The Redskins will have four captains -- two offensive, one defensive and on special teams -- leading the way for the 2017 squad during the regular season.
The Washington Redskins will have four captains for the 2017 regular season.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins and tackle Trent Williams are once again offensive captains, safety D.J. Swearinger is the defensive captain and tight end Niles Paul will serve as the special teams captain.
Captains are selected based on votes from teammates.
Cousins is entering his third season as the Redskins' starting quarterback and second as a team captain. Since taking over the role as starter entering the 2015 regular season opener, Cousins has guided the Redskins to a 17-14-1 record, passing for more than 9,000 yards with 54 touchdowns to just 23 interceptions.
During the 2016 season, Cousins set single-season franchise records in attempts (606), completions (404) and passing yards (4,917) while becoming the first Redskins quarterback to appear in the Pro Bowl since the 1999 season.
Additionally, Cousins is the first player in franchise history to win multiple NFC Offensive Player of the Month awards (Dec. 2015 and Nov. 2016).
As he's grown as a player on the field over the last two years, Cousins has also become more comfortable in a leadership role.
"I think he's earned that right and that respect," said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden of Cousins' leadership role. "That takes time for a young quarterback that's competing to be a starter and find his way in the NFL. You just don't do that overnight. I think now that he's established himself as a starting quarterback in the league and for this football team, I think he feels more comfortable, especially now that he feels good with the system."
Williams, meanwhile, has been voted a team captain for the seventh straight season.
One of the top tackles in the league today, Williams once again gathered Washington's offensive linemen in the offseason for a grueling week-long series of workouts in Houston. Despite being at the peak of his game, Williams' decision to reunite "Hogs 2.0" showed other players that hard work, no matter the skillset, pays off in the long run.
"It's also good to see a guy with that type of talent and skill set work as hard as he does," Gruden said. "That rubs off on the younger guys, the guys that are up and coming young players. They see a guy like that with much talent, that much production over the years – and Pro Bowls – work that hard, you know, it makes the other guys say, 'Hey, I better work harder because I'm not as talented as him.' So it's great to have him. He's a great leader and he's going to keep going."
Defensively, Washington has selected Swearinger as the defensive captain and it's fairly understandable as to why.
Not only is Swearinger providing the Redskins an experienced safety in the defensive backfield, he's easily the most vocal player on the field each and every day.
"You know, it helps everybody out," said safety Deshazor Everett of Swearinger's vocal ways on the field. "It makes me want to talk more. I see that D.J. talking helps out everybody else, so let me talk while I'm out there. So I can help everyone help everybody else."
As for Paul, he once again has been named the special teams captain as was the case a year ago. Despite being in his seventh season with the Redskins now, Paul continues to take pride in his special teams play.
"Special teams is how I've made my bread and butter over the last few years and throughout my career here," Paul said. "It's a part of my versatility as a player, because I take pride in special teams.
"It's kind of like the linebackers, the linebackers have their wolf pack, but the special teams have their wolf pack. Everybody on that unit takes great pride and we just want to make this one of the best special teams units that we've had to date."