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The 53: Can Balmer grab a DL spot?


The 53: Can Balmer grab a DL spot?

The Redskins will report to training camp on July 25. Over the next five weeks they will undergo the process of cutting their 90-man roster down to 53. Which players will get those coveted spots and which will join the ranks of the unemployed? Over the next couple of weeks well go through position by position and try to predict what decisions Mike Shanahan and company will make.So far weve covered the offense. Today well start breaking down the defense with the line.There are 11 defensive linemen on the roster, the Redskins will keep six.In: Stephen Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins, Adam Carriker, Kedric Golston, Barry Cofield, Chris NeildOut: Darrion Scott, Kentwan Balmer, Doug Worthington, Chris Baker, Delvin JohnsonChanges from 2011: Jenkins back from injured reserveBubble watch: If Balmer can be more than just an impressive physical specimen and actually play good football, he could push for Golstons spot.BreakdownThe big competition in training camp this year is unlikely to be for a roster spot but for a starting job. Cofield is set at nose tackle while Jenkins and Carriker will compete to see who starts at left end opposite Bowen. In any case, those four have roster spots locked up.Neild also is fairly safe as the backup nose tackle although he could be pushed by Baker. The Redskins have shown a preference to hang on to their own draft picks so that favors Neild. But if Baker clearly outplays Neild in camp and in the preseason, which is not out of the questions, Baker could be a surpise 2012 roster addition replacing Neild, who surprisingly survived the 2011 final cuts.The Redskins did resign Golston as a free agent contract but his one-year deal contains no guaranteed money so his spot on the roster is not secure. They brought Balmer in after Golston went on injured reserve midway through last season. He did not impress immediately, playing just 28 snaps in three games. But the coaches are intrigued by his potential and if the 25-year-old can revive his NL career (this is the former first-round picks fourth team in his fifth NFL season) he could push the 29-year-old Golston out.Scott was on the roster last year but the return of Jenkins likely leaves him without a spot. Worthington spent most of last year on the practice squad and could return there this year. Johnsons best hope is to land on the practice squad.

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Redskins injury report: Status on Norman, Reed unknown

Redskins injury report: Status on Norman, Reed unknown

At least 51 Redskins will be making the trip to London on Thursday night, including some who are pretty banged up. And there is hope that the other two will be able to make it across the pond.

“We're taking everybody, which is a good thing,” said coach Jay Gruden. “If something happens on Friday or Saturday, we can make adjustments if needed.”

He later clarified the statuses of tight end Jordan Reed and cornerback Josh Norman. Both of them are in the NFL’s concussion protocol, at least partially.

“I’m not too sure about this — Thursday they are going to the independent doctor and if they’re cleared they’ll go on the trip,” said Gruden. “If not, if we’re still having some pain and setbacks, at that point we’ll make that decision to probably leave them back.”

In other words, stay tuned on those two key players.

Two players were out of practice on Wednesday. Reserve linebacker Terrance Garvin was out with a hip injury, and starting running back Matt Jones missed with a knee problem.

The injury was as much a surprise to Gruden as it was to reporters when they saw that Jones was not participating in practice.

“He just came in, I guess, today, had some soreness laterally,” said Gruden. “Had some pain cutting, has to problem running straight ahead so we kept him out today.”

Limited in practice were wide receivers Jamison Crowder (groin) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring/shoulder); guard Brandon Scherff (shoulder), offensive tackle Trent Williams (knee), Reed, Norman, offensive lineman Spencer Long (chest), cornerback Bashaud Breeland (ankle) and tight end Vernon Davis (groin).

With six offensive starters limited and Jones out, Gruden had to alter practice somewhat.

“We had to do kind of a slower tempo on the offensive side of the ball because of the amount of injuries we had,” said Gruden.

MORE REDSKINS: Crowder explains dropped pass against Lions

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Jordan Reed, Josh Norman in for early part of Redskins practice; Matt Jones out

Jordan Reed, Josh Norman in for early part of Redskins practice; Matt Jones out

Both Josh Norman and Jordan Reed, two important players who are in the concussion protocol, were on the field for the early part of Redskins practice today,

But starting running back Matt Jones was not with the running back during individual drills. He out of uniform, doing some rehab work off to the side. The team did not announce an injury to him during or after the game.

The presence of Reed, who has missed the last two games after suffering a concussion on October 9, at practice was expected. Coach Jay Gruden announced on Monday that Reed would participate today for the first time in a week.

Norman left the Redskins game against the Lions last Sunday in the third quarter and was diagnosed with a concussion. It was a mild surprise to see him on the field so soon.

Reed and Norman practicing today is a positive sign but far from a guarantee that either will play against the Bengals on Sunday in London. Both must be cleared by an independent neurologist prior to playing and that usually doesn’t happen quickly. It’s possible that they may need to be cleared by tonight in order to go to London since there are no NFL-approved independent neurologists in England.

We will find out more about Reed and Norman and get information on Jones’ injury when Gruden addresses the media after practice.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins used Su'a Cravens sparingly against Detroit