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Six wide?

Six wide?

What was thought to be one of the higher-profile, higher stakes training camp battles may not ever happen.

After the Washington Redskins drafted receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly in the second round, it appeared that James Thrash and Anthony Mix were headed towards a showdown for the fifth and final WR roster spot behind the two rookies, Santana Moss, and Antwaan Randle El.

It was to be a classic competition between a cagey veteran who makes up for the loss of a step or two with hustle and smarts and a raw youngster with great size and potential. One would get a high-paying gig with the Skins, the other would have to start looking for work, either in the NFL or in—shudder—the real world.

However, after listening to comments that Jim Zorn made on Tuesday morning, it appears that the fifth receiver spot may not be the final spot. He indicated that he might go with six at the position.

Carrying six WR's is unusual but not unheard of. Steve Spurrier's first Redskins team had six receivers on the opening-day roster. Teams that run a lot of four-wide sets sometimes will carry six.

If both Mix and Thrash make it, of course, that means that the Redskins will have to keep one fewer player at another position. Do you run with, say, six linebackers despite the still-shaky health of Rocky McIntosh and H. B. Blades' recent knee injury?

Maybe you trust Mike Sellers to be the only fullback on the roster and run with an extra tight end or with Lorenzo Alexander as a third tackle if he goes out.

A handful of teams keep just two quarterbacks on the roster to free up a spot, but it's hard to imagine Zorn doing that.

Certainly carrying six receivers still is just a possibility and Thrash and Mix may well still have a battle brewing. But the offhand way Zorn mentioned "the fourth, fifth, and sixth guys" when talking about the receivers would reasonably lead one to believe that six is the number he has penciled as of now.

Depending on the health at some other positions, I wouldn't be opposed to such a roster configuration. It's hard to get rid of Thrash; he does too much and if you ask him to do more, he'll gladly do it. At 6-5, Mix has the potential to be a great red-zone target and he can play some decent special teams to boot.

Rian Wallace or Nehemiah Broughton, two players who could be cut to make way for a sixth receiver, likely would disagree.

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

Related: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.