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Thoughts on the Redskins Roster and Practice Squad

September 1, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

Here are 10 Thoughts on the Redskins:

1. Redskins are making a bold call on RB Lache Seastrunk:

-The move that is getting the most scrutiny is the Redskins decision with Seastrunk. Cutting Seastrunk was the right call for the Redskins as no one put a claim in on him, but what's really shocking is that reportedly the Redskins changed their mind about offering him a practice squad spot. Given that he was a 6th round pick, the fact that he showcased some of his impressive speed and potential and that they even added two practice squad spots this year makes this a very surprising decision. The fact that a guy like a Ted Bosler (who was drafted after Seastrunk) or a Robert Thomas is considered to have more future value for the Redskins is a bit telling. Though it was clear that Seastrunk needed to develop a lot of secondary skills (receiving, pass blocking, etc.), it's shocking you wouldn't try to keep him on the practice squad in the hopes that he does develop those skills. It seems possible that there is more to the story, but that of course is just speculation. What is known is that the Redskins are cutting ties with a draft pick, who is considered by many to have a lot of upside after just one camp/preseason.

2. Lack of Offensive Line additions are troubling/insteresting:

-The Redskins went with the 9 offensive linemen from their original cuts and opted not to sign or claim any other linemen off waivers. Given just how bad the offensive line looked in the preseason (back-ups included), it's a bit of a worry that the Redskins didn't look to add anyone in the hopes that they could get some better play. Probably the biggest surprise was the fact that they didn't sign former Bill/Steeler Doug Legursky who has plenty of staring experience at both guard and center. There were some other intriguing options as well, but that was probably the biggest name out there.

3. Claiming Duke Ihenacho was a smart call:

-The Redskins were smart to use their high waiver priority to land SS Duke Ihenacho from the Denver Broncos. Ihenacho started 14 games for the AFC Champion Denver Broncos last year and he started in another 3 in the postseason as well. Ihenacho isn't likely going to be the answer at safety for the Redskins long term, but he's young and cheaply under contract for the next two seasons (counting this one). He's strong in run support and can help the Redskins at a time when they are dealing with Brandon Meriweather's suspension. Even when Meriweather comes back the Redskins have to be prepared for another possible suspension with him given his track record. Ihenacho does struggle some in coverage, but overall he was a solid pick-up.

4. Making only 1 move after the initial cuts is a bit surprising:

-The Redskins held the 2nd waiver claim spot and only used it to bring in one player (Ihenacho) to their team. In addition with using their prime waiver spot the Redskins could have brought in some additional veterans who weren't subject to waivers. Now it's not as if they were going to make 10 moves, but you could have seen 3 or 4 moves being made. Obviously there is some risk as these new players won't know the team as well and will be behind, but there was some extra talent out there that the Redskins opted to not go with.

5. There are 21 new players on the Redskins 53 man roster this year:

-There are 21 new players on the Redskins 53 man roster who weren't apart of the organization a year ago. That is probably on the low end for team's with new head coaches, and definitely low for a team coming off a 10+ loss season. Whether the Redskins should have made more moves or not won't be known for sure until after the season, but right now you would have to lean to saying that this isn't enough turnover. (note: the lack of turnover is a big part of the reason for the next two points)

6. The Redskins are the 24th youngest team in the NFL:

-Last year the Redskins were the 31st youngest team in the NFL so this is an improvement, but for a team coming off a 3-13 season you would like to see them get even younger. According to Jimmy Kempski from Philly.com the Redskins average age of their 53 man roster (this was before the Ihenacho for Davis swap) sits at 26.44 years. The Rams lead the way with an average age of 25.09 while the Raiders bring up the rear at 27 years as their average age. Though that age gap doesn't seem that big, there are 72 years that separate the Redskins entire roster vs the Rams entire roster. By comparison just 30 years separate the Redskins roster from the Raiders. The Redskins have the 2nd oldest roster in the NFC East, and their roster will only get older (and move down the list) when Brandon Meriweather and Jason Hatcher are added at some point.

7. The Redskins have the fourth lowest amount of available cap space to start the season:

-According to Overthecap.com the Redskins have roughly $5.3 million in cap space currently, which is the fourth lowest amount in the league. Of that money some will get eaten away during the course of the season, but most of it should carry over to next season. The Redskins have the least amount of cap space among the teams in their division, with the Eagles having the most cap space in the division. Though this impacts the Redskins little this season, next year it offers the Redskins less flexibility than some other teams.

8. The Redskins have a lot of faith in Tress Way:

-The Redskins just signed Way two weeks ago and he won their punting job versus Robert Malone who has been here all offseason and through all of camp. Now Way clearly punted better than Malone in the final preseason game and it's likely he looked better in practice as well, so it's not too shocking that he beat out Malone. What is surprising is that the Redskins didn't sign or claim any other punters who hit the open market. Way has zero NFL experience and it is a lot to ask for him to fix a punting unit that was down right awful last year. Hopefully the Redskins faith in Way is well placed, but it's a bit concerning that they are going with someone with no experience.

9. The Redskins will need to make interesting decisions with their PUP players:

-The Redskins kept WR Leonard Hankerson and DE Stephen Bowen on the PUP list which means that they can't even practice for at least 6 weeks. The Redskins can delay the decision on both further, but at some point they will have to make a call about whether or not to put them on IR or not. Both players would be joining deeper positions on the Redskins and it will make for some interesting choices about who they replace. Now it is likely that some other player getting injured may make this decision easy for the Redskins, but right now what receiver or defensive lineman would be on the chopping block to bring back Hankerson and Bowen? It's not an easy call in either case.

