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Bubble watch final version: Predicting the Redskins’ 53-man roster

Bubble watch final version: Predicting the Redskins’ 53-man roster

The Redskins roster will be finalized by 4 p.m. tomorrow. Some players helped and hurt themselves in last night’s backups-only fourth preseason game. But most of the cake was already baked.

Here are my projections of who will end up on the roster when the dust settles and that roster is turned in plus a look at who is just hanging on and four who are just on the wrong side of the bubble. I’ve added some comments as needed.

Related: Bubble watch version 6.0

Offense

Quarterback (3): Kirk Cousins, Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy

I think that Griffin sticks through tomorrow. Whether he is still on the roster on opening day is up in the air.

Offensive line (9): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger,  Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Tom Compton, Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio, Josh LeRibeus

LeRibeus hangs on as the only viable option to backup at center.

Wide receiver (6): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder, Evan Spencer

Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Derek Carrier, Je’Ron Hamm

Hamm could be just a temporary addition as the team could scan the waiver wire to add a tight end who can block.

Running back (4): Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson

Defense

Defensive line (6): Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Stephan Paea, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Kedric Golston

They have gone with seven on the DL in most years but I think they need an extra linebacker to help on special teams.

Outside linebacker (5): Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith, Houston Bates, Jackson Jeffcoat

Inside linebacker (5): Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Martrell Spaight, Terrance Plummer

Cornerback (4): Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Justin Rogers

Bashaud Breeland will not be on Week 1 roster due to NFL suspension so he is not listed here.

Safety (5): Dashon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett, Trenton Robinson

Specialists (3): LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way, PK Kai Forbath

The numbers: 25 offense, 25 defense, 3 specialists; 18 new to the Redskins organization in 2015 including eight draft picks

Last 6 on

OL Josh LeRibeus —He should hang on for a fourth season due to a lack of backup options in the interior line. To his credit, he went from being not an option at center to a layer who could make it based on his ability to be the emergency backup there.

TE Je’Ron Hamm—As noted, easily could be knocked off if the team sees another possible solution on the waiver wire.

CB Justin Rogers—He helped himself a lot last week against the Ravens by chasing down Asa Jackson on a kickoff return, preventing a touchdown. This team needs special teams help. But there are big question marks about his ability to stay on the roster once Breeland returns from his one-game suspension.

LB Houston Bates—Having a couple of solid preseason games is one thing. Consistently doing what you need to do to make an NFL team is another. He can’t relax for a second and even if he manages not to someone could still bypass him.

LB Terrance Plummer—He’s undersized (5-11, 231) but he works sideline to sideline and just seems like a good, hard-working player to have around.

LB Jackson Jeffcoat—The injury to Junior Galette opened the door for him and he took advantage with an interception and a sack/strip against the Ravens. If the coaches like his work on special teams he should make it.

Last 5 cuts

DL Frank Kearse—Last year’s surprise inclusion on the roster may end up as a surprise cut. The team needs bodies to contribute on special teams and that means an extra linebacker. They may try to get by with six D-linemen. Kearse has missed time with a shoulder injury, dropping him behind Kedric Golston for the last spot.

WR Rashad Ross—He can play some as he showed in the preseason games. Ross leads the team in all three major receiving categories with 25 catches for 266 yards and four touchdowns. But the numbers at wide receiver just don’t work for him. They are unlikely to keep more than six and I can’t see Ross beating out any of the guys who are in.

OT Takoby Cofield—The team paid him the maximum signing bonus for an undrafted free agent so they thought highly of him coming out of Duke. He has had a good camp and may have made a case to make the 53.

OT Ty Nsekhe—If they want a second backup tackle it will be between the rookie Cofield and the lightly-experienced 29-year-old Nsekhe.

RB Trey Williams—He could develop into a true home run threat but for right now there isn’t any room for him at running back. It’s likely the will try to get him onto the practice squad.

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ ugly 20-10 win vs. the Giants.

A Win is a Win:
If you are worried about style points you are doing it wrong. This was a banged up team on a short week playing for its life. Perhaps a better start would have made for a more comfortable win but they got done what they needed to do.

