CAMP CALENDAR: Full squad reports to camp July 28. The first practice is set for July 30. The Cowboys break camp Aug. 18.
TRAINING CAMP GOALS
--Establish a backup quarterback: The Cowboys are going into the season with questions at backup quarterback. It was an issue last year as starter Tony Romo missed 12 games and the Cowboys went 1-11 in his absence. Romo is 36 and not guaranteed to play 16 games. Kellen Moore has been tabbed as the primary backup. He has two career starts, all at the end of last season. He will be tested early and often during camp.
--Develop a pass rush: The Cowboys didn't have a pass they could count on last year and now head into 2016 with their two top pass rushers -- defensive end Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence -- suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. They will need the unproven likes of Benson Mayowa, Charles Tapper and Ryan Russell to develop into edge rushers until Lawrence and Gregory return.
QUARTERBACKS: Starter - Tony Romo. Backups - Kellen Moore, Dak Prescott, Jamiell Showers.
The Cowboys feel good about Romo's health heading to camp after what was his best offseason in years. He recovered from shoulder surgery and will be available from Day 1 of camp. But he is 36 and hasn't played a full season since 2012. The offense will be potent as long as Romo is on the field. But there is no guarantee the Cowboys can win when Romo is not on the field. They went 1-11 without Romo last year and are heading into 2016 without a proven backup. Moore will head into camp as the backup. The Cowboys drafted Prescott in the fourth round to be a developmental quarterback of the future. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan is confident that Moore can do the job. But he will be competing with the waiver wire throughout camp.
The Cowboys drafted Elliott with the fourth overall pick to give them the push and punch they had in 2014 when DeMarco Murray led the league with 1,845 yards. Elliott is a game-breaker as a runner and receiver who is expected to fall into the Hall of Fame footsteps of Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith. He will be backed up by two proven veterans in McFadden and Morris. McFadden was productive in 2015, producing the second 1,000-yard season of his career. Morris came over from the Redskins in free agency after rushing for 4,713 yards and 29 touchdowns the last four seasons. The question is whether the Cowboys can keep both veterans on the roster as neither play special teams. Rookie Darius Jackson could surprise. The Cowboys are trying to make a fullback between Rod Smith, a converted running back, and Keith Smith, a converted linebacker.
TIGHT ENDS: Starter - Jason Witten. Backups - Gavin Escobar, James Hanna, Geoff Swaim, Rico Gathers.
Witten remains the anchor and most trusted member of the passing game. He led the Cowboys with 77 catches last year. Escobar is coming off an Achilles injury and will not be ready for the start of camp. Hanna has developed a niche as an H-back and special teams player though he has not been productive in the passing game. Swaim needs to step up or he will be passed by rookie project Rico Gathers, who played basketball in college.
The return of a motivated Bryant will make all the difference for the Cowboys' passing game. He only played nine games last year because of a fractured foot. He had career lows in yards and touchdowns and hopes to regain his spot as one of the league's top receivers. Bryant's return should open things up for Williams and Beasley, who both saw their production and impact tail off without Bryant drawing double teams on the side. Butler has a chance to not only push Street off the roster but also take Williams' starting job.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Tyron Smith, LG La'el Collins, C Travis Frederick, RG Zack Martin, RT Doug Free. Backups - G Joe Looney, G Ron Leary, T Charles Brown, T Chaz Green, G Jared Smith, T Ryan Mack, Bryan Witzmann, T David Hedelin.
The Cowboys have no questions up front regarding what is still the best offensive line in football. Smith is the league's best left tackle and made the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive season. Frederick is the best at what he does in the NFL and made the Pro Bowl for a second straight year as did Martin. Those three are the foundation. Collins is a star in the making at left guard. Free, 32, is considered the weak link at right tackle in what could be his last year. The Cowboys signed Looney to be the swing guard/center on game day. They need to find a third tackle in either Brown or Green.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters --DLE DeMarcus Lawrence, DLT Tyrone Crawford, DRT Cedric Thornton, DRE Randy Gregory. Backups - DE Benson Mayowa, DE Charles Tapper, Lawrence Okoye, DT Jack Crawford, DT Terrell McClain, DE Ryan Russell, DE David Irving, DT Maliek Collins.
