As the season nears, the Washington Redskins will have some tough choices ahead of them. This is the deepest team Mike Shanahan has had in Washington and the first line of cuts is right around the corner. In this post we'll cover the defense and specialists. Last year Shanahan kept 24 on defense and four specialists, with Brandon Banks as a kick returner.
It's well known, that Banks is going to have to make it as a receiver this go-around. So the Skins will only carry the three traditional specialists this year, and again, just 24 on defense.
Defensive Line (7):
- (In) – Stephen Bowen (DE), Barry Cofield (NT), Adam Carriker (DE), Jarvis Jenkins (DE), Chris Baker (NT), Kendric Golston (DE), Darrion Scott (DE)
- (Out) – Doug Worthington (DE), Delvin Johnson (NT)
No real surprises here. The Redskins would have liked Chris Neild to make it, and he would have, but he ruptured his ACL in practice. However, they did manage to retain him and subsequently placed him on IR.
- (In) – Brian Orakpo (OLB), Ryan Kerrigan (OLB), London Fletch (ILB), Perry Riley (ILB), Rob Johnson (OLB), Chris Wilson (OLB), Keenan Robinson (ILB), Lorenzo Alexander (ILB)
- (Out) – Markus White (OLB), Bryan Kehl*** (ILB), Donnell Holt (ILB), Brian McNally (OLB)
***Bryan Kehl could still make the team with a minor shake up by keeping just six linemen, not seven–they did the same thing last season.
There's actually a bigger battle than most think for the final outside backer spot. The Redskins really like both Chris Wilson and Markus White, but neither one has been able to pull away in practice or games. I'm giving the early nod to Wilson for his coverage skills. Also, if there isn't outside interest, White is still eligible for the practice squad in his second season.
- (In) – DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Cedric Griffin, Kevin Barnes, Richard Crawford
- (Out) – Brandyn Thompson, Travon Bellamy, Morgan Trent, David Jones
We're still waiting for somebody–hell, anybody–to step up. Richard Crawford has been the biggest surprise of the group, probably playing Brandyn Thompson out of a spot. Everyone else, except the starting pair, has really struggled. Cedric Griffin was brought in to help secondary this offseason and it's just not working. Instead, after two weeks, he's become a target for opposing quarterbacks. Yet, he and Kevin Barnes will make the roster.
- (In) – Brandon Meriweather (SS), Madieu Williams (FS), Tandard Jackson (FS), DeJon Gomes (SS)
- (Out) – Reed Doughty (FS) , Jordan Bernstine (S)
Brandon Meriweather is a lock to start at strong safety once he's healthy. The Redskins really like what he brings–hard, physical, fast play–and the system fits him much better in Washington than it did in Chicago. The only battle really taking place is between Tanard Jackson and Reed Doughty. The Skins have shown loyalty to Doughty over the past few years and they could keep him again this year, if Jackson doesn't prove himself worthy.
- (In) – Nick Sundberg (LS), Sav Rocca (P), Graham Gano (K)
- (Out) – Neil Rackers (K)
I imagine that the coaches want Gano to win. He's younger and getting better. This is just another way to push him along in his development. And again, Brandon will have to make the team elsewhere this season (specifically wide receiver).
Let us know what you think…
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