In the Preseason, we learn to take the good with the bad. Even though there were hiccups along the way, the Redskins performed well as a team. The starters were not suited up for the final week of Preseason action. Why, you ask? Head Coach Jay Gruden saw this as an opportunity to evaluate all the younger, unheralded talent on the team. To them, it's not enough to beat the guy in the other uniform. They also have to beat their teammates. The Preseason is a race for jobs, ladies and gentleman, and some of these guys want it bad.
Lache Seastrunk's pass protection and pass catching abilities as a Running Back have been questioned as of late. Last night he caught a screen pass and took it all the way home for 80 yards and a touchdown. Needless to say, he doesn't have very many doubters, and has turned into a favorite amongst fans. Plus, he has a pretty unique name to boot. Gabe Miller, a Tight End turned Outside Linebacker, was playing like a madman against the Bucs. His penetration was phenomenal; it was almost as if he wasn't even getting blocked! His night ended with a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. He may have just earned himself a job backing up Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. Silas Redd is another Running Back worth mentioning. He has been solid all Preseason long and has exceeded expectations. He doesn't have the same big play ability as Lache Seastrunk, but he is a heck of a grinder and fights for every yard. He earned player of the game honors against the Buccaneers on Thursday night.
All of these players mentioned were on the roster bubble a few weeks ago, but they wanted to be on this team, and it showed in their play. It just goes to show that one week of stellar play can make all the difference. The Redskins need to trim the roster down to 53 players by August 30, 4 P.M. ET. There are decisions to be made, and it will not be easy. Some good players are going to be let go, and we can only hope that maybe they get a shot with another team. This leads us to the bigger picture; who will make the final 53? Nobody can know for sure, but it's fun to make an educated guess! Not to mention the bragging rights that come with guessing correctly!
It's been a long time coming, and the regular season is upon us. Here is my projection for the Redskins final 53 man roster!
Quarterback - Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy
All QB's have earned their spot. RG3 still needs to prove he can operate in a pro-style offense, so keeping Cousins and McCoy behind him on the depth chart is good insurance.
Running Back - Alfred Morris, Roy Helu Jr., Silas Redd, Lache Seastrunk
If any position really lit it up this Preseason, it was Running Back. They've been doing some spectacular things and they will be rewarded with a roster spot. Morris is the starter, but Helu Jr., Redd, and Seastrunk have proven their worth and will see some playing time this season. Having this stable of RB's will take some of the workload off of Morris' shoulders, keeping him healthy and fresh.
Fullback - Darrel Young
This spot was never up for debate. Young is one of the best, if not, the best Fullback in the NFL.
Garcon, Jackson, and Roberts were all safe from the start. Moss, Robinson, and Grant had to fight for their spots, but they fought well and they can all make contributions to this football team. Gruden likes getting all of his receivers active in the passing game. It will be interesting to see how creative he gets with this group of guys.
Tight End - Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul
Ted Bolser is the odd man out. He hasn't done much this Preseason and he will most likely be stashed on the Practice Squad. This unit is identical to it's 2013 form.
Left Tackle - Trent Williams, Tom Compton
We saw Morgan Moses operate on the left side for a big portion of the Preseason, but the plan is to move him to the right side. This being the case, we will see Tom Compton backing up Trent Williams on the left side.
Left Guard - Shawn Lauvao, Josh LeRibeus
New free agent acquisition Shawn Lauvao assumes starting duties with Josh LeRibeus backing him up. There wasn't much competition here.
Center - Kory Lichtensteiger
Lichtensteiger was moved from Left Guard to Center this offseason and he seems to have made a smooth transition. Again, there wasn't much competition in this area.
Right Guard - Chris Chester, Spencer Long
Many thought an aging Chris Chester would be cut from the team, but he remains a starter on the Redskins offensive line. However, rookie Spencer Long was brought onto the team to be an eventual starter. He may usurp Chester as the starter sooner than later.
Right Tackle - Tyler Polumbus, Morgan Moses
Tyler Polumbus is still the starter? Yes, for the time being at least. There is no doubt that Morgan Moses was drafted in 2014 to be the future starter. Only time will tell when he is ready. Right now, Polumbus occupies the far right side of the line.