Not enough can be said about the question the Cowboys have up front on defense. Lawrence and Gregory will miss the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Although they re-signed Crawford and Mayowa in free agency, the Cowboys didn't address the position with any proven performers. The Cowboys hope Mayowa can develop and Tapper can provide some rush early until Gregory and Lawrence return. Crawford, who played last season with a shoulder injury and still made five sacks, should be better in 2016. He is healthy and ready go to. Thornton came over from Philadelphia to man the nose tackle position. The Cowboys had high hopes for third-round pick Collins, but he will suffered a fractured foot in OTAs and will open camp on the injured list.
LINEBACKERS: Starters -- WLB Sean Lee, MLB Rolando McClain, SLB Anthony Hitchens. Backups - SLB Kyle Wilber, OLB Mark Nzeocha, OLB Andrew Gachkar, WLB Damien Wilson, LB Jaylon Smith, LB Brandon Hepburn, LB Deon King, LB Justin Durant.
The only certainty the Cowboys have at linebacker is Lee, who was a hit in his move to weak-side linebacker last year. He led the Cowboys with 155 tackles and made the Pro Bowl for the first time. The big issue is McClain, who is suspended for the first 10 games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. McClain may not play at all in 2016. Hitchens, Durant and Nzeocha will compete for the middle linebacker spot with Wilber likely moving in on the strong side.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Brandon Carr, RCB Orlando Scandrick, SS Barry Church, FS Byron Jones. Backups - S J.J. Wilcox, S Jeff Heath, CB Morris Claiborne, CB Deji Olatoye, CB Isaiah Frey, CB Arjen Colquhoun, CB Jeremiah McKinnon, CB Josh Thomas, CB Anthony Brown, S Kavon Frazier, CB Dax Swanson.
Scandrick will be ready to go after missing all last season with a knee injury. He was the defensive MVP in 2014. They need him back at top-level form. He will likely move to left cornerback in the regular defense with Carr and Claiborne competing on the right side. Jones has moved to free safety and will be the starter opposite Church, though Wilcox could push him at strong safety. The Cowboys like the potential of rookie Frazier at safety. Josh Thomas is expected to be the fourth cornerback.
SPECIAL TEAMS: K Dan Bailey, P Chris Jones, KOR/PR Lucky Whitehead, LS Louis-Philippe Ladouceur.
There are simply no questions in the kicking game as Bailey remains simply the best at what he does on the Cowboys' roster. He is already the most accurate kicker in league history. He was stellar in 2015, making 30 of 32 field goals and earning a trip to the Pro Bowl. Jones averaged 42.5 yard per punt to finish third in the league last year. Nobody is more consistent than Ladouceur, who has never had an errant snap. Whitehead has bulked up so he can be an impact on kickoff and punt returns.
NEW YORK GIANTS
CAMP CALENDAR: Full squad reports July 28; first practice July 29, joint practices with other teams, camp ends August 15.
TRAINING CAMP GOALS
--Stabilize the right tackle position. The Giants tried several times to sign a veteran offensive lineman to move into the right tackle spot, but were unsuccessful. Most recently, New York was involved with trade talks for now former Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe. When those talks fell apart, Monroe was released, but the Giants still pursued his services. While the Giants will continue to scan the waiver wire for veteran depth at a position that's paper thin, they are also prepared to keep the status quo at right tackle with Marshall Newhouse, who stepped into the starting lineup at that spot last year.
--Improve on defense. The Giants invested a lot of money to upgrade the NFL's 32nd ranked defense last season. Not surprisingly, the biggest splashes made were in the front and back ends, areas where the team really struggled most. They added defensive end Olivier Vernon and defensive tackle Damon Harrison to stifle opponents on first down yardage and to rush the passer. They also added cornerback Janoris Jenkins to help plug the league's 32nd ranked pass defense last year. The unit looked much improved running around in shorts and T-shirts in the spring, but they'll need to stay healthy-a big problem for the defense last year-and continue to meld together.
QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Eli Manning. Backups -- Ryan Nassib, Logan Thomas.
