Here is what you need to know on Sunday, August 26, six days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster down to 53 players.
Cam Sims' progress is complicating the WR battle—Coaches and personnel executives want you to believe that when OTAs start that the playing field is level, that everybody has a chance to make the roster. The truth is that there is a depth chart from Day 1 and a player has to be a disrupter to move from being far down the chart into a spot that means that the player has a roster spot. If that player is an undrafted rookie, like Sims is, you really have to break through. Sims was up and down in practice, but he came through in the first two preseason games. The Alabama product disrupted. He’s not a lock to make the 53 but it seems likely that he is in.
Five reasons to be optimistic about the 2018 Redskins—Looking at some of the Redskins’ strengths they have going into the season. The assets don’t add up to a team that looks like one that will make a deep playoff run (although you never know) but it’s not one that will be a raging dumpster fire, either (although you never know). By the way, reasons for concern will be up in the next few days.
Examining the numbers game on the Redskins O-line—They probably should keep 10 on the offensive line given the fact that three tackles are still not quite 100 percent while returning from 2017 injuries. But they barely have eight who can be of help. They could closely watch the waiver wire when cuts start after Thursday’s preseason games.
Contract makes Peterson a no-risk acquisition—Almost any free agent acquisition can be a bad one if the contract is too large. And almost any signing can be a good one if the contract is team friendly enough. The latter scenario was the case with Adrian Peterson’s contract, which was one year at the veteran minimum with no incentives and no guaranteed money. The accounting via that veteran minimum cap benefit makes his cap number lower than his salary, about that of a second-year player. That made it a risk-free acquisition for the Redskins. Peterson’s signing looked like a true bargain when he played well on Friday night. But even if things go downhill the damage in financial terms will be minimal.
Tweet of the week
The #Redskins starting offense is done for the night. Smith played about 37 snaps in the preseason. If the offense gets off to a slow start in the regular season, Jay Gruden will be open for a lot of criticism. And it will be fair.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) August 25, 2018
NFL coaches walk a fine line in the regular season. The need to get the players ready to go for the regular season against live tacklers when the quarterback is not wearing a yellow no-contact jersey is balanced against the need to keep the team healthy. Jay Gruden chose to err on the side of safety, playing Alex Smith and many other offensive starters just 35 snaps in the first three preseason games.
A team will have about 70 offensive snaps in a regular season game. So Smith played about a half. Is that enough for a quarterback in his first year in an offense? And is it enough for a quarterback who did not look good in the third preseason game?
A lot of the pushback on this tweet, which was made during the game, was that everything will be fine. That may be true. A short, mediocre showing in preseason does not doom a team to a bad season. But Gruden is 0-4 in season openers and the burden of proof is on him to show that his way is the right way.
Today: Practice 1:50; Jay Gruden news conference and open locker room after practice approx. 3:45 p.m.
Upcoming: Final cut (Sept. 1) 6 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 14 days; Home opener vs. Colts (Sept. 16) 21 days
In case you missed it
- Redskins stock up, stock down after the Broncos game
- Redskins 53-man roster projection, v. 3.0
- Good news is bad Redskins loss doesn't mean much
- Five observations from Redskins' plodding preseason loss