Another week of NFL Preseason football is in the books, and with that there comes another group of guys who have either helped or hurt their stock on this football team. The Redskins have trimmed their roster down to 75 players, and we are getting closer to seeing who will make the final 53 man roster. Surprisingly, one of our climbers in both weeks of Preseason, Rashad Ross, has fallen victim to the cuts. This shouldn't surprise anyone, since the Wide Receiver position is a crammed spot on the Redskins roster.
We can learn a lot from the Redskins contest with the Ravens. Although the defense looked stout, the starting offense has yet to score a touchdown in the Preseason. Hopefully this touchdown drought doesn't continue on into the regular season. The sloppy play of the starting offense resulted in a disappointing 23-17 loss, but that doesn't mean that some of these backups didn't impress (all stats are from Preseason Week 3 ONLY):
Santana Moss, 14th year Wide Receiver: He's still got some gas left in the tank. Moss was invisible in the first Preseason game against the Patriots, but he is slowly starting to come out of his shell. His timing couldn't be better. There are plenty of young receivers on the roster and even though Moss is a fan favorite in Washington, his roster spot is not carved in stone. Luckily, he scored a touchdown in his last outing against the Ravens, and has proven that he can still contribute to some capacity. This decision will come right down to the wire. We all want to see Moss make the roster, but that decision comes down to Jay Gruden, and whether he thinks Moss can operate in his offense or not.
Stat Line: 3 receptions, 27 yards, 1 touchdown
Nick Williams, 2nd year Wide Receiver: Not far behind Santana Moss is Nick Williams. He was brought onto the team as an Undrafted Free Agent last season. Williams had his chance as a punt/kick returner, but it never really panned out. He wasn't ready to be used in a role like that, but with further time and development, Williams looks ready. He has scored touchdowns in back to back weeks. Again, this is a stacked position, so if Williams is cut or stashed on the practice squad, it is easy to understand why. Williams isn't a household name, but Jay Gruden is going to let his players play, and if he can prove that he can do it better than the other receivers on the roster, he will have earned his spot on the team.
Stat Line: 3 receptions, 17 yards, 1 touchdown
Niles Paul, 4th year Tight End: After being taken in the 2011 Draft as a Wide Receiver, Niles Paul has since been converted to a Tight End. He has never made big splashes in the offense, or ripples for that matter, but he looks more active now than he ever was. His stats aren't groundbreaking, but Jay Gruden seems intent on using his hybrid Tight End in more ways than the previous coaching regime. Paul made a nice leaping catch over a Baltimore defender; a play that we normally don't see him make. Paul is also known for his dedication to good, solid Special Teams play, so he is worth keeping for another season. Jordan Reed is the unquestioned starter at Tight End, but that doesn't mean Paul won't see his snaps. His main competition is Ted Bolser, who isn't doing anything remarkable, so it is hard to see Paul not making this roster.
Stat Line: 2 receptions, 25 yards
Phillip Thomas, 2nd year Safety: Thomas' 2013 season was over before it started with a Lisfranc injury. He hopes to make a difference in 2014, but hasn't done much to help his case. Thomas has only accumulated one tackle throughout the entirety of the Preseason, and is now feeling soreness in his foot, the same foot that endured a Lisfranc injury just a year ago. These injuries are serious, and they can take a lot away from a player's initial burst of speed. This bit of information coupled with the fact that Thomas is underperforming is not good news. Many were expecting Thomas to be an instant starter at Safety for the Redskins, but that may not turn out to be the case. If Thomas doesn't show something now, he may not even make the final 53 man roster.
Stat Line: N/A
Chris Thompson, 2nd year Running Back: Thompson has been out for two consecutive Preseason games now, and it has hurt his stock with the team. Rookies Silas Redd and Lache Seastrunk are establishing themselves as potential replacements at the position, and they aren't as injury prone. Thompson has an unfortunate injury history and it will hinder his chances of making this team. It's just a hunch, but it would be safe to bet on Thompson not making the team this year.
Stat Line: N/A
There is one final Preseason game left; consider it a final audition of sorts. These players on the roster bubble have one last ditch effort to make a good impression. It will be a good opportunity since the Redskins will be facing a questionable Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. Head Coach Jay Gruden has also said that the starters will not be playing, giving the backups more time to make an impact.
After it is all said and done, a final 53 man roster will be projected right here on our site, so don't miss out! Enjoy the final game of Preseason, and hail to the Redskins!