Another year, another season for Manning, the iron man who seems more energized than usual for the start of the new season. All eyes, however, will likely be on Nassib, the backup quarterback entering the final year of his contract. Nassib aspires to compete for a starting job, yet he knows that so long as Manning is standing, that opportunity won't come here. Nassib's goal this summer will be to put together a solid showing on tape so that come next offseason, he can drum up interest. The Giants might be looking to break with tradition and keep a third quarterback this year. Whether that's Thomas or someone else remains to be seen, as does whether they actually have room for an extra signal caller.
RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- Rashad Jennings. Backups -- Andre Williams, Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, Bobby Rainey, Paul Perkins, Marshaun Coprich, FB Nikita Whitlock, FB Will Johnson.
Instead of paring down the running backs, the Giants added a veteran (Rainey) and a rookie draft pick (Perkins) to further muddle a complex picture. Jennings figures to be the workhorse if healthy, with Vereen likely to get more snaps than he did last year in his first season. Head coach Ben McAdoo hasn't given up on Williams, a fourth-round draft pick entering his third season, but he's going to have to bounce back from a poor 2015.
Perkins missed the majority of the spring, so it remains to be see exactly how much he can contribute as a rookie. The final roster spot will likely come down to Darkwa and Rainey, the latter of whom was with offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan when the two were in Tampa. Whitlock has an uphill battle to make the roster this year given the arrival of Johnson, a fullback/tight end hybrid who offers more options when on the field.
TIGHT ENDS: Starters -- Larry Donnell, Will Tye. Backups -- Matt LaCosse, Ryan Malleck, Jerell Adams.
As a whole, this unit underwhelmed last year. This year, they've added more diversified players who can block and be a threat in the receiving game. Those include LaCosse and Malleck, both of whom will slug it out for a roster spot. Malleck siphoned snaps away from LaCosse in the spring, though to be fair, LaCosse dealt with a minor groin injury. Adams, the team's sixth-round pick, might be more of a practice squad candidate at this point, as he was inconsistent during the spring in the passing game. Tye showed a bit more upside last year than Donnell, the latter of whom suffered a season-ending neck injury.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard. Backups -- Dwayne Harris, Germy Davis, Myles White, Anthony Dable, Kadron Boone, Donte Foster, Tavarress King, Roger Lewis, K.J. Maye, Darius Powe.
The Giants have their fingers, toes and eyes crossed that Cruz can give them something this year after almost two years away because of injuries. Cruz will probably never be the same receiver he once was, however, which likely means that Shepard, the team's second-round pick this year, will probably leap frog ahead of him on the depth chart. Shepard isn't very big, but he's fearless going over the middle and, like No. 1 receiver Beckham, Shepard has hands of glue. The coaches are looking for Harris and Davis, the latter entering his second year, to show they've progressed from last year. Meanwhile the real intrigue is shaping up at the bottom of the depth chart where a three-way battle between White, Powe and Lewis is taking shape. Of those three, Lewis looked the most impressive in the spring without the pads. French-born Dable offers good height but is as raw as they come and could be a string practice squad candidate.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Ereck Flowers, LG Justin Pugh, C Weston Richburg, RG John Jerry, RT Marshall Newhouse. Backups -- C/G Shane McDermott, C/G Brett Jones, G Dillon Farrell, G Adam Gettis, G Ryan Seymour, G/T Bobby Hart, T Jake Rodgers, T Byron Stingily.
The Giants tried several times to add a veteran offensive tackle only to come up short in their efforts. Newhouse, the embattled incumbent, remained with the starter throughout the spring with nary a push from Hart, the second-year player whom many thought might challenge for the starting job. If the Giants can't find someone to replace Newhouse, they're prepared to keep the status quo.
Meanwhile on the other wise, the team is looking for Flowers, last year's first-round pick, to take a huge leap forward. McDermott is an interesting prospect to watch this summer. Listed as a center by trade, he lined up at every position during the spring, with quite a few of those snaps coming with the starting offensive line.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- DLE Jason Pierre-Paul, DT Johnathan Hankins, NT Damon Harrison, DRE Olivier Vernon. Backups -- DE Owa Odighizuwa, DE Kerry Wynn, DE Stansly Maponga, DE Romeo Okwara, DE Mike Rose, DE Ishaq Williams, DT Jay Bromley, DT Louis Nix, DT Montori Hughes, DT Melvin Lewis, DT Greg Milhouse.
