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Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, defense

Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 25, two days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 205 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 47 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 16
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 25
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 40

Redskins roster projection—Defense

RICHMOND—The Redskins strap it up and start the battle for roster spots in earnest in just three days. Some are locks, others are hoping to hang on. Here is my prediction of the roster will shake out along with players who are on the bubble. The defense is up here, the offense went up yesterday.  

Players I have making the roster who are new to the organization in 2017 are in italics. Rookies are also in bold.

Defensive line (6)

Starters: Jonathan Allen, Terrell McClain, Joey Mbu (NT)
Backups: Stacy McGee, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood

Bubble: Phil Taylor, Matt Ioannidis, A. J. Francis

It appears everybody is getting on the Mbu train so I might as well jump on, at least for the time being. But this area is very much in flux. It would not be a surprise to see any of the bubble players make it.

Inside linebacker (4)

Starters: Will Compton, Zach Brown
Backups: Mason Foster, Martrell Spaight

Bubble: Zach Vigil, Chris Carter

This is another area where the coaches did not tip their hands during the offseason program. Any combination of Brown, Compton, and Foster could start. In fact, you can’t rule out a long shot move by Spaight to get some significant playing time. Should they keep a fifth for special teams, a door could open for Vigil or Carter.

Outside linebackers (4)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Backups: Ryan Anderson, Junior Galette

Bubble: Houston Bates

Trent Murphy is suspended for the first four games so a tough numbers decision is put off until Week 5. Bates is going to start camp on the PUP list but if he gets on the field quickly and Galette falters, he could steal a roster spot.

Cornerbacks (5)

Starters: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland
Backups: Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Josh Holsey

Bubble: Fabian Moreau, Dashawn Phillips

Moreau is only on the bubble because he is likely to start camp on the NFI list (non-football injury). The third-round pick will be on the 53 eventually but perhaps not until midseason as he continues to rehab a torn pectoral muscle. That could open the door for Holsey, a seventh-round pick. Even if Moreau is healthy for Week 1, Holsey or Phillips could be kept as the sixth cornerback.

Safety (6)

Starters: D.J. Swearinger, Su’a Cravens

Backups: DeAngelo Hall, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, Montae Nicholson

Bubble: Josh Evans

Evans could get a spot if they decide that Nicholson, a fourth-round pick who is athletic but raw, isn’t ready yet. Everett is likely to be a lock because of his special teams play but an injury at this position or at cornerback could push him off the 53

Specialists (3)

LS Nick Sundberg, K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way

With no challengers, there is no bubble here. Both Way and Hopkins need to bounce back from sub standard 2016 performances.

Defensive breakdown: 25 players, four rookies, a total of eight new to the organization.

Full roster breakdown: 25 offense, 25 defense, three specialists. Eight rookies, A total of 13 players new to the Redskins.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: A good sign for the Redskins’ running game?

Need to Know: A good sign for the Redskins’ running game?

Here is what you need to know on Sunday, August 19, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Broncos in their third preseason game. 

Talking points

A year ago, there was tremendous concern about the Redskins’ rushing game. In their first two preseason games in 2017 when the games were the Redskins’ first-team offense against the other team’s starters on defense, Washington gained 13 yards on 13 carries. In the first halves of those games, which were played mostly with players on both sides who would end up making the roster the total was 21 attempts for 20 yards. 

At the time, the company line was to downplay the problems. 

“I’m just not worried,” said Trent Williams.

“It’s going to take time and it’s going to take plus-one, plus-two, negative-one, then you get a plus-eight. And things to pop. It’s attrition. Nothing’s going to happen just because you want it to.”

As we now know, the Redskins rushing game never really got going. Certainly, injuries to backs Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson and to the entire offensive line contributed heavily to their No. 27 ranking in rushing yards. But a look at the preseason could indicate that the building blocks for an effective rushing game just weren’t in place. 

Things are looking better this year. In two preseason games, the Redskins have rushed for 216 yards. In the first halves of the games, they have 31 attempts for 109 yards. That’s not a great average (3.5 yards per carry) but it is a vast improvement on the sub-one yard per carrying average they had through two games last year. 

Let’s not get carried away here. Preseason numbers aren’t rock-solid indicators by any stretch and even if they were we are looking at a small sample size. Still, the preseason stats are what we have to look at right now. We will see how things develop.  

Bureau of statistics

In 2017 the Redskins averaged 123 rushing yards per game in their first five games. In their last 11 games, they averaged 76 per game. 

On the record

Jay Gruden on the returns of RBs Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine from ankle injuries: "There are no reports really, we'll just wait and see. Every injury is different, and we'll play it by ear and see how long it takes . . . The injury report will come out Week 1 on - when is it, Wednesday? And there you have it."

Comment: Yes, this really was Gruden and not Bill Belichick. The whole organization has been tighter with injury information in general this year. We’re getting a lot of descriptions like “lower leg” rather than ankle or toe. If that’s the way they want to do business that’s fine but be advised as a fan that you are not going to get much information. 

The agenda

Today: Practice at Redskins Park 1:50; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 3:00

Upcoming: Preseason Broncos @ Redskins (Aug. 24) 5 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 13 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 21 days

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page,Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

martez_carter_vs_jets.png
Associated Press

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

The Redskins are very thin at running back right now. 

Today at practice the Redskins had three running backs on the field. Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs are fully healthy while Chris Thompson is limited as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered last November. 

Injuries have hit the depth at running back. The most recent casualty was Martez Carter, who was waived with an injury designation. 

The move was surprising since Carter had some good runs against the Jets during their preseason game on Thursday and he did not appear to be injured during the game. 

Coach Jay Gruden did not offer any more details as to what the injury to Carter was, only that he is no longer with the team. 

Also sidelined with lower leg injuries are Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall. According to media reports, Perine will be out one week and Marshall for two to four. Gruden would not confirm the timelines, saying only that they are undergoing treatment and the timetable for their returns in unknown. 

The Redskins will bring in some running backs to try out on Sunday. They will need at least one and probably two in order to get through the upcoming preseason game against the Broncos on Friday. 

In other personnel moves, the Redskins waived linebacker Jeff Knox and defensive end Jalen Wilkerson and signed offensive tackle Kendall Calhoun, defensive back Darius Hillary, and wide receiver Allenzae Staggers. 

More Redskins news

-Redskins vs Jets: Must-see photos from the game
-AnalysisFive Redskins-Jets observations

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler