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2015 Redskins Positional Prospectus: Offense


The Washington Redskins this week head to training camp in Richmond, Va., to officially kick off the 2015 season. Check out this in-depth look at the team's offense:


New to Washington in 2015 is quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh, whose 32 years of NFL experience as a player and coach will serve as a resource for the Redskins' signal callers this season.

Now entering his fourth NFL season, Robert Griffin III will attempt to help the team return to and exceed the heights of his rookie season in 2012. That season, a transcendent Griffin III helped spark the team to its first NFC East title since 1999, as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft broke NFL rookie records for passer rating (102.4), lowest percentage of passes had intercepted (1.27) and rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season (815). Despite having part of last season truncated by injury, Griffin III's first three years in the league have already seen him ascend into the Top 10 in completions (No. 8), passing yards (No. 9), passing touchdowns (No. 10) and pass attempts (No. 10) in team history. He received praise from the coaching staff, including head coach Jay Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay, for his performance and growth throughout the offseason program.

Fellow 2012 NFL Draft selection Kirk Cousins returns to Washington for his fourth season. After accumulating 1,320 yards in his first two seasons, Cousins more than doubled his career total by throwing for 1,710 yards in six games last year. He saw his first action of 2014 in relief in a Week 2 win vs. Jacksonville, completing 22-of-33 passes of 250 yards with two touchdowns and a 109.4 passer rating. A week later, Cousins recorded career highs in completions (30), passing yards (427) and passing touchdowns (three) at Philadelphia. His 427 passing yards that week were the fourth-most by a Redskins passer since the 1970 merger, trailing only Brad Johnson (471 on Dec. 26, 1999), Mark Rypien (442 on Nov. 10, 1991) and Doug Williams (430 on Sept. 11, 1988).

Colt McCoy made his team debut against Tennessee in Week 7 last season, a game in which he completed 11-of-12 passes and helped engineer a last-minute comeback victory. A week later, McCoy made his first start as a member of the Redskins in Week 8 at Dallas, completing 25-of-30 passes for 299 yards and adding a rushing touchdown in the team's thrilling overtime win on Monday Night Football.

Running Backs

Now in his second season leading the Redskins' running backs, Randy Jordan will look to maintain the running attack's recent history of ranking among the league's elite. Now Jordan, who spent 10 seasons as a halfback with the Raiders and Jaguars, will oversee a group that has contributed in part to the Redskins posting the third-most rushing yards in the NFL since 2012. 

The workhorse is fourth-year veteran Alfred Morris, a two-time Pro Bowler whose impressive résumé is matched by his remarkable durability. Despite his physical style of play, Morris enters 2015 with the second-longest active streak of consecutive games started by any NFL running back (48). Last year, he joined Stephen Davis as the only players in team history to post three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. His 3,962 career rushing yards were the 13th most by any NFL player in his first three NFL seasons, putting him in the historical company of luminaries such as Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, LaDainian Tomlinson, Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith.

Often joining Morris in the backfield is fullback Darrel Young, a key component of the Redskins' offense who also reigns as the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year from a year ago. Young's story is a remarkable one, as the former undrafted linebacker from Villanova has morphed into a vital blocker and receiver for the Redskins, now having played in 74 career games and registering a career-high five touchdowns last season in addition his status as a community standout for the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation. Jordan Campbell rounds out the team's fullback duo.

Before the Redskins head to Richmond for training camp, check out who all is on the roster position-by-position. Today, it is the running backs.

Third-round pick Matt Jones begins his Redskins career after leading the Florida Gators in rushing yards as a junior last season. His downhill running style and explosiveness has been praised by the coaching staff  and scouting staff, even drawing style-of-play comparisons to Seattle's Marshawn Lynch from general manager Scot McCloughan, who spent four years with Lynch as an executive in Seattle from 2010-13.

The Redskins also welcome back third-year pro Chris Thompson and second-year pro Silas Redd Jr. Despite his diminutive stature, the speedy Thompson is a former All-ACC standout at Florida State who in Week 15 last season became the first member of the Redskins to score a touchdown on his first career reception since Young did so in 2010. Redd Jr. is a former college free agent who recorded his first career rushing touchdown in a Week 2 win last season.

The group also includes Trey Williams, an elusive college free agent who led Texas A&M with 6.9 yards per carry last season, as well as Mack Brown, a college free agent signee out of Florida.

Wide Receivers

After helping lead the Redskins to the 2012 NFC East Championship and helping one of his players to the league lead in yards per reception last season, wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard's young coaching career already boasts a proven track record. Thanks to free agent signings, promising rookies and experienced veterans, Hilliard's arsenal of talent this season could be his strongest yet.

The group is headlined by DeSean Jackson, whose near-mythical explosiveness was on full display in his first year in Washington last season. The three-time Pro Bowler led the team with 1,169 receiving yards on 56 receptions (20.9 avg.), becoming only the fourth member of the Redskins to finish a season as the NFL leader in yards per reception (Henry Ellard in 1996, Jim Podoley in 1957 and Hugh Taylor in 1950). His performance made him the first player in team history to post 1,100 receiving yards on fewer than 60 receptions and the first NFL player to do so since Vincent Jackson in 2011.

Pierre Garçon is entering his eighth NFL season, his fourth with the Redskins. Just two seasons ago, Garçon led the league with receptions (113), breaking Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Monk's team record for receptions in a single season. The veteran of 100 career regular season games has led the Redskins in receptions in each of the last two seasons and led the team in receiving yards despite seeing limited action during the team's division-winning season in 2012.