10. Who goes when Meriweather comes back?:

-One of the most interesting questions facing the Redskins roster is who gets cut when S Brandon Meriweather comes back after the first two weeks. The general assumption was that it would be one of Trenton Robinson or Akeem Davis, but Davis has already been replaced by Duke Ihenacho, who is probably going to be on the team longer than 2 weeks. That leaves Trenton Robinson as the likely choice, but if Robinson continues to be a strong special teams player that could change the Redskins thinking. The Redskins could look to cut an extra defensive lineman like Frank Kearse (who is practice squad eligible) and go with 5 safeties or perhaps Bacarri Rambo's job could be in jeopardy if he gets off to a bad start.

Ten Man Ideal Practice Squad For the Redskins

August 31, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

This list assumes that all of these guys clear waivers for the Redskins. Washington can obviously sign guys from other teams, but that can be difficult as most of the top guys who get cut and aren't claimed will just stay with their own team's practice squad since they know the system. Still some offensive linemen and safeties may consider the Redskins a better option since there looks to be some real opportunities here.

RB Lache Seastrunk:

-Seastrunk showed his electric ability in the preseason, but he also showed that he's a ways away from being a reliable running back at the NFL level. The Redskins are rolling the dice that they can get him through waivers, given his potential and hype, but only a few teams could justify a roster spot for a guy who is as raw as Seastrunk so it could work out for the Redskins.

RB Chris Thompson:

-Thompson is more likely to make it through waivers, and the Redskins may have to be just satisfied with him as the only back-up on the PS if Seastrunk gets claimed. Thompson has speed and quickness like Seastrunk and he's a more natural receiver out of the backfield. If he can come back next season and stay healthy he'd have a great chance of making the roster.

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WR Nick Williams:

-Williams continue's to show value on special teams and as a slot receiver. He will probably never be more than a back-up, but he's worth the Redskins hanging on to. Next year Santana Moss will likely be gone and Williams could take over as a back-up slot receiver.

TE Ted Bosler:

-This is a good place for Bosler as he can bulk up and learn to be a better blocker for next season. He was a long shot to make the roster all along, but is a safe bet for the practice squad.

OL Trevita Stevens:

-The Redskins are likely to keep some offensive line depth on the practice squad and with Stevens ability to play center it helps his chances of getting a spot. Right now Chris Chester is the only "back-up" center on the roster so if either Kory Lichtensteiger or Chester go down, the Redskins will need another guy with some snapping experience on the active roster.

CB Chase Minnifield:

-Chase Minnifield had a solid camp/preseason, but it was going to be tough for him to make the final roster. He's not a key special teams player, and the Redskins were likely to only keep 5 corners this year. Between already having two young guys like Amerson and Breeland, it was going to be an uphill challenge for Minnifield to unseat a veteran.

CB Richard Crawford:

-Crawford is clearly not the same prospect he was before the injury, which is why he was a long shot to make the team. It's worth seeing if the can recover more from the injury and once again be a solid young corner/special teamer. Given that the Redskins only went with 5 corners, having two on the PS make some sense. With Tracy Porter's injury history it's likely one of the two will need to be called up at some point.

S Phillip Thomas:

-Thomas's injury history has made his future pretty murky, but if he makes it through waivers the Redskins would be wise to try to keep him on the practice squad. Thomas is still a young guy with potential, at a position where the Redskins are in desperate need for a long term solution. Maybe Thomas will never make it in the NFL, but he's worth keeping around on the practice squad if they can.

DT Robert Thomas:

-The Redskins likely want to have some extra defensive line depth on their practice squad and Thomas is the only guy from the Redskins that fits the bill. Now if the Redskins decide to cut Frank Kearse to pick up depth from another position he could take this PS spot.

*OL Reid Fragel:

-Due to who they kept the Redskins only have a handful of practice squad eligible players on their cut list (even with the expanded rules), the only guys that weren't kept were Lee Doss, Zach Hocker and Kevin Kowalski among the final cuts. It's possible they bring back someone like Adam Gettis, but it's more likely they look to bring in someone from another team. Given how bad the Redskins are along the offensive line they can be an attractive destination for offensive linemen around the league looking to latch on to a practice squad. Fragel is a raw tackle prospect, but he's got a great frame and some potential. He was originally drafted in the 7th round by the Bengals (and Jay Gruden) in 2013 before being on their practice squad for half of the season, until the Browns offered him a job.

Quick Thoughts On Today's Cuts

August 30, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

The Redskins cuts won't be finalized for over an hour and even then things could change with them possibly claiming a player or two off of waivers, but I wanted to touch on a couple things that have stood out from the cuts so far:

Keeping Just 3 Running backs:

-While much of the focus will be on the releasing of 6th round rookie Lache Seastrunk, the bigger story may be the fact that the Redskins only went with 3 RB's (as of now). The Redskins need to be a run centric team if they have hopes of competing so extra depth at a position that sees quite a few injuries would seem like a good idea. On top of that the Redskins had some interesting names for that 4th RB role. In addition to Seastrunk, Chris Thompson and Evan Royster would have all been easy to make a case for keeping around. Now the Redskins can keep Seastrunk and Thompson on the practice squad if they clear waivers, but they could get poached any week if another team suffers RB injuries before the Redskins. The Redskins have to hope they can avoid the injury bug this season at the running back position.

Forbath over Hocker:

-Though many felt that Hocker was clearly ahead in the kicking battle entering the final preseason game, it might not have been that way in the Redskins mind. Forbath's numbers weren't that far off of Hocker's and there were some reports from camp of Forbath having the edge in accuracy. As important as kick-off distance is to a team, having someone reliable to add points is what coaches are going to want the most. Hocker's miss on a short field goal was probably the icing on the cake, as he would have to be clearly Forbath's better, to get the job. The Redskins may sacrifice a little on kick-offs if it means they have a guy who has proven that he can make game winning kicks in pressure situations.

