Washington Redskins Roster Outlook For 2011:QB’s, RB’s and FB’s

Steve O Speak


Donovan McNabb: Well this week it has been made clear that McNabb doesn’t have a future with the Washington Redskins. Washington does control his future so something will need to give here, and maybe, just maybe some team would give up a 4th round pick (not sure as too why, but if all the analysts in the world think that “McNabb deserved better” I guess he is worth at least that).

Rex Grossman: Grossman was fairly impressive in his first game in Dallas, and looked a heck of a lot more comfortable than McNabb did. Barring something freak injury or a complete inability to find a Redskin receiver these last two weeks, I expect the Redskins will resign Grossman this offseason. In all likelihood he will serve as a place holder until a young quarterback can be groomed.

John Beck: Beck is signed through next year so it should be pretty clear he is coming back, but he could face some competition. A rookie quarterback will likely be drafted, but the Skins could look at the waiver wire long and hard if they feel another quarterback with starting experience is needed.

Overview: With or without McNabb, this was an area of need for the Redskins and likely a target in the 2011 draft (again, since the 4th round pick was used for McNabb–whoops). The Redskins could also look at another quarterback who could help bridge the gap between next season and when a rookie is ready. It could be a veteran type on the down side of his career, a former ‘bust’ qb with some starting experience, or a young guy with a little upside. Whether they draft a quarterback in the first round (big mistake) or later, the Redskins will need to be patient with him, and perhaps let him develop the entire season on the bench. Adding another veteran has a lot of merit to ensure a rookie isn’t forced into action before he is ready.

Running Backs:

Clinton Portis: I believe Portis has played his last game as a Washington Redskin. While he still remains the best blocking back on the team (perhaps the league), Portis makes too much money for his production. Given the fact that Portis’ contract isn’t guaranteed for next season, I’d look for Washington to move on.

Ryan Torain: Torain is developing into a solid back and will at the very least have a shot at being the featured back next season. Two things keep him from being a sure thing. First, Torain needs to work on being a complete back. He hasn’t shown to be even an adequate blocker for the quarterback, and is probably at best an average receiver out of the backfield. The second concern is Torain’s health. People complain about Portis being injury prone, but he is like Brett Favre compared to Ryan Torain when it comes to health. Torain in limited carries and plays has a pretty extensive injury history dating back to college. Torain has showed flashes of brilliance, but until he proves he can stay healthy, the Redskins can’t count on him to be their featured back.

Keiland Williams: Williams has been a nice find for the Redskins this season as an undrafted free agent out of LSU. Williams is a tough hard runner, and probably the Skins best short yardage back. He doesn’t have the explosiveness of Torain or Portis, but he has held up all season and was for some games the Redskins lone healthy running back. He is a solid blocker and a good receiver out of the backfield. He will almost assuredly be back next year and should take on even a bigger role.

Chad Simpson: Simpson was signed early this year to add a speed back to the mix who could also help out in the return game. While things could change the return game looks in good shape, and Washington will likely look for other speed backs this offseason. I don’t even think he makes the 80 man roster going forward.

James Davis: I like James Davis a lot and I know he didn’t get much of an opportunity, but he still could have a future with this team. In limited work he did have a couple nice runs and receptions. He is fairly inept as a pass blocker though so he will need to improve in that area. While he might not be the answer, he at least deserves a shot going forward.

Andre Brown: Brown is an interesting back to have on the roster, but not really a long-term solution. Brown ruptured his Achilles tendon as a rookie with the Giants and hasn’t been the same since. He has bounced around between a number of teams this season, but has yet to stick anywhere. If the Redskins are patient and let him heal he could bounce back next year with a strong camp. His injuries are reminiscent of Torain, but he has flashed potential in the past.

Shawnbrey McNeal: McNeal right now is on the practice squad but could have a future with this Redskins team. He is a small quick back that could be an effective outside runner/receiving threat out of the backfield. He will never be suited for every down duty, but could earn a role on this team for next year. I hope they bring him back and he is on their 80 man roster.

Overview: There is a lot of hype surrounding Ryan Torain and he could be the feature back in Washington, but I’m not ready to anoint him just yet. Williams, Davis and McNeal all warrant more consideration and could have big time roles on this team. While I don’t expect them to use major resources on this position, I think one or two players should be brought in. If the Redskins end up with some extra picks via trade, I could see them targeting a speed/power back (since there isn’t a true one of either on the roster) in the 3rd to 4th rounds. And my guess is a priority rookie free agent will be signed as well.


Mike Sellers: Sellers is a former Pro Bowler, no longer plays at the same level that he used to (though many people seem to think he does). Sellers still possesses solid hands for a fullback and can be a load to bring down. At the same time he is still one of the Redskins best special teamers, delivering a number of big hits on punts and kickoff returns. The bad news is the skills that traditional fullbacks have, Sellers no longer has at a starting level. Sellers is no longer the run or pass blocker he once was, and is not an option at all for short yardage situations. The Redskins need a complete fullback to help improve both their running and passing games. Sellers could still stay on the roster as a backup/special teamer if he is willing to accept that role, but it is also possible they go in an entirely different direction.

Darrel Young: Young is playing his first season as a fullback, after playing linebacker in college and as a rookie on the practice squad last season. He has flashed a little potential, but really has just played special teams this season. He could have a future, but he will likely face some competition next year.

Overview: I think this is an area the Redskins need to upgrade at. While Sellers offers some big plays on special teams and every now and then on offense, he disappears too much to have as a starting fullback. If the Redskins draft/sign a young guy Sellers could stick around as a backup/special teamer, but if they sign a quality free agent I think his time with the organization is over. Fans might get a little upset since Sellers has an impressive resume, but they should be a happy at what a better all-around player (especially a blocker) can mean to this offense. Given the hype of players with past accolades, it wouldn’t even be shocking if the Redskins could acquire a 6th or 7th round pick if they tried to trade Sellers.

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