It is important for wide receivers to get separation.But for most of the past month none of the five players chasing after the remaining wide receiver jobs with Redskins has been able to gain any separation from the pack.That is, until last Saturday.Since the spring, the identities of the top four wide receivers have been known. They gave Pierre Garon and Josh Morgan big contracts. They have been waiting to see Leonard Hankerson reach his potential since his season ended prematurely with a hip injury last year. And if there were any doubts about the 33-year-old Santana Moss, long the teams leading receiver, he put them to bed by showing up 15 pounds lighter and catching everything in sight.Most figure that the Redskins will carry six wide receivers this season. The number is not set in stone; last year they had seven wideouts on the roster for most of the year plus return specialist Brandon Banks. But they could do that in part because they only carried two quarterbacks and it seems nearly certain that both Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman will back up starter Robert Griffin III.If we go with six wide receiver roster spots there are two up for grabs. And through training camp and the first preseason game, none of the five realistic candidates for those two spotsBanks, Anthony Armstrong, Aldrick Robinson, Terrence Austin, and Dezmon Briscoeperformed well enough to put in a legitimate claim on one of the two jobs. They all had enough good moments to stay in the conversation but enough negative plays on film to keep the competition wide open.That changed on Saturday night in Chicago. Robinson caught six passes for 104 yards and touchdown. Briscoe had 51 yards on three receptions including a nice grab at the goal line for a touchdown. And Banks didnt see any action at receiver but he helped himself with a 91-yard punt return.Meanwhile, Austin caught just one pass for 11 yards and Armstrong, still ailing from a shoulder in jury that kept him out of the first preseason game, played very little.Robinson seems to have helped himself the most of all, at least in the eyes of Mike Shanahan. On Monday and again on Tuesday the coach raved about his touchdown catch and run, which came on a deflected pass.It looks like Robinson took a giant step towards earning a roster spot and Briscoe and Banks helped their cases a great deal. And it looks like Armstrong and Austin are on the outside looking in. Nothing, however, is set in stone. Armstrong should get more playing time against the Colts and over the past two years Austin has had a knack for coming through with a good performance just when he needed it most.The competition will continue through practice next week and the preseason finale against the Bucs. Making the final decision here will have the coaches up late into the night.
Here are three things you need to know about Nick Rose, who was signed on Tuesday to replace Dustin Hopkins.
1) His next NFL kick will be his first one
Rose has spent offseason time with the Falcons and 49ers since entering the league in 2016 after his collegiate career at Texas. However, he has never attempted a regular season field goal or PAT, so the first time he does so with the Redskins will be the first time ever for him as a pro.
The 23-year-old certainly has potential: He was one of the nation's top touchback producers in 2014 and 2015 for the Longhorns, so distance on kickoffs and field goals shouldn't be an issue (this video of him nailing one from 80, yes, 80, backs that up). What remains to be seen is whether he can split the uprights for Washington.
For what it's worth, Hopkins was totally inexperienced in the NFL when he first signed with the Burgundy and Gold, too.
2) He can make kicks in unconventional ways
While this doesn't come across as something Jay Gruden would ever want Rose to try in, say, this Monday's game in Philly, Rose can sink chip shots while simultaneously completing a backflip.
Ever seen Adam Vinatieri do that? Nope, didn't think so.
3) He beat out at least three other candidates for the job
With Hopkins likely done for the year with a hip issue, the Redskins worked out a handful of replacement options on Tuesday.
It was Rose, though, who emerged with a contract. He earned it over at least three other guys, including veterans Mike Nugent and Andrew Franks. Now he must bring that strong leg, as well as some accuracy, when called upon to ensure the 'Skins don't miss out on any points on a weekly basis.
Making kicks in the middle of backflips is fun, sure. But making them in front of national TV audiences instead of a YouTube audience is probably more fun. Let's see if Rose has what it takes to stick around.
Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins will likely not play again this year, a source with knowledge of the situation tells our JP Finlay.
The team placed Hopkins on the injured reserve list, which means he's out at least eight weeks. To replace him, the Redskins signed Nick Rose, per NFL Network.
In his third season with Washington, Hopkins had made nearly 82 percent of his field goals this year. He made 12 of 13 extra points, but missed a very important extra point in Sunday's win over the 49ers.
Hopkins had a very strong leg, capable of touchbacks on kickoffs nearly every time the situation called for it.
Rose is yet to play in the NFL but spent time with the 49ers. He kicked collegiately at the University of Texas.
As a senior in Austin last year, Rose made 13 of 17 field goals and 38 of 39 extra points.