Keeping extra DL and S:

-While not official yet it looks like the Redskins went with 7 DL and 5 safeties to start the season. It's understandable why the Redskins went 5 safeties given that Brandon Meriweather will be suspended the first two games, but it's also possible they keep that number throughout the season. The Redskins will get a 2 week roster exemption for Meriweather's spot, but that doesn't start till Tue. Depending on who the Redskins bring in and what happens those first two weeks, will determine what the Redskins do once Meriweather is back. Along the defensive line it could be a good call keeping an extra defensive lineman. Defensive line is a position that see's a lot of injuries, particularly serious ones. Having some extra depth there makes some sense since it is likely that one or more of the Redskins current linemen will suffer an injury at some point this season.

Cutting Phillip Thomas:

-This was definitely a surprise and it probably has to do with the prognosis of his recent foot injury. While he's been banged up and hasn't played much in the preseason, you typically don't cut 2nd year 4th rounders unless there is a pressing need. Thomas might have never lived up to his potential if the Redskins kept him, but there was at least a chance. Now they will move on without him, making an already unstable position even more murky for the future.

Gabe Miller over Everette Brown:

-While I've been impressed with Miller this preseason, Brown has flashed as well and looked to be the more logical choice, given that Miller was practice squad eligible. Miller though really had a nice game against Tampa and it's possible the Redskins felt that the hype was too high with him and someone would claim him before he could reach the Redskins practice squad. The other factor here is that the Redskins are looking at it from an upside perspective. With their top 3 OLB's locked into place this year, the 4th guy isn't going to get many opportunities barring an injury. The Redskins might have felt it was better to just develop Miller for the long term, rather than worry about who the better option was for just this season.

Why the Redskins should trade for C/G Kraig Urbik From the Bills

August 30, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

With reports out of Buffalo that the Bills are looking to trade former starting guard Kraig Urbik before they have to finalize their roster today, the Redskins should be on their phones trying to acquire the Buffalo interior lineman. Urbik has fallen out of favor with the Bills coaching staff and has lost his starting job in Buffalo. The Bills are now rumored to be interested in trading Urbik rather than keeping him as a back-up for about $3 million. It's unclear what the Bills would be looking for in return, but it's likely no more than a 6th rounder. If that price is what the Bills are targeting, the Redskins should definitely look to get involved, as Urbik is a guy who would definitely be an upgrade to the Redskins weak interior line. Here are 6 reasons why the Redskins should be interested in Urbik:

1. He has experience:

-Assuming that Maurice Hurt is cut today, the Redskins four back-up offensive linemen (Tom Compton, Josh LeRibeus, Morgan Moses and Spencer Long), don't have a single regular season start between them. In fact combined they have roughly one game's worth of NFL snaps. Urbik has 42 games started from 2011-2013 and 3,000 offensive snaps in that time. Even if Urbik can't crack the starting line-up early in the season (due to lack of familiarity in the offense), he brings value with his experience

2. He's played at an above-average-to-good level for the most part:

-Urbik was a former 3rd round pick who failed in Pittsburgh and was selected off of waivers by the Bills. He got a couple spot starts late in the 2010 football season and became a starter the next year. After a strong 2012 campaign the Bills awarded him with a contract extension. Despite a change in offense and blocking for a young mobile QB, Urbik continued playing at a solid level last season. Urbik is considered to be a much better pass blocker than a run blocker, but has held his own as a run blocker for the most part. Urbik could fit in well for the Redskins as they are desperate to find interior linemen who can anchor in pass protection and give RGIII a clean pocket. Any deficiencies in Urbik's run blocking game could be made up with the Redskins zone scheme.

3. He's still relatively young:

-Urbik will turn 29 at the start of the season and should reasonably be able to play out his contract at a decent level of play.

4. He's cheap and under control for multiple years:

-Urbik is signed through 2016, meaning the Redskins would have 3 years of team control if they were able to trade for him. Urbik is signed to a relatively cheap deal, considering his solid play and age. He's due just $2.275 million this year and would have cap hits of $2.975 and $3.3 million over the next two seasons (note: that is less money each season than Lichtensteiger). Even if for some reason Urbik couldn't start for the Redskins those aren't unreasonable salaries for a quality back-up. It's also a low risk move for the Redskins because, Urbik's future cap hits aren't won't come with any guaranteed money so if he doesn't workout they can cut him at any time.

5. He's versatile:

-Though Urbik has primarily played and started at right guard during his time in the NFL, he has 6 career starts at center. Urbik has also been used at center in this preseason so he's fresh at the position as well. Not only can he be seen as an option to replace Chris Chester from the starting line-up, but he could be an option to replace Kory Lichtensteiger as well. The Redskins have potential in house options for RG in Josh LeRibeus and Spencer Long (though neither looks to be ready right now), but the only guy on their roster who could play center behind Lichtensteiger is Chester who has very limited experience there.

6. He Adds Size:

-Though one of the reasons why Urbik possibly fell out of favor in Buffalo was his "lack of size", his 6'5" 325 frame would make him the biggest guard or center currently on the Redskins roster (according to their listed weights). Given how the Redskins line continues to get pushed around, adding some extra size would help. Urbik is also not so big that he could be a liability in the Redskins zone scheme.

Final 53 Man Roster Prediction For the Redskins

August 29, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

Quarterbacks: 3 – Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy

-I don't see how the Redskins can go with only two QB's. Between the Griffin injury risk, and wanting to have another arm in practice it just makes too much sense to go with 3 QB's.

