10 Roster Moves I’d Look to Make to Shake Up the Redskins:
Here are my top 10 roster moves to try to jumpstart this team. These are both moves with bringing in new guys and mixing up playing time for current guys on the roster.
1. Cut Jerome Murphy and Sign Chase Minnifield off the Practice Squad:
-The Redskins cut Minnifield and kept Murphy, due to the latter’s special teams ability. Well Murphy has already committed one penalty on special teams and hasn’t been great in coverage on kicks and punts. If he’s not warranting keeping his spot with special teams play, the Redskins should bring in the higher upside and better defender. While he wouldn’t be an option right away, Minnifield could eventually make the case for playing time and be a boost for this secondary. Also, this would ensure that another team didn’t steal him off your practice squad for the future.
2. Release Jose Gumbs, sign him to the practice squad and sign CB/S Nate Clements:
-This is not a knock on Gumbs, but rather letting him get the chance to develop on the practice squad this year. He can take Minnifield’s spot on the practice squad and hopefully develop to have a role for later this season or next year. Clements would be my first choice among all available free agents out there. He’s more likely to take a veteran minimum type of deal, and he’s versatile enough to back-up every position in the secondary. Primarily he’s a safety now, but he can still play corner and even help out some inside. Most would peg Clements as a free safety, and he can definitely help in that role, but he’s always been a great tackler and hitter, and the Bengals played him some in the strong safety role last year.
3. Split Nickel Duties between David Amerson and E.J. Biggers:
-More accurately these are the 3rd CB duties as Josh Wilson has slid over to slot role. Though it is just one game, rookie David Amerson had a woeful performance against Green Bay, and it is likely that other teams took notice. The Redskins shouldn’t expose him fully to the onslaught of teams trying to challenge him, and they should consider putting in veteran E.J. Biggers in his place some. Biggers has more familiarity in this role, and could do an okay job. This isn’t giving up on Amerson, but just recognizing that he’s a work in progress and he’s not going to give you the best production.
4. Bench Fred Davis Until he is Healthy, use Jordan Reed and Niles Paul in his Place:
-Fred Davis is coming back from a serious injury so it isn’t shocking that his play hasn’t been up to par, but the Redskins can’t wait for him to get healthy in the line-up. With the way Jordan Reed has looked to start the year he should take over the majority of the role (and may have already done so). Given he’s a rookie and not the best blocker, Reed probably can’t be counted on for 60-70 plays, and the Redskins will still want to show that tight end look some, so Niles Paul could take over the rest of the role. This could also allow the team to make Davis inactive some weeks freeing up another roster spot.
5. Use Leonard Hankerson more over Josh Morgan:
-Hankerson has clearly been the better of the two receivers so far, and has more upside going forward. Morgan hasn’t been bad, but the Redskins need to get their best playmakers out on the field. I wouldn’t go to Hankerson full time, given some of the things Morgan does really well, but the timeshare between the two should start favoring Hankerson more and more.
6. Rotate Bacarri Rambo with Jordan Pugh and Nate Clements:
-Rambo is playing about as you would expect a 6th round rookie to play, unfortunately it is a far cry from how the Redskins 6th rounder last season, Alfred Morris, played. Rambo is just getting lost out there, and could use some help. Jordan Pugh isn’t ideal, but he could help some. Also if the team could add a veteran like Nate Clements he could kind of split starting between both strong and free safety. He would also be a great guy for Rambo to learn from.
7. Rotate London Fletcher with Nick Barnett:
-Fletcher has clearly lost a step, and his play is costing the Redskins. Washington should look to limit that by utilizing Nick Barnett more, particularly against the run, where Barnett excels. I don’t think you bench Fletcher outright just yet, but you have to shake it up and start getting Barnett familiar with the defense. In a couple of weeks if Fletcher hasn’t improved and Barnett is more comfortable, then you look to make the switch full time.
8. Rotate Stephen Bowen with Kedric Golston and Chris Baker more often:
-Bowen has completely fallen off this year and looks like a shell of his former self. The team should look to utilize Golston and Baker more so as to not have Bowen on the field as often. Now at times Golston will be starting as well, but the Redskins should utilize him in Bowen’s nickel role more often. This isn’t an ideal scenario at all, but until the Redskins get Jarvis Jenkins back they are desperate.
9. Replace Chris Thompson as the return man with Niles Paul taking over kicks, and Paul and Santana Moss sharing punts:
-Redskins can’t afford any extra mistakes, and that is exactly what they are asking for by having an inexperienced rookie returning kicks and punts. Thompsons’ decision making cost the Redskins in week one, and it will cost them again if they keep trotting him out there. Also, until they have the offense and defense fixed, the Redskins can’t really waste another roster spot on a guy who only is a returner. The Redskins have chosen to be thin at running back the last couple of weeks, since Thompson isn’t really a legit back-up option. The team could have also used that spot on a much needed 4th safety.
10. Cut kicker John Potter and sign Quinn Sharp:
-I’ve talked about this before, but I’m getting the impression that Kai Forbath might not be good to go once again, and John Potter is certainly not the answer. Sharp is a rookie kicker from Oklahoma State, who was an All-American both as a kicker and punter. He led the nation in touchback percentage and would be a great short term pick-up for the Redskins. Washington can’t afford to have a kicker they can’t trust for another week, so a move should be made. And if Forbath is healthy, then you at least gave yourself peace of mind.