The Redskins released rookie running back Craig Reynolds on Tuesday, and with that move, cleared a roster spot for Derrius Guice to return next week when he's eligible to come off the injured reserve.
That part is simple.
What isn't as simple is what the Redskins will do once Guice is back on the 53-man roster. Washington will then have five running backs on their active roster, a high number.
So what will happen next?
Guice and Adrian Peterson absolutely have roster spots. No debate. None. Wendell Smallwood has been on the roster since Week 1, and even took Peterson's spot on the active in Week 1.
After that comes Chris Thompson, a roster lock when healthy. He's missed the last three games after injuring his foot against Miami in Week 6. He hasn't even practiced. The last update on Thompson came from Bill Callahan on Halloween when the head coach said "same" when asked on Thompson's status. There has been no discussion around moving Thompson to the injured reserve, but there also appears to be no progress with his foot injury.
Beyond the four traditional tailbacks, the Redskins also have fullback Michael Burton on the roster. He's been active in each game since he was signed, and has become a big part of the Redskins special teams group.
It's entirely possible the Redskins just keep all five running backs on the roster. The team has been doing that for the last three weeks, with Thompson landing on the inactive list on game days. It makes for slightly awkward roster construction, but since Burton and Smallwood play special teams, it eases the burden elsewhere, particularly as tight end Vernon Davis hasn't played in some time but remains on the 53.
There also could be a decision coming at safety.
Deshazor Everett and Montae Nicholson are both hurt, and that forced the Redskins to call up Jeremy Reaves from the practice squad in Week 6. if Everett or Nicholson can return from injury, then Reaves could be on the outside, even though he's played fairly well in limited snaps.
One thing is certain: Guice gets a roster spot. It appears that will be the spot created with Reynolds' release, but it's certainly something to watch after the bye week.
There's also the conversation about workload in the back field once Guice returns. Since Callahan took over Week 6 and made Peterson the key to the Redskins offense, the veteran running back is averaging 95 rush yards and nearly 19 carries-per-game.
That load seems likely to decrease when Guice returns, but last week Callahan said the discussion was premature.
"We’ll address that when the time is appropriate, when the game plan is put in and who we’re playing, how we’re going to attack that particular defense and how we’re going to divide the repetitions and rotations and things of that nature. Way too early to decide on reps and counts they’ll have for that particular game," the coach said of splitting carries between Guice and Peterson.
One more thing to watch after the bye.
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