Running backs: 4 – Alfred Morris, Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster, Lache Seastrunk

-Alright we know Morris and Helu are locks, but that leaves two open spots for four backs. As good as Silas Redd looked, Evan Royster has looked better this camp/preseason. Royster is also more versatile and of course Redd has practice squad eligibility. Heading into the game I thought Seastrunk's job could be on the line, but his 80 yard screen TD reception is tough to ignore. He's still not a guy you count on as a receiver out of the backfield, but his speed and big play ability is going to keep him on the roster. Chris Thompson had a decent game, but I don't see how you keep him over any of the other three.

Fullback: 1- Darrel Young

-Young is a lock, no doubt about it.

Tight End: 3 – Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul

-These three  are all set and there isn't any reason to think they are in danger of being cut.

Wide Receivers: 6 – Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson

-The Redskins don't really need 6 wide receivers, but barring a Robinson trade, there is no way they could cut any of this group. They have too much set talent at the top and the back-ups have all played extremely well in camp and the preseason.

Offensive Line: 9 – Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Morgan Moses, Spencer Long, Josh LeRibeus, Tom Compton

-The only questions here are will the Redskins keep 9 offensive linemen and if they do is Tom Compton that ninth guy? I think given the uncertainty of the line the Redskins have to keep 9 offensive linemen, so the question becomes has Compton earned that 9th spot. The Redskins need another tackle, particularly with Morgan Moses not 100% after the knee injury he suffered in the Ravens game. The only other tackle on the roster is Maurice Hurt, who hasn't been bad, but he's never played LT. Compton should get the nod here unless the Redskins can grab someone after cuts.

Defensive Line: 6 – Jason Hatcher, Barry Cofield, Chris Baker, Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston, Clifton Geathers

- Five of these six spots were set, but the one open spot unfortunately got a lot easier to figure out after back-up NT Chris Neild suffered an ACL injury and is feared to be out for the season. Though Neild wasn't a lock to make the team, he had a chance versus Clifton Geathers and Frank Kearse. Geathers had a really strong game which pretty much locks him into a roster spot.

Linebackers: 9 – Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley, Trent Murphy, Adam Hayward, Everette Brown, Will Compton, Akeem Jordan

-We know the four starters are set and Trent Murphy and Adam Hayward are set. Back-up ILB Will Compton is pretty much a lock as well. That leaves just 2 LB spots (assuming they keep 9) up for grabs. The 4th OLB spot is down to Everette Brown and Gabe Miller. Both players have had nice camps, but Miller has practice squad eligibility which gives Brown an edge here. The final ILB spot will come down to Akeem Jordan and Darryl Sharpton. Sharpton has missed the past 3 preseason games due to a high ankle sprain, while Jordan has played in every game and has made plays on defense and special teams. What complicates matters is that Jordan suffered a knee injury in the final preseason game and depending on the severity of the injury the Redskins could keep him or cut him. If the Redskins do cut Jordan, I actually think that opens the door up for Gabe Miller so they can avoid exposing him on waivers.

Cornerbacks: 5 – DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Tracy Porter, E.J. Biggers, Bashaud Breeland

-No real surprises here. If the Redskins had the chance to keep a 6th corner I'd guess it would be Chase Minnifield over Richard Crawford. I don't really see them having the chance to keep a 6th corner though due to needs at other positions.

Safeties: 4 – Ryan Clark, Brandon Meriweather, Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo

-With the news about Thomas's injury more promising, I think the Redskins only keep 4 safeties. Now Meriweather's 2 game suspension opens up another spot when that goes into effect on Monday. At a that point I think Trenton Robinson gets the nod over Akeem Davis.

Long Snapper: 1 – Nick Sundberg

-Only long snapper on the team, making this an easy decision.

Kicker: 1 – Kai Forbath

-I've been leaning Zach Hocker in recent weeks, but now I'm thinking Forbath keeps his job. Hocker's 35 yard missed field goal in the 4th preseason game didn't help his case, but the main reason I'm going with Forbath is the fact that he had to get beaten out and I don't think Hocker did that. Their kick-off distances are closer than most people think and the accuracy is about even or maybe slightly in Forbath's favor. Without a definitive advantage I think it is hard for Hocker to unseat Forbath.

Punter: 1 – Tress Way

-I've been predicting Robert Malone the entire way, but that was mainly just a default pick as Malone hadn't done anything to really impress me. Way came out last night and had two really nice punts to start the game including one 50+ that had really nice hangtime allowing the coverage unit to get down there. Malone had a short punt later in the game that really didn't help his cause. The Redskins may still look to scour the waiver wire to see what other punters get released, but if I have to pick between the two guys on the roster, I'm going with Way.

Redskins Rookie Report Heading Into the 4th Preseason Game

August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

OLB Trent Murphy:

-Murphy saw some extended work in the 3rd preseason game with Brian Orakpo leaving the game early with a minor injury. Murphy took advantage of Orakpo's absence and had a nice game rushing the passer, getting 1 sack and another really nice pressure. Up until this point Murphy's contributions in the pass rushing department were few and far between, despite mainly facing 2nd and 3rd stringers. It was good to see Murphy have some success and you can see the potential of the Redskins 3 pass rusher package in generating pressure this season. Murphy has shown up very nicely throughout the preseason in stopping the run, but he will need to be more consistent attacking the quarterback this season.

OT Morgan Moses:

-Morgan Moses has gotten a lot of work this preseason and already you can see it paying off. Though he's not perfect and gives up a couple bad snaps each game so far, he's becoming more consistent and doing a better job finishing his blocks. Given that he's been splitting his time between both tackle spots, his development has been promising. He still might not be ready to fully supplant RT Tyler Polumbus, but he's shown the ability to possibly take that job at some point this season. One concern in the Ravens game was he went down with a minor MCL injury. Luckily for the Redskins the injury appears to be minor and shouldn't have any long term implications.

