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The 53: Who benefits from Minnifield's departure?

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The 53: Who benefits from Minnifield's departure?

The Redskins announced yesterday that they have released rookie free agent cornerback Chase Minnifield. His agent said that he reinjured the same knee on which he had microfracture surgery earlier this year.It was reported last week that Minnifield had been placed on the physically unable to perform list. Other teams will have 24 hours to claim Minnifield. If, as his agent believes, he goes unclaimed he will revert to the Redskins injured reserve list.Whether the lands with the Redskins or with another team, Minnifield is unlikely to play in 2012. A good performance in minicamp had put him in solid position to win a roster spot. Since making an NFL roster is a zero sum game one players misfortune can be a good break for another one.Here is how I had things shaking out at cornerback when I did my roster prediction earlier this month:In: DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Cedric Griffin, Richard Crawford, Chase Minnifield
Out: Kevin Barnes, Brandyn Thompson, Morgan TrentDavid Jones was signed to take Minnifields place on the roster and he, Barnes, Thompson and Trent will vie for that roster spot. In fact, you can put Crawford into the competition mix as well since he is far from a lock to make it. So that makes five players fighting for two jobs.So who has the edge? Trent and Jones have very similar backgrounds and resumes. They were born about three months apart in 1985 and both played for the Jaguars last season. They have similar builds; Trent is listed at 6-1, 193 and Jones is 6-0, 196. Both have been mostly part-time players for multiple teams during their NFL careers. They have proven to be just a guy, good enough to earn at least semi-regular NFL paychecks. It is unlikely that that either will become anything special.Perhaps the same can be said of Barnes. He was given the slot corner position last year and he struggled. The Redskins may be prepared to move on from Vinny Cerratos 2009 third-round draft pick.Crawford looked good in OTAs and minicamp and I think he has a good shot at holding on to a job. Im going to go with him and Thompson to take the last two spots. Thompson showed playmaking potential in the preseason last year but spent most of the year either on the practice squad or the bench. With an offseason program under his belt (there wasnt one last year due to the lockout) he could be ready for some playing time this year.On top of that, Crawford and Thompson are this regime's draft picks. They have shown a strong preference for keepint their guys.Of course, all of this could change when practice starts tomorrow. Perhaps Barnes will respond to the challenge and bring up his level of play a few notches. Maybe Trent or Jones will prove to be too valuable to release.We will see starting on Thursday.

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Cowboys bus involved in fatal crash in Arizona

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Cowboys bus involved in fatal crash in Arizona

KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) -- Four people were killed Sunday when bus carrying Dallas Cowboys staffers but no players collided with a van on a northwestern Arizona highway.

The fatalities were passengers in the van, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr said. But the bus occupants emerged uninjured.

"All on the bus came through OK with some bumps and bruises," Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple (DAHL'-rimp-ul) said in an email.

Dalrymple said the bus was only carrying members of the franchise's staff but would not say how many. There were no players on board.

The two vehicles collided in the afternoon on U.S. 93, about 30 miles north of the city of Kingman, according to DPS.

The crash shut down at least one lane of the highway that serves as the main route between Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The bus was on its way to a Dallas Cowboys fan event in Las Vegas. Charles Cooper, manager of GameWorks entertainment center in Vegas, said the session with 50 to 75 fans was scheduled for 3 p.m. PDT. People were already waiting when the president of a Las Vegas Cowboys fan club called to relay news of the accident. The event was subsequently canceled. Cooper says the team mascot was supposed to appear.

After the Las Vegas stop, the bus was scheduled to go on to Oxnard, California for the team's training camp. Members of the organization typically take a bus two weeks before the camp starts and make stops along the way.

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DeSean Jackson throws out first pitch at Sunday's Nationals game

DeSean Jackson throws out first pitch at Sunday's Nationals game

You know, if this whole football thing doesn't work out for DeSean Jackson, maybe he could give baseball a shot.

The Redskins wide receiver was on hand Sunday at Nationals Park to throw out the first pitch and did a pretty good job.

Photo credit @byersjackson gas that 1st pitch ⚾️💨💨

A video posted by Desean Jackson (@0ne0fone) on

Jackson throws it from the mound and gets it to home plate, though just a bit outside. The throw was certainly good enough to keep Jackson off the list of other professional athletes with horrible first pitches (see John Wall).

RELATED: DON'T FORGET ABOUT NILES PAUL

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Redskins have many options at tight end, but don't count out Niles Paul

Redskins have many options at tight end, but don't count out Niles Paul

The Redskins are loaded at tight end - Jordan Reed is the emerging star and Vernon Davis the veteran with a stellar track record. But don't forget about Niles Paul. Lost last season to a broken ankle, Paul looked strong throughout Washington's offseason work, and with the team heading to Richmond this week to begin training camp, the former Nebraska receiver has been clear he plans to compete for playing time despite his loaded position group. 

"If you’re not out there competing to be the No. 1, I don’t know why you’re in the league," Paul said on ESPN980 earlier this summer.

Paul's mindset is admirable, but Reed is locked in as the No. 1 tight end. There's no debate there. And GM Scot McCloughan did not bring Vernon Davis to Washington without plans of playing him. 

But here's the thing with Paul - he can be very good.

In the first four games of the 2014 season, Paul caught 21 balls for 313 yards and a touchdown. He was averaging nearly 80 yards receiving per game in that stretch, the best of his career. It's no surprise that Paul put up those numbers when Reed was out, as he was injured Week 1 and did not suit back up until Week 6 of that season. 

RELATED: VERNON DAVIS PLANS TO COMPETE FOR TOP SPOT 

Paul has proved himself a strong backup to Reed, and in Reed's three-year career, he has missed 14 games. Last year Reed stayed mostly healthy - he missed two games - but it would hardly be a surprise if the Redskins have to go one or more games without their new $50 million tight end. Davis will be expected to step up should that happen, but the team might lean on Paul more in that situation, in addition to a major role on special teams as well. There were also a few snaps this summer where Paul worked as a fullback - a role the tight end might have to take on with the departure of Darrel Young. 

Jay Gruden acknowledged Paul's hard work during minicamp.

"He’s done an unbelievable job in rehab to get himself to this point," Gruden said. "We didn’t expect him back until training camp."

A 5th-round pick in 2011, Paul has already surpassed expectations with a five-year NFL career. That he outpaced his rehab schedule should not come as a shock.

Should he significantly contribute this fall, even considering Reed and Davis will be the first and second targets at tight end respectively, would not be a surprise either.