The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the opinions of the team.
You all know the drill by now. You have questions about the Washington Football Team, and we have answers. So let's right to it. Here's what Washington fans want to know this week:
Jakob E.: Any late-round picks that might have an instant impact that we might not expect? Anyone that has the ability to have a Kam Curl-type of impact?
That a good and somewhat difficult question to answer, Jakob. It's good because Washington has normally been quite good at finding late-round gems (there's Matt Ioannidis and Cole Holcomb just to name a couple) and difficult because having a "Kam Curl-type impact" is hard to find twice. With that being said, the first person who came to mind was Shaka Toney because of his skills on the edge. I'll say it again: Toney was one of the best pass-rushers in Penn State history. Some might say the fact that he won't be a starter disqualifies him from the impact Curl had, but he doesn't have to get a ton of snaps to do so at his position. If he can get in the rotation and be a constant presence against the pass, that could affect the entire defense, whether it's a sack or maybe even a turnover.
John M.: With a stout defense and all of the new additions to the offense is OC Turner going to open it up more?
John, I think that is absolutely the goal for Scott Turner and the offense. He has said he wants the unit to be more explosive, but we didn't need him to say that for us to believe it. Just take a look at all the additions: Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is a gun-slinger; Curtis Samuel, who has the speed and versatility to play anywhere on the field; Adam Humphries, a proven slot weapon; Dyami Brown, a young but qualified deep threat. And then you can more experience for the other options, and it makes for an offense with a lot of potential. I'm not going to say they're like the Chiefs yet, but it wouldn't surprise me if the offense too more chances this year.
Bogart H.: How many WRs do you think the WFT will keep? Can we keep 4 tight ends?
Woah, Bogart. It might still be a little early to start thinking about the number of players at each position, but it's a fun question, so what the heck? Washington kept five receivers last year; there are currently 12 on the roster. With the amount of talent that is at the position, I think it's absolutely possible they keep one or two more than last year. I'm not going to give out specific names (see what I said two weeks ago about making those kinds of guesses right now) but I will say there are some obvious players who are virtually locks to make the final cut. As for tight end, it may be possible to keep four, especially with the talent there, but keep in mind if Washington does keep more receivers, there will be less room for other positions. Either way, expect some tough decisions to be made in the near future.
Mark D.: Wanted to know who will be your top punt returning candidate going into camp?
That really is one of the great mysteries this year, Mark. I'm not even sure the coaches have a definitive answer on that yet. Danny Johnson was a solid kick returner, so it might make sense to let him take over both roles, but there are several candidates who have had some success as a punt returner before. I will say this, though: Nate Kaczor said the main people they're looking at are Steven Sims Jr., Isaiah Wright, DeAndre Carter and Dax Milne as well as Johnson. That isn't a definitive answer, but it does narrow down the field a bit. As for what exactly Kaczor is looking for at the position, I wrote on that topic in more detail last month, which you can check out HERE.
William M.: I believe the key to this season is the O-line. Fitz has said the game was easier for him in the last few years and I believe him. If the O-line is great, we are in the big show. If it is good, we are deep in the playoffs. If average, we just make the playoffs again. All the other groups will contribute but the O-line is the key. Do you agree?
So first of all, William, yes I agree with the premise that the offensive line is a big part of the offense's success. Having a group that can protect its skill players can change everything about the unit. It allows Antonio Gibson to find open running lanes and just make life generally easier for Fitzpatrick. I'm not going to predict where that will take the team (I can already see the mobs of people coming at me with their burgundy and gold torches and pitchforks if I'm wrong) but I do think that if Brandon Scherff plays like the All-Pro guard that he is, Chase Roullier continues to be a solid center and Washington finds reliable tackles, then it puts the team in position to do what every team wants to do first, which is win the division. After that, we'll see where the chips fall.
@Jessys24: It seems we are light with depth at LB. It was a trouble area last season. Do you think RR and company are content at LB or do you think they could sign a FA or pick someone else's cut?
As promised, Jessy, here's my answer: I think they are content for now. What I mean by that is Rivera does an exceptional job at giving his young players the chance to earn a role. I think that's what he will do with the linebackers in camp. If they prove they can handle it, then it wouldn't surprise me if he just rolls with the players already on the roster. If not, then there are some intriguing names on the market who could come in and be at least solid backups. I'm going to rule out roster cuts; unless there is a surprise name that jumps off the page, I don't think they'll look there for someone who can make a meaningful contribution, which is what I think you're looking for.