Stanford. He tore his ACL in his final collegiate game and will likely be put on injured reserved to take a year off to recover. He should be in the teams plans come 2020.

Wide Receivers

Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
  • Starters: Paul Richardson, Josh Doctson
  • Backups: Trey Quinn, Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon, Robert Davis, Cam Sims
  • Preseason Cuts: Jehu Chesson, Darvin Kidsy, Brian Quick, Steven Sims

Richardson is a speedster who is a very good deep threat on the outside. Doctson has been a disappointing first-round pick for the team and is on the subject of trade rumors but I think if he stays, this will be his last shot to be in the Redskins long-term plans. Quinn makes the team and is a solid slot receiver in the offense.

McLaurin is a third-round pick who is a quick, good route runner who was a college teammate of Haskins and could get some playing time early. Harmon is a sixth-round pick who is a big, physical receiver who will get some looks also. Davis and Sims have been solid in the preseason and provide solid depth.

Tight Ends

Credit: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
  • Starter: Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis
  • Backup: Jeremy Sprinkle
  • Preseason Cuts: Matt Flanagan, J.P. Holtz, Donald Parham

Reed is a solid tight end that is an explosive receiver. The problem with him is that he has had trouble staying healthy. Davis is still a solid tight end even at his age (35). Sprinkle is also a solid receiver that can be an occasional blocker when called upon.

Offensive Line

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Donald Penn, Ereck Flowers, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses
  • Backups: Geron Christian, Timon Parris, Wes Martin, Ross Pierschbacher, Tony Bergstrom
  • Preseason Cuts: Hugh Thornton, Jerald Foster, Blake Hance, Zac Kerin, Corey Robinson
  • Out for the Year: Casey Dunn
  • Did Not Report: Trent Williams

Off the bat, losing Williams will be a big blow to the offensive line. Williams wants to be either released or traded away from the team so will likely not see him in a Redskins uniform ever again. Scherff is one of the best right guards in the NFL while Moses has also developed into one of the better right tackles in the league, so the right side seems to be a lock.

Rouiller is a solid center while the veteran Penn looks to start at the left tackle spot to replace Williams. Flowers will look to turn his career around after switching from tackle to left guard. The backups here provide solid depth as well as playing multiple positions on the line.

Defensive Line

Credit: Kim Klement/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis
  • Backups: Tim Settle, Caleb Brantley
  • Preseason Cuts: Ryan Bee, Jonathan Bonner, Khairi Clark, Austin Maloata, JoJo Walker

The starting trio of Allen, Payne, and Ioannidis is very talented and underrated. Look for all three to have hugs seasons in 2019. Settle and Brantley can play any spot on the spot, which makes them versatile and gives them an advantage over others to make the roster.

Linebackers

Credit: Brad Mills/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Jon Bostic, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Montez Sweat
  • Backups: Ryan Anderson, Cassanova McKinzy, Marcus Smith II, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Cole Holcomb
  • Preseason Cuts: Andrew Ankrah, B.J. Blunt, Jordan Brailford, Marquis Flowers, Gary Johnson, Darrell Williams
  • Out for the Year: Reuben Foster, Myles Humphrey

Kerrigan has been a franchise cornerstone since 2011 and is one of the more underrated linebackers in the NFL. He starts on one side while the rookie Sweat starts opposite, forming a scary pass-rushing duo. Bostic and Hamilton look to start in the middle as they are hard nose tackles.

Anderson and Smith look to be the main outside linebacker backups while McKinzy, Harvey-Clemons, and Holcomb provide depth and Special Teams ability.

Cornerbacks

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  • Starters: Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar
  • Backups: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jimmy Moreland, Greg Stroman
  • Preseason Cuts: Adonis Alexander, Deion Harris, Ashton Lampkin, Fabian Moreau, D.J. White
  • PUP: Danny Johnson

Norman is one of the better shutdown corners in the league and can still get it done at a high level. Dunbar gets the edge here as the other starting corner but Rodgers-Cromartie could rotate in there as well. If they stick with Dunbar, DRC could slide into the nickel spot. Moreland, a seventh round pick, has been impressive this preseason and can be a stable backup while Stroman is a solid backup nickel-back.

Safeties

Credit: Brad Penner/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Landon Collins, Monate Nicholson
  • Backups: Troy Apke, Deshazor Everett, Jeremy Reaves
  • Preseason Cuts: JoJo McIntosh

Collins got paid this offseason and looks to be one of the leaders on this defense. He is a physical safety that runs all over the field, so he is a huge upgrade in Washington’s secondary. Nicholson is a solid young player to start alongside Collins, forming a nice starting duo.

Everett is solid in coverage and can provide depth at not only safety but occasionally at cornerback. Apke is a freak athlete who will make most of his contributions on Special Teams. Reaves is a young safety that can provide some depth as well.

Specialists

Credit: Kim Klement/USA Today Sports
  • Kicker: Dustin Hopkins
  • Punter: Tress Way
  • Long Snapper: Nick Sundberg
  • Preseason Cuts: None

No competition here as the same Special Teams trio from last season stays intact heading into Week 1 of the 2019 regular season.

While the Washington Redskins have some notable names on sides of the ball, I think that it is not enough to have them compete for a playoff spot.

I think Keenum is an okay quarterback for now but fans are going to want to see the rookie Haskins come in the moment the team starts to struggle. The receivers and tight ends have a lot of questions, mainly can they stay healthy and consistent in 2019? With Williams likely gone that means there is a huge hole to fill at the left tackle spot. Hopefully, the team can trade him and secure a high draft pick in the process. The only position group I like heading into the regular season is the running backs. It’ll be lead by the Hall of Famer Peterson but I expect to see Guice being featured heavy here as well as Thompson coming in as the third-down back.

The defense has a lot of notable names. The starting defensive line might be one of the more underrated tandems in the league and if they all can stay healthy, watch out for them. The linebackers are solid, mainly with veteran Kerrigan and rookie Sweat while the secondary look to be much improved from the previous season.

A complete rebuild may not be in the Redskins’ plans due to that they still have a lot of strengths on the team. It mainly comes down to not having enough weapons on the offense right now to stay competitive. I can see them in the range of a 6-10 to 9-7 (if everyone can stay healthy) team. This may be coach Jay Gruden’s last shot to show that he is the best coach for this team.

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