For all the financial resources poured into this unit in the offseason, there are still question marks regarding the depth behind starters Pierre-Paul and Vernon at defensive end, and Hankins and Harrison at defensive tackle. At defensive end, the team is going to find out what it has in second-year man Odighizuwa, whose rookie campaign was wiped out due to injuries. The fourth defensive end is projected to be Wynn, who is primarily a run stopper. However, undrafted free agents Okwara and Williams showed signs of promise in the spring.
At tackle, Bromley is facing a make or break type of season after showing hints that he can be a contributor in the rotation. Beyond that, the identity of the fourth defensive tackle is still up in the air, as Hughes spent the spring inactive due to an undisclosed injury and the rest of the candidates looked sluggish during drills.
LINEBACKERS: Starters -- WLB J.T. Thomas, MLB Jasper Brinkley, SLB Devon Kennard. Backups -- Jonathan Casillas, Mark Herzlich, Keenan Robinson, Kelvin Sheppard, B.J. Goodson, Brad Bars.
This unit is yet again about to field a different lineup. Besides a new starter in the middle, there could also be a change on the weak side depending on the severity of incumbent Thomas' lower leg injury that popped up late in the spring. Casillas took on most of the first-team reps while Thomas was sidelined, so there could be an unexpected competition there. Moving back to the middle, the incumbent is Brinkley, a fine run stopper but a two-down player who gets exposed in coverage.
The Giants added free agent veterans Sheppard and Robinson; of the two, Robinson is probably the more complete player, but his injury history is concerning. Goodson, the rookie, flashed potential with the second-team group, but is probably going to have a limited role as a rookie. Given the depth added to this position, Herzlich could find himself on the outside looking in if Goodson remains healthy and continues to flash.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, RCB Janoris Jenkins, FS Darian Thompson, SS Landon Collins. Backups -- CB Eli Apple, CB Trevin Wade, CB Tramain Jacobs, CB Leon McFadden, CB Donte Deayon, CB Michael Hunter, CB Matt Smalley, S Nat Berhe, S Mykkele Thompson, S Bennett Jackson, S Cooper Taylor, S Justin Currie, S Andrew Adams.
The league's 32nd ranked pass defense is shaping up to be much improved on the back end. The Giants added Jenkins, a gambling shutdown cornerback, and rookie first-rounder Apple to complement Rodgers-Cromartie. At safety, rookie draft pick Darian Thompson jumped out to a decisive lead in the competition for the starting free safety job alongside of strong-side starter Collins.
However, there are two questions in the backend of the defense, both at cornerback. The first is whether the Giants have an upgrade at slot cornerback, something that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo couldn't answer by the end of the spring. Rodgers-Cromartie and Apple both have limited experience there, so the slot could come down to either Wade, the incumbent or Jenkins moving inside. The other question involves depth after Apple, who is projected as the third corner. Deayon, an undrafted rookie, looked very promising in coverage, but at 5-8, 158 lbs., he is too small to play outside and may in fact get thrown into the mix at the slot.
At safety, Berhe will likely be the third man on the depth chart, with Jackson trying to hang on-his versatility at safety and corner might just be enough to keep him around. Meanwhile, don't expect Taylor, the oft-injured one-time fifth-round draft pick, to survive training camp.
SPECIAL TEAMS: K Josh Brown, P Brad Wing, LS Zak DeOssie, KOR/PR Dwayne Harris. Backups - K Tom Obarski, LS Tyler Ott.
The Giants' special teams unit remains intact from last season thanks to the returns of Brown and Wing, both of whom were free agents after last season. The only question mark here is how much Harris, the dynamic return specialist, will see in those roles. Last year with his role on offense increasing, Harris saw a reduction in his kickoff duties. Whether that continues again this year could depend on what the Giants are able to get from Victor Cruz.
CAMP CALENDAR: Rookies report July 25; veterans report July 28. The first full-squad workout will be July 29.
TRAINING CAMP GOALS
--Find a fourth edge rusher: Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz likes to regularly rotate his front four. Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry are the team's top three defensive ends. But there is no clear No. 4. They are hoping it will be 2014 first-round pick Marcus Smith, but that's no certainty.
--Establish depth at linebacker: Schwartz is high on his three starters - Jordan Hicks, Mychal Kendricks and Nigel Bradham. But Hicks and Kendricks have durability issues. Najee Goode is the only proven backup.
