The Redskins lost practice squad wide receiver Simmie Cobbs this week after the New Orleans Saints claimed the undrafted rookie.
On its own, that's not major news. Cobbs showed promise in training camp and many around Redskins Park believe he has made a lot of progress working on the scout team this fall.
Losing practice squad players happens, but the circumstances around Cobbs' departure are unique. For starters, the Redskins tried to keep Cobbs, but he decided to leave for New Orleans anyway.
On the surface, that move is obvious: Play with Drew Brees on a Super Bowl contender or play with a fourth-string QB on a team riding a four-game losing streak.
Dig deeper, however, and it's not that simple. None of this is.
Cobbs chose to go to a new team and a new city rather than the squad that signed him out of Indiana University.
Cobbs chose to learn a new playbook and new terminology with just three weeks remaining in the regular season rather than play in the offense he knows and has been practicing since May.
As Cobbs explained, it bothered him that the Redskins did not want to sign him until New Orleans made a move. He called it a "no-brainer" to go to New Orleans.
New Saints rookie WR Simmie Cobbs Jr.: "No brainer to come here." pic.twitter.com/65I7QZDm3d— NOLA.com Saints News (@SaintsNOW) December 14, 2018
Frankly, Cobbs is right.
For weeks, the Redskins have carried a bizarre five running backs on their 53-man roster, even as injuries forced significant churn on the offensive line. Washington has not kept more than three running backs active on game day, yet two more sit occupying roster spots. Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson are absolute roster locks, but beyond that, none of the other rostered players have performed in a manner forcing the 'Skins to keep them.
Samaje Perine has only been active four games this season, and those were mostly due to injury. He has five carries this year. The Redskins decided to use one of their two injured reserve return designations for Byron Marshall, who has three carries on the season and is best known at this point for a key block he missed on the play that broke Alex Smith's leg. Kapri Bibbs has played relatively well in limited work, but in last week's loss to the Giants, he was inactive with Perine.
Add all of that up and it appears the Redskins have at least one more running back than they need. In their defense, Thompson's lingering ribs injury forced Washington to play it safe at running back for a number of weeks, but Thompson has now been back on the field for the last two games.
What does all of this mean for Cobbs?
Building a 53-man roster is like a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece must fit with the others, and players on the back end of the roster must be able to help on special teams.
Cobbs would fit that bill. And this week seemed like the obvious time to bring him up as Josh Doctson worked his way back from the concussion protocol and the team was carrying just five WRs total.
It's not like Washington was getting a lot of production at the receiver position anyway. Doctson's roster spot is locked in, as is Jamison Crowder's but after that are questions. Mauirce Harris has always shown great hands but he's been on and off the Redskins roster. Veteran Michael Floyd was a midseason addition that has five catches in 10 games. Brian Quick and Jehu Chesson are both primarily special teams players.
Cobbs, on the other hand, is an intriguing rookie with size and potential. The Redskins are 6-7, and while still in the hunt for the final Wild Card spot, the team is starting a fourth-string QB and playing their fifth and sixth-string guards.
Now isn't the time to take chances on an undrafted rookie; two weeks ago was.
Remember two weeks ago, when the Redskins only used 52 of 53 roster spots for a Monday night loss in Philadelphia? The team literally didn't fill out their full roster.
Let's not confuse Cobbs with Jerry Rice quite yet, but at the same time, let's look at the big picture.
The Redskins roster has been a mess due to injury, that's understandable. The team has been forced to carry more offensive linemen than expected, and the running back situation clearly dragged longer than the brass could have expected. At least, that's what fans should hope happened with the running back situation.
Regardless, the Redskins reluctance to give Cobbs a chance, even without much production or potential on the bottom of the WR depth chart, made his decision to join the Saints an easy one.
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