On The Clock NFL Mock Draft from Fanspeak.com

5 Returning Players Who are Struggling in the Preseason

August 22, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

Yesterday I took a look at the 5 players who have shown the most growth so far this year. Today I will look at the other side of the equation at 5 returning players who have struggled so far this preseason.

1. Chris Chester-

-Despite being a major issue the past couple seasons, the Redskins opted to make just one starting change to their offensive line this year, replacing Will Montgomery with Shawn Lauvao. The other four incumbent starters remain the same (though Lichtensteiger changes position), meaning the Redskins will need to rely on a unit that is considered among the weakest in the NFL. One of the major question marks along the offensive line is veteran Chris Chester. Chester was signed in 2011 and while he struggled in the early part of the season, he played better down the stretch. In 2012 Chester had a good year as a starter and was the Redskins 2nd best offensive lineman behind Trent Williams. Last year though Chester's play fell off a cliff and he became a major liability in the middle of their offensive line. The hope with keeping him around was that he would bounce back this season and again play at a starting quality level. So far in the preseason that doesn't seem to be case. Chester has struggled to maintain his blocks and keep his guy from disrupting the play. The Redskins do have some options if they want to get rid of Chester before the start of the season as they have signed journey-man C/G Mike McGlynn. In addition they have 3rd year guard Josh LeRibeus who has played better and 3rd round rookie Spencer Long as fall back options. Though it would make sense to cut Chester and save some money, right now that still seems to be a long shot move.

2. Kory Lichtensteiger-

-Lichtensteiger has been an undersized LG for the Redskins the past few years, and with the exception of a few games at the start of the 2011 season, he's been more of a liability than a positive for the Redskins line. With the Redskins parting ways with Will Montgomery this offseason, they decided that the best course of action was to move Lichtensteiger back to his college position of center and have him put on additional weight. Lichtensteiger has been an emergency/back-up center in his NFL career, but this is the first chance he's had to be a starter in the middle at this level. Despite adding weight, Lichtensteiger is still on the lighter side and probably not the long term option for the Redskins. Against the Browns strong front line, Lichtensteiger had his share of struggles and it looks like the position change and extra weight aren't going to make him a better starting caliber offensive lineman. This week versus the Ravens will tell just how much the Redskins should be concerned. Though his job on the team isn't in jeopardy this season, his starting role could be if he doesn't play better.

3. Roy Helu Jr-

-Though Alfred Morris is the workhorse running back on the team, Helu plays a valuable role as the number two running back on this team. Compared to other top running backs Morris's snap count is among the lowest in the league, as he sees just over 50% of the snaps. The reason being is that Morris has not shown himself to be a viable receiver out of the back-field or a quality pass protector. That is where Helu comes in as he is better in both of those areas than Morris. Given how much the Redskins were forced to pass last season, Helu saw quite a bit of action. While the Redskins are probably hoping they don't need to pass nearly as much this season, they will still need to rely on Helu a fair amount. So far in the preseason Helu has shown some struggles, in all phases of his game. He hasn't run particularly well, while also dropping a pass and missing a key block in pass protection. If Helu struggles in his assignments this season, it's going to make Robert Griffin III's job that much harder this year, which could mean some struggles on offense. Now it's still early overall, but Helu's struggles leave the Redskins with few viable options. Playing Morris more probably isn't going to be the answer. Rookies Silas Redd and Lache Seastrunk, probably aren't the guys you want as the last line of defense to your franchise QB. That would leave the Redskins with either keeping Evan Royster or utilizing Darrel Young as the 3rd down back.

4. Richard Crawford-

-Richard Crawford was the Redskins 7th round pick back in 2012. Despite his late round start to his NFL career, Crawford made a name for himself that preseason, mainly on special teams units. Crawford showed really nice promise as a punt returner and a cover guy on special teams. Though not as refined he displayed some nice coverage ability on defense as well and looked to be a long term sleeper. During the season Crawford saw some time on defense and initially struggled, but he did play a little better down the stretch. Where Crawford really impressed was on special teams where he looked to be the Redskins punt returner of the future. The highlight of his season was his punt return versus Baltimore that set up the game winning field goal. Last season the expectations were high for Crawford to at least continue as the Redskins top punt returner and possibly add value on defense as well as a 4th corner. During the preseason last year, Crawford tore his ACL and was lost for the entire season. He's come back this year, but the spark doesn't seem to be there. He's not even being given an opportunity to compete for the punt returner job and he's struggled in coverage despite facing 3rd and 4th teamers. Crawford could be the beneficiary of the new practice squad rule allowing the Redskins to hang on to him in the hopes that he just needs more time removed from his surgery, but it would be a major surprise to see the Redskins try and keep him on their roster.

5. Tom Compton-

-Tom Compton was the Redskins 6th round pick back in 2012. While he didn't make the team initially, the Redskins signed him off the practice squad late in the season to ensure he wasn't poached by another team. Last year the Redskins kept Compton as their lone back-up tackle and he got a handful of snaps in jumbo packages and replacing Trent Williams for a couple of snaps. Despite the question marks surrounding starting RT Tyler Polumbus, Compton wasn't given a chance a unseat him as the starting RT, and the Redskins drafted tackle Morgan Moses in the 3rd round to be the right tackle of the future. Moses not only appears to have a leg up on Compton for a future role with the team, but he also could take over the swing tackle/jumbo package role that Compton held last season. Through two preseason games, Compton has struggled in pass blocking giving up a number of pressures or sacks while lining up at right tackle (meaning he's facing the weaker competition). Making matters even worse is that Compton has faced mainly 2nd and 3rd teamers from the Browns and Patriots, and still struggled. Though Compton's run blocking has been better, he faces a tough numbers crunch along the offensive line. Barring a surprise cut, his only chance of making the team could be if the Redskins decide to keep 10 offensive linemen.

5 Players Who have Improved This Preseason

August 21, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

The Redskins preseason is half over and I thought now would be a good time to look at 5 players who have improved their stock this preseason:

1. ILB Keenan Robinson-

-Robinson flashed some of his athletic ability and potential as a rookie back in 2012, but it was just in small doses and he was behind Fletcher and Riley. Robinson's future got murky the 2nd half of his rookie year when he tore his pectoral muscle and was out for the 2nd half of the year. His future got even worse last year when Robinson suffered another pectoral injury and missed the entire preseason and regular season. Despite missing a year and a half of development, Robinson has come on this year and been an impressive replacement for London Fletcher this training camp and preseason so far. He's showing good instincts and reaction time, and utilizing his speed and athleticism to make some plays. While he might not be a top level inside linebacker just yet, he's showing real promise and should at least give the Redskins an above average option in the middle for this season.