Right Defensive End - Jason Hatcher, Jarvis Jenkins
The Redskins gave Jason Hatcher a fat new contract for a reason. He is the undisputed starter. Jarvis Jenkins is in the last year of his rookie contract. He has been underwhelming thus far in his career, but he has shown some improvement. This will be enough to keep him on the team for another year.
Nose Tackle - Barry Cofield, Robert Thomas
Barry Cofield has been the most consistent player on the Redskins defensive line in recent years. Nobody doubted his ability to make this team. The surprise here is Robert Thomas. Mammoth Nose Tackle Chris Neild suffered a scary injury last night against the Bucs, and it is believed to be an ACL tear. This injury could effectively end his season and tenure with the Washington Redskins. This opens the door for Robert Thomas to step in and make an impact. He is the only other Nose Tackle on the Redskins roster.
Chris Baker has served as a utility on the Redskins defensive line during his time with the team, but he has since been promoted to starter at Defensive End. He is slowly coming into his own and could make great strides in his game this year. Kedric Golston is an experienced veteran and, even though he doesn't provide much pass rush ability, he can still be effective at plugging up running lanes.
Right Outside Linebacker - Brian Orakpo, Trent Murphy
Orakpo may be in for a career year this season. Backing him up is Trent Murphy, the Redskins 2014 2nd round draft pick. Murphy doesn't look dominant right now, but that's okay because Orakpo and Kerrigan look to be in top form. Right now, the Redskins should just focus on grooming him as a role player.
Mike Linebacker - Keenan Robinson, Will Compton
Robinson had to fill the void left by London Fletcher, and he has done marvelously. What once looked like a weakness in the defense now looks like a huge benefactor. Will Compton also deserves praise. He didn't play with the starters, but he has climbed the depth chart by displaying great instincts and knowledge of the game. Fans should feel safe with either of these guys manning the middle of the field.
Jack Linebacker - Perry Riley Jr., Adam Hayward
Akeem Jordan would've been included in this bunch, but he is believed to have suffered an MCL sprain in Thursday's match up against the Buccaneers. His future with the team hangs in the balance. Perry Riley Jr. will start next to Keenan Robinson. Adam Hayward will provide depth and solid Special Teams play.
Left Outside Linebacker - Ryan Kerrigan, Gabe Miller
We all know about Ryan Kerrigan, but how about this one? Gabe Miller. As previously stated, the guy was a monster on the field last night and really made a case for himself. Who else is best suited for this job? Everette Brown? Adrian Robinson? Neither of them have shown what Miller showed us on Thursday night; pure dominance.
Bashaud Breeland (aside from a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana) has done nothing but raised his stock with this team since he was drafted. He lays devastating hits and can make plays on the ball. He could turn out to be a steal for the Redskins. Biggers knows Jim Haslett's system so his knowledge and experience gets him a spot here. Tracy Porter is another experienced veteran. He has regressed in his play, but the Redskins just gave him a 2 year, $6 million dollar contract, so it's hard to see him getting cut right off the bat. Minnifield gets the nod over Richard Crawford this year. Minnifield didn't dress yesterday, Crawford did. However, Crawford didn't really help his chances by making some bad plays. This year is Minnifield's time to shine.
Free Safety - Ryan Clark, Trenton Robinson
Clark was brought onto the team this year through Free Agency to be the starter. He is a stopgap, though, and won't be a long term solution. Robinson is the next best option.
Strong Safety - Bacarri Rambo, Phillip Thomas
Brandon Meriweather would have gotten the start here, but he is suspended for the first two games of the regular season for an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit against Baltimore Ravens' Torrey Smith. This gives the opportunity to 2013 draft picks Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas.
Kicker - Zach Hocker
Even though Hocker missed a Field Goal against the Buccaneers, he has still done more than Kai Forbath this Preseason. He has made tackles on Kickoffs and has one heck of a leg. Forbath will find a job elsewhere.
Punter - Tress Way
Tress Way was recently brought onto the team, and has outperformed his competition Robert Malone. Way pinned the Buccaneers inside the 20 yard line twice, and averaged more yards on his punts in comparison to Malone. Say hello to your new Punter, Washington fans.
Long Snapper - Nick Sundberg
He was never challenged. Sundberg will handle long snapping duties on Special Teams.
You heard it here first! Let me know what you think! We will all find out in the next 24 hours if this list is fact or fiction. Thanks for reading, and hail to the Redskins!