Welcome back to The Burgundy and Gold Report. The Redskins head into their final preseason game of the season looking to trim their roster down to mandatory 53. Some want to mark this as the RGIII Redemption Game, but truth be told Griffin has little significance in the league these days as a 3rd string quarterback. So tonight is all about the youngsters.
I’ve watched the film on all the new additions/draft picks and this is the best roster they’ve fielded in years. Coaches hope that tonight’s matchup with Baltimore will aid their decision for the roster bubble hopefuls, while others have solidified themselves as roster locks. Many fans will post their projected 53 man rosters to social media this week, so here’s mine.
Alex Smith, Colt McCoy and Kevin Hogan
No surprises here except maybe the Redskins keeping a third QB. Colt’s thumb injury might have complicated matters although reports are it’s minor. Word is Jay likes Hogan, so three should be the number in 2018.
Starter- Adrien Peterson
Reserves– Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine
The injury to fan favorite Darrius Guice put a wrench in some depth charts. Peterson has been impressive thus far, albeit in a brief appearance versus Denver. Reports are Perine is still nursing an ankle injury, but will be ready for week #1.
Marshall’s injury only aided Perine’s bid to stick with the Redskins. Kelley has been a Jay favorite, so don’t expect him to go anywhere. In saying that Gruden had his backs running out of the I-Formation and using a fullback at times this preseason. So signing a fullback not on the roster isn’t out of the question. I’m sticking with 4 backs at this time, but Kapri Bibbs will get his shot tonight to possibly beat out Kelley/Perine for the fourth RB slot.
Starters– Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson Jr. and Jamison Crowder.
Reserves– Mo Harris, Trey Quinn and Cam Sims.
Last year the Redskins began the season with five receivers, Brian Quick being the 5th. Quick shouldn’t make the cut this year. This season Richardson, Quinn and Sims are the newcomers. Sims in particular made an impact in his first two preseason games, but sat out the Denver game with a thigh injury. Word is the former Alabama receiver will be up for final exhibition game, which could be the most important game compared any of the other roster hopefuls.
The bottom of the receiver depth chart usually boasts players with special teams experience, but at 6’5 Sims offers more upside than any of the other tall pass catchers not named Doctson. I stand by my Plaxico Burress comp and believe in the end Sims is still developing as a receiver. It’s highly unlikely that he clears waivers enroute to the Practice Squad. The thought of Sims possibly wearing the Dallas star on his helmet, would disgust many Redskins fans who have been pulling for the former Crimson Tide receiver. Sims should make this roster and at some point could challenge the starters for snaps in goal line formations.
Starters– Jordan Reed & Vernon Davis
Reserves– Jermey Sprinkle
This position group is a no brainer and Sprinkle could push for more time if Reeds can’t stay healthy. Vernon Davis should have a decent year and being reunited with his former quarterback could lead to a big year.
Starters– Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses
Reserves– Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian Sr, Tony Bergstrom a Guard/Center not on roster.
Last season the Redskins dealt with more O-line injuries than any other team in the NFL. Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis have dealt with minor injuries all offseason as well. When the pair did play together, the blown assignments and penalties where aplenty.
I previously wrote about Kalis potentially being a diamond in the rough candidate, but I don’t think this is his or Catalina’s year. Both could be Practice Squad candidates, but that still leaves holes at the backup guard and center positions. Reports are the Redskins like Bergstrom to back up Roullier at Center, but I could also see him doing the same behind Lauvao. The final O-Line positions should be filled through the waiver wire. So keep a close eye on the NFL cut list.
Starters- John Allen, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis
Reserves– Tim Settle and Anthony Lanier II
Not much of a mystery here. Second year lineman Stacy McGee who is on the PUP list could to be the odd man out. Keeping 5 lineman to start could be in play with Kevin Hogan sure to be released once McCoy is 100%. That roster spot could go to Phil Taylor or Ziggy Hood, who should both be available during the season. This is now a position of strength, but how good they’ll be this season is yet to be determined.