2. G Josh LeRibeus-

-Josh LeRibeus was the Redskins 3rd round pick in 2012, in a move that surprised a number of draft observers given his relatively weak draft stock. LeRibeus didn't do much to alleviate his doubters concern with holding out until the start of camp and then having a weak preseason performance. Despite his higher draft selection LeRibeus was outplayed by fellow rookie guard Adam Gettis for that first camp and preseason. LeRibeus did get some work in the Redskins final regular season game and playoff game, but it was a small sample size. Any potential thoughts of LeRibeus coming into his own his 2nd season were dashed when he showed up to camp overweight and out of shape. LeRibeus struggled throughout the preseason and was left inactive for most of the Redskins season. This year the Redskins signed veteran Shawn Lauvao for the open guard starting spot. They also added veteran interior lineman Mike McGlynn and rookie 3rd rounder Spencer Long to beef up their interior, because they couldn't rely on LeRibeus. It appears that LeRibeus has gotten the message as he's played the best he's had in a Redskins uniform this preseason so far. Now to be fair it's been against a lot of 2nd and 3rd teamers, but that is who he was working against the previous two preseason's and he struggled. LeRibeus still has some work to do, but he now looks like he's earning a spot based on his play rather than his draft position. He probably won't challenge for a starting role, but he should be a back-up and maybe he could replace Chris Chester at some point this season.

3. CB David Amerson-

-David Amerson struggled for much of his rookie year, and was notorious for giving up big plays last season. While he had some good games, most of his games were pretty forgettable as he struggled to cover mainly 3rd receivers. Amerson also had a reputation for not helping out in run support and for the most part he was average in this department a year ago. He also struggled some on special teams, and it resulted in some negative plays for the Redskins unit last year. Early reports out of camp are that he's doing a much better job in covering receivers, though he hasn't really been challenged in the preseason so far given the level of competition he's gone up against. Where Amerson has shined in the preseason though is in his run support and special teams play, both of which have apparently improved. If Amerson can reach his potential and become a consistent good corner it will go a long way to improving the Redskins defense.

4. TE Niles Paul-

-Niles Paul has struggled in his conversion from receiver to tight end these past two years, but he remains in the Redskins plans due to his special teams ability. Unfortunately due to injuries each of the last two years, Paul has been thrust into a larger role than the Redskins probably would have liked. In that time he hasn't shown much as a receiver, including having far too many drops considering history as a wide receiver. His blocking while better than his receiving ability hasn't been too good either. Though the Redskins hope to not need him this year for a role in the offense, injuries could once again be an issue and they wouldn't have much of a choice. Paul has done a nice job this preseason, catching a few passes and showing a little better as a blocker than years past. He isn't going to challenge Jordan Reed anytime soon, but the Redskins should feel more confident in their depth with Paul.

5. DL Jarvis Jenkins-

-It's been a rough career for Jenkins so far. As a rookie in 2011, Jenkins tore his ACL in the preseason wiping out his entire rookie year. The next season he was back, but like many guys recovering from an ACL injury Jenkins didn't look like the same player that he was before the injury. Jenkins was known for a quick burst and strong power that would knock linemen back and catch them off balance. He didn't bring that to the table as much when he came back from the injury. Last year was supposed to be Jenkins' chance to redeem himself and boost his stock back-up. Unfortunately he was suspended for the first 4 games for violating the PED policy of the league. While he came back and he was solid for the Redskins, he wasn't giving the team the impact they were looking for. In the offseason they signed Jason Hatcher to big contract to take over Jenkins' starting role. With Hatcher sidelined for much of camp and the first 2 preseason games, Jenkins has had a chance to show that he's improved some, and so far the results look promising. Jenkins might not be a starter this year, but it looks like he can be a valuable sub along the defensive line. He's displaying more quickness and power than we've seen the past two years, and he could give the Redskins some valuable depth.

Predicting the Redskins 10 Man Practice Squad:

August 20, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

With my 53 man roster prediction set, I thought it would be good to take a look at how the new 10 man practice squad could shape up. Here's my first look at it:

2 Additional Players under the new guidelines:

S Bacarri Rambo-

-Rambo would have to get through waivers and there is a chance a team with injuries at the safety position could claim him, but there is probably a 50/50 shot he would make through. If he does make it through waivers the Skins should add him to the practice squad to give them further safety depth. There are a lot of questions with the safety position, and chances are Clark, Meriweather, Thomas and Robinson won't last the full 16 games next year.

CB Richard Crawford-

-Crawford is coming off an ACL injury and just hasn't shown the same promise he did pre-injury. With the additions of Breeland and Porter, and the improvement of Minnifield, Crawford is on the outside looking in, even if the Redskins keep 6 CB's. Crawford might be claimed, but chances are he'd make it through waivers. Remember this is a former 7th round corner who is coming off a major knee injury, hard to see teams lining up to add him to their roster. He's a good guy to try to stash on the practice squad for a year to see if he can re-gain his form after a full year removed from the surgery.

8 Other Practice Squad Players:

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RB Silas Redd-

-Redd is probably the player the Redskins most want to sneak through waivers and keep on the practice squad for a year. He's shown a lot of promise in camp, but right now loses in the numbers game for a 53 man roster spot. Still he's a good guy to have around, particularly with Helu and Royster facing UFA next offseason.

OLB Gabe Miller-

-Gabe Miller has flashed some in the preseason and had definitely earned his way on to the practice squad if he doesn't crack the 53 man roster. He's got some natural pass rush ability, and he's a versatile player that could develop into a nice quality back-up in the future.

S Akeem Davis-

-Despite already having one safety on the practice squad the Redskins could opt for another one. Davis has some special teams upside and that could help get him called up to the active roster if there is an injury.

WR Nick Williams-

-The Redskins may only keep 1 wide receiver on the practice squad and Williams will have to battle it out with some solid choices, but he's got a bit of an advantage. He's got return ability and he also has a little NFL experience making him further along than some of the other guys.

TE Ted Bosler-

-Bosler has nice size, but he's a project tight end and the Redskins knew that when they drafted him in the 7th round. He really struggles as a blocker and he needs to get stronger at the point of attack. A year on the practice squad could give him time to get up to par and get into the mix in 2015.

