Special teamsGrade vs. Bengals: BComment:For the first time this season, the Redskins special teams units did not experience any major miscues. In fact, they were an asset.Sav Roccas seven punts were uneventful and that, alone, represents significant progress. One, in fact, set up Washingtons first touchdown when Roccas 58-yarder was downed inside in the one-yard line by Niles Paul. A play later, linebacker Rob Jackson intercepted Andy Daltons screen pass in the Bengals end zone to knot the game 7-7.Brandon Banks averaged 33 yards per return on kick off returns, including a 55-yarder in the second quarter to set up the Redskins at the Bengals 48-yard line. Eight plays later, Billy Cundiff kicked a 36-yard field goal to pull the Redskins to within 24-10.The field goal was Cundiffs only attempt on the afternoon, but it halted Cincinnati's momentum and sent the Redskins into the locker room believing a comeback was possible.One of the games biggest plays also was produced by the one of the Redskins special teams units.Leading 14-7, Marvin Lewis and the Bengals went for the jugular. But the visitors fake field goal attempt was foiled by safety Madieu Williams.Williams stayed home and when the direct snap with to holder Kevin Huber, Williams was waiting. After all the heat special teams coach Danny Smith received the first two weeks, he should be commended for his units performance Sunday.Now, it must become a habit.
The Redskins liked rookie running back Keith Marshall, and the team gave the former Georgia Bulldog every chance to make the roster.
Ultimately he did not get that chance, as an elbow injury will land Marshall on the injured reserve.
Marshall sustained the injury in the team's third preseason game against the Bills. Even before the elbow injury, Marshall failed to capitalize on the opportunity to backup Matt Jones.
In games against the Jets and the Falcons, Marshall struggled to gain much ground and eventually he slid behind Robert Kelley on the team's depth chart.
For now, it appears Kelley is a lock for the Redskins 53-man roster and Marshall heads to the IR.
Scot McCloughan and the 'Skins also made two other roster moves to get the squad to the 75-man limit following this morning's release of veterans Perry Riley and Stephen Paea. Tight end Derek Carrier was moved to the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list and rookie WR Reggie Diggs was waived with an injured designation.
Carrier's move to the PUP list was expected, and Diggs had little chance to make the roster as an undrafted receiver even before an injury limited his training camp.
The Redskins won nine games and the NFC East title last season, but that hardly matters to the sports books..
Since odds came out in May, Bovada.lv gave the Dallas Cowboys the best chance to win the division, but given recent events, things shifted.
Last week in a preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo fell awkwardly and stayed on the ground in apparent pain.
Initial reports suggested Romo might have handled the hit unscathed, but news came out last weekend that Romo cracked vertebrae in his back and will miss extended action.
The Cowboys now turn to rookie Dak Prescott at QB - and in turn - Vegas turned elsewhere for their NFC East favorite.
Still, it's not the defending champion Redakins.
With odds of 7/4 Bovada likes the New York Giants to win the NFC East. The Redskins are now tied with the Cowboys at 12/5 while the Eagles come in at 6/1.
In late May Bovada put the odds of winning the NFC East as:
- Cowboys 7/4
- Giants 9/4
- (TIE) Redskins 15/4, Eagles 15/4
Curiously, the oddsmakers have moved up the Giants odds despite New York's struggles in the preseason.
Regardless, it's obvious that the wise guys still don't have high expectations for Washington.
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The first surprising Redskins cuts of the summer hit this morning when word got out that linebacker Perry Riley and defensive lineman Stephen Paea had been released. For coach Jay Gruden it was a decision that had to be made.
“It's what goes into every decision when we release anybody,” said Gruden. “It takes a lot of thought. A lot of times now when you have the depth we feel like we have it's not so much about the players we release as about the players we kept and we'll leave it at that. We've got some guys at linebacker we feel have played extremely well and we've got some guys on the defensive line we feel like are competing and playing well.”
The play of others certainly was part of the decisions to let Paea and Riley go. Although Gruden did not say it, it’s likely that money was involved as well. Releasing the two players saves a total of $7.3 million in salary. Although there is nearly $5 million in dead money that will have to be accounted for, that cash has already been spent. The bottom line is that Riley ($4 million) and Paea ($3.3 million) were making too much to be backups and that’s what thy were.
But to their teammates it’s much more than about dollars and positions on the depth chart. Riley and offensive tackle Trent Williams both came to the Redskins in the 2010 draft.
“It's tough, man, it's tough,” said Williams. “Especially with Perry. He was one of my best friends on the team, we came in together, we got drafted together, roommates together. I think the whole team was kind of blindsided by that one.”
Paea and Riley both are 28 and both are likely to get another shot at the NFL.
“Those two guys are excellent football players, I imagine they'll catch on somewhere else and do well,” said Gruden. “They have a lot of football left in their career. They're both great guys who worked hard and it was just a part of the decision process.”
Mason Foster should know. He came in after the season started last year when some linebackers started to get banged up. One of them was Riley. Foster took over the starting job when Riley went out with a broken foot. Now Foster is the starter and Riley is out of a job.
“He’s a great player, everybody knows he's a great player,” Foster said of Riley. “He'll get a chance to play someplace else.”