-Smith got his first taste of preseason action last week and moved the offense in his lone drive. While you don’t want to read too much into a short preseason stint, it was nice to see Smith was in complete command of the offense and didn’t have any initial rust. Smith is obviously firmly locked into the starting role, but McCoy’s strong preseason shows why the Redskins extended his contract for an extra year. McCoy has moved the offense effectively in both preseason games and gives the Redskins a capable back-up if Smith were to miss a short time period. The preseason has not been nearly as kind to 3rd string Kevin Hogan, as the gap between he and McCoy is quite extensive. Hogan will probably stick around on the practice squad, but that is the extent of his chances of wearing Burgundy and Gold after final cut down day.
-Injuries continue to pile up at this position, which led to this week’s signing of veteran Adrian Peterson. Given that Peterson will just be getting up to speed, Chris Thompson is less than 100% and Samaje Perine is coming back from an injury, I think the Redskins break camp with 5 RBs. Kelley seems safe as the coaching staff remains high on him and with Byron Marshall also dealing with an injury the final job should go to Kapri Bibbs. It’s possible Marshall is close enough to returning that they keep him on the 53 man roster even if he won’t be ready for week 1. If the injury is a bit more severe though, the Redskins could start Marshall on Injured Reserve and potentially bring him back later in the season.
All-in-all there are still more questions with this group than answers. The addition of Peterson helps but the Redskins running back production figures to be a concern, especially until Thompson is back 100% and can play a large role.
-No surprises with the top three receivers and Maurice Harris has all but locked down a roster spot and potentially the 4th WR role. Crowder has yet to play in the preseason, but it still sounds like he will be ready week 1. Harris is dealing with a leg injury and a concussion and has missed some time, but there is no indication that it’s serious enough to jeopardize his roster spot.
For the final two spots its a three man race between veteran Brian Quick, 7th round rookie Trey Quinn and surprising UDFA Cam Sims. Quinn feels semi-safe given his experience in the slot and his upside as a punt returner as well. Quinn was injured in the first preseason game, but came back with a good 2nd week. Quick has been dealing with injuries in camp and been pretty limited so far in the preseason. He does offer experience both outside and in the slot and the upside that he’s flashed at times throughout his career in the league. Between his injuries in camp and the emergence of Cam Sims make this a very interesting battle that likely will go down to the wire.
Most will probably think that Sims should get the final roster spot, and it’s quite possible that is how it ends up, but I don’t think he’s locked it up just yet. Sims has had a strong camp by all accounts and has made some splash plays in two preseason games. That does put him in contention for a spot, but it doesn’t lock him into one. Sims is also a very raw player (something Coach Gruden has mentioned) and in the 2nd preseason game he had a bad drop that led to an interception. He didn’t have a strong college career and his athletic numbers aren’t anything special, so that makes it still pretty likely that he would go through waivers without being claimed and he could be signed to the practice squad. I know many believe that Sims will get picked up on waivers, but the last couple of years guys with a higher profile and/or better athletic traits like Maurice Harris and Robert Davis made it through with no problems. Quick has shown that he can be a competent number 3 WR in the past and he offers experience and upside that Sims won’t be able to match for this season.
-No change here, the Redskins TE group is one of the most set positions on the roster. If Reed can stay healthy this is going to be a very talented and productive group this season. Second year TE Jeremy Sprinkle has shown a lot of improvement in camp and could be in line for an expanded role this season. He probably won’t get a lot of targets, but he could see the field with a variety of blocking assignments. Given that the Redskins are only keeping 3 TEs on the 53 man roster, I’d expect 1 TE to make the practice squad.
-The Redskins starting offensive line is set, though a current injury to Chase Roullier does give some cause for concern. The Redskins have decided to not push Trent Williams in camp and held him out of the first two preseason games. While those are minor concerns, all five starters are still set to be ready week 1 and when healthy this is an impressive group.
The real question is how much the Redskins can count on their back-ups and who gets the final roster spot. Ty Nsekhe is the one back-up the Redskins should have complete faith in. He’s shown that he can be a solid swing tackle over the past few years and if Williams or Moses were to miss a little time, he could be passable. Third round pick Geron Christian has struggled this year in the preseason and camp, but his roster spot is safe due to his future potential. Bergstrom is pretty safe as well as he’s got the most experience overall and is the best back-up center on the team. That leaves one open spot with a few guys competing for it. I think it will come down to Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis for the final spot. Kalis might have a slight edge as Catalina sat out the 2nd preseason game, and Kalis is probably the better interior option, which is where the Redskins are weaker.