RICHMOND—The Redskins open the preseason in Cleveland in just a few days and in less than four weeks they will cut to their final 53 players. In other words, it’s getting late early for the players on the bubble trying to secure a roster spot.
Here are my projections of who will end up on the roster when the dust settles on September 5 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.
Quarterback (3): Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy
Offensive line (9): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, , Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Tom Compton, Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio, Willie Smith
With the switch of Brandon Scherff to guard and Spencer Long getting pushed to a reserve role there is one more tackle spot and one fewer guard spot. I think Josh LeRibeus gets pushed to the wrong side of the bubble and Smith steps in and takes the other reserve tackle spot.
Wide receiver (6): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder, Evan Spencer.
Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen
The Redskins' unofficial depth chart lists Paul as the starter with Reed second. I think
Running back (4): Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson
Thompson’s position seems to be firming up. He has been running well in practice and last week Gruden said that he was becoming a solid third-down back.
Defensive line (7): Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Stephan Paea, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Kedric Golston, Frank Kearse
Outside linebacker (4): Ryan Kerrigan, Junior Galette, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith
Inside linebacker (5): Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Martrell Spaight, Adam Hayward
Cornerback (4): Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Justin Rogers
Safety (5): Dashon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett, Trenton Robinson
The reserve corners and safeties will be in limbo pending the Week 2 return of Bashaud Breeland (not on the 53 due to suspension), who will be eligible and presumably healthy and ready to play. Since they’ll only have four active cornerbacks for the game anyway, there’s no point in carrying a fifth on the 53. Jarrett, who can work a slot corner in a pinch, can serve as the emergency corner. When Breeland returns it appears that either Robinson or Rogers will be gone.
Specialists (3): LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way, PK Kai Forbath
The numbers: 25 offense, 25 defense, 3 specialists; 16 new to the Redskins organization in 2015 including eight draft picks
Last 4 on
CB Justin Rogers—Breeland’s one-game suspension opens the door for Rogers to get another NFL game check and perhaps get a chance to establish himself as a legitimate slot corner. But unless he improves his play he will be the 53rd player on the roster in Week 1 and gone in Week 2.
OT Tom Compton—He started the majority of the games last year but he now is being pushed to the bench by Moses, who couldn’t get ahead of Compton on the depth chart last year. On more step down and he could be on the street.
DL Frank Kearse—He was one of the few feel-good stories last year, going from a long shot to make the roster to a good rotation player who posted three sacks. But he could be odd man out if they decide to go with only six defensive linemen.
S Trenton Robinson—If Rogers performs well for the rest of camp and preseason games, Robinson could be the odd man out when Breeland returns. He is solid on special teams so that helps.
Four more close to the bubble: OL Willie Smith, PK Kai Forbath, DL Kedric Golston, ILB Adam Hayward
Last 4 cuts
OL Josh LeRibeus—He has been working as the backup center. The problem is, they generally don’t keep two centers. Sure he can play guard but the team is unlikely to let go of Spencer Long or Arie Kouandjio. That leaves LeRibeus on the outside looking in.
RB Silas Redd—If Thompson doesn’t shake his injury bug, Redd is likely to be in. Even of Thompson does stay healthy, Redd could win the job anyway. Right now Thompson has the edge because of his speed but Redd will not give up easily. Redd hasn’t done anything to stand out in camp but there is time for him to make an impression.
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 if he has a good preseason Cofield could make a case for a spot on the 53. For now, he appears to be practice squad material.
OLB Trevardo Williams—Things have not gone well for Williams since camp started. First the team brought in Junior Galette, who takes away a roster spot at his position. Then he suffered a hamstring strain that Gruden said will sideline him for two weeks. An injury could create an opening for him but he needs to be able to take advantage of it.
Four more just on the wrong side of the bubble: WR Rashad Ross, NT Jerrell Powe, TE Je’Ron Hamm, RB Trey Williams