C Trevita Stevens-

-It's likely the Redskins will want to keep at least one back-up offensive lineman on the practice squad and Stevens is one of the few incumbents that work for this spot (Gettis and Compton could replace one of Rambo or Crawford). Stevens played well in extensive duty versus the Patriots and the Redskins could see him worth keeping around, particularly with question marks surrounding the future of their center position.

DT Robert Thomas-

-I don't think Thomas has done a lot to earn the spot, but he's one of the few practice squad eligible defensive linemen and the Redskins would be wise to have at least one back-up. The Redskins have one of the oldest units in the league and it's a position that is typically filled with injuries so depth is key.

RB Chris Thompson-

-This was a tough decision for the last roster spot and in reality it could easily be someone off another team's roster, but in the end I took Thompson over some of the possible other options. I don't think Thompson is the best choice, but I do think the Redskins are intrigued by what he can do. His skill set is very tempting and with again the possibility of two open roster spots next year, keeping him around might not be a bad thing. If he can stay healthy (which is a big if), Thompson could earn a spot as a return man/3rd down back (depending on the development of Seastrunk).

Predicting the Redskins 53 Man Roster After The Browns Preseason Game

August 20, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

Quarterback: (3) Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy

-The Redskins need 3 quarterbacks between their roster and practice squad and with no one else in camp it is tough to see them relying on a random UDFA to be the 3rd QB this year. So McCoy stays with the Redskins and offers them a guy who's been around the league a bit more and can give RGIII and Cousins some extra advice.

Running Back: (4) Alfred Morris, Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster, Lache Seastrunk

-No changes here. The top two backs are set and Royster's versatility should earn him a spot on the roster. The final spot comes down to Seastrunk and UDFA Silas Redd. Redd has clearly outplayed Seastrunk, but Seastrunk has the greater upside and that might be enough to keep him on the roster. The other factor the Redskins have to consider is the fact that Seastrunk would be more likely to be poached off waivers or even the practice squad, while Redd could end up being stashed there for a year.

Fullback: (1) Darrel Young

-This is an easy decision for the Skins, Young is one of the better fullbacks in the league and is very versatile, not only is he a lock to make the roster, but the Redskins will find a lot of ways to keep him involved in the offense.

Tight End: (3) Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul

-No surprises here really, the three holdovers from last season are far ahead of the other tight ends on the list and barring an injury are all pretty well set to make this team. So far not only has a 4th tight end not challenged any of the incumbents, but they haven't shown they are even worthy of consideration for a roster spot.

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Wide Receiver: (5) DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, Santana Moss, Ryan Grant

-I decided to go with only 5 receivers to start the year, mainly because I couldn't find a compelling reason to keep a 6th. The Redskins top 4 spots are set with veterans and guys the Redskins know they can count on. Rookie Ryan Grant has had a great camp and should be able to contribute when called upon as well. Next on the list is Aldrick Robinson, but he doesn't really do anything that the top 5 guys can't account for and he doesn't help on special teams. The Redskins should just start the year with 5 receivers and add a 6th when Leonard Hankerson comes off the PUP list (likely from the corner position).

Offensive Line: (9) Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Mike McGlynn, Morgan Moses, Spencer Long, Josh LeRibeus

-No changes here for this group. Even though Chris Chester's play has been poor, the starters seem pretty locked into roster spots. Mike McGlynn offers good interior depth and Morgan Moses and Spencer Long are top rookies and should have jobs. Josh LeRibeus has outplayed the rest of the back-up linemen and should get the 9th spot. The really interesting thing is that this leaves the Redskins thin at OT and deep in the interior as all three back-up interior linemen can play guard. The problem is neither Tom Compton or Maurice Hurt has come close to outplaying LeRibeus.

Defensive Line: (6) Jason Hatcher, Barry Cofield, Jarvis Jenkins, Chris Baker, Kedric Golston, Chris Neild

-No surprises with the top 4 guys as they will be the primary rotation of defensive linemen on this team. Golston's leadership, veteran experience and special teams work also is likely to earn him a spot as well. The final spot will likely come down to Chris Neild and Clifton Geathers. Neild could win the job since he's a more capable nose tackle, and can back-up Cofield in that role. Sure Baker and even Jenkins can play there some, but I don't think the Redskins ideally want them there, which opens up the need for a more traditional NT. What could get interesting is when Stephen Bowen is ready to come off the PUP list. Do they keep 7 DL at that point or cut Neild then.

Linebacker: (9) Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley, Trent Murphy, Rob Jackson, Will Compton, Adam Hayward, Akeem Jordan

-The top 5 guys listed are locks, and the Redskins will also keep likely three of Compton, Hayward, Jordan and Darryl Sharpton. I think Sharpton is the odd man out right now. Compton and Hayward appear to be ahead of him and Jordan has more experience and contributed with a big ST's tackle. With Sharpton dealing with an injury he's clearly falling behind. Rob Jackson is in the lead for the other OLB job, but Gabe Miller had a nice game versus the Browns and could sneak into the competition.

Cornerback: (6) DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Tracy Porter, Bashaud Breeland, E.J. Biggers, Chase Minnifield

-Hall, Amerson and Breeland are set in stone, and then the question becomes do the Redskins keep 2 or 3 back-up corners. Tracy Porter is a veteran with a two year deal so the Redskins are likely to keep him, though injuries have slowed down his camp. Biggers is another veteran who brings a lot of things to the table. He's solid in coverage, and maybe more consistent than a rookie like Breeland (especially early on). Biggers can also back-up the FS position and play solid special teams as well. I went with an extra corner here since Minnifield has shown some potential and there is an extra roster spot available.

Safety: (4) Ryan Clark, Brandon Meriweather, Phillip Thomas, Trenton Robinson

-I think the top 3 spots are pretty well set here, and the only question is whether the Redskins keep Robinson or Bacarri Rambo as the back-up FS. Robinson gets the edge here. He doesn't have the upside of Rambo, but he's a far superior special teams player and he might be more consistent at safety right now. Rambo still goes for the big hit and doesn't take proper angles.

Kicker: (1) Zach Hocker

-I think this battle will go right down to the wire, but Hocker seems to be in the lead and at the very least has the tie-breaker of being handpicked by the Redskins ST coach.

Punter: (1) Robert Malone

-Haven't been blown away by either punter, but it seems clear that Malone is in the lead.

Long Snapper: (1) Nick Sundberg

-Easy decision as he's the only long snapper on the team.

Initial Thoughts On Redskins 2nd Preseason Game vs the Browns

August 19, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

Here are some of my initial thoughts and observations after watching the Redskins 2nd preseason game against the Browns last night. Most of the focus will be on the starters with some other notes on the rest of the team.