OT Spencer Long:

-Long like Moses was a 3rd round pick, and a guy who the Redskins hope can quickly work his way into the starting line-up. Though he's been solid at times, his play has been pretty flat in the preseason so far without a lot of improvement. In the 3rd preseason game he got some work with the first team, and while the sample size was small it was clear that he wasn't ready to challenge Chester just yet for a starting role. Long will battle with Josh LeRibeus to see who will be the top interior OL back-up this season, and right now it's likely that he's a little behind LeRibeus. That could mean that Long will spend most weeks on the inactive list. Overall this fourth game should be a nice extended test for Long to see where he's at heading into the season.

CB Bashaud Breeland:

-Breeland regressed some versus the Ravens after a strong performance in the first two weeks of the preseason. Overall though he's looked very good out there for the Redskins and has flashed the potential to be a long term answer for the Redskins secondary. Breeland has been very physical with both receivers and coming up to make tackles against the run. He has nice length that has really helped him in coverage. While there is a lot of promise in Breeland's performance so far, it's likely that he'll be behind both Tracy Porter and E.J. Biggers on the depth chart to start the season.

WR Ryan Grant:

-Grant has easily been the Redskins most impressive rookie so far this preseason. Grant has looked very advanced in his route-running and his catching ability, to the point that you can forget at times that he's a rookie. Grant obviously has faced off with 2nd and 3rd stringers, and in some cases due to injuries in the opposing secondary he's faced off versus 4th-5th stringers, so expectations should be tempered somewhat. Even with more realistic expectations, Grant has been a great pick-up for the Redskins and looks like a nice value find in the 5th round. The biggest issue facing Grant is that he's buried on a depth chart that has a lot of talented young receivers under contract. Grant's opportunities figure to be slim this year, but he's the type of guy who can make the most out of them.

RB Lache Seastrunk:

-Seastrunk has been buried on the depth chart this year, despite being drafted with pretty high hopes. There is no question of Seastrunk's potential and game-breaking ability, but it's also pretty clear that he's a very raw prospect. He just doesn't have much utility on passing downs as he struggles as a blocker and isn't a good receiver out of the back-field. Seastrunk is a project player at this point, but that makes him hard to keep when final cuts are made if the Redskins only want to keep 3 RB's. Since Seastrunk is so raw he can't really back-up either position as a 3rd down back or a featured guy. So if either Morris or Helu were to go down, he wouldn't offer much help. The Redskins likely want to hold on to Seastrunk due to his potential, but to do so they will need to keep an additional back or hope they can stash Seastrunk on the practice squad.

TE Ted Bosler:

-The Redskins 7th round tight end came into the preseason facing an uphill climb and that has continued throughout these first three weeks. Bosler did catch a TD pass week 1 of the preseason, and has been okay running routes. The issue with him is his lack of blocking ability. The Redskins are likely to try to keep Bosler on the practice squad and hopes he can bulk up and be a better blocker for next season.

K Zach Hocker:

-The kicking battle is one of the most interesting offseason questions surrounding the Redskins and right now it is still too close to call. Hocker though has shown good accuracy and has clearly been better on his kick-offs which should give him the lead heading into tonight's preseason finale.

UDFA: RB Silas Redd:

-The only Redskins undrafted rookie who really did much of anything this year was RB Silas Redd. Redd has muddied the Redskins running back position this preseason as he's clearly played better and is a more complete player than Seastrunk. Redd though has an up-hill climb for a roster spot though as even if the Redskins keep 4 RB's they could opt for Seastrunk based on potential alone. Unless Redd just has an amazing final preseason game, his best bet is to earn a spot on the practice squad. Given Redd's running ability and his pass protection so far he definitely looks to have an NFL future.

Predicting the Redskins 10 Man Practice Squad:

August 27, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

1. CB Chase Minnifield-

-In my latest 53 man roster prediction I have the Redskins keeping only 5 corners meaning that Minnifield is on the outside looking in for a roster spot right now. Minnifield has had a nice camp and preseason, and would be a good guy to hang on to given the cheaper contracts handed out to guys like Tracy Porter and E.J. Biggers. Minnifield may never be a star or even a starter, but he's a guy who could provide cheap decent depth going forward.

2. S Akeem Davis-

-With the safety position in flux right now given Brandon Meriweather's suspension and Phillip Thomas's injury situation it is important the Redskins keep some extra depth around. Davis was better on special teams than on defense in the preseason, but he at least knows the system and can be quick replacement if the Redskins suffer any more injuries to the position.

3. OLB Gabe Miller-

-Miller has been a great story at camp for the Redskins as he's showing natural pass rush ability and some intriguing potential for the future. He has an outside shot of making the 53 man roster, but given that he can be kept on the practice squad the Redskins will likely try to stash him here.

4. CB Richard Crawford-

-Under the new practice squad rules the Redskins can keep Crawford around for a year to see if in 2015 he has regained the promise he had before his knee injury in 2013. It's been a rough camp for Crawford and he definitely doesn't deserve a 53 man roster spot, but it would be nice to see him kept on the practice squad.

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5. WR Nick Williams-

-This practice squad spot will come down to Nick Williams vs Lee Doss (given the strength at WR on this team it is unlikely they will feel the need to keep 2 on the PS). Right now you have to think Williams is in the lead. He's played more snaps and has been more productive so far in 3 preseason games. Keeping Williams makes sense because he could be in the mix for a back-up spot next year when Moss, Robinson and Hankerson are all not under contract any longer.

