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Marcus Mason–Maybe

Aug 11, 2008, 1:10 PM EST

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I’m starting to change my mind about Marcus Mason. I think the kid has a shot.

He’s not a lock to make the Washington Redskins’ roster by any stretch. But it seems like each carry he adds to his resume makes it harder and harder for the coaching staff to leave him off of the roster.

Mason was very impressive in that final Redskins drive that burned all but 23 seconds off of the final 10:07 of the game. He carried 11 times for 62 yards during that clinching advance.

Yes, he was running against players in Buffalo uniforms who will be working at Best Buy in September. But he also was running behind an offensive line that was slapped together from spare parts due to injuries.

I was reminded that Mason actually did make the 53-man roster at the start of last season. His tenure with the Redskins lasted one game; they released him after the season opener to make way for receiver Reche Caldwell. But the fact is that the team did open the season with four running backs on the roster and Marcus Mason was one of them.

I still don’t think it’s a good idea to keep a fourth running back. With injuries an issue at cornerback and depth a problem at linebacker, it’s risky to short another position to keep a player just for the sake of keeping him.

However, Jim Zorn may not agree. He has commented recently that the team just might have to find a spot for Mason.

A week ago, I would have put his chances of making the team at about 10% or less. Right now, I’d put it at around 40% and rising.

  1. Steve in TN - Aug 11, 2008 at 4:24 PM

    Put simply, Mason is a football player that knows how to produce. You have to find spots for that type of player. I’d rather do without Todd Wade or a similar player than cut Mason. A Wade can be plucked from the waiver wire — A Mason can not.

  2. HokieJoe - Aug 11, 2008 at 4:52 PM

    Mason looks like a guy who can make some big plays, maybe not an every-down back, but a nice 3rd down/change of pace type guy. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Skins keep 4 rb and only 5 wr and having mason take thrash’s spot. James Thrash simply does not get open. He is easily blanketed by any defensive back and only gets catches if he finds a soft spot in a zone or the defense forgets to cover him.

  3. Ben Folsom - Aug 11, 2008 at 5:02 PM

    The fumble to open the game hurt him but he made it up with a 25 yard kickoff return in the 2nd quarter.

    Due to expanded play of Ladell and Clinton Marcus did not get a carry until the third quarter and still managed 80 yards. He’s a low to the ground runner that can slip through holes.

    How the Redskins will keep Marcus given injuries to locked in WR and so many tight ends is still in question, I hope they find a way to get him the ball in a live situation.

  4. wtfree3 - Aug 11, 2008 at 9:04 PM

    Rich – what do you think about Rock’s ability to stick with this team? Because of all of the issues you mention, I’d think Rock may actually be at risk here. After all, I know Rock was out of the Buffalo game, but prior to that, I wasn’t aware that Mason was 2nd string on the kick return team.

    That said, if Mason is kept on the roster, he’s likely to be one of the 7 inactives each week, unless needed because of injuries. And we know that Portis and Betts have been injury prone at times. I’d think it would be easier to get a DB off the waivers and plug him in than it is to get a RB who is familiar with your schemes.

    If Mason is a gamer, then there are other teams that might consider him off the waivers. I know Rock means a lot to special teams, but are there other returners? If so, he’s at risk.

  5. Rich Tandler - Aug 11, 2008 at 10:10 PM

    Steve, you have to keep at least 9 O-linemen and it’s likely that Wade will be one of those (although it wouldn’t shock me to see Crummey steal that spot away from him).

    I would be shocked if either Thrash or Rock got cut. Thrash is currently the #3 WR and he’ll be the first one off the bench until the rooks get up to speed. Rock, like Thrash, does a lot of things that keep coaches employed.

    Chip, I don’t think that there’s any question that Mason would be claimed off of waivers. Perhaps a trade, like the one that sent Ryan Grant from the Giants to the Packers, is a possibility?

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