Thoughts on the Redskins Roster and Practice Squad
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.