With less than a week before Week 1 against Philadelphia, the Washington Football Team released its initial depth chart for the 2020 season on Tuesday. Here's what stood out:
What is noteworthy is that Kyle Allen is listed as the backup with Alex Smith behind him. Allen took most of the second-team reps in 11-on-11 drills during training camp as Smith continued to work his way back to full strength. Allen also has a solid grasp of offensive coordinator Scott Turner's system after learning from him in Carolina the past two seasons.
But if there's a situation where Smith needs to play against the Eagles, Rivera said he feels comfortable putting Smith in. Rivera made that clear by not only keeping Smith on the 53-man roster, but also not placing him on Injured Reserve.
"You guys didn't get to see it, but we threw him right into the middle of the fire in the last two days of practice," Rivera said of Smith. "He handled all the 11-on-11 drills for the backups and for the practice team stuff. He got right into the middle of it. People were flying all over the place, and he just stood tall. That was probably the biggest hurdle for me personally that I wanted to see. Just watching him do that was kind of a cool deal because I'm fired up for what he can be."
-- J.D. McKissic is listed as the No. 1 running back, followed by Antonio Gibson, Peyton Barber and Bryce Love. However, the order of running backs does not seem to be of much importance in Turner's offense, which likes to use two rushers on the field at the same time. The Eagles' defensive game plan will also influence who's out on the field Sunday.
-- Logan Thomas is listed as the starting tight end after a standout training camp. Thomas, who came over from Detroit this offseason, has shown off his athleticism in Washington while serving as one of Haskins' favorite targets, especially in the red zone. Jeremy Sprinkle is listed as the No. 2 tight end, followed by Marcus Baugh.
-- Left guard Wes Martin and left tackle Geron Christian Sr. are listed as the starters at their respective positions. Both players have been the starters for nearly all of training camp and the preseason.
Take a look at photos of Washington Football's 53-man roster as of Sept. 5, 2020.
-- The highly anticipated starting defensive line will consist of Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen. Young, who grew up about 12 minutes from FedExField, will make his NFL debut Sunday against Philadelphia.
"It definitely would mean a lot because I'd be playing on this field, but really because it's something I worked for my whole life," Young said Aug. 31 about what it would mean to start Week 1. "To be able to go out and start, that would just be a blessing. Right now, I'm just worried about getting this defense corrected and getting my head right. That's just my No. 1 priority."
Ryan Kerrigan is listed behind Young on the depth chart, but expect Young, Kerrigan, Sweat and Ryan Anderson to each receive significant reps. The same goes for Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle, who are listed behind Allen and Payne, respectively.
-- Linebacker was one of the most competitive position battles during training camp. Shaun Dion Hamilton, Jon Bostic and Kevin Pierre-Louis are listed as the starters for Week 1. Hamilton and Pierre-Louis will play outside, while Bostic will man the middle. Thomas Davis Sr., Cole Holcomb and Khaleke Hudson are listed as the backups.
-- The starting secondary remains the same as it was all camp with Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby at corner, Troy Apke at free safety and Landon Collins at strong safety. Expect Jimmy Moreland to play in the slot when the team is in its nickel defense.
-- Sims is listed as the No. 1 kick returner and punt returner. Gibson is the second kickoff returner, while Isaiah Wright is the second punt returner.