Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

#HailMail: Post-2016 Offseason Workouts

foster-compton-riley-hail-mail-660-350.jpg's Stephen Czarda answers YOUR questions submitted on Twitter about the Redskins' offseason and what to look for as training camp approaches.

@HotSauce3187 on Twitter asks: "Who's gonna be the two starting middle LB #Hailmail."

The Redskins head to training camp with an undetermined depth chart at inside linebacker.

Last season, Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley Jr. entered the season as the team's clear-cut starters at the position.

But both experienced injuries throughout the season, opening the door for both Will Compton and Mason Foster to step into the starting lineup.

Not only did the pair play well for the Redskins down the stretch, Compton and Foster were the first-team inside linebackers throughout OTAS and minicamp.

Riley Jr., who missed the final five games of the 2015 regular season, spent most of the offseason in a walking boot as he recovered from a foot injury suffered in an early December practice.

While Compton – who finished 2015 with 122 tackles – and Foster appear slightly ahead of Riley Jr. right now, don't count out the 2010 fourth-round pick.

Prior to going down for the season, Riley Jr. was in the midst of one of the better runs of his career.

In his last three appearances of the year, Riley Jr. totaled 21 tackles and recorded two of his three career interceptions.

Riley Jr. became a full-time starter at the halfway point of the 2011 season and has held onto that position throughout the last five seasons outside of injury.

The team also returns two inside linebackers from injury, as Martrell Spaight and Adam Hayward will be back on the field following a concussion and torn ACL respectively.

Spaight, 22, looked good during OTAs, making plays all over the field while being a vocal leader for the second-team defense. Remember, too, that during his last season at Arkansas he led the SEC in tackles with 128.

@ZwayZylo on Twitter asks: "@Redskins Will we be seeing the addition of another HB to the roster to compliment Matt jones? #HailMail"

Will we be seeing the addition of another HB to the roster to compliment Matt jones? #HailMail

Check out the top photos of Matt Jones from the 2015 season.

For now, it looks like the coaching staff wants to see what they currently have on the roster with Jones, Chris Thompson, Keith Marshall, Mack Brown, Rob Kelley and Kelsey Young.

Redskins running backs coach Randy Jordan said that while the group is young, it is a "receptive" bunch that is eager to create a dynamic running game to compliment a potent passing attack.

Jones, of course, has overtaken No. 1 back duties with the departure of Alfred Morris to the Dallas Cowboys, while Thompson, 25, is not only the team's oldest running back currently, he appears set as the team's third-down pass-catching option at the position.

Behind Jones and Thompson, though, the other four running backs on the roster have yet to taste regular season action.

If Marshall can make the 53-man roster as well, the seventh-round pick would provide quite a bit of speed out of the backfield, as he ran the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in 4.31 seconds.

Marshall was impacted by injuries throughout his career at Georgia, but still managed to average 5.5 yards per carry in 33 games.

Robert Kelley flashed on certain runs during OTAs and Kelsey Young was signed after a successful tryout at rookie minicamp.

Both Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and general manager Scot McCloughan have said during the offseason that the team remains open to the possibility that Pierre Thomas could make a return following a positive four-game stint with Washington to end the regular season.

Thomas, 31, has accumulated more than 3,800 rushing yards and 2,692 receiving yards during his first eight NFL seasons.

If the Redskins ultimately decide a veteran running back is needed and look for other options outside of Thomas, Joique Bell, Reggie Bush, Arian Foster and Fred Jackson are among the veteran running backs still looking for homes this season.

Loyal2x on Twitter asks: "@Redskins what will we expect from the offensive linemen and from our defense? #HailMail"

The Redskins offensive line experienced quite a bit of success last season, particularly in pass protection, as the unit ranked tied for fourth in the NFL in sacks allowed (27) a year after ranking 31st in that category (58).

Trent Williams, of course, will continue to be the team's long-term solution at left tackle, as he's a perennial Pro Bowler who is easily one of the best players at his position right now.

On the right side of the offensive line, meanwhile, Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses provide the Redskins a talented, young duo that are only going to get better together as time goes on.

But at center and particularly left guard, though, the Redskins head to training camp with quite a bit of competition.

At left guard, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long and even Arie Kouandjio will battle it out for the starting position.

Lauvao got off to a strong start during the 2015 season before it was derailed by a season-ending ankle injury that was followed up by multiple procedures.

The seven-year veteran rehabbed throughout the offseason and is expected to return to on-field action while the Redskins are in Richmond.

In his place, Long started the final 13 regular season games and the Redskins' Wild Card Round matchup against the Green Bay Packers. It was his first extensive NFL action.

Kouandjio, meanwhile, appeared in just one offensive play during his rookie season, but used this past offseason to work on his hand placement in hopes it will spring him into more action this season.

Speaking of Long, the third-year Nebraska product has also been working at center behind Trent Williams.

While Lichtensteiger appears to have the inside lane at the starting center gig once again, Long, Josh LeRibeus and Austin Reiter will fight for reps as the primary backup at the position.

Defensively, the Redskins significantly bolstered the secondary with the additions of cornerback Josh Norman and safety David Bruton Jr. Additionally, DeAngelo Hall and Will Blackmon made full-time moves to safety.

Linebacker Junior Galette also returns from a season lost by injury. Prior to the torn Achilles he suffered, Galette collected 22 sacks in his final two seasons with the New Orleans Saints.

The Redskins hope these moves, plus the selections of Su'a Cravens and Jonathan Allen in the draft, will help the unit improve on their 28th place ranking last season in total defense. 

Have Redskins-related questions? Be sure to submit them to @Redskins on Twitter and the Redskins' Facebook by using the hashtag #HailMail. Your questions could also be featured on the daily CSN Mid-Atlantic show, "Redskins Nation."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content