Drilling in: Redskins unit by unit analysis

Redskins quarterback Alex Smith prepares to pass during drills as part of veteran minicamp this summer.Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A detailed breakdown of the lineup

QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Alex Smith. Backups -- Colt McCoy, Kevin Hogan.

Smith solves the quarterback issue after the Jan. 30 trade and a four-year contract extension. Four years older than Kirk Cousins, Smith, 34, was willing to commit to Washington. The Redskins finally don't have to worry about their quarterbacks' contract leverage or devoting a huge chunk of the salary cap to one player. Smith had his best statistical season in 2017 with Kansas City. McCoy has taken four snaps total the past two seasons behind Cousins, but is well versed in the offense as the primary backup since 2014. Hogan, who grew up in suburban Washington and played at Stanford, will push for a roster spot as the No. 3.

RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- Derrius Guice. Backups -- Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine, Chris Thompson, Byron Marshall, Kapri Bibbs, Keith Marshall, Martez Carter, Elijah Wellman.

Guice will get every opportunity to earn the starting job as a rookie after dominating at LSU, but he will have to earn it. Kelley, the starter in the second half of 2016 and the beginning of last season, is recovered from a knee injury in Week 11. Thompson is a weapon the Redskins will get the ball to a lot, especially through the air. Perine is an intriguing player to watch in his second season. He has good pedigree after a brilliant career at Oklahoma, but didn't take advantage of his snaps as a rookie. Wellman is a fullback, which Washington didn't have last season.

TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Jordan Reed. Backups -- Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle, Manasseh Garner, Matt Flanagan, Garrett Hudson.

Head coach Jay Gruden's offense isn't the same without Reed, who struggled through shoulder pain late in the 2016 season and endured a disastrous 2017. Toe, rib and hamstring injuries limited him to six games, a career low. Davis kept the offense afloat, but at 34 he's better as a complementary piece now. The Redskins lost Niles Paul, their special-teams captain, to free agency. Sprinkle is a bigger body at 6-foot-5, 252 pounds. He is the primary blocking tight end and will play a bigger role. But Washington needs Reed, who at his best can be a 90-catch, 1,000-yard, double-digit touchdown player.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder. Backups -- Brian Quick, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Trey Quinn, Darvin Kidsy, Simmie Cobbs Jr., Shay Fields, Cam Sims.

Still trying to recover from the loss of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson to free agency in 2017, the Redskins hope Richardson's breakthrough season in Seattle last year is a sign of things to come. His speed can replicate some of what Jackson gave them and that was too often missing last season. Doctson's six touchdowns were a nice step forward, but can he make the leap expected of a first-round pick? This is just his second full season after injuries ruined his rookie year in 2016. Crowder is reliable in the slot with 192 catches and 12 touchdowns in three years. Harris made plays late last season after being elevated from the practice squad for the final six games and Davis' size (6-foot-3, 217 pounds) and speed are intriguing.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Trent Williams, LG Shawn Lauvao, C Chase Roullier, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses. Backups -- T Ty Nskeke, T Geron Christian, T T.J. Clemmings, G Tony Bergstrom, G Tyler Catalina, G Kyle Kalis, T John Kling, C Demetrius Rhaney, C Casey Dunn, G Isaiah Williams, T Alex Balducci, T Cameron Jefferson, T Timon Parris.

The Redskins will wait and see how Williams (right knee) and Moses (ankle) recover from offseason surgery. Both should be ready early in camp. The only change to the line is Roullier likely taking over at center for Spencer Long, who signed with the New York Jets. The Redskins added Christian in the third round of the draft to pair with Nsekhe as a reserve tackle. If healthy, this group should get closer to its 2016 form when it allowed just 23 sacks. The starters and Nsekhe missed a combined 25 games last year, including six for Williams.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- DLE Jonathan Allen, NT Stacy McGee, DRE Matt Ioannidis. Backups -- DE Ziggy Hood, DE Anthony Lanier, NT Phil Taylor, NT Tim Settle, Daron Payne, Ondre Pipkins, Tavaris Barnes.

