Predicting the Redskins Inactives for Week 1
The Redskins have set their 53 man roster (well until week 4 when they will have to make room for the two suspended players), but the bigger question is how will their game day roster look. With rules that you can only keep 46 players active on game days, the Redskins are going to have to make some interesting decisions. Given that three spots are reserved for the specialists the Redskins are down to 43 open spots.
At the minimum the Redskins should keep the following number active at each position:
Offense total: 18
Defense total: 18
Overall total: 39 (including specialists)
That leaves just 7 open spots. Of those a couple are already accounted for. The Redskins are basically a lock to keep TE Niles Paul active, given his special teams ability and versatility. Wide Receiver Aldrick Robinson is also pretty much guaranteed a spot, given his big play potential. From the sounds of it Jordan Reed is going to be active as well, as the team will look to keep 4 tight ends.
Defensively the Redskins are very likely to keep an 8th defensive back, and probably both additional back-up linebackers. That leaves just one open spot and a battle for that 8th defensive back spot. Now some might point to keeping only 7 linebackers active, as a way to free up another spot, but who among the back-ups do you sit? Darryl Tapp and Nick Barnett are the primary back-ups at OLB and ILB. Brandon Jenkins is a role player, but it appears to be a pretty important role in this defense. Bryan Kehl is one of the team’s better special teamers, so benching him weakens the team. For the final two roster spots, I think they will go to Evan Royster and CB Jerome Murphy (as the 8th defensive back).
That leaves the following players Inactive:
S Brandon Meriweather:
-This is a shock (or perhaps not given how much time he’s missed), but I don’t see Meriweather being active tonight. For Meriweather to be active the Redskins have to believe he’s capable of giving them 60 minutes, and I don’t believe that the Redskins can be confident in that regard. He’s been limited throughout camp, and after playing a single half this entire preseason he was missing practice time yet again. Are the Redskins going to sit a pass rush specialist like Brandon Jenkins or a 4th TE who could be a mismatch problem like Jordan Reed, on the off chance that Meriweather is healthy enough to play? I just don’t see it. Also, if he does play Meriweather could be a liability because he’s not up to full speed. That is something you can’t have versus big time playmakers like LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson.
S Jose Gumbs:
-With Meriweather inactive, Gumbs could have a shot, but I think the Redskins will opt for the 5th corner Jerome Murphy instead. He’s got more overall experience and is a better special teamer. The Redskins didn’t keep Chase Minnifield in part because he would be inactive as opposed to Murphy, so I find it hard to believe that Gumbs will play and Murphy won’t. While this would have the Redskins short at safety, Hall and perhaps Biggers/Murphy could be emergency back-ups.
RB Chris Thompson:
-This could be a controversial one, but can the Redskins justify keeping an active spot for a guy who only returns punts? Last year it was bad enough keeping a spot for Banks, and he returned punts and kick-offs. While Thompson theoretically could help on offense, he’s probably a few weeks away from that being a reality. Until that time it’s tough to make him active. Evan Royster can do more on offense if called upon, and he plays on multiple special teams units.
G Josh LeRibeus:
-Compton as the swing tackle is locked, so it is between Gettis and LeRibeus for the back-up guard job. LeRibeus has the higher draft status, but coaches have been down on him and he had a rough preseason. I think he ends up sitting on the bench because of it.
DE Phillip Merling:
-You would probably like to keep 6 defensive linemen active, but it could be tough given some of the other position battles. Chris Baker‘s versatility works against Merling here, as it ensures him a spot. The team could maybe chose Chris Neild to be inactive, but since Barry Cofield is dealing with the injury, the Redskins will likely opt to keep the primary back-up NT. The other factor is with the Eagles spreading the field more, the Redskins could opt to keep in an extra DB or LB to try to match-up.
QB Rex Grossman:
-Depending on how Cousins has progressed, there is a chance the Redskins could keep 3 QB’s active, but it is likely that if Cousins was a concern he would be inactive and Grossman would be the back-up for the game.
QB Pat White:
-No shock here as there was no chance the Redskins keep 4 quarterbacks active. And even if they went with three, it would definitely be Grossman as the option.
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