May 26, 2015; Ashbury, VA, USA; Washington Redskins offensive tackle Brandon Scherff (75) jokes with Redskins tackle Tom Compton (68) while participating in warm ups during the Redskins OTA at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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The Washington Redskins may not be in the Super Bowl this year, but they certainly have a lot of former players in the game. Most of their guys are on the Atlanta Falcons roster.
The biggest game of the NFL season will occur tomorrow. Super Bowl 51 is approaching, and the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots are gearing up for a big time battle between the two best teams in the league. The game is shaping up to be a great game, and it should be fun for everyone to watch.
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For Washington Redskins fans, it is not too difficult to pick a side to root for. The team on the NFC side of the bracket has much more of a history with the Redskins franchise, and thus, it would make sense for fans to root for the Falcons. In fact, Kirk Cousins is even rooting for the Falcons ahead of Sunday’s game.
The real reason that it is so easy to root for the Falcons is because their roster has many former members of the Redskins on their team. In all aspects, former Redskins will have an impact on the game and it will be fun to track them on Sunday night.
Jan 22, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons offensive guard Chris Chester (65) at the line of scrimmage during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the 2017 NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Falcons Offense: Four Former Redskins
The most notable former Redskins come on the offensive side of the ball for the Falcons. There is one former Redskin who is starting for the Falcons, and he resides on the offensive line. Right guard Chris Chester was with the Redskins from 2011-2014 before he moved on to the Falcons as a free agent. In the past couple of years, Chester has started for the Falcons. However, he has generally been the weak link on the front. Still, Chester has some talent and will see the field for a good amount of the game.
Elsewhere on the offensive line is former Redskins right tackle Tom Compton. For the Falcons, Compton has operated as the primary backup at the tackle position. He is a solid swing tackle, and may see some time as an extra offensive lineman. Ben Garland is generally first off the bench, but still Compton should see some time on the field.
The other two former offensive Redskins are in the receiving corps. Aldrick Robinson spent four seasons with the team after being drafted out of SMU. He was a one trick pony that operated as a speed receiver during the Robert Griffin III days. Robinson has reprised his role with the Falcons last year, and he had his best season. He put together a 20 catch season and had a couple of touchdowns. He likely will not play much in the Super Bowl, but he could make a big play if given the chance.
Finally, Nick Williams spent one year with the Redskins in 2013. The receiver is mostly a special teams player that will not have too much of an impact on the game. Still, he did spend time with the Redskins at one point.
Oct 16, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham (88) defended by Atlanta Falcons safety Dashon Goldson (38) during a NFL football game at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the Falcons 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Falcons Defense: Dashon Goldson Stands Alone
The Falcons defense has only one former Redskin on their team. Safety Dashon Goldson was a former Pro Bowler with the San Francisco 49ers who spent a single season with Washington. Goldson was a below average starter with the Redskins and he ended up not signing with any team in the offseason.
Late in the year, the Falcons picked up Goldson to provide some depth for the team. Kemal Ishmael and Desmond Trufant went on injured reserve, and the team had to make sure that they had depth going into the playoffs. Goldson ended up signing but has barely played since coming aboard.
That trend will likely continue in the Super Bowl. Goldson simply does not have the talent to compete with the Patriots receivers. He still provides depth, but if they have to use him, they could be in trouble.
Aug 11, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan before a game against the Washington Redskins at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Coaching Staff: Kyle Shanahan Stands Out
The most obvious member of the Falcons coaching staff that used to be on the Redskins is Kyle Shanahan. The team’s former offensive coordinator has had a great deal of success with the Falcons and is going to be the new head coach for the 49ers after the season.
Shanahan is one of the best offensive minds of the league. There is no doubt about it. He turned the Falcons offense into one of the league’s best units and has been responsible for Matt Ryan’s development into a truly elite quarterback. Shanahan deserves the credit that he is getting and should end up being an excellent head coach.
Elsewhere on the staff, there are some other former Redskins assistants. The team’s assistant head coach, Raheem Morris, was the Redskins secondary coach for three years. He also spent time as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Running backs coach Bobby Turner and quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur were on the Redskins offensive staff that featured Shanahan from 2010-2013. They are a very strong unit and should be able to lead the team very well.
No matter what happens, the Falcons are going to be fun to watch. They have a bunch of former Redskins, and they should have a chance to compete with the Patriots.