Jamison Crowder is on a Roll
:
He gained a career-high 141 yards on seven receptions. The yardage broke his career high of 123 that he set in Week 8. The third-year receiver got off to very slow start, not posting over 52 yards in any game.

But he has broken out of his slump in a big way and Kirk Cousins is very glad to see it.

Perine is Ready:
The rookie was elevated into the starting role after Rob Kelley went onto injured reserve two weeks ago. His importance elevated when Chris Thompson went out for the year with a broken leg.

Fortunately for the Redskins, his play has elevated since becoming the starter. He rushed for 117 yards against the Saints on Sunday. Thursday, four days later, he couldn’t get anything going in the first half, gaining only three yards on seven carries. But he got rolling in the second half and finished with 100 yards on 24 carries.

The Redskins may well have lost this game if Perine, the only back who was on the roster as of three weeks ago, had not gotten himself on track.

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

Defense Got Help: 
Eli Manning passed for 113 yards. Only six times in his career, which spans 211 games, has he thrown for fewer yards. There are three entities mainly responsible for Eli’s woes. The Redskins defense did a good job of putting pressure on him and for the most part the back seven played well in coverage. But Eli himself contributed to his own production problems.

On many occasions he had time to throw and a receiver open but he either sailed the ball well over the receiver’s head or threw it in the ground. Finally, when Manning did have time and delivered the ball on the money, his receivers frequently were unable to find the handle; there were several costly drops.

RELATED: BIGGEST UP'S AND DOWN'S FROM REDSKINS-GIANTS

There is Hope:
It’s too early in the weekend to go into much detail about the Redskins chances of making the playoffs but the losses earlier in the day by the Lions and Cowboys certainly helped.

It’s still a tough path to navigate.

But they did what they needed to do today in winning one of six games that looked winnable earlier this week. All they can do is try to get a winning streak together and they did all they could do in that regard on Thanksgiving.

Now it’s on to Dallas to see if they can take the next step.

MORE: THIS ONE THROW SHOWS HOW COUSINS IS EVOLVING

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

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USA TODAY Sports

Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

LANDOVER — At times during the Redskins' 20-10 Thanksgiving night victory over the Giants, Kirk Cousins and Washington's offense performed at a level somewhere between sloppy nausea-inducing.

There was that awful sequence where the offense botched a fourth-and-1 more than they normally do.

There was also No. 8's slightly off-target throw to a running back he barely knows that ended up as six points for New York. And there were plenty less notable, but still gross, plays before and after those.

But Cousins' first touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder was far from gross. It was beautiful. It was creative.

And it showed how the 29-year-old is still developing as a quarterback:

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

"The touchdown he had to Crowder was one of his best touchdown passes that I've seen since I've been here," Jay Gruden said about it afterward.

He's right.

By now, you know the boxes that Cousins checks off as a passer. He has the requisite arm strength. He's usually able to move an offense, even one like the Redskins' 2017 version that includes a ton of spare parts, up and down the field. He has the work ethic and leadership skills. 

But a common knock against him is that he can't extend a play and find a receiver when things aren't there during his initial dropback. And that weakness becomes a glaring one in the red zone.

Yet on Thanksgiving night, there Cousins was, avoiding an edge rusher, stepping up, rolling right and then nailing Crowder right on the numbers for a crucial TD. Like his head coach, Cousins was proud of how that score unfolded.

"I felt some pressure so I just tried to escape up and to the right and kept my eyes down field," he said. "I think just the longer I play, I'll get a better feel for how to move and escape."

MORE: ALL OF THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE THANKSGIVING WIN

Cousins' final stats don't stack up to some of his past performances, such as his Week 11 effort in New Orleans where he shined or his pretty perfect evening vs. the Raiders in Week 3. Regardless, this one was encouraging in its own way, because it provided another grlimpse at how the signal caller is becoming more comfortable when things around him become uncomfortable.

Like most of his fellow starters in the league, Cousins has flaws. But the more he plays, the more those flaws diminish. Gruden sees it, he sees it, and you should see it, too.