Before the Redskins head to Richmond for training camp, check out who all is on the roster position-by-position. Today, it is the wide receivers.

Andre Roberts, a 2014 unrestricted free agent signing, recorded two touchdowns in his first season in Washington last year. After spending his first four seasons with Arizona, he appeared in every game for Washington last season. Ryan Grant, a 2014 fifth-round pick, has impressed many despite seeing limited game action, drawing oft-repeated praise from Gruden for his precise route running and professionalism.

Jamison Crowder, a 2015 fourth-round pick, impressed the Redskins as a wide receiver and special teams standout at Duke. Crowder's explosiveness garnered first-team All-ACC recognition and could provide the Redskins options as a slot receiver and return specialist. The Redskins also drafted fellow rookie receiver Evan Spencer out of Ohio State in the sixth round. Despite limited opportunities to amass numbers on offense, Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer called Spencer "the MVP of our team" for his contributions as a blocker, special teamer and leader during the Buckeyes national championship season last year.

The unit also includes Colin Lockett, a 2014 practice squad signing, Rashad Ross, who spent the 2014 preseason with the team, as well as a trio of college free agents — San Diego's Reggie Bell, Florida's Quinton Dunbar and Northwestern's Tony Jones.

Tight End

Wes Phillips assumed control of the Redskins' tight ends in 2014 after former position coach Sean McVay transitioned into the offensive coordinator role that offseason. Phillips joined the Redskins last year with an eye on technique and a track record that included having mentored Jason Witten during Phillips' tenure in Dallas. This year, Phillips reunites with Bill Callahan (see "Offensive Line"), with whom he worked in Dallas from 2011-13.

Last season, tight ends accounted for 28 percent of the team's receptions, led by now-third-year pro Jordan Reed's 50 receptions for 465 yards. As a rookie in 2013, the former Florida quarterback gained 499 receiving yards on 45 catches (11.1 yards per reception), both Redskins rookie records for a tight end.

The Redskins made it a priorty to re-sign 2011 pick Niles Paul in free agency this offseason. A Nebraska product who entered the league as a wide receiver, Paul's production surged last season, posting career highs in both receptions (39) and receiving yards (507). Paul, a standout this spring, has become one of the "glue guys" on the roster for his contributions on offense and on special teams.

 Dating back to Week 7 of his rookie season in 2010, Logan Paulsen has played in 74 consecutive games and has proven himself to be one of the team's most reliable assets. Paulsen has been recognized by opposing defenses as a strong blocker, but throughout his career, he has accrued more than 800 receiving yards in addition to increasing his single season receptions totals each year from 2010-13.

The unit also includes a couple of intruiging first-year pros in Chase Dixon and Je'Ron Hamm. Both spent the duration of the 2014 season on the Redskins' practice squad after opening their careers with the Seahawks and Saints, respectively. In May, the Redskins also added Devin Mahina, a 6-6, 250-pound college free agent from BYU.

Offensive Line

In January, the Redskins announced venerable veteran coach Bill Callahan as their new offensive line coach. Callahan joined the Redskins with 17 NFL seasons among his decades of coaching experience, most recently revamping the Dallas Cowboys' offensive line to help the team rush for 6,123 yards from 2012-14 and produce the league's leading rusher last season.

Callahan inherits one of the league's elite left tackles in three-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams, who has named by his peers as the 47th-best player in the entire league this past offseason. Strong left tackle play has been a hallmark of the Redskins since the turn of the century, as between Williams (2012-14) and Redskins legend Chris Samuels (2001-02, 05-08), Redskins left tackles have earned nine Pro Bowl invites since 2000 and seven in the last 10 seasons.

Opposite Williams, Washington has welcomed the arrival of No. 5 overall pick Brandon Scherff. The first offensive lineman taken in the 2015 NFL Draft, Scherff boasts a collegiate résumé that includes the Outland Trophy, awarded to college football's best interior linemen, and  unanimous All-American recognition. With his selection, he joined Samuels and Williams as the only offensive linemen selected by the Redskins in the first round since 2000.

Center Kory Lichtensteiger is the longest-tenured member of the group, now entering his sixth season with the Redskins. The reliable veteran has started the last 48 games for Washington since suffering a knee injury in 2011, including starting the last 32 games at center after spending his first three seasons in Washington at guard. Guard Shawn Lauvao enters his second season wearing burgundy and gold after starting his career in Cleveland. Lauvao started all 16 games last season has played in 68 career games in five years. Spencer Long, a former walk-on at Nebraska who earned CoSIDA First-Team Academic All-American honor in 2013, is expected to contribute at the opposite guard in his second NFL season.

After working into the starting lineup last season, 2012 sixth-round tackle Tom Compton returns with nine starts to his credit, as does second-year tackle Morgan Moses after starting in Week 12 last season. Tackle Willie Smith, who made the Redskins' active roster as a college free agent in the lockout-shortened 2011 season, re-joined the Redskins in the spring after having spent the last three seasons with the Raiders and Chargers. The tackle group also includes first-year offseason acquisitions Ty Nsekhe and Bryce Quigley as well as college free agent Takoby Cofield.

A former third-round pick from SMU, guard Josh LeRibeus returns after making his first-career start last season. Also hoping to bolster the interior, the Redskins selected guard Arie Kouandjio in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. A member of two National Championship teams at Alabama, the Cameroonian immigrant attended DeMatha Catholic H.S. in Maryland, only seven miles from FedExField.

In addition to Lichtensteiger, the Redskins' center group also features February signing Tyler Larsen and 2015 seventh-round pick Austin Reiter.

-- Day 2: Defense
-- Day 3: Special Teams




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