Position battles: Wide receiver

Position battles: Wide receiver
August 18, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Redskins crowded backfield had a great training camp

Tandler - Tarik

By Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir

When Redskins training camp opened more than three weeks ago, there were a handful of question marks at various positions. We still don’t have any firm answers, but after 17 days of practices and a preseason game, we have some clues.

This weekend, CSN Washington Insiders Tarik EL-Bashir and Rich Tandler will examine four of the more intriguing position battles and predict the outcome.

Position: Wide receiver

Outlook: It is difficult enough to fight for an NFL roster spot man to man, you against another player, best performance gets the spot. But fighting against numbers can be even more daunting. That is what the players fighting for the last wide receiver spot on the Redskins’ roster are facing. The top five are set. The six players battling for the sixth spot not only have to outperform the other five, they have to convince the coaches that the team should carry six wideouts. The Redskins could keep six, meaning that there would be a job for Donte Stallworth, Dezmon Briscoe, Lance Lewis and underdogs Chip Reeves, Skye Dawson, and Nick Williams to fight for. Or they might keep an extra player at another position and go into the season with five, meaning that the half dozen players on the lower half of the depth chart have virtually no chance of making it.

Tandler: Lewis had good (nice TD catch and run, although nullified by penalty) and bad (fumble at the goal line, also negated by a flag) against the Titans last week. So did Stallworth, who picked up 33 yards on two receptions before departing when he aggravated a hamstring strain. Briscoe played 37 snaps but he was only targeted once so you could say he trended down. Lewis and Briscoe have had their moments in practice while Stallworth has been a spectator as his hammy heals. Right now, nobody has made a compelling case to be a sixth receiver so if the final cut was made today it says here that they would keep five. But there is still a chance for someone, anyone, to make a case to stay.

El-BashirIf the Redskins want a sixth receiver they know they can rely on, Stallworth is the answer – as long as he can get healthy. But the 32-year-old’s hamstring strain will cause him to miss Monday’s game, according to Coach Mike Shanahan, so he’s running out of time to impress. If the Redskins want potential at that spot, Briscoe is the answer. He’s got size (6-2, 210), three years of NFL experience on his resume, has shown flashes in camp and he’s still only 23. The others are going to have a tough time making the 53, though undrafted free agents Nick Williams and Skye Dawson remain intriguing prospects because of their speed and kick return ability. Wouldn’t be a shock to see one of them land a job on the practice squad.