6. RB Lache Seastrunk-

-Seastrunk could be a surprise cut, but right now it's tough to say he's done enough to earn a roster spot. Though he has game breaking potential, he's extremely raw still and unless he blows up in the 4th preseason game, there's a fair chance he could sneak through waivers. Seastrunk is likely the first guy other teams would try to poach so it wouldn't be surprising if the Redskins move him up to the active roster at some point this season.

7. RB Silas Redd-

-Redd has had a really nice camp/preseason and has outplayed fellow rookie Seastrunk thus far. Unfortunately for Redd it is a numbers game as the Redskins might not be able to keep more than 3 RB's. Even if they do keep a 4th Seastrunk will likely get the nod due to his draft status and the fact that Redd is more likely to clear waivers for the practice squad. The good news for Redd is if he is back with this team next year, he has a great opportunity as both Roy Helu and Evan Royster are free agents.

8. TE Ted Bosler-

-The Skins only need to keep 3 tight ends so it is extremely unlikely that Bosler will sneak on to the roster. It's been a bit of a down camp for the Redskins 7th rounder as he's shown he's got a ways to go before he is ready to contribute. A year on the practice squad though will do him good as he can get stronger and learn to use his big frame to wall off defenders.

9. OL Trevita Stevens-

-The Redskins could opt to keep Adam Gettis given the new practice squad rules, but the fact that they cut him earlier means they likely don't see him in their future. Stevens has been solid as a back-up and would give the Redskins a guy with center experience after the Redskins cut veteran journeyman Mike McGlynn. If either Kory Lichtensteiger or Chris Chester (the Redskins current back-up center) go down, Stevens could quickly be called up.

10. Open Space- Likely a defensive lineman

-It's possible the Redskins could opt to keep a guy on their roster, but I wouldn't be surprised if this spot is saved for someone who get's cut elsewhere. The Redskins could use some more defensive depth, particularly at safety or along the defensive line which is where this spot is likely to be used.

Predicting the Redskins 53 Man Roster After the 3rd Preseason Game

August 26, 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: (3) Alfred Morris, Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster

-I really want to keep 4 RB's but with the need of 5 safeties and 9 OL it's really tough to make it work. Perhaps the team would keep only 8 LB's, but I think the Redskins like the idea of extra depth there and the special teams impact from that group is high. The other factor with keeping the 4th running back is no one looks to have definitively earned that spot. Royster's versatility and solid play has earned him the 3rd RB spot. I think the team would love to see Chris Thompson or Lache Seastrunk on the roster as an extra weapon, but between Thompson's injury and Seastrunk's limitations (particularly in the passing game) neither guy is locked into a spot. Silas Redd has been clearly better than Seastrunk (and arguably better than Thompson), but he didn't do much in the 3rd preseason game, and he's a pretty safe bet to make the practice squad if the Redskins want him there. Seastrunk and Thompson have a better chance of being poached, but right now I think all three backs end up being cut, unless they have an amazing 4th preseason game. In that case the Redskins will find another roster spot somewhere else.

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: (6) DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, Santana Moss, Ryan Grant, Aldrick Robinson

-Though I don't think the Redskins really need to go with 6 receivers and I'd rather keep an extra RB, I don't see how they cut Aldrick Robinson right now. Maybe they could workout a trade for a conditional 7th rounder from some team (Cleveland perhaps), but otherwise I think Robinson makes this roster. I do think Moss is ahead of Robinson as the coaches like his versatility and leadership. He's also a great guy to help develop Ryan Grant going forward. The rest of the receivers are clearly set.

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

-*Originially I had Mike McGlynn making this roster over Josh LeRibeus, but the Skins just released McGlynn today. LeRibeus still will have to fight Maurice Hurt given his versatility and perhaps some questions surrounding Moses's health. The Redskins may also opt to keep just 8 OL and keep that 4th RB, though that can be risky, particularly since two of the back-ups would be rookies. There is basically no real experience now among the back-ups for the Redskins which is risky.

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

-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. I go back and forth here but I will go with Geathers, though I think it's really going to come down to the final preseason game. Also don't be surprised if DE Frank Kearse sneaks his way on the roster, he's been solid for the Skins so far in camp and the preseason.

Linebacker: (9) Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley, Trent Murphy, Everette Brown, 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. Jordan just has the most experience as well as the fact that he's made some plays each and every week. Rob Jackson was a bit of a surprise first cut, but he's been outplayed by both Everette Brown and Gabe Miller. Brown I think gets the roster spot since there is a good chance the Skins can stash Miller on the PS.

Cornerback: (5) DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Tracy Porter, Bashaud Breeland, E.J. Biggers

-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 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. Last week I had Minnifield making it but now I don't think there is a spot for him with the team needing to keep 5 safeties (see below).

Safety: (5) Ryan Clark, Brandon Meriweather, Bacarri Rambo, Phillip Thomas, Trenton Robinson

-This position has turned upside down in the past couple of days. With Brandon Meriweather suspended the first two weeks and Phillip Thomas dealing with an injury the Redskins basically have no choice but to keep 5 safeties. I know some think that the Redskins may keep 4 safeties and just cut Phillip Thomas, but it is very rare to see a team give up on a 4th rounder this quickly, even one with some injury issues. Remember Keenan Robinson missed a year and a half due to injury and now he looks to clearly be the Redskins best ILB. If the foot is semi-serious and Thomas would miss extended time they might consider using the IR spot or even the IR designated to return spot, but I don't see them outright cutting him. Due to the issues with Meriweather and Thomas, Rambo is now basically the starter the first two weeks with Trenton Robinson the only reliable back-up. Robinson still might have edged out Rambo due to special teams, but that is a moot point right now.

