After reading a post on Hogs Haven I came up with the idea to rank the Redskins offensive players in order of importance. My criteria is pretty simple: Rank the players based on their importance to staying in the line-up, based on positional value, talent level, role in the offense, and weighing in what the back-up plan would be.
-Yes Robert Griffin is a better player with untold upside at a more important position, but the importance of Trent Williams staying healthy is simply greater than Griffin. For one thing Griffin (and Alfred Morris) would be seriously impacted in their level of production if Williams wasn’t there. That is due for the most part to the fact that the back-up behind Williams is unknown at this point and regardless of who wins the job it will be a massive drop-off in production. For the Redskins to return to the playoffs, Trent Williams staying healthy is a must.
-Griffin is great and very important to this team, but he doesn’t get the top spot given the presence of Kirk Cousins behind him. Cousins can’t do all the special things Griffin does, but he can be at least competitive in every game. Even with a top back-up like Cousins, Griffin’s health is so important. His ability to freeze a defense with the play fake or on a read option, opens up so many things both in the passing and running games. His leadership is key as well, as he didn’t let this team falter when they went into the bye week 3-6 last year.
-Montgomery has been the most consistent member of the offensive line during the Mike Shanahan era. He’s gotten better each year and has really taken to the zone blocking scheme, and was one of the team’s best run blockers last year. He’s a smart center who holds his own in pass blocking and doesn’t commit too many penalties. The Redskins really lack a quality back-up plan to Montgomery, as none of their top depth offensive linemen have really played the position. If Montgomery were to go down the team would probably be forced to move LG Kory Lichtensteiger to center, potentially weakening two positions.
-One of the keys to the Redskins offensive resurgence last year was the play of RG Chris Chester. When Chester came to the Redskins the year before he struggled (especially early on), and it really hurt the team. This past year Chester played at a high level from start to finish and it really boosted the Redskins overall offensive play. Though the depth guard group isn’t as dire as it is for LT or C, there would still be a fairly significant drop-off if Chester were to go down.
-Morris had a huge impact on the Redskins success last year as he finished 2nd in the league in rushing. His impact on the team last season was actually higher than the 5th spot, but that was due to how injured the position group was. The Redskins top three backs as they entered camp all went down with injury in the preseason, and depth was a concern throughout. This year though Roy Helu Jr. and Evan Royster should be back fully healthy (still unclear on Helu), and the team added Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison in the draft. Add in the fact that Mike Shanahan has a great track record with late round and unheralded running backs, and it is likely that if Morris were to go down the Redskins running game would be at least okay.
-Garcon had a really good year last season considering the injury and his play down the stretch really helped during the 7 game win streak. Though no single receiver could replace him, the combination of guys like Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson, in conjunction with their other targets would ensure the Redskins passing attack didn’t suffer too much.
-No receiver was really more productive on a per snap/target basis than Moss last season. In addition to his good production, Moss made a number of clutch catches for the Redskins that either resulted in first downs or touchdowns, and many of those were fantastic individual efforts that wouldn’t likely be replicated by another receiver. On top of that the Redskins really lack another receiver who could play in the slot. Despite the fact that Moss may only see 60% of the snaps his importance is up there.
-The Redskins are a run first team and Paulsen is a pretty strong run blocker. He showed enough versatility to line-up in an H-back role as well last season, and was pretty good as a receiver as well. Paulsen is going to get a lot of snaps this year simply due to his blocking ability and if it remains on par, his impact should be fairly noticeable. None of the Redskins other TE’s could duplicate his level of blocking (though Niles Paul would be the closest).
-Young is one of the best fullbacks in the league and the team really doesn’t have a viable option behind him. Unfortunately, he’s only likely to play 30-35% of the snaps, hurting his overall value. On top of that the team didn’t utilize him as much as a runner/receiver last year despite the fact that he was pretty productive when touching the ball.
-Morgan is a solid number two possession receiver, but Leonard Hankerson could handle this role just as well (and in fact will challenge him for the spot). Given that he’s not really a dynamic receiver he’s going to be buried a bit this year on the target/production list.
-Lichtensteiger struggled mightily last season, but he was recovering from a major knee operation so he could possibly be better this year. The Redskins back-up guards are very much untested, but they could possibly come pretty close to matching Lichtensteiger’s level of play.
-Davis may be a weapon, but the team has hardly missed a beat in his absence the last two years. In 2011 when he went out with his suspension the offense actually had it’s most productive four game span. Last year without Davis, Paulsen nearly matched his pre-injury level of production and the offense as a whole ran smoothly and went on a 7 game run to win the division title without Davis. Further reducing his value is the fact that the Redskins drafted TE Jordan Reed with a similar skill set in the 3rd round this April.
What do you think? How would you rank the Redskins Offensive Players by order of importance?