The Redskins second through fourth teamers beat the Bucs second through fourth teamers 30-3 in the preseason finale on Wednesday.But this was one of those rare games where individual performances mattered more than the final score. There were some jobs at stake and here is a look at some of the players who helped themselves during the game and some who hurt their cases for a spot on the 53-man roster.Stock upBrandon BanksAs my partner Tarik El-Bashir wrote, Banks both helped and hurt his resume. He caught a 47-yard pass from Kirk Cousins and blazed for 43 yards on an end around. Add in 66 yards in punt returns (on 5 attempts, 13.2 average) and you have 156 yards of field position and he didnt even play the whole game. A dropped pass and a muffed punt were down moments but it seemed the good outweighed the bad.Kedric GolstonIf he was on the bubble, he worked his way off of it with a performance that included a sack for a loss of eight yards and two QB hurries.Aldrick RobinsonHe didnt do much as a receiver as he didnt catch a pass in limited action on offense. But he did return two kickoffs for an average of 33.5 yards. That could make him a valuable asset if the team does decide to part ways with Banks.Bryan KehlTwo times in the previous three games Kehl got two hands on an opponents pass and he had dropped both of them. But tonight he got his hands on one and not only did he hold on to it he showed good speed in returning the interception 43 yards. Add that to six tackles and a sack and you have a pretty good day.Stock downAnthony ArmstrongHe did help his case by hauling in a 47-yard bomb from Cousins. But he probably needed more to get back into the discussion for a roster spot. That was his only real positive moment of the preseason. It may not be fair because he did miss some time with a shoulder injury but that is the way of the NFL world.Terrence AustinHe was pretty much in the same boat as Armstrong, needing an impressive performance to get on the right side of the bubble. Two catches for 10 yards is not an impressive performance by any stretch. Austin needed to do more.Niles PaulHes not on the bubble but he finished off a so-so preseason catching just one pass for six yards. Considering that Chris Cooley was released in part because the team felt that Paul could serve as the backup tight end, he could have quieted some critics with a better showing.Tim HightowerHe was on the did not play list. His knee was still sore after he had five carries and a handful of other snaps against the Colts on Saturday. Hes only on this list because even though he looked good against the Colts tonight serves as a reminder that hes still not back to anywhere near 100 percent.Tomorrow:Tandlers 53-man roster projection.
But on Wednesday, Jay Gruden said that Chris Thompson is also unlikely to play.
Gruden said that Thompson is nursing a sore knee and shoulder and that the team would rather not "have him get banged around."
The coach pointed out it also lets rookies Keith Marshall and Robert Kelley get more snaps as the 'Skins try to determine what they have in the young runners.
In his fourth season out of Florida State, Thompson is a known quantity for Washington.
A skilled receiver out of the backfield, Thompson emerged as a quality third down back for Gruden last year and a trustworthy target for Kirk Cousins out of the backfield.
Gruden also announced that Chris Baker might sit out Friday's game against buffalo. The defensive tackle is batting soreness in his quad.
RELATED: PROJECTING THE 53-MAN ROSTER
Over the past decade the Redskins have tried some different things in their futile efforts to bolster the safety position. They have tried young players, older players, and everything in between while trying to stabilize the back end of their defense.
But they have never tried converting two veteran cornerbacks to safety. Until this year, that is.
DeAngelo Hall has made three Pro Bowls as a cornerback in his 12 years in the NFL. Will Blackmon has played in 81 games at cornerback in his nine NFL seasons. Both are being asked to set aside a lot of the knowledge accumulated over the thousands of snaps that they have played on the edge and move to the middle of the field.
Blackmon said this spring that he never played safety during any of his previous three NFL stops with the Packers, Giants, and Jaguars. Hall lined up at safety towards the end of last year but given the on-the-fly nature of the position switch defensive coordinator Joe Barry and the other coaches tried to make it easier for him.
“We kind of spoon-fed him along last year and had a specific package with specific calls for him,” said Barry. “This offseason, obviously we unleashed the whole playbook at him. I think in the long run, it actually worked out great for him because we didn’t overload him last year, as I said. We kept it pretty simple on him and he was able to make that transition a lot smoother.”
As Barry indicated, Hall will be going from taking a Playing Safety 101 course to being expected to perform at a graduate level. On one level it’s still football and he and Blackmon will be covering and tackling and trying to knock passes down. But unlike the cornerback out on an island a safety is responsible for communicating changes in the defense to the rest of the secondary.
“The way secondary play works is that most communication is from the inside out,” said Barry. “As a corner, you’re usually told what to do; you’re communicated to by your safeties. That was the biggest thing I know for D-Hall, especially a year ago when we moved him because he was like, ‘Wow, I have got to tell everyone what to do instead of receiving information and being told what to do.’ And Will echoed the same thing.”
Certainly they are taking a gamble by having Hall and Blackmon as two of the four safeties they are likely to carry on the roster. But they did give themselves time to properly prepare for their transitions.
“But the good thing is that we made the move,” said Barry. “It wasn’t like we made the move halfway through training camp. We made this decision in the offseason, so they got a full entire offseason, they got a full entire training camp, they are going to have four preseason games under their belt because every day is, ‘Ooh, I learned something new today. Ooh, I saw something new today.’ But I couldn’t be happier with where they’re at right now.”
Well, Hall isn’t going to have four preseason games to get ready. In the two the Redskins have played so far he has played a total of 18 snaps. He won’t play in the fourth preseason game so if he plays a half against the Bills on Friday he will have about 50 snaps under his belt. That’s not even one full game’s worth.
Blackmon has played a total of 58 snaps in the preseason and he could play in the fourth game so he will have more preparation than Hall from that standpoint. It will be interesting to see if Blackmon spells Hall early in the season as the latter player gets his feet under him.
Things are trending the wrong way for Jamison Crowder's ability to play Friday night against the Bills. The slot receiver missed Tuesday's practice and was spotted again on Wednesday working off to the side with other injured players Matt Jones and Josh Doctson.
Both Doctson and Jones have been ruled out for the Bills game, and with Crowder again not practicing with the first-team offense, it's hard to see him playing either. That could mean a big night for Ryan Grant, who looked adept in the slot earlier in the preseason.
On Tuesday, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said Crowder is rehabbing from a knee injury sustained last week against the Jets. The coach was not sure if the second-year wideout would play Friday. Expect an official announcement on Crowder's availability when Gruden addresses the media following practice.
Crowder proved to be a valuable weapon for the Redskins in his rookie season. Lined up almost exclusively as a slot receiver, he had 59 catches for 604 yards and two touchdowns. Crowder also served as the team's primary punt returner, a role most expect him to keep this season.
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