Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, April 15, 23 days before the NFL draft.
Here are five thoughts on the state of the Redskins as we wait for the draft (May 8) and the release of the 2014 NFL schedule (date prior to May 8 TBA):
DeSean Jackson has reported to Redskins Park. The team tweeted out a picture of him hard at work in the weight room. Now we can all get along with our lives. Some will search for other molehills to build into mountains.
Long snapper Nick Sundberg is one of the best in the business. It’s good news that he has been cleared to participate in offseason workouts. It’s bad news that clearance was necessary. In the past two seasons he has played in just 13 games. A broken arm interrupted his 2012 season as he spent a stint on injured reserve and last year he suffered a torn meniscus in the fifth game of the season. Since a team only carries one snapper availability is critical and another spell on the injured list could encourage the Redskins to seek other options.
Some are questioning if David Amerson is “ready” to start at cornerback for the Redskins. Looking at him at the end of last year, the answer is probably no. But he has offseason workouts, OTAs, two minicamps, training camp and three preseason games to learn. He was close enough that he should be able to polish out the rough spots over the next five months.
There’s no doubt that Keenan Robinson faces longer odds than Amerson of being ready to take a starting role but I’m not ruling him out entirely. From the time he was drafted in 2010 until he took over as the starter at inside linebacker half way through the 2011 season Perry Riley played just nine snaps on defense. Robinson played 69 snaps as a rookie. Of course, Riley had practice time that Robinson has been unable to get during his season and a half on injured reserve. But if he has been studying film like Riley did as he waited for his opportunity he could make a push for the top of the depth chart.
It’s hard to figure out if Santana Moss will be on the roster when the season opener comes around. His contract, which was for the veteran minimum with a $65,000 signing bonus, means that he could either stay on the roster carrying a small cap hit or get released. Obviously Pierre Garçon, Jackson, and Andre Roberts are the top three wide receivers. If Moss isn’t one of the top three will he have to play special teams (beyond an occasional punt return) in order to stay on the roster. Under Mike Shanahan too many reserve running backs and wide receivers didn’t play special teams. Will Moss learn or be given a pass? It may make or break his chances of sticking around.
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—It’s been 107 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 145 days until they play another one.
—Days until: First veteran minicamp 14; NFL Draft 23; Training camp starts 99
In case you missed it
The Redskins made a roster move just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.
They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.
Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.
The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.
Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.
Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.
TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.
DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.
LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.
G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.
T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.
CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.
RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.
Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)
Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.