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53: Running back-fullback

53: Running back-fullback

Is this Marcus Mason's year

Between now and the start of training camp I'll be making my predictions about who will be on the final 53-man roster for the Washington Redskins--who's there, who's in, who's on the bubble, and who's out. The predicted roster will be revised and updated as preseason events warrant. Today, running backs and fullbacks:

Who's here Now: (9) FB: Mike Sellers, Eddie Williams. RB: Anthony Aldridge, Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright, Dominique Dorsey, Jonathan Evans, Marcus Mason, Clinton Portis

How many will stick: 4

Starters: Portis and Sellers. When the Redskins went to the playoffs in 2005 and 2007, Portis pulled the wagon, finishing off strong to lead the charge to the postseason. Last year he was the bell cow early in the year and, along with the team's record, faded down the stretch. We'll see if that was a function of Portis wearing down or of better defenses and an overall team slump. Sellers led the way for many of Portis runs and, fittingly, he accompanied him to the Pro Bowl.

Solid backups: Betts. He averaged just 3.4 yards per carry last year, quite a decline from the 4.7 average he had in 2006 when he filled in for an injured Portis and gained 1,154 yards. He'll be 30 at the end of August. Certainly, he doesn't have a lot of miles on him—just 720 carries in seven NFL seasons—but he needs to take better advantage of his opportunities.

Last man on: Cartwright. I was very, very tempted to go with Mason here. Given the facts about Betts I think that they have to look at who is going to be Portis' long-term successor and he's the only one currently on the roster who has that potential. But Cartwright is the special teams' Swiss army knife and that makes him too valuable to let go, especially given that James Thrash, another teams ace, is gone. It's possible that they'll find a way to keep another RB and keep Mason around but right now I don't think he'll make it. Stay tuned on this one, though.

First man off: Mason. Williams will stick on the practice squad as the backup fullback. Dorsey is a wild card, if he has a great preseason returning kicks he could force some tough decisions and creative thinking on roster spots.

Spots taken so far: 22

Spots to go: 31

Next: Offensive line

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).


Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

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