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. I'm less confident with this prediction then a week ago, but I think Hocker has a slight lead.

Punter: (1) Robert Malone

-Really haven't been impressed with Malone this preseason, while I'll put him in here he could easily be a place holder. Look for the Redskins to scour the waiver wire when final cuts are made, if any decent punter gets the ax I think they will try to pick them up.

Long Snapper: (1) Nick Sundberg

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

Preseason Game versus Ravens Shows the Offense Still Has a Ways to Go

August 25, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

Much of the hype surrounding the Washington Redskins and their potential for success this season has surrounded the offense and their ability to put up points this season. Through three preseason games the first team offense failed to score a touchdown and consistently found ways to shoot themselves in the foot, with mental errors, turnovers and penalties. This was not the offense that most were expecting after the Redskins signed two starting caliber receivers in the offseason including Pro Bowler DeSean Jackson. The thought of many was that these two signings combined with Pierre Garcon, Alfred Morris, and a healthy Jordan Reed and RGIII would make the Redskins an offensive Juggernaut that could carry this team into contention. After three preseason games though, it may be time to revisit those expectations.

Now in the first two preseason games, the concern was fairly minimal given that they only played just over 1 quarter combined and despite the lack of points and the poor decisions, the offense was able to move the football. Now some of the Redskins sustained drives came as a result of the stricter enforcement of the contact rules down the field, which may or may not carry over into the season. Even though the Redskins maybe got some extra help via penalties, they still made enough positive plays that would lead you to believe that they could be dangerous this year. Heading into the 3rd preseason game there was still some optimism for the offense (particularly the passing attack) to be a major force this season. In that preseason game it looked like a good match-up for the Redskins as they would face off versus a Ravens team that was missing their top 3 corners. This should have been the type of game where the passing attack really excelled as the talent of the Redskins weapons was far superior to what faced them on defense. Unfortunately for the Redskins passing attack (and first team offense in general) it ended up being their worst performance of the preseason. Despite playing into the 3rd quarter, Robert Griffin was just 5 of 8 for 20 yards with an interception and 3 sacks.

After three preseason games here is the break down of how the first team passing offense has looked (with a heavier focus on the 3rd preseason game):

Quarterback Play:

-Hopes were definitely high that most of Robert Griffin III's struggles last year were as a result of the knee injury and the drama surrounding the friction between him and head coach Mike Shanahan. The hope was that a full year of practice, a new coaching staff and more weapons would overcome any developmental issues that Griffin may have been facing. Through three preseason games though the results aren't positive though. In 28 dropbacks, Griffin is 13 of 20 for 141 yards (65% completion rating and 7.1 yards per attempt), with zero touchdowns, four sacks and two interceptions. Now if you just look at the completion percentage and yardage per attempt it looks pretty decent. Having 65% completion percentage is a great target to have, and 7.1 yards per attempt is a little above average. The problem is of course the lack of touchdowns compared to the interceptions and sacks. That is an ugly stat line due to those two categories and given the sample size. Now obviously this is over the course of three games, but 28 dropbacks and 20 attempts is roughly 3 quarters or a little more of a game. Now I don't think that means Griffin is going to throw 40 INT's and be sacked 80 times this season, but it's troubling to see those numbers in such a limited amount of work.

In critiquing Griffin's play this preseason, it goes far beyond the raw numbers when thinking that he has some work to do, before he can consistently run this offense effectively. Griffin just has not looked comfortable in this offense in these three games. While you can point to a couple really nice throws (in particular the deep passes to Andre Roberts and DeSean Jackson vs the Browns), most of Griffins' passes have been more off target or questionable in his decision making. It's been a combination of underthrown passes, throws behind or off target to the receiver, or throwing a ball into coverage when someone else is open. Now of course some of that is too be expected as no quarterback will ever make every correct decision, have perfect placement or see every open receiver, but the issue here is that too many of these 28 dropbacks has seen Griffin's play fall into the negative category.

One of the biggest problems that Griffin is struggling with is how he deals with pressure. Now just about every quarterback sees a significant drop in their production when they are under pressure, but many of the times Griffin has faced pressure this preseason he's made a mistake. Unfortunately due to the Redskins weak offensive line (more on them below), Griffin has faced a considerable amount of pressure this preseason. That is likely going to be an issue throughout the season as well, and it could get even worse as the Redskins face defenses who get more aggressive and creative with their blitzes. Griffin is going to be tested in this area quite a bit and he needs to start making better decisions and do his part to ensure the pressure isn't impacting too many plays. Griffin has not done a great job feeling pressure and either throwing the ball away or dumping it off. Too often he tries to buy time with his feet and will eventually run it, leading to a lot of unnecessary hits (at times it can be very beneficial, but he has to pick his spots better). Griffin has also forced the ball into coverage when under pressure rather than throwing it away or using the time he buys with his legs to find an open target. Like most young and/or mobile quarterbacks, Griffin holds on to the ball too long which has led to some of these pressure situations. If Griffin can't considerably improve in this area, it's going to be hard for him to put up consistently good production.

Offensive Line Play:

-Though the offensive line was an issue for the Redskins last season, the Redskins made fixing their line a secondary concern in their offseason gameplan. Their only change to the starting unit was replacing center Will Montgomery with LG Shawn Lauvao (former LG Kory Lichtensteiger moved over to center). Though the Redskins made Lauvao one of the higher paid guards in free agency, he wasn't exactly considered a major upgrade (or worth the money) by most pundits. Other than the addition of Lauvao the Redskins brought in 3rd rounders OT Morgan Moses and OG Spencer Long, as well as journeyman free agent C/G Mike McGlynn. Though this added better depth for the Redskins and possibly some starting options if the current starting unit struggled, they weren't immediate upgrades to the starting unit and the protection for RGIII.

