March 7, 2021

Washington Redskins: Fight to 53 Outlook after Preseason Finale Loss to Jaguars

The Washington Redskins finished their final preseason showing with a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Many of the projected Week 1 roster spots of have been locked up resulting in many of them sitting out the fourth preseason game to avoid the risk of injury that has troubled the Redskins throughout the past month.

Thursday night was a chance for the back end of the preseason 75-man roster to show why they deserve a chance to make the 53-man squad. The Redskins will have to cut 22 by this Saturday after the team was already trimmed by 15 earlier this week. A 10-man practice squad will also be assembled following final cuts.

First lets look at who on the team are already 99% locks to make the roster:

  • QB (2): Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy
  • RB (4): Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, Darrel Young
  • WR (5): DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, Jamison Crowder, Ryan Grant
  • TE (2): Jordan Reed, Derek Carrier
  • OL (7): Trent Williams, Shaun Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Spencer Long, Tom Compton
  • DL (5): Stephen Paea, Terrance Knighton, Jason Hatcher, Ricky Jean-Francois, Chris Baker
  • LB (6): Ryan Kerrigan, Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith, Will Compton
  • DB (7): Chris Culliver, Bashaud Breeland, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, DaShon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson
  • Specialist (3): Kai Forbath, Tress Way, Nick Sundberg

Bashaud Breeland will not count to the 53-man roster while serving his Week 1 suspension, but let’s look at who will fill out the rest of the 53-man roster for the entire season. Based on the above breakdown there are five positions to be had on offense and seven on defense, assuming the coaching staff split the remaining 50 spots, after taking into account the specialists, equally.

The obvious missing name in the locks category is Robert Griffin III at the quarterback position after being benched in favor of long time backup Kirk Cousins. It is likely the Redskins will keep the former rookie of the year for the time being, but they could be actively searching for a possible trading partner. None the less, expect Griffin to take up one of the five remaining offensive spots for the immediate future.

At wide receiver, the battle for the sixth and likely final pass catching position is between sixth round pick Evan Spencer and speedster Rashad Ross. Ross has had the better statistical preseason with 266 yards receiving, four touchdowns (inclduing one on Thursday), and multiple solid returns on special teams. Spencer did not catch a single ball this preseason while sitting out the finale with a concussion. His only thing going for him is the Redskins need for a special teams defender after the losses of Niles Paul and Adam Hayward. Whoever does not make the roster will likely be extended an offer to join the 10-man practice squad.

It is likely the Redskins will have a third string tight end and behind Jordan Reed and recently acquired Derek Carrier, only Je’Ron Hamm and ex-Packer D.J. Williams remain on the roster after they released Chase Dixon and Ernst Brun Jr. earlier this week. Williams has not made a catch during the entire preseason, while Hamm chipped in with 23 yards on two receptions against Jacksonville. The Redskins could look for another TE once more quality players are released in the rest of the league or settle with the two locks. Having only two pass catching capable tight ends on the roster could be feasible if backup offensive tackle Tom Compton continues to see time as a sixth lineman in at TE as a blocker.

On the offensive line there are likely two spots up for grabs. As a fourth round pick, Arie Kouandjio  is a borderline lock to make the team as he can develop into a solid guard when not asked to move too much. The final spot will most likely have to be an individual with the capability of backing up Kory Lichtensteiger at center. So far Josh LeRibeus has taken most of the snaps at center, but if Spencer Long, already a lock, can take on that roll it would open up an opportunity for the likes of Ty Nsekhe or Takoby Cofield to make the team as a backup tackle. LeRibeus left the game early with a calf injury — if anything serious, that could doom the former 2012 third rounder from securing a roster spot. All played decently tonight and it will be up to the coaches trust or lack thereof in Long at emergency center that will dictate everything.

On the defensive line, it is likely that Frank Kearse and currently the longest-tenured Redskin Kedric Golston to make the team. However, if the team is put into a tough position where someone else at another position deserves a roster spot more, Golston could be someone the team lets go.

With the loss of Junior Galette and Hayward at the linebacker position, there are big opportunities to make the team. Fifth round rookie Martrell Spaight is likely to fill Hayward’s spot not only as a backup middle linebacker but more importantly by being a cover guy on special teams. Although a player like Terrance Plummer could make the team as a fifth middle linebacker and special teams defender, but it is more likely that Jackson Jeffcoat and/or Houston Bates make the team as edge rushers. After a hot start in the first two preseason games for Bates, the Louisiana Tech product, had a nice pass defense in coverage. Jeffcoat kept his steadiness going by continuing his sack streak to a fourth game to spoil a potential score prior to halftime.

In the secondary, there are also likely two open roster spots available for the 2015 season. Safety Kyshoen Jarrett is likely to make the team as a sixth round rookie that has the physical attributes to play cornerback if he needed too. Trenton Robinson and Akeem Davis are both battling for the possible fifth and final safety spot with the tiebreak likely coming in their contributions on special teams.

Justin Rodgers will likely be on the Week 1 roster as the fourth cornerback, while Breeland is serving his suspension for plays like saving a kickoff return touchdown last week. If he can show his value on special teams is greater than both Robinson and Davis past that time frame, he could stay on the roster once Breeland returns. No one necessarily increased their stock dramatically over one another in the finale so the coaching staff will have to go back to previous tape to make their decision.

I predict that in addition to the locks, RG3, Evan Spencer, Rashad Ross, Arie Kouandjio, Josh LeRibeus, Frank Kearse, Kedric Golston, Martrell Spaight, Houston Bates, Jackson Jeffcoat, Kyshoen Jarrett, and Trenton Robinson will fill out the 53-man roster. Many of the names mentioned above that will not make the 53-man roster could receive offers from other teams and/or a practice squad initiation from the Redskins.

2015 Season Projected Depth Chart:

  • QB: Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin III
  • RB: Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, Darrel Young
  • WR1: DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Evan Spencer
  • WR2: Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, Rashad Ross
  • TE: Jordan Reed, Derek Carrier
  • LT: Trent Williams, Tom Compton
  • LG: Shaun Lauvao, Arie Kouandjio
  • C: Kory Lichtensteiger, Josh LeRibeus
  • RG: Brandon Scherff, Spencer Long
  • RT: Morgan Moses
  • LDE: Stephen Paea, Ricky Jean-Francois, Kedric Golston
  • NT: Terrance Knighton, Chris Baker
  • RDE: Jason Hatcher, Frank Kearse
  • WOLB: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
  • MLB (Mike): Keenan Robinson, Will Compton
  • MLB (Jack): Perry Riley, Martrell Spaight
  • SOLB: Trent Murphy, Jackson Jeffcoat, Houston Bates
  • CB1: Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall
  • CB2: Bashaud Breeland, David Amerson
  • SS: Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson
  • FS: DaShon Goldson, Kyshoen Jarrett, Trenton Robinson
  • Specialist: Kai Forbath, Tress Way, Nick Sundberg
About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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