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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 offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Redskins offseason questions: Can Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice?

Will Kirk Cousins take the next step in 2017?

Finlay: The better question might be what constitutes the next step for Cousins? And going one step further, will it be with the Redskins? Answering the second part first, Cousins will be the 'Skins quarterback in 2017. Taking the next step is trickier, since the passer has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in the last two seasons.

For me, Cousins can still get much better, particularly in the red zone. If the Redskins scored at the same pace they pile up yards, this team would have won 11 games in 2016. 

In 2016, Cousins ranked 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, yet outside of the Top 10 in TDs with 25. To really enter the next phase of his career, Cousins needs to lead an offense that scores more, and that means 30+ touchdowns. He can do it. 

Tandler: I don’t look at the next step for Cousins being about numbers. Sure, maybe he can throw for 5,000 yards and 30-plus touchdowns on year. But being a top quarterback is more than that.

I want to see him go into Seattle next year and rally the Redskins from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. I want to see him go into a playoff game and, unlike what happened against the Packers after the 2015 season, will the team to a win when the Redskins aren’t playing their best and when a QB like Aaron Rodgers is on the other side. I want to see him glare at a lineman who missed an assignment and correct a receiver who went the wrong way on a route.

To be sure, he has led the team to some comeback wins and he has played very well in some key games, like the division-clinching win in Philadelphia in 2015. But a top-flight quarterback can’t essentially negate one of those with a play like the season-ending pick against the Giants. Sure, any quarterback is going to have an off day. But you have to have more pluses than minuses on the ledger.

Cousins has been a starter for just two years so maybe he can develop into a top-shelf quarterback. Putting up good stats is part of the picture but he won’t be there until he elevates and motivates those around him. Maybe he can take that next step but until he does there is no way of knowing if he will. 

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

— Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

— Defense in the first round?

— Will they make a change at left guard?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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

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Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

Some good news from Redskins Park: Josh Doctson running, catching football (VIDEO)

There hasn't been much good news out of Redskins Park lately, as the team deals with pending free agency for QB Kirk Cousins and others combined with rumors of infighting among the front office. So video of 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson running and cutting comes at a great time for beleaguered 'Skins fans. 

Doctson posted the video to his Snapchat account. When he last spoke after the Washington season ended, Doctson made clear he was feeling much better and that '100 percent health' is his main goal this offseason.

His rookie year, however, was a different matter.

The receiver out of TCU missed all but the first two games of the year. Even in those games, he played a very reduced role. Drafted 22nd overall, he had just two catches all year as an obscure Achilles' injuries landed him on the injured reserve. His plight could not be figured out by a slew of doctors and specialists, and the team finally decided to sit down their prized rookie.

A breakout year in 2017 would serve Jay Gruden's squad well, as the team stands to lose DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon to free agency. It looks likely the 'Skins will lose at least one of their starting WRs, and losing both is a distinct possibility. That could result in more than 2,000 receiving yards leaving the Redskins offense, and the team will need Doctson to pick up a good chunk of that production.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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!