Quick Links

The 53: Who's going to be the returner?

623336.jpg

The 53: Who's going to be the returner?

Over the past week weve gone through the Redskins defense position by position and Ive given you my prediction on who will make the team and who will be joining the ranks of the nations unemployed when the final cuts take place on Sept. 1. Lets take a quick look back at the defense and specialists to tie up a few loose ends.My projected roster has six defensive linemen, 10 linebackers and nine defensive backs for a total of 25 defenders. Add in the three specialists and the 25 on offense and there are your 53 players.Having an equal number of offensive and defensive players is the norm but it is not a rule. In summing up the offensive roster I speculated that the Redskins could choose to keep an extra running back, tight end, or offensive linemen and go with one less defensive player. That probably would be a linebacker under the scenario I have posted.But, by the same token they could decide to go with an imbalanced roster with the numbers in favor of the defense. Is a fifth safety or a seventh lineman more valuable than a sixth wide receiver or even a third quarterback? Shanahan says that he keeps the best 53 football players and while you have to keep a certain minimum number at each position you certainly have some flexibility on the last two or three roster spots.As noted when discussing the linebackers, its entirely possible that 10 is too many to have there. So perhaps a spot for a fifth safety, perhaps Reed Doughty or Jordan Bernstine, could come at the expense or Chris Wilson or Jonathan Goff.One question that has gone unaddressed here is who will return kicks. I dont have Brandon Banks making the team and he has returned virtually every kick for the Redskins for the past two seasons. We will write more about who will return both before camp and as the preseason unfolds but right now, the pick here is Aldrick Robinson.He didnt do a whole lot of returning at SMUjust five kickoff returns in four yearsbut ESPNs Todd McShay had him rated as the best return prospect in the 2011 draft.Anthony Armstrong and Jordan Bernstine are two other candidates for the job. And Banks certainly has a fighting chance of staying around.SpecialistsIn (3): P Sav Rocca, LS Nick Sundberg, PK Graham Gano
Out: PK Neil RackersDefensive backsCornerback (5): DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Cedric Griffin, Richard Crawford, Chase Minnifield
Safety (4): Brandon Meriweather, Tanard Jackson, Madieu Williams, DeJon Gomes
Out: Kevin Barnes, Brandyn Thompson, Morgan Trent, Jordan Bernstine, Travon Bellamy, Reed DoughtyLinebackersIn (10): Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Rob Jackson, Markus White, Chris Wilson, London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Lorenzo Alexander, Keenan Robinson, Jonathan Goff
Out: Donnell Holt, Bryan Kehl, Brian McNally, Monte LewisDefensive lineIn (6): Stephen Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins, Adam Carriker, Kedric Golston, Barry Cofield, Chris Neild
Out: Darrion Scott, Kentwan Balmer, Doug Worthington, Chris Baker, Delvin JohnsonOffenseRunning backsIn (4): Roy Helu Jr., Tim Hightower, Evan Royster, Darrell Young
Out: Tristan Davis, Alfred Morris, Antwon Bailey, Lennon CreerTight endsIn (3): Fred Davis, Niles Paul, Chris Cooley
Out: Logan Paulsen, Richard Quinn, Beau RelifordWide receiversIn (6): Anthony Armstrong, Pierre Garon, Leonard Hankerson, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson
Out: Brandon Banks, Terrence Austin, Darius Hanks, Brian Hernandez, Lance Lewis, Samuel KirklandQuarterbacksIn (3): Robert Griffin III, Rex Grossman, Kirk Cousins
Out: Jonathan CromptonOffensive lineIn (9): Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester, Jammal Brown, Willie Smith, Tyler Polumbus, Josh LeRibeus, Tom Compton
Out: Erik Cook, Grant Garner, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt, Nevin McCaskill, James Lee, Nick MartinezRich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email here and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.

Quick Links

Odell Beckham gets yards, but Josh Norman's Redskins get the win

Odell Beckham gets yards, but Josh Norman's Redskins get the win

Hype doesn't even begin to describe the attention put on Sunday's matchup between Josh Norman and Odell Beckham. The pairing of star cornerback and star receiver overshadowed the Redskins-Giants game, even though Washington came in desperate for a win.

Beckham versus Norman didn't disappoint either. It's overly simplifying the chess match between the two to declare a victor, but one side definitely left Giants Stadium smiling. 

Make no mistake, Beckham got his. He recorded seven catches on 11 targets for more than 100 yards.  But it's what Beckham didn't do - score a touchdown - that stands out.

Norman's play was solid throughout. He almost snagged a first half interception of Eli Manning and delivered a big hit on rookie Sterling Shepard in the second half that resulted in a personal foul penalty.

In the end though, Norman's team won. And that's what matters.  

"It's an awesome day. Straight awesome day," Norman said after the game.

As the players took the field before the game, the Giants Stadium crowd shouted a lot of ugly comments Norman's direction. Then throughout the game Norman was repeatedly booed by the crowd.

"Towards the end I was just celebrating with my teammates, victoriously, you can't ask for nothing better than that."

Much too much was made of the Beckham/Norman pairing, and perhaps for the next NFC East game between the 'Skins and Giants the focus will be different. But on Sunday, Norman and Beckham were the story.

"He made some plays and I made my plays," Norman said of Beckham.

"We got a team win. That's what it was – the Washington Redskins versus the New York Giants."

MORE REDSKINS: Beckham Jr. gets into fight with kicking net

Quick Links

Redskins survive behind makeshift offensive line

Redskins survive behind makeshift offensive line

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—When center Kory Lichtensteiger and left guard Shawn Lauvao went out of today’s game with injuries, Spencer Long had to go in and play center. The only other active reserve offensive lineman was tackle Ty Nsekhe.

So the plan, as possibly drawn up on a white board by Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan on the sideline (there is no dirt to draw things up in on the field turf surface at MetLife Stadium), was to move Pro-Bowl tackle Trent Williams to guard and put Nsekhe into the lineup in Williams’ left tackle spot. Gruden said that he had confidence that Williams had enough knowledge of the offense to know how to handle things at left guard.

He apparently didn’t ask Williams.

“I didn’t know anything,” said Williams. “At tackle, especially left tackle, you kind of live on an island. Ninety-nine percent of the time you’re blocking the guy over you. But when you move inside there are so many calls, so many little intricate things that you have to pay attention to, that I didn’t know any of them.”

Long was able to help him out some, Williams said.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins was not at all taken aback when he went into the huddle and three of his five offensive linemen had not started the game.

“OK, next man up,” he said when asked what was going through his mind. “In this league you have to have that mentality. If any other thought hits your head you’re doomed to fail.”

Whatever anyone was thinking, the line combination worked. The Redskins ran for 30 yards in the first half with their line intact and got 60 in the second half with their makeshift group.

Gruden developed some confidence in the group. With the Redskins trailing by a point they got the ball needed a field goal to win. Matt Jones did a good chunk of the work to get Dustin Hopkins into position to make the kick, chewing up the clock while picking up 36 yards on seven carries. Williams loved it.

“It felt great,” he said. That’s the best feeling in the world when you can win the game by eating up the clock and running the ball.”

It was fun for Sunday. Now they will have to see how serious the injuries to Lichtensteiger and Lauvao are and configure what they have available for next week.