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Bubble watch final version: Predicting the Redskins’ 53-man roster

Bubble watch final version: Predicting the Redskins’ 53-man roster

The Redskins roster will be finalized by 4 p.m. tomorrow. Some players helped and hurt themselves in last night’s backups-only fourth preseason game. But most of the cake was already baked.

Here are my projections of who will end up on the roster when the dust settles and that roster is turned in plus a look at who is just hanging on and four who are just on the wrong side of the bubble. I’ve added some comments as needed.

Related: Bubble watch version 6.0

Offense

Quarterback (3): Kirk Cousins, Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy

I think that Griffin sticks through tomorrow. Whether he is still on the roster on opening day is up in the air.

Offensive line (9): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger,  Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Tom Compton, Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio, Josh LeRibeus

LeRibeus hangs on as the only viable option to backup at center.

Wide receiver (6): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder, Evan Spencer

Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Derek Carrier, Je’Ron Hamm

Hamm could be just a temporary addition as the team could scan the waiver wire to add a tight end who can block.

Running back (4): Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson

Defense

Defensive line (6): Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Stephan Paea, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Kedric Golston

They have gone with seven on the DL in most years but I think they need an extra linebacker to help on special teams.

Outside linebacker (5): Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith, Houston Bates, Jackson Jeffcoat

Inside linebacker (5): Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Martrell Spaight, Terrance Plummer

Cornerback (4): Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Justin Rogers

Bashaud Breeland will not be on Week 1 roster due to NFL suspension so he is not listed here.

Safety (5): Dashon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett, Trenton Robinson

Specialists (3): LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way, PK Kai Forbath

The numbers: 25 offense, 25 defense, 3 specialists; 18 new to the Redskins organization in 2015 including eight draft picks

Last 6 on

OL Josh LeRibeus —He should hang on for a fourth season due to a lack of backup options in the interior line. To his credit, he went from being not an option at center to a layer who could make it based on his ability to be the emergency backup there.

TE Je’Ron Hamm—As noted, easily could be knocked off if the team sees another possible solution on the waiver wire.

CB Justin Rogers—He helped himself a lot last week against the Ravens by chasing down Asa Jackson on a kickoff return, preventing a touchdown. This team needs special teams help. But there are big question marks about his ability to stay on the roster once Breeland returns from his one-game suspension.

LB Houston Bates—Having a couple of solid preseason games is one thing. Consistently doing what you need to do to make an NFL team is another. He can’t relax for a second and even if he manages not to someone could still bypass him.

LB Terrance Plummer—He’s undersized (5-11, 231) but he works sideline to sideline and just seems like a good, hard-working player to have around.

LB Jackson Jeffcoat—The injury to Junior Galette opened the door for him and he took advantage with an interception and a sack/strip against the Ravens. If the coaches like his work on special teams he should make it.

Last 5 cuts

DL Frank Kearse—Last year’s surprise inclusion on the roster may end up as a surprise cut. The team needs bodies to contribute on special teams and that means an extra linebacker. They may try to get by with six D-linemen. Kearse has missed time with a shoulder injury, dropping him behind Kedric Golston for the last spot.

WR Rashad Ross—He can play some as he showed in the preseason games. Ross leads the team in all three major receiving categories with 25 catches for 266 yards and four touchdowns. But the numbers at wide receiver just don’t work for him. They are unlikely to keep more than six and I can’t see Ross beating out any of the guys who are in.

OT Takoby Cofield—The team paid him the maximum signing bonus for an undrafted free agent so they thought highly of him coming out of Duke. He has had a good camp and may have made a case to make the 53.

OT Ty Nsekhe—If they want a second backup tackle it will be between the rookie Cofield and the lightly-experienced 29-year-old Nsekhe.

RB Trey Williams—He could develop into a true home run threat but for right now there isn’t any room for him at running back. It’s likely the will try to get him onto the practice squad.

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Losers of two straight games and for the first time in a month outside of the playoff picture, a desperate Redskins squad travels to Philadelphia for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. All the action kicks off on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at noon, but to get ready for the action, here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Getting back to good, or at least decent - Two weeks ago the Redskins seemed like a dangerous playoff squad with a strong offense and an improving defense. After two straight losses where Joe Barry's defense has given up 62 total points, the questions are mounting for Washington. Can the defense get stops on 3rd down? Generate a turnover? The good news for the Redskins is that the Eagles are struggggggling. Their offense has not score more than 15 points in three straight weeks. 
  2. Feed the fat one - After giving Rob Kelley just 28 carries in the last two games, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay owned up to the Redskins lack of run game, "I definitely feel like I could’ve been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that’s something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job." In a Week 6 win Kelley and Matt Jones piled up more than 200 rush yards against the Eagles. The 'Skins offense likely won't feature Jones, but expect McVay to feed Fat Rob plenty on Sunday.
  3. Playing in pain - The Redskins offense features a number of dynamic playmaking threats, but arguably the best is tight end Jordan Reed. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Reed separated his left shoulder, and though he finished that game he was forced out of action in Arizona. Expect Reed to be back Sunday, and expect Kirk Cousins to look for him early and often. On the season, Reed has more than 600 receiving yards and five TDs.
  4. If it ain't broke - Kirk Cousins has had more success against the Eagles than any other team in the NFC East. In four career games against Philly, COusins averages 336 yards per game passing to go with a 101.3 QB rating. He's thrown 10 touchdowns against the Eagles to just two interceptions. The biggest win of his career came last year when Cousins and the 'Skins clinched the NFC East title at Lincoln Financial Field. Cousins suceeds against the Eagles, and there's no reason it should stop Sunday. 
  5. Don't fly away - Rumors are starting to circulate that the Eagles would like to bring back DeSean Jackson next season. It's well known that Jackson will probably hit free agency after this season, and if Philly did pursuit their former playmaker, it would make sense. But between now and then, Jackson has another opportunity to torch his former team and help the Skins pursue a Wild Card bid at the same time. In his past two games, Jackson and COusins have connected on deep patterns, and there's little reason to tbink the same won't happen Sunday.

Numbers & Notes

  • If tight end Vernon Davis catches three passes he will become the 12th tight end in NFL history to record 500 career receptions.
  • With two more catches, wide receiver Jamison Crowder will set a single-season career high in receptions. He caught 59 passes in 2015.
  • If the Redskins win would mark five straight victories against the Eagles for the Redskins for the first time since a six-game winning streak in the series across the 1981-84 seasons.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!