Even though they traded away five draft picks to move up and get him, the plan is for Wentz to open the season as the team's inactive No. 3 quarterback. Unless he gets hurt or has a horrible training camp and preseason, Bradford will be the season-opening starter. He played very well the second half of last season. Daniel, who came with Pederson from Kansas City to be the backup, isn't nearly as talented as Bradford or Wentz, but knows the offense like the back of his hand.
RUNNING BACKS: Starter - Ryan Mathews. Backups - Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Kenjon Barner, Cedric O'Neal.
Mathews is a talented runner who averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season. But he had just 106 carries. He's had durability issues his entire career and really isn't a guy you want to give the ball to 20 times a game. The 34-year-old Sproles will be used more as a pass-catcher than runner, which means Barner or one of their two rookies - Smallwood or O'Neal - need to step up and contribute right away.
TIGHT ENDS: Starter - Zach Ertz. Backups - Brent Celek, Trey Burton, Chris Pantale.
Ertz has established himself as one of the league's better pass-catching tight ends. He had 75 receptions last season. In the Eagles' final four games, he had 35 catches for 450 yards. The 31-year-old Celek is one of the league's top blocking tight ends and is a reliable receiver. He's missed one game to injury his entire career. Burton is a versatile player who also can line up at fullback or wide receiver and is one of the team's top special teams players.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters - Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff. Backups - Rueben Randle, Chris Givens, T.J. Graham, Jonathan Krause.
Matthews, who had a team-high 85 catches and eight touchdowns last year out of the slot, was the only wideout on the team with more than 27 receptions. Agholor, the team's first-round pick, had a disappointing rookie season, catching just 23 passes. He had more than 35 receiving yards just twice all season. The Eagles signed Randle and Givens in the offseason. The 6-foot-4 Randle had eight touchdown catches for the Giants, but there are questions about his work ethic and effort. Givens is a vertical threat who had good chemistry with Bradford when they played together in St. Louis in 2012.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Jason Peters, LG Allen Barbre, C Jason Kelce, RG Brandon Brooks, RT Lane Johnson. Backups - Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner, Isaac Seumalo, Stefen Wisniewski, Dennis Kelly, Vaitai Halapoulivaati, Malcolm Bunche, Josh Andrews.
This unit needs to be better, a lot better, than it was a year ago. The Eagles added Brooks, a 350-pound road-grader, and Wisniewski, who can play both center and guard, in free agency and drafted Seumalo and Halapoulivaati. Brooks' presence should provide a big boost to Kelce, who struggled in Chip Kelly's offense last season. Wisniewski and Seumalo will push Barbre, who struggled as a run-blocker last year. But the key will be eight-time Pro Bowler Peters. He's 34 and was slowed by injuries much of last season. They need a big year from him.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LDE Connor Barwin, LDT Bennie Logan, RDT Fletcher Cox, RDE Brandon Graham. Backups - Vinny Curry, Marcus Smith, Mike Martin, Beau Allen, Bryan Braman, Steven Means, Taylor Hart, Travis Long, Alex McCalister.
Barwin and Graham, who played standup linebackers in Bill Davis's two-gap 3-4 scheme last year, shouldn't have any difficulty making the adjustment back to 4-3 ends, which both have played in the past. Curry is a natural 4-3 end who should be a bigger factor in Jim Schwartz's new scheme. Cox, who signed a long-term deal in early July, also should flourish as a three-technique tackle Schwartz's scheme. With the addition of Martin, the Eagles have plenty of depth inside behind Cox and Logan. But they need to find a fourth edge rusher. The Eagles are hoping it will be Smith, their 2014 first-round pick. But he's been a non-factor his first two seasons.
LINEBACKERS: Starters -- SLB Nigel Bradham, MLB Jordan Hicks, WLB Mychal Kendricks. Backups - Najee Goode, Joe Walker, Deontae Skinner, Mykal Tavarres, Quentin Gause.