Offense:

QB:

-Robert Griffin III's performance was filled with both some good and bad that needs to be fixed. On the plus side Griffin was pretty accurate, including a nice deep ball to Andre Roberts that set up a big gain. Griffin also was a threat running the football picking up some yardage on the ground as well. The downside for Griffin was 3-fold. First his interception was a ball that he just has to throw away. You are challenging one of the best corners in the league and you are doing so while you have to rush the throw and can't step into it, that is the type of thing that is going to cost you the majority of the time. You have to throw that ball away in that situation. The second thing is that with the runs you have to do a better job of protecting yourself. The run on the sideline where he got hit by three guys, could have easily ended badly. Griffin has to do a better job of getting down and when he does he has to learn to slide better. The final concern is the false starts. That head/shoulder movement is something the officials are going to be watching more this year, so if you are going to do a hard count you have to do it without that motion.

-Kirk Cousins didn't fare much better than Griffin when facing the Browns starters, throwing a bad pick in the 2nd quarter when the ball just sailed on him. Later when Cousins was facing more of the Browns 2nd unit he got in sync and looked much better overall. It's not the type of performance that will challenge RGIII for the starting job, but it was solid overall (albeit mainly versus the 2nd unit.).

RB/FB:

-Alfred Morris's fumble was troubling, but I wouldn't worry too much overall.

-Roy Helu Jr. didn't have a great game. He missed a key block on a pass that cost the Redskins, and he also dropped an easy reception

-Evan Royster was the 3rd back in and he had a couple really nice plays, also looked solid as a blocker as well.

-Silas Redd looked good going up against the Browns 2nd and 3rd stringers, he had a couple nice runs and did his job in blitz pick-up as well.

-Lache Seastrunk was again the final RB in the game and only saw action versus the Browns 3rd and 4th teamers. He had a couple solid runs and looked better running between the tackles, but he didn't do a great job of making people miss. Also it was noticeable that the Redskins pulled him on most passing plays, particularly 3rd down plays. This shows that he's just not ready to contribute in the passing game if the team won't even give him reps late in the 4th quarter.

TE:

-Jordan Reed again showed he's a weapon in the passing game. If he stays healthy he can definitely be a very good pass catching TE.

-Niles Paul looked well with the back-ups, making some solid blocks and catching a couple nice passes.

-Ted Bosler continues to struggle as a blocker, he's going to need to get stronger if he wants to succeed at the NFL level.

OL:

-Chris Chester really struggled last night giving up far too much pressure on passing plays and penetration on multiple run plays. It was an ugly game for the veteran guard and if the Redskins had a quality back-up option, Chester's job could be in jeopardy.

-Shawn Lauvao and Kory Lichtensteiger weren't much better blocking the Browns first unit defense (which was missing arguably their best defensive lineman), both players missed multiple blocks and contributed to negative plays for the Redskins. Neither could get any push on the Redskins failed 4 plays from the 2 yard line in the 2nd quarter.

-The 2nd unit had issues with C Mike McGlynn, RG Josh LeRibeus and RT Tom Compton, all three players struggled both against the Browns starters and their 2nd unit. Compton especially could be on the roster bubble.

-Rookies Morgan Moses and Spencer Long both had better games this week than last week versus the Patriots. They might not challenge for a starting spot right now, but it was a promising performance for the two of them.

WR:

-DeSean Jackson's speed is going to be a problem for opposing defenses, particularly if we see officials really tighten up on the defensive holding calls. Jackson ran really nice routes and did a nice job picking up yards after the catch.

-Andre Roberts caught a beautiful deep ball. Not only did he create major separation, but he adjusted well to the ball in the air, hauling it in for a big gain.

-Santana Moss catch and run on the screen with the 2nd unit shows why he's still well worth a roster spot on this team.

-Ryan Grant continues to impress. His route running and hands are both very good, which allows him to get the most out of just about every snap. Grant might not be a big part of the offense this year, but he could have a bright future in DC.

 

Defense:

DL:

-Barry Cofield was pretty solid in the middle of that defense making a few really nice plays.

OLB:

-Ryan Kerrigan had a nice game against the Browns, though his first sack was more on the Browns mistake than anything special he did. Otherwise though his 2nd sack was a really nice rush and he managed some additional pressures as well.

-Brian Orakpo was more quiet this week, but early on he had a couple nice rushes where he tightened the pocket versus All-Pro Joe Thomas. They probably won't show up as a true pressures, but he still got some nice push. Orakpo seemed to drop into coverage more this week.

-Trent Murphy again didn't look too great as a pass rusher though he did have one really nice penetration. Murphy fared better against the run, but the Redskins ideally want to see more from him attacking the quarterback.

ILB:

-Keenan Robinson continues to show some nice potential with how he flows to the ball and makes some plays. He's not perfect yet, but you can see the talent there.

-Perry Riley didn't have a great game, he did have one nice blitz that I saw, but otherwise I thought he was slow in his reaction time and he had a penalty.

-Will Compton continues to work with the 2nd team and had a pretty decent showing. He looks like he has one of the back-up spots wrapped up.

CB:

-David Amerson had a couple nice plays last night including one in run support where he got off his block and came up to make the hit. It's tough to judge him in coverage since the Browns passing attack was so anemic last night, but there weren't any noticeable mistakes off the bat.

-Bashaud Breeland looked really good with the 2nd unit and was all over the field making a number of nice plays. Though E.J. Biggers played ahead of him, Breeland looks well on his way to capturing the 4th corner spot on this team.

-Chase Minnifield also looked pretty good in the game coming up a couple times with nice plays. He's still fighting for a spot, but this game should have helped him.

-Richard Crawford struggled some in coverage and his star has cooled considerably this year coming off the knee injury. Right now it is tough to see him get a roster spot even if the Redskins were to keep 6 corners.

S:

-Ryan Clark had a nice game from what I saw, he wasn't fooled at all on one of Manziel's read option fakes and came up and made a really nice play. He might not be the safety he was 5 years ago, but he still looks to be solid. He flowed to the ball well on a couple of other plays as well.

-Bacarri Rambo got a lot of hype last night, but I'm not sure it's warranted. His forced fumble had more to do with luck than skill, he launched his body at the ball carrier and he's just lucky his shoulder hit the ball. His hit later against Travis Benjamin is something that will likely usually draw a personal foul penalty. Though it wasn't called on the field, coaches are likely going to admonish him for that.

