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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 RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

You would think that after spending two years as the team’s third-down back, playing more snaps than any other running back last season, and getting a second-round restricted free agent tender that will pay him $2.7 million this year, Chris Thompson might feel comfortable as the Redskins start up the final phase of their preseason program.

But Thompson says that he is as nervous about making the team as he was when he was a fifth-round in 2013.

“Even after the last preseason game when you guys talk to me I’m going to still be nervous when that time comes around because I never forget that feeling,” he told reporters on Monday prior to the Redskins charity golf tournament at Army-Navy Country Club.

“For me, I’ve just got to come out here and work every day to try to secure my job.”

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

The approach has worked for him in the past. He struggled with injuries his first two years in the league, playing a total of just six games. In 2015 he found his niche as the third-down back and he hasn’t given it up.

In fact, he may get more opportunities on first and second downs.

“I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year,” he said. “He [coach Jay Gruden] knows that I’m healthy and I can stay healthy. I think that was one of his biggest concerns, that I can handle the load. I think I’ll get a lot more opportunities.”

Rob Kelley is expected to be the starter and fourth-round pick Samaje Perine should get a significant number of carries. If Gruden plans on Thompson getting more work on the ground, that likely means that the Redskins anticipate running the ball more ofent than they did in 2016, when they were 27th in the NFL with 379 rushing attempts.

Health is key for Thompson. He not only played in all 16 games for the first time in his career last year, he came out of the season in good health. Not having the need to rehab is allowing Thompson to work on refining his game.

“[Being healthy] helps me to get away and focus on the little things that I need to work on,” he said. “Having a full offseason, being able to get away, I’ve been able to focus on those things. Just like my quickness, my route running. I know my route running is big for me to make it in this league so I work on that. . . that was my main goal.”

Thompson’s work ethic and his mindset where he takes nothing for granted have served him well. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018 and if he continues to produce he will be setting himself up for a nice payday. 

RELATED: OFFSEASON NFL POWER RANKINGS

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RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

Matt Jones entered the 2016 season as the Redskins undisputed starter at running back.

That lasted seven games.

By Week 8, Jones landed on the inactive list, and he never took another snap all year.

With OTAs beginning for the 2017 season, it looks like Jones might not play with the team. 

NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT?

In April at the NFL Draft, reports surfaced that Washington was trying to trade Jones.

Weeks before that, at the NFL Owner's Meetings in Arizona, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden had to be reminded that Jones was still on the roster as the coach talked about the running back situation for this fall.

Robert Kelley surpassed Jones as the top running back on the team last season with Chris Thompson secure in his third down back role. 

Mack Brown even moved past Jones on the depth chart. When the Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round, that signaled even bigger trouble for Jones' roster situation.

The Redskins will likely only keep four running backs this fall, and with Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Brown, it sure seems like Jones is the odd man out.

It's remarkable considering Jones has size, speed and an NFL resume that has three 100-yard games on it in just 20 games. The Redskins spent a third-round pick on Jones in 2015, and he largely ousted fan favorite Alfred Morris from the RB1 role as a rookie. 

Life comes at you quick in the NFL.

Jones is a clear example of that. 

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back