The project to rebuild the defensive line continues. It's been years since the Redskins have had a reliable one that can stop the run and generate pressure. Washington's investment in youth should start to pay off, however. Allen was fantastic as a rookie before a Lisfranc sprain ended his season in Week 6. Payne is a second consecutive first-round pick and another Alabama product. They join Ioannidis (4.5 sacks) and Lanier (five sacks) as young players with promise. Veterans like Hood, McGee and maybe Taylor, who won the nose tackle job out of camp last year before tearing his left quadriceps and missing the season, will help, too.

LINEBACKERS: Starters -- WLB Ryan Kerrigan, ILB Mason Foster, ILB Zach Brown, SLB Preston Smith. Backups -- ILB Martrell Spaight, OLB Ryan Anderson, OLB Pernell McPhee, ILB Shaun Dion Hamilton, ILB Zach Vigil, OLB Alex McCalister, OLB Pete Robertson, OLB Josh Harvey-Clemons, ILB Vontae Diggs, ILB Jerod Fernandez.

Steady production from Kerrigan (13 sacks) and a rebound season by Smith (eight sacks) gives Washington a solid pass rush. But McPhee is the key. If he stays on the field in a reduced role from what he saw in Chicago, McPhee has proven he can contribute six sacks. That's an upgrade on Junior Galette (three sacks) last season in a similar role. Anderson, another Alabama player, will get a crack at more snaps after an up-and-down rookie season. Brown and Foster, back from shoulder surgery, are the men in the middle and should team well together. The depth behind them is in question. Spaight enters his fourth season and needs to push the starters. Dion Hamilton, a 2018 sixth-round pick, is another Crimson Tide product. He and Harvey-Clemons, a 2017 seventh-round selection, should vie for snaps in a reserve role. Vigil could nudge one of them off the roster. He started the final three games last year and saw significant snaps in the last six.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starter -- LCB Josh Norman, RCB Quinton Dunbar, FS DJ Swearinger, SS Montae Nicholson. Backups -- CB Orlando Scandrick, CB Fabian Moreau, S Deshazor Everett, CB Josh Holsey, CB Adonis Alexander, S Fish Smithson, S Troy Apke, S Quin Blanding, CB Greg Stroman, CB Danny Johnson, CB Ranthony Texada, CB Kenny Ladler.

Norman is still a willing competitor, giving the Redskins a chance every week against top wide receivers. The problem is teams are rarely willing to challenge him. With Bashaud Breeland allowed to leave in free agency, the Redskins are gambling Dunbar can make the push from productive reserve/special teams player to a starting spot. He is also a physical battler at 6-foot-2, 197 pounds. Scandrick will have the edge at slot corner for now. Moreau, a 2017 third-round pick, will be a key reserve after primarily playing special teams as a rookie. Alexander was taken in the supplemental draft this July with a sixth-round pick. Stroman, his college teammate at Virginia Tech, was a sixth-round pick in the regular draft in April. Safety depth is still an issue. Swearinger had a nice first season in Washington, but Nicholson is untested with limited playing time in eight games and there isn't much behind him.

SPECIAL TEAMS: K Dustin Hopkins, KOR Chris Thompson, PR Greg Stroman, LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way.

Hopkins doesn't have any competition in camp after recovering from a hip injury that cost him eight games last season. He made 14 of 17 field goals, but missed both tries from beyond 50 yards. Way also does not have camp competition, but has put up pedestrian numbers the past two seasons. Sundberg has been the long snapper since 2010 and shows no signs of slowing down. The Redskins might not want to use Thompson at kick returner given his injury history. They certainly are ready to move on from Crowder at punt returner after he struggled with fumbles again in 2017. Stroman is one of several options there.

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