Redskins preparing for training camp
Over the next few weeks, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ depth chart.
Some battles are straightforward. Others could get complicated. This much, however, cannot be debated: A player is not on the 53-man roster until its finalized Aug 31.
So who’s in? And who’s in jeopardy? Up today …
Position: Right cornerback
On the roster: Josh Wilson, David Amerson, Richard Crawford, Jerome Murphy, Chase Minnifield
Expected to make the cut: Wilson, Amerson
Comment: After an uneven and injury-plagued 2012, Wilson enters training camp as the favorite to start at right corner again this season.
According to the NFL’s injury report, Wilson battled abdomen, head and shoulder injuries a year ago. The latter – a torn labrum – hampered the 28-year-old for at least half the season and required surgery afterward. Wilson, however, toughed it out and did not miss a game.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Wilson gave up 429 yards after the catch (second most) and five touchdowns (tied for 11th most). But he still performed well enough in other aspects to earn a positive grade from the website’s evaluators, who ranked him 34th overall (tied with E.J. Biggers) out of the 113 qualified corners.
Because of the bum shoulder, Wilson was limited to working off to the side during the team’s offseason program. Coach Mike Shanahan, however, said Wilson should be ready when training camp begins later this month.
It should also be noted that Wilson is in the final year of his contract and, in April, accepted a pay cut that saved the salary-cap strapped team about $2 million.
Amerson, meantime, worked a lot at right corner while Wilson was recovering this offseason. With Wilson, DeAngelo Hall and Biggers in front of him on depth chart, though, playing time could be scarce early on. But the coaching staff likes what they have seen from Amerson and it’s likely he’ll earn more responsibility as the season progresses.
Fighting for a job: Crawford, Murphy, Minnifield
Comment: If you’re working under the assumption that Hall will start at left corner, Wilson is the right corner and E.J. Biggers is the nickleback, that would appear to leave open two jobs on the 53-man roster. The Redskins kept five corners a year ago (Hall, Wilson, Cedric Griffin, Crawford and Crezdon Butler.)
Amerson, the team’s second round pick, is going to get one of those jobs. So that would appear to leave Crawford, Murphy and Minnifield battling for the last spot.
Crawford figures to have the inside track. Although he didn’t suit up Weeks 7-13 after playing a lot early on, the coaches liked the progress he showed. They also like his versatility; he can play the left, right and slot positions. He also intercepted a pass and showed promise as a punt returner, averaging 19.5 yards per return (6th best) in limited duty.
Minnifield impressed coaches last offseason before another knee injury sidelined him for the year. He returned late in the offseason program and expects to be ready for camp, but he must overcome lost time and a history of knee problems.
Murphy, who made three tackles on special teams, will probably have to push past Crawford and Minnifield to secure a spot.