Special Teams:

General Thoughts:

-Akeem Jordan made a really nice tackle on one put, that kind of play will go a long way to help him make the team.

-Both kickers did well, Hocker seemed to have better kick-offs which will help him.

-Yes Rashard Ross had a nice kick return, but remember that was late in the game versus a special teams group that probably isn't going to be on the final roster this year for the Browns.

What to Watch Tonight: Redskins vs Browns

August 18, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

Special Teams:

1. The Kicking Battle-

-In the first preseason game Zach Hocker was clearly the winner of the kicking battle, but some of the reports out of practice this week showed Kai Forbath having a better week, so this competition is far from over. Game performance though will be crucial, so if Hocker has another better game it could really separate him from Forbath.

2. The Return Game-

-Andre Roberts figures to be the top return man when the season starts, but he didn't instill confidence that he would be great at it. In reality he is pretty much just filling a void until a good option can step up. The questions become if that guy is already on the roster, who can take the return game to the next level. Last week Rashard Ross showed some nice return ability, but he appears to be pretty buried on the depth chart and is a real long shot to make the team. Will someone else who is in the mix to make the team step up and take these duties away from Roberts?

3. The Coverage Units-

-If week 1 of the preseason is any indication, there is still work to be done in this area. The Redskins unit made multiple mistakes last week, and they weren't exactly facing any top return men. In addition to tackling and pursuit mistakes this unit also committed multiple penalties. While penalties are an issue across the board for this team, the Redskins have to minimize them on special teams. They can't give opponents offenses free yardage like that if they hope to see their defense have success this season. This week should be a better test as the Redskins top coverage units will likely get more playing time. If they are still having issues and committing penalties it will be a cause for concern.

Defense:

1. Pressure from the starting defense-

-The Redskins will still be without Jason Hatcher in tonight's game, but as we saw last week they are still able to generate pressure without him. The Browns have a good offensive line (assuming they all play) and could be a good test for the Redskins pass rushers tonight. It will also be interesting to see how the back-ups fare, particularly Trent Murphy once the starters leave. Murphy was good in run support last week, but didn't do much rushing the passer playing with the back-ups last week.

2. Safety Play-

-Last year the Redskins safety play was more or less pathetic, this year it has to be better if the Redskins are going to see their defense make strides in being a quality unit. The Redskins are hoping veteran Ryan Clark can help stabilize the unit, and tonight the Redskins should see him in action after he missed last week's game. All eyes will again be on 2nd year safety Bacarri Rambo as he fights for the 4th safety job.

3. How the back-up ILB battle shapes up-

-Right now Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley are set as the starting ILB's, but behind them not much is set. The Redskins brought in 3 veterans in Darryl Sharpton (who won't play), Akeem Jordan and Adam Hayward, but 2nd year man Will Compton has earned some consideration as well. A big factor in this battle will be special teams play though. Your back-up ILB's have to play special teams and look for the Redskins to opt to keep the best 3 special teamers.

Offense:

1. How the 1st team offense moves the ball-

-Last week the starting offense looked well in their lone drive, but things figure to be more difficult in week 2. The Browns (depending on who is held out) should be a much tougher defensive challenger, and the starters will play at least a quarter if not longer against the Browns best. The Redskins offense will also be upgraded this week with top receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson in the mix. While the plays figure to be pretty vanilla, it will be interesting to see how these receivers do in their 1 on 1 battles.

2. How does the offensive line look-

-Not only will this be interesting to watch with the starting unit, but how do the back-ups fare as well. There is a real interesting OL position battle going on this year especially among the back-ups. How many guys and who exactly gets kept are very much up in the air right now. The Skins need their starting offensive line to fare well against what looks to be a very good Browns defense, but they also need their back-ups to show something as well. The last two years the Redskins have been extremely lucky with their starters making all but one start, this year they might not be as lucky and may need to rely on that depth quite a bit more.

3. How does the back-up running back battle go-

-One of the more interesting battles in camp is the back-up running back battle. We know Morris and Helu are locked in 1-2, but after that it is murky. Do the Redskins keep 3 or 4 running backs? If they keep just 3 can the Redskins rely on rookie Lache Seastrunk in a back-up role? With Chris Thompson out, Silas Redd and Evan Royster could have a nice battle in the final 3 quarters to see who would join Morris, Helu and Seastrunk on the depth chart. Seastrunk will be another interesting one to watch. Last week he showed his explosiveness, but the Redskins need to see that he can pass block and run between the tackles as well.

Breaking down the Redskins Receiver Battle:

August 15, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

How man Receivers should the Redskins Keep?:

NFL teams typically keep between 5-7 receivers, with the majority keeping 6 given how the passing game has expanded in recent years across the league. With three established starters in Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts you can make a good case that the Redskins only need to keep 5 wide receivers since they won't need to rely on their depth as much as some other teams. It would make even more sense considering that Jay Gruden and the Cincinnati Bengals were one of the teams who utilized 3 (or more) wide receiver sets the fewest in the league last year. Also, with tight end Jordan Reed a potential emerging weapon in the passing game, the need to go 3 or 4 wide is lessened. Despite all the reasons they don't have to go with 6 or 7 wide receivers, it would probably be a mild surprise if the Redskins didn't keep 6 wide receivers to start the season. There isn't any real compelling reason behind this, it just seems to be the direction they are going in.

How the Depth Chart is shaping up:

1. Pierre Garcon- Garcon should once again be the Redskins number 1 receiver and RGIII's favorite target this season. Though Jackson may be the bigger threat to defenses, Garcon is the guy the Redskins will count on for consistency and to move the chains.

2. DeSean Jackson- As mentioned above Jackson is the biggest weapon on this team and probably the better receiver, but he's not a guy who typically catches a lot of balls. He's more of a home run threat and should lead the Redskins in catches over 20 and 40 yards. Also given his deep threat ability Jackson could be the Redskins leader in touchdowns.

3. Andre Roberts- Roberts was the Redskins first free agent WR signing and looked poised to be the starting receiver opposite Garcon. Jackson's signing changed all of that and it now makes Roberts one of the better 3rd wide receivers in the league. Roberts has the ability to play both in the slot and on the outside, displaying good speed and route running ability. Roberts will be the primary 3rd receiver when the Redskins go three or four wide, and he should also come in for both Jackson and Garcon to give them breathers. Roberts is also expected to start the year as the Redskins primary return man.

