Thoughts On the Redskins Final 53 Man Roster

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The Redskins finalized their final 53 man roster yesterday and there were more than a couple surprises. Here are my thoughts on some of the key decisions that were made yesterday.

Keeping Four Quarterbacks:

-This just frankly doesn’t make sense unless the concerns about RGIII and Kirk Cousins injuries are more serious than they are telling us. The idea that Pat White is being kept for trade purposes is pretty laughable given that a team could sign a similar option quarterback like Dennis Dixon or Vince Young without any trade compensation. And if a team was looking for just any quarterbacks guys like David Carr and Trent Edwards would be getting the call well before a team would offer anything for Pat White.

Now the idea that White is being kept on the roster to simulate Michael Vick for week is a bit more plausible, but you are still risking the value of having a veteran offensive lineman like Tony Pashos or a young promising defensive back like Chase Minnifield for 16 weeks, just to have Pat White for one. Yes White can simulate some of the running things that Michael Vick does, and he can simulate some of the poor decisions that Vick has been known to make (though Rex Grossman can do that as well), but I don’t know if he fully tests your defense, anywhere close to what Vick will do on Monday night.

This seems like poor reasoning to waste a roster spot on Pat White and this is probably something that the Redskins will regret. The good news is that when Rob Jackson and Jarvis Jenkins come back after the 4th week Pat White should be gone (if not sooner), I would have just rather used that spot to get a longer look at a player that might help impact this team.

Keeping only 8 offensive linemen:

Really poor decision by the Redskins here. Not only did they only keep 3 back-up offensive linemen, but Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis and Tom Compton have a total of 71 regular season snaps between them (actually they all belong to LeRibeus) and zero starts. The Redskins were extremely lucky last season as in 17 games (including the playoffs), the Redskins starting 5 missed only a total of 239 snaps out of 5,590 or just 4%. The chances of them missing only 4% of the offensive snaps this year is basically zero. It is very likely that at least one of LeRibeus, Gettis, Compton will be called upon for an extended time period this season. It is also possible that the Redskins will need 2 or 3 of them playing at the same time. During stretches of the 2011 season the Redskins were running 3 back-ups at the same time.

Not only is this group thin from a numbers perspective, but from a pure talent perspective as well. Josh LeRibeus struggled mightily in the preseason and just doesn’t seem capable of playing any sort of meaningful snaps this season. Tom Compton played better than LeRibeus (though that isn’t really a high water mark), but had his worst performances in the 1st and 4th preseason games, when for the most part he played against the worst competition. Gettis was the best of the bunch, but even he proved himself to be pretty streaky. The three were also pretty undisciplined as they combined for 6 of the 8 penalties that the offensive line committed in the preseason.

Tony Pashos wasn’t anything special, but he was definitely our most consistent back-up in the preseason, and he of course has a long track record. He wasn’t going to fix every problem of the offensive line, but he would have given the Redskins an additional option, and one that they can more readily count on. With the Redskins going with just three 2nd year offensive lineman, who really haven’t done anything to earn these spots they are taking a pretty big risk here.

Keeping Jerome Murphy over Chase Minnifield:

This seemed to be pretty odd, especially with Richard Crawford out for the season. At that point it looked as though Minnifield’s job was safe. He was a former highly touted college corner, who fell out of the draft due to injury concerns. Those concerns showed up last year when he tore his ACL and missed the season. Minnifield recovered well and by all accounts had a strong camp/preseason. Given his youth, contract, potential and production this year it seemed like he had forced his way on the roster as a 6th corner. With Crawford’s injury that seemed like a near lock, so the Redskins keeping Jerome Murphy over him is a pretty big surprise.

Murphy didn’t have a bad preseason, but it wasn’t on the same level as Minnifield (or against as much quality competition). Murphy also doesn’t have the future potential that Minnifield has, which could have been a deciding factor since Hall, Wilson and Biggers are all free agents next year and Richard Crawford is coming back from a major injury. Murphy won the job essentially due to special teams, which while important didn’t protect the jobs of Keiland Williams or DeJon Gomes in their roster battles.

The Redskins are going to try to stash Minnifield on the practice squad, but there is a chance that he gets plucked off waivers by some other team. Also, another team with perhaps a better chance to advance to the active roster could come calling and Minnifield could decide to sign to their practice squad. This is a area where keeping Pat White really comes into play. If the Redskins really didn’t want to miss out on Murphy’s special teams contributions, they could have still kept Minnifield as a 6th corner as opposed to keeping White as a 4th quarterback. Given their future need at corner, this is a decision that could come back to haunt the Redskins if Minnifield is snatched up by another team.


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