Through three preseason games the line has looked even worse than what the Redskins saw a year ago (granted in a smaller sample size). Shawn Lauvao just hasn't been consistent enough and has had many of the same struggles he had in Cleveland. Kory Lichtensteiger has gotten abused at the center position and is losing at the line of scrimmage far too often. Guard Chris Chester and tackle Tyler Polumbus have remained weak spots at their spots from a year ago, and both have given up multiple pressures. Even stud left tackle Trent Williams has had some struggles in the preseason, committing a bad holding penalty, giving up a pressure and just in general hasn't looked as dominant as he did a year ago. Though Williams shouldn't be a major concern for the offense as he's still really good, any fall off from his play last year hurts because he was the one guy the Redskins could consistently count on.

What's most troubling is that the level of offensive line play could get worse, instead of better as the regular season starts. Not only did the offensive line face Patriots and Browns defenses that were missing starters among the front seven, but they saw pretty vanilla pass rushes in general. It was pretty basic assignment football where they had to block the man in front of them. They didn't see a lot of exotic blitzes or creative attacks that they will definitely face on a weekly basis. Defensive coordinators are going to come up with far more aggressive game plans to attack the pocket once the season rolls around, and that will continue to increase unless the offensive line and RGIII prove that they can handle the pressure.

Also troubling for the Redskins is the idea that they may need to rely on some of their back-ups this season along the offensive line. The past two years the Redskins missed a combined 1 start among their starting offensive linemen. This year they may not be so lucky, meaning the back-up unit may see some significant time. By in large the back-up offensive line hasn't inspired a lot of confidence in their level of play this preseason. No one has clearly stood out to be worthy of earning a starting job, and that is of course against other team's 2nd and 3rd units. Perhaps the guy that has the highest upside and the most consistent throughout the preseason, is rookie Morgan Moses. Unfortunately Moses left the 3rd preseason game with an MCL injury. Though it is not expected to be serious, it will force him out of at least the 1st preseason game, and it could last into the start of the regular season. That is going to be some valuable developmental time Moses will miss, making it tougher for him to either unseat Polumbus at RT or replace him if Polumbus went down with an injury.

Skill Position Play:

-This has been by far the best part of the Redskins passing attack in the preseason. Week one both starters Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson were out, but they looked really good in the other two preseason games, particularly DeSean Jackson who has had a couple really nice catches and whose speed has given defensive backs fits in these games. Jordan Reed has been a reliable target and shows really nice potential in making big plays in a passing attack. Though it was wiped out due to a holding penalty, Reed's 26 yard catch and run was a great play on his part. Third receiver Andre Roberts has also gotten into the mix getting open on a number of routes and coming up with the big catch on a deep throw versus the Browns. There have been some drop issues, but overall the Redskins have to be happy with what this group are doing. I don't know if they deserve the "elite unit" label that some want to make them out to be as there are still some questions with drops and lack of size, but this is a top 10 receiver/tight end group, which is obviously pretty good. The biggest question is whether Griffin can deliver the ball as he should consistently and if the offensive line will give him the time to do so.

Prediction of first cuts to get down to a 75 man roster:

August 24, 2014 in Redskins Personnel

The Redskins need to make 14 cuts before Tuesday's deadline to get down to a 75 man roster for their final preseason game. Here are the 14 guys I see most likely on the initial chopping block:

1. WR Lee Doss

2. WR Rashard Lawrence

3. WR Cody Hoffman

4. OL Kevin Kowalski

5. TE Matt Veldman

6. DL Robert Thomas

7. DL Jeremy Towns

8. DL Jake McDonough

9. LB Jeremy Kimbrough

10. LB Adrian Robinson

11. CB Bryan Shepard

12. S Ross Madison

13. S Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith

14. P Tress Way

Some Notes:

-I think to cut down to 14 players 3 WR's need to go and as much as they might like to see Cody Hoffman get some more extensive work, Rashad Ross and Nick Williams I think have earned the chance to be the back-ups to Ryan Grant and Aldrick Robinson for the final preseason game. What will be interesting is to see if they sit both Roberts and Moss as well. If so they may need to keep one more WR for the final preseason game.

-I could have maybe seen another OL cut in this first round of cuts, but with Morgan Moses's injury and the starters not playing that would leave the line too thin for the final game.

-The Redskins only need three TE's for the final game so Veldman should be an easy cut.

-I considered with keeping 3 TE's that Stephen Campbell could be an initial cut, but I think they might keep him for this final game, let the backs run with a true FB instead of forcing a TE there.

-I actually considered Chris Thompson in the first round of cuts, despite the fact that they could consider him a PS option. Thompson didn't play against the Ravens and even if Helu sits along with Morris, I would guess the Redskins want to see more out of Redd, Royster and Seastrunk.

-Defensively cutting 3 DL thins out that position for the final preseason game, but it's tough to get to 14 cuts otherwise.

-The other 5 defensive cuts probably aren't that much of a shock. The only one who has been slightly interesting is Adrian Robinson, but I still see him behind Brown and Miller so he's the odd man out. The Redskins don't need 5 OLB's for the final preseason game.

-The Redskins did just sign Tress Way and he wasn't that much worse than Malone, but unless they are going to cut a guy like Campbell or Thompson, this is an easy way to get down to 75 guys.

-The good news for the Redskins is there are fewer obviously options in getting down to 75 guys then there have been in years past.

-One final note, as long as Hankerson and Bowen are on the Active PUP (allowing them to return before the start of the season) they are counting towards the 75 man limit.