4. Santana Moss- The veteran has a lot going for him in this position battle as he's versatile enough to play any WR position, he's a smart, crisp route runner and has already worked considerably with RGIII. Moss is a leader on the team and has shown a willingness to help out with punt return duties. He's an ideal 4th receiver because of his experience and ability to back-up multiple positions.

5. Ryan Grant- The 5th round rookie has been very impressive in camp and has opened some eyes with his route running and catching ability. Grant doesn't have great size or speed, but he's a hard worker and has impressed the coaching staff. He might not get much work this year, but he looks like he's being groomed for at least the 4th WR role in the future.

6. Leonard Hankerson- Hankerson still isn't off the PUP list after a late season surgery to repair his ACL last year. Hankerson though could be the ideal option for the 6th WR spot if he can make it off the PUP list before the start of the season. Hankerson has the best size among the top receivers and has been solid in his time with the Redskins. No he hasn't developed into a top starter, and there are some health questions, but Hankerson hasn't been bad and offers nice depth for a year. If Hankerson isn't off the PUP list by the time the season starts he will be a mid-season replacement for someone on the roster (perhaps this would be the one way the Skins break camp with 5 WR).

7. Aldrick Robinson- Robinson has been on the Redskins active roster the past two seasons, but despite a myriad of injuries and ineffectiveness among the Redskins receivers, Robinson was never able to really carve out a serious role for himself. His best trait is his ability to get vertical, but the Redskins no longer need him as a situational deep threat with the additions of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts. Robinson had a nice first preseason game, but he's got an uphill climb to make the roster, particularly if Hankerson is healthy.

8. Nick Williams- Williams was activated late in the year by the Redskins last season, but he didn't do much (particularly in the return game) during his time in DC. Williams is a long shot to make the roster, as he's really limited as a slot receiver/return guy. He could fight for another year on the practice squad.

9. Rashard Ross- Ross had a nice game against the Patriots and opened a few fans eyes, but he's an extreme longshot to make the team. He wasn't a highly used receiver in college and doesn't have a ton of buzz overall. He is an interesting kick return option, but he's not good enough that the Redskins will just give him a roster spot. He could earn a practice squad spot though to try again next season.

10. Rashard Lawrence- Lawrence is a UDFA signed this year from Northwestern and not really in consideration for a 53 man roster spot. He could begin to challenge Williams and Ross for a spot on the practice squad though.

11. Cody Hoffman- Hoffman was considered a priority UDFA and though he's not a fast or agile wide receiver, he was a sleeper at the start of camp given his size and college production. It has been a quiet camp for him so far, but if the coaches are impressed his potential could get him to stick around. The practice squad has limited spots though so it's doubtful more than 2 WR's will be on it and even 2 could be a stretch.

12.  Lee Doss- Another UDFA this year and another long shot to even make the practice squad.

Breaking Down the Redskins Tight End Battle After the 1st Preseason Game

August 14, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

How many tight ends should the Redskins Keep?

Last year the Redskins kept four tight ends to accommodate veteran Fred Davis who they had re-signed for a one year deal in the offseason, to go along with top blocker Logan Paulsen, top special teamer Niles Paul and the rookie Jordan Reed. Though Reed, Paul and Paulsen return, there isn't a great option to keep for a 4th tight end this year, meaning that the Redskins should only keep three tight ends and look to add more depth elsewhere. That also means that if any other tight end wants a job, they will either need to significantly outplay a Logan Paulsen or Niles Paul or convince the Redskins that keeping a 4th TE is more valuable than a back-up at another position.

Breaking down the Depth Chart:

Number 1 TE: Jordan Reed- Reed is clearly the starter and the top tight end on this team. Though his rookie season was cut short due to injury, Reed had a very impressive campaign and looks like he can be a top 10 (possibly top 5 in the future) receiving tight end in this league. Reed has just okay size, but he makes up for it with impressive speed, athleticism, route running and hands. With Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson major threats on the outside, Reed should have plenty of freedom to work the middle of the field and could see plenty of mismatches as few linebackers will be able to cover him adequately. Given the lack of size among the Redskins receivers, Reed figures to be the number one target near the end zone and could lead the team in touchdown receptions.

Number 2 TE: Logan Paulsen- Paulsen has had an up-and-down career for the Redskins, at times showing nice promise and solid play and then other times proving to be more of a liability and a guy who wasn't that good of a back-up tight end. Paulsen's high point was the 2012 season when he not only proved himself to be a strong blocking tight end, helping Alfred Morris set the Redskins rushing record, but he also filled in for Fred Davis as the top receiving tight end. Paulsen didn't put up great numbers, but his catches and yards per catch were in the ball park of what Davis was producing, minimizing the drop-off in production. Last season Paulsen not only wasn't nearly as capable as a receiver, but more concerning was how streaky his blocking was. Some games Paulsen looked like he did in 2012, but other games he was below average, which led to more than a few negative plays. Paulsen was dealing with a nagging knee injury for part of the season which could have contributed to some of his issues. While Paulsen is inconsistent, his job is pretty safe given his ability to block and complement Jordan Reed. Hopefully most of Paulsen's poor play last season was a result of the knee injury and he can once again be an effective blocker in the run game and when he helps in pass protection. Paulsen could also be utilized more in the Red zone this year to give Griffin another big target to get the ball to.

Number 3 TE: Niles Paul- Paul started his career as a wide receiver, but was moved to tight end in his 2nd year. Though the move hasn't been too effective as he tries to add weight and learn a new position, Paul has shown some improvement from 2012 to 2013. He's not a great blocker, but has shown signs of being more consistent. As a receiver Paul still has the speed to create mismatches, but he's struggled with drops in his limited work. The real reason why Paul though isn't really in danger of losing his job is the fact that he's probably the Redskins best special teams player. He's a gunner on both kick and punt coverage units, and he's done a great job of consistently getting down the field, and making things happen. Not only is Paul one of the leading special teams tacklers, but he's also drawn multiple holding penalties do to beating his man. Paul is also on both return units typically as the lead blocker for the return man, but he can also be an emergency return man as well. With the Redskins looking to make a concerted effort to improve their special teams, keeping Paul in the mix is a must.

Number 4 TE: Ted Bosler- The Redskins drafted Bosler in the 7th round really as a developmental prospect. He's not seen as a great receiving tight end and is pretty average overall in that area. What really hurts him is his inability to be a solid blocker. He's got good size and frame at 6'5" and 250, but he just has never shown himself to be a good blocker. He completely missed a couple blocks in the first preseason game, showing that he still has a ways to go. One area where Bosler is considered good is his special teams play, but he's not really a threat to Paul because they have different special teams roles. It's going to be tough for Bosler to make the team and his best shot is a role on the practice squad.