Linebackers (Inside & Outside)
Starters– Zach Brown & Mason Foster
Reserves (ILB)-Josh Harvey-Clemons, Zach Vigil and Shaun Dion Hamilton (aka SDH)
The decision came down to Hamilton & Spaight. Based on their upside keeping Hamilton seemed logical. With the ILB’s dealing with nagging injuries all offseason, depth will be needed. SDH is linebacker to watch in 2018. Dealing with multiple leg injuries and surgeries during his time at Alabama put SDH in constant catchup mode.
One comment stood out when former Alabama coaches and teammates were asked about Hamilton’s potential ceiling. The unanimous response was just how impressive his field awareness is. His football IQ is second to none based on his film. As SDH continues to knock off the rust, his progress should be closely watched.
Starters (OLB)-Ryan Kerrigan & Preston Smith
Reserves (OLB)- Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee and Pete Robertson
Keeping 5 outside linebackers was a tough call with Robertson forcing his way onto the 53. I like some of what Robertson has done, in saying that he’ll be on a very short leash and could be replaced by a free agent.
The depth at OLB is a big concern, considering the injury history of McPhee and the disappointing play of Anderson. Although Anderson was a 2017 second round selection, this could be a make or break year for the young man’s career. I still believe Anderson can set the edge effectively in the run game, but needs to show more as a pass rusher. Look for Washington to comb through available OLB’s after the mandatory roster cut downs.
Starters- Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau
Reserves- Danny Johnson, Greg Stroman and Adonis Alexander.
The emergence of the rookie corners enabled the Redskins to move on from Orlando Scandrick. Reports mentioned the former Cowboy didn’t offer any veteran leadership to the young corners and players weren’t surprised when he was released.
The emergence of undrafted Southern Universty corner Danny Johnson has to be the story of camp, on the defensive side of the ball that is. Stroman’s play has been up & down, but Johnson looks to be slotted as the Dime corner going onto the season.
Alexander had a few good moments versus Denver, but the 6th round Supplemental Draft prospect has a long way to go. Reunited with his Va Tech position Coach in Torrian Gray, Alexander looks to regain the form he showed when the pair were together during his freshman year. I’ve stated from the start that I believe Alexander eventually moves to safety, based on his size & skill set alone it should be considered. In an interview with JP Finlay Alexander hinted that Safety is his desired position. So we’ll have to stay tuned for that play out.
Starters- DJ Swearinger & Montae Nicholson
Reserves– Deshazor Everett & Kenny Ladler
Some may view 4th round S Troy Apke as a lock, but not so fast. In no way am I changing my previous stance on Apke as prospect with potential, I just believe some time on the Practice Squad is needed for the rookie to develop.
As far as choosing Kenny Ladler over Apke, it was a no brainer. Apke will have no issues making it the Practice Squad, but teams have seen Ladler’s tape and he won’t last long before he’s scooped up. Ladler just offers more upside as a backup safety and special teams gunner at this time. Although Ladler spent last season in the CFL with the Edmonton Eskimos, he beat the odds to make the Buffalo Bills 2015 roster. I believe the Redskins will have more than 4 safeties on the 2018 roster, but they’ll start the season with the four previously mentioned. As previously mentioned Alexander could be a conversion project as well . Hopefully they’ll avoid the injury bug because the open market features slim pickings at the moment.
Nick Sundberg (LS), Tress Way (P) and Dustin Hopkins
The Baltimore matchup tonight could determine if the Redskins keep some of the young blood over the vets. In the end Cam Sims seems to be on the roster bubble, after missing the Denver game. He combined for over 120 receiving yards in his first two exhibition games with the Redskins, so tonight could be the biggest game of his life thus far.
Thanks for checking out another B&G Report. Stay tuned for post game analysis and all the Redskins roster moves as they trim down to the final 53!
Written By Adam Aniba
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