Hicks was one of the Eagles' top defensive players last season until a mid-November pec injury ended his season. Kendricks signed a big long-term extension with the Eagles last summer, then went out and had his worst season. Bradham, who played for Schwartz in Buffalo two years ago, was signed as a free agent. There's not a lot of proven depth behind the starters other than Goode. Someone needs to emerge, because both Kendricks and Hicks have durability issues.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters - CB Leodis McKelvin, CB Nolan Carroll, S Rodney McLeod, S Malcolm Jenkins. Backups - Eric Rowe, Ron Brooks, Jalen Mills, JaCorey Shepherd, Denzel Rice, Aaron Grymes, Randall Evans. C.J. Smith.
McKelvin had his best season two years ago when he played for Schwartz in Buffalo. He looked good in spring OTAs and probably will be one of the starting corners. Carroll was playing well last season until he fractured his fibula in late November. He was replaced by second-rounder Rowe, who played well. But Rowe struggled in the spring. Mills slid in the draft because of character questions, but could turn out to be a great seventh-round get. Jenkins is one of the league's better cover safeties. But he's not a great run defender, which will be a bigger issue in Schwartz's defense than it was in Davis'. McLeod could end up being the Eagles' best free-agent pickup.
SPECIAL TEAMS: K Caleb Sturgis, P Donnie Jones, LS Jon Dorenbos, KOR Josh Huff, PR Darren Sproles, K Cody Parkey, LS John DePalma.
Parkey, who was the Eagles' kicker in 2014, suffered a hamstring injury early last season and was put on injured reserve. Sturgis stepped in, and after some early problems, kicked very well. The two will compete for the kicking job in training camp. Jones turned 36 in early July, but still is one of the league's most dependable punters. Dave Fipp's coverage units have been among the best in the NFL the last two seasons. Sproles is one of the league's very best punt returners.
CAMP CALENDAR: Full squad reports July 27; first practice July 28; camp breaks Aug. 14.
TRAINING CAMP GOALS
--Add a running back: Matt Jones made an impact as a rookie and the Redskins are confident he can be a No. 1 back. But he also had five fumbles - four lost - in 2015 and averaged 3.4 yards per carry. With limited depth behind him, Washington could be in the market for a veteran running back it could sign for reasonable money to help carry the load.
--Stabilize the safety position: Washington went into the draft hoping to snag a young prospect at that spot and it didn't quite happen. Second-round pick Su'a Cravens will start his career at inside linebacker and isn't a safety in the traditional sense. Instead, the Redskins have converted corners DeAngelo Hall and Will Blackmon there full time at free safety and at strong safety they brought in David Bruton Jr. to compete with the oft-injured Duke Ihenacho.
QUARTERBACKS: Starter - Kirk Cousins. Backups - Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld.
Cousins is the man for the first time in his five years in Washington - even if we don't know yet if he's here long term. McCoy signed a three-year deal this offseason and is the primary backup. Sudfeld was a sixth-round pick out of Indiana this spring.
Jones takes over for Alfred Morris, who was allowed to depart via free agency. But is he ready for that leap? Good in pass protection with better hands than expected, Jones had his moments, but needs better ball security. Thompson had a nice season as the third-down back, but has a checkered injury history and had offseason shoulder surgery. Brown was a practice-squad player last year, well liked, but unproven. Marshall, a seventh-round draft pick who played at Georgia, has blazing speed and could make a push for a roster spot.
TIGHT ENDS: Starter - Jordan Reed. Backups - Niles Paul, Vernon Davis, Logan Paulsen, Derek Carrier, Marcel Jensen.
Reed (11 touchdowns) became one of the game's best pass-catching tight ends last season. Paul (dislocated left ankle) and Paulsen (torn toe ligaments) are back from season-ending injuries that struck in training camp. Davis was a non-factor down the stretch for Denver, but the Redskins hope the fading star still has something left in the tank to complement Reed. Carrier filled in capably last year, but tore an ACL in December.
A big season for Jackson and Garcon, who both enter contract years and turn 30 this year. Jackson played in just 10 games in 2015, but still caught 10 passes over 20 yards with four touchdowns. Garcon was again a reliable possession receiver (72 catches). Crowder, the starting slot receiver, was second among all rookies with 59 receptions. Doctson was Washington's first-round pick at No. 22 overall after a big career at Texas Christian, but foot and Achilles injuries limited him during OTAs and minicamp. Grant will have to fight for more opportunities, though coaches love his blocking and special teams play. Ross is the lone receiver who can replicate Jackson's speed.