Number 5 TE: Mike Caussin- The former JMU product has been with both the Jaguars and Bills in previous NFL stops and even saw some time on the active roster with Buffalo back in 2011 when he caught 5 passes. Caussin is known to be a solid blocker and has some special teams ability as well. He's dealt with some injury issues though, which puts his status well in doubt. He's missed time in camp this year and missed the first preseason game due to a knee injury. Caussin is still practice squad eligible and could get a look there if he can come back healthy.

Number 6 TE: Matt Veldman- The Redskins just signed Veldman this morning, due in large part to Caussin's knee injury. He's kicked around the league the last couple of years, and appeared in one game last season for the Lions. Right now he looks to be just a camp body at this point.

Why the Redskins need to keep 3 QB's on their roster

August 13, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

One of the big debates raging about the Redskins potential roster is whether or not to keep 3 QB's on the active roster. Here are 10 reasons why we should expect to see Colt McCoy on the Redskins roster come week 1.

1. Robert Griffin III is one of the bigger injury risks among starting QB's in the NFL:

-This isn't an easy fact for many Redskins fans to swallow, but it is unfortunately completely true. In a 5 year period Griffin suffered two major ACL injuries (the 2nd included other ligaments as well), in the same knee. That is about as serious as you can get for an injury history, and it makes Griffin more susceptible to another re-injury in that knee (either ACL or another ligament). In addition players that suffer an ACL injury in one knee are more likely to have problems with their other knee (as it tries to compensate for the injured knee). Just from the ACL injuries alone there is nearly a 20% chance of another serious knee injury in the next 5 years for Griffin.

Knee injuries aren't the only thing Griffin has in his history. He suffered at least one concussion in college (in 2011), and suffered another one in 2012. Concussions are another injury where once you have them they increase your chances of having multiple ones going forward. With today's NFL system in place, concussions are something that can now take weeks if not months to overcome (see Jordan Reed last year or Michael Vick in 2012). If Griffin were to suffer a concussion in a game, they won't know for certain whether he can play the next week until right before the game, that means they need a back-up in place and ready to go.

Even if Griffin's injury history wasn't spotty to begin with, just his style of play has to concern coaches that he is more at risk for injuries. Those quarterbacks who we see banged up year-in-year-out, guys like Vick, Roethlisberger, Rodgers, etc. are guys who all have one major thing in common, and that is their penchant for holding on to the ball too long. Even if they are making the throw and coming up with the big play, they are taking more hits than many of the other quarterbacks around the league. Typically we see this as an issue in mobile QB's who thing they can buy enough time, or young quarterbacks who don't yet know how to feel the pressure coming. Griffin is both of those things and we've seen him have serious issues holding on to the ball for too long last year.

2. You can't expect to find Colt McCoy on the waiver wire or a similarly talented QB:

-This is an argument you hear a lot among Redskins fans wanting to get rid of McCoy, that the Redskins can simply pick him up or a similar quarterback if an injury were to take place among one of the Redskins top two QB's. If McCoy is cut, he won't just be sitting out there for the Redskins to sign as some team will sign him. They will sign him as soon as he's cut, or when the first team loses a QB and comes looking for an arm. McCoy might not be top starting material, but he's played in this league and hasn't been down right awful. We just saw Brady Quinn and Rex Grossman signed to deals this past week, thinning the market even further (if that was possible) and ensuring there is no chance that McCoy would be without a job this year.

As for other options the top FA quarterbacks right now according to NFL Trade Rumors: are Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton, John Skelton, David Carr, Tim Tebow, Josh Freeman, Vince Young, Seneca Wallace, David Garrard and Brett Smith. Who on that list outside of Kyle Orton could actually be considered a better option than McCoy? And Orton really isn't an option since he's basically said he doesn't want to play. If he is going to come back, it's probably going to be with a coach or a situation he's familiar with (i.e. the Bears). As for the rest most of those guys are well past their prime and have plenty of question marks surrounding them. Obviously the other issue with signing someone off the street is they would have to try to learn the playbook and get familiar with the guys around them, on very short notice.

3. The Redskins don't have a 4th QB on the roster eligible for the practice squad:

-Typically when a team chooses to go with just 2 QB's on the 53 man roster it is because they can put their 3rd or 4th QB in camp on the practice squad. That still gives them 3 QB's in practice (see below) and an emergency option who knows the playbook in case of an injury. The Redskins don't have that, McCoy is obviously not practice squad eligible and the Redskins don't have a 4th guy in camp. If they were to try to sign someone else's cut UDFA to be on their practice squad, it still wouldn't be a viable replacement because they wouldn't have any familiarity with the receivers and the playbook. They also won't get the chance to really learn the playbook since they will spend most of their practice time simulating the opposing offense that week to test the defense.

4. The Redskins can't rely on just two QB's for practice:

-This goes hand-and-hand with number 3, but the Redskins need a 3rd quarterback either on the roster or practice squad to use each week in practice. That 3rd quarterback runs the scout team for most of practice and is meant to simulate the opposing offense each week. If you try to only go with 2 QB's that would mean that instead of preparing each week for the Redskins game plan, Kirk Cousins would be preparing each week for the game plan of the other team to test the defense. So if Griffin just got banged up in a game you would have a quarterback who hasn't been practicing the Redskins offensive game plan. Also with having just 2 QB's each week in practice that means all the throws would be split by them, which could over the course of the year lead to a tired arm and extra wear and tear.

That means the Redskins either need a 3rd QB on the roster or on the practice squad. If it is a guy on the roster then you are going to want McCoy, if you are trying to sign a practice squad guy, you have the issues above of him not being ready (not to mention he's clearly not that highly thought of if another team didn't want him for their practice squad. The other issue with a practice squad guy is that he's not exactly going to offer good competition for the defense on a week to week basis. A veteran like McCoy who has been around a little bit is going to offer much better week-to-week competition than a practice squad guy.

5. Griffin and Cousins are still pretty young:

-Now this is not to suggest that McCoy is a threat to either one of their jobs, but Griffin and Cousins have been in the league just 2 years and were in just one system. Colt McCoy is not a long term veteran by any standard with just 4 years in the league, but he's gone through multiple coaches and has been a part of two organizations. McCoy has 28 games and 21 starts to his name and has spent time facing off against some of the best defenses in the league. He's probably picked up a few things in his time in the league that can help young QB's like Griffin and Cousins. It also doesn't hurt the McCoy spent time last year in San Francisco facing off versus a division that the Redskins face this year. McCoy may have some insights on some of the NFC West defenses that can help Griffin and Cousins prepare for them this season.

