The Washington Football Team released five players over the last few days, and in turn, perhaps some level of clarity is emerging for Ron Rivera's 2021 squad.
Gone are veteran running back Lamar Miller, 2019 sixth-round wide receiver Kelvin Harmon and 2018 seventh-round CB Greg Stroman, all players with some level of familiarity for average fans. With those releases, Rivera is getting closer to overhauling two key positions in cornerback and wide receiver, and that spells good news for some new faces trying to make the team.
Let's get to the stock report.
- Antonio Gandy-Golden - Washington selected AGG in the fourth round last year, and while his rookie season was largely a waste due to injuries, clearly he has an inside track on the sixth wide receiver position after the Harmon release. There's still competition for the spot, especially from Steven Sims and Dax Milne and perhaps even from DeAndre Carter, but the path for a roster spot seems clearer for AGG. Rivera spoke on AGG on Tuesday: "He's a big body, works well with the quarterbacks in terms of the vertical stuff. So he's done a nice job, he really has."
- Jaret Patterson - Miller's release was more about the veteran no longer having burst than it was clearing space for other backs, but Patterson's performance in the preseason opener against New England made a statement. Couple that with a new role, as Patterson is now getting some chances as a returner, and it's obvious the staff is intrigued by Patterson's skillset. Now, does that mean Patterson could unseat Peyton Barber as the team's third running back? It's too early to determine, and keep in mind that when Patterson couldn't bust through the Patriots defense for a touchdown at the goal line last week, Washington put Barber in for a third down run that resulted in a TD. Still, Patterson is very much trending the right direction.
- Torry McTyer & Darryl Roberts - Washington will likely keep six cornerbacks and the release of Stroman is good news for the pair of McTyer and Roberts, or at least one of them. Four spots are locked -- Kendall Fuller, William Jackson III, Benjamin St. Juste and Jimmy Moreland -- and presently it seems Danny Johnson has the fifth spot. It helps that Johnson is the kick returner, at least for now, giving him more value. Roberts and McTyer have made plays in practice and preseason games, and the door is open to keep pushing.
- Kyle Allen - The good news is Allen returned from about a week's worth of missed practices after tweaking his surgically repaired ankle. The bad news is: 1) Allen missed a week and 2) Allen hasn't looked very crisp since his return. A few weeks back, there was a real discussion if Allen could overtake Taylor Heinicke for the backup QB spot, now that conversation is non-existent.
- Temarrick Hemingway - A series of bad events happened for Mr. Hemingway since last Thursday's preseason action in New England: 1) He suffered a concussion and is now in the NFL protocol 2) He looked bad in the game before the concussion, getting blown up on a block and dropping a catch 3) Sammis Reyes made two catches and Rivera called him "the most physical" tight end on the roster 4) Washington claimed TE Caleb Wilson off the Eagles practice squad. That's not a good run for Hemingway, who at one point looked like the clear No. 2 tight end on the roster after Logan Thomas.
- Friday Night Lights - The excitement surrounding Friday night's matchup between Washington and the Bengals took a major hit when Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor announced QB Joe Burrow won't play. The No. 1 overall pick in 2020, Burrow blew out his knee last fall in a game against Washington. In that regard, maybe it's no surprise the former Heisman winner isn't making his preseason debut at FedExField.