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: Starters -- LT Trent Williams, LG Shawn Lauvao, C Kory Lichtensteiger, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses. Backups - G Josh LeRibeus, G Spencer Long, G Arie Kouandjio, G Nila Kasitati, T Takoby Cofield, T Al Bond, T Cody Booth, T Kevin Bowen, T Ty Nsekhe, C Austin Reiter.
Williams, the four-time Pro Bowler, anchors a unit that was struck hard by injuries last season. Lichtensteiger (pinched nerve) missed 11 games and Lauvao (torn ankle ligaments) sat 13. If Lauvao holds onto his spot, Long will fill in at guard and took snaps at center in the offseason. He could be a long-term solution there. Kouandjio, a fourth-round pick in 2015, also figures to be in the mix at left guard. LeRibeus was the primary center in place of the injured Lichtensteiger last season, but will revert to guard this year.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters - DLE Chris Baker, NT Kedric Golston, RDE Rickey Jean Francois. Backups - DT Ziggy Hood, DT Matt Ioannidis, DT Jerrell Powe, DE Stephen Paea, DE Trent Murphy, DE Kendall Reyes, DE Corey Crawford, DE Anthony Lanier.
Not a star-laden group. Baker had six sacks last season to lead the way and has become an impact player. Francois, Paea and Reyes, a free-agent signing from San Diego, are interchangeable. Murphy gained 20 pounds and will try his hand at defensive end after starting his career at outside linebacker. Crawford spent all last season on the practice squad and could push for a spot. Washington is de-emphasizing the nose tackle spot, but Golston is back for his 11th year with the team and Hood and Ioannidis, a fifth-round pick this spring, will fight for playing time inside.
LINEBACKERS: Starters - MLB Will Compton, JLB Mason Foster, SLB Ryan Kerrigan, WLB Junior Galette. Backups - OLB Preston Smith, OLB Houston Bates, ILB Perry Riley Jr., ILB Martrell Spaight, ILB Steven Daniels, ILB Shiro Davis, ILB Ejiro Ederaine, ILB Terrance Garvin, ILB Adam Hayward, ILB Carlos Fields, ILB Willie Jefferson, ILB Lyndon Trail, ILB Mike Wakefield.
Neither Compton nor Foster were starters at the beginning of last season, but that's how they finished the year. Foster took over for Riley (broken foot) in December, but the latter will have a chance to regain his spot. Galette (torn Achilles) returns from a training-camp injury and, if healthy, changes Washington's pass rush. Kerrigan has been reliable in that area for years and finished last year strong. Smith, a second-round pick in 2015, was a force by the end of his rookie season and finished with eight sacks.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters - LCB Josh Norman, RCB Bashaud Breeland, SS David Bruton Jr., FS DeAngelo Hall. Backups - CB Quinton Dunbar, CB Greg Toler, CB Kendall Fuller, CB Dashaun Phillips, CB Jeremy Harris, CB Lloyd Carrington, CB Mariel Cooper, FS Will Blackmon, SS Duke Ihenacho, S Deshazor Everett, S Geno Mattias-Smith, S Kyshoen Jarrett.
Norman is the biggest acquisition of the offseason, one of the best corners in the league. Bruton, a free-agent signing from Denver, and Ihenacho, a former teammate there who has missed almost all of the last two years injured, fight for the strong safety spot. Hall transitions to safety full time after doing so in the middle of last season. Blackmon shifts there from corner, too. Dunbar, a converted wide receiver last year, showed plenty of promise at corner. Fuller was a third-round pick in May from Virginia Tech after missing most of his junior year following microfracture knee surgery. Jarrett, Fuller's former teammate at Virginia Tech, had a fine rookie season before suffering a devastating nerve injury in his shoulder in the regular-season finale on Jan. 3. He didn't participate in any offseason work and might not play at all in 2016.
SPECIAL TEAMS: K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way, LS Nick Sundberg, KOR Rashad Ross, PR Jamison Crowder.
Hopkins was a revelation last year - both accurate on field goals and excellent on kickoffs. Way enters his third year as the primary punter. Neither has competition in camp. Sundberg has held his role since 2010. Ross returned a kickoff for a touchdown last season. Crowder was an excellent punt returner in college at Duke, but struggled there as a rookie.