Breaking down the Redskins RB Battle

August 11, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

With week 1 of preseason in the books it is time to breakdown how some of the Redskins position battles are shaping up. Today I will look at the running back battle, breaking down how many they will keep and looking at who should get those roster spots. I talked about the position in my 53 man roster prediction, but will go into further depth here.

How many backs to keep?:

The NFL standard is keeping 3 running backs and a fullback, but there are plenty of teams who will opt to keep a 4th running back if the situation warrants it. For me the Redskins have a situation that suggests the need for an extra running back. For one thing the Redskins are and should continue to be a run focused team. They have a young QB, behind a questionable offensive line, that is breaking in new receivers while learning a new offense. On the other hand the Redskins rushing attack is proven to be one of the better ones in the league behind Alfred Morris (even with the questions along the line). While Morris has proven himself to be a feature running back capable of being a workhorse, he's not yet shown himself to be a complete 3 down back. Because of that you need a capable number 2 back who can be utilized on 3rd downs. That is where Roy Helu Jr. comes in, and that means you need to have guys capable of filling in for either role in case of injury.

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Injuries are of course a concern for many positions in the NFL, but running backs are known for having a very high injury rate. In each of the last 5 years (probably longer) the Redskins have had at least one back end their season early with a serious injury. In some cases like last year it was a back-up like Chris Thompson, but in other seasons the Redskins have seen their starter or projected starter go down for the year. In addition to serious long term injuries, the Redskins (like every other team) has seen their share of injuries that knock players out for 2 or more weeks as well. Many times these injuries compound on one another and before you know it your 3rd or 4th running back is suddenly your starter. Look at 2011 when the Redskins went into the season figuring that Ryan Torain (coming off a "breakout" 2010), Tim Hightower (who had never missed a game before this season), and 4th round rookie Roy Helu Jr., would be more than enough to handle the RB load. Torain was injured to start the year and didn't play, Tim Hightower tore his ACL in the 6th game of the season, and Helu was injured for the last couple games of the year. The Redskins injury concerns were so bad that they had to pick up not just 1, but 2 backs during the season. First they tried former Cowboy Tashard Choice, then when he didn't show much they brought up Evan Royster from their practice squad. Royster was needed to start the final two games of the year, and he even got injured in the final game. Had the Redskins gone to the playoffs that year they didn't have a healthy back on their roster.

Though that seems like an extreme example, we see teams every year deal with those types of situations. The Indianapolis Colts last year had 4 running backs end the year on injured reserve last season, including their top two backs (Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw) entering the season. That left the Colts in a mad scramble of picking multiple guys up off the street and trading for Trent Richardson.

The Redskins can definitely justify keeping four backs on their roster this season and that should be the target for the Redskins when they break camp.

Breaking down the Depth Chart:

Number 1 Back: Alfred Morris- Obviously no surprise here, Morris is clearly the feature back and should be in line for 275-300+ carries again this season.

Number 2 Back: Roy Helu Jr.- Another one who is not a surprise as he's firmly in his role as the back-up feature back and the current 3rd down back. Helu Jr. is the best all-around back on this roster as he is a pretty good receiver and blocker, and can be used to run both outside and between the tackles. No one can really challenge him for his spot this year, though it's important to remember that he'll be a free agent next year and the Redskins might not want to invest with him, given Morris's contract is coming due as well.

Number 3 Back: Evan Royster- Now Chris Thompson is listed ahead of him on the depth chart and came in before him in the 1st preseason game, but Thompson is also injured right now (more on that below), pushing Royster up. Royster is by no means a good running back prospect, or someone who could develop into a top talent, but he does have a few things going for him. Royster might lack speed and agility, but he's got good vision and runs with some power (at least more than the guys lower on the depth chart), two things highly valued in a zone scheme. Royster is also more versatile in what he can do, while not great in any area, Royster has shown that he can fill in at fullback, as a 3rd down back or even a feature back. The other guys on the Skins depth chart are more limited right now. Finally, Royster has worked at doing more on special teams and can fill in for a variety of roles on special teams. Other backs may just be able to return kicks/punts, which is nice if they are the top guy, but offers little value if they aren't that good at it. Due to all of these reasons I see Royster once again earning himself a roster spot.

Number 4 Back: Silas Redd- Though Redd was undrafted, I think he's shown himself a bit more so far than fellow rookie Lache Seastrunk. Seastrunk has more potential and big play ability, but Redd is probably the more complete back right now. He shows some big play potential of his own, but can also get some tougher yards than you would probably get from Seastrunk. The biggest thing going against Redd is the fact that Seastrunk was drafted higher so there is more invested in him and that he has the higher ceiling. Redd will probably have a tougher time making the team and is probably more likely to end up on the practice squad.

Number 5 Back: Lache Seastrunk- Seastrunk looked explosive in his first preseason game, but he also showed he's got a lot of room to grow as well. Though he had the team's best two runs of the night, he also struggled on a number of runs as well. Seastrunk wasn't able to really make guys miss or break tackles in the backfield, meaning that if he didn't see daylight from the start the play was likely going to end up as a negative gain or very short yardage. He's not a guy that you can really look at as a feature back option right now, because he's not a guy who yet knows how to really run in the zone scheme and being patient setting up blocks. Seastrunk is also not a guy who has really been a feature in the passing game as either a receiver or a blocker, making him a poor candidate for 3rd down duties. Despite that he's very likely to make the team, given his draft position, potential and possibility of return work on special teams. Seastrunk though is exactly why it's tough to only keep 3 running backs. If Morris or Helu were to go down for any sort of extended time, he's not going to offer much as a replacement.

Number 6 Back: Chris Thompson- Thompson started out camp on a positive streak and it looked like he was in line for a roster spot. In fact he was the first back in after Morris and Helu were done in the opening preseason game, and while his performance was mixed, there was some promise. Unfortunately Thompson came up with an injury from the game and it is expected to sideline him for at least a week. Given that he's had his previous 3 seasons (going back to college), cut short due to injury, it's a real concern to see that even in limited work he can't stay healthy. The other thing that is limiting Thompson's chances is that Seastrunk brings a similar skill set of big play ability and return game potential. Unless Thompson clearly earns the job, it could be tough to justify keeping him if you are already going to keep Seastrunk. Right now Thompson has to get healthy and really separate himself from the group to lock up a roster spot.