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Fox chased, two others cut

Aug 24, 2008, 11:10 PM EDT

Comments Off on Fox chased, two others cut

Vernon Fox became another victim of a strong Washington Redskins youth movement at the safety position.

Fox and former Oakland Raider Stu Schweigert were supposed to add veteran depth to a young and inexperienced Redskins safety corps. Instead, Schweigert was shown the door after the first preseason game and Fox was let go today.

Two defensive linemen also got the ax as end Dorian Smith and tackle Babatunde Oshinowo were released.

Fox has spent two of his seven NFL season with the Redskins. He made his living as a special teams ace who was an adequate fill in.

Although the Redskins drafted two safeties late, taking Kareem Moore in the sixth round and Chris Horton in the seventh, it still appeared that Fox was safe as one of the rookies was likely to end up on the practice squad.

However, Horton and Moore have impressed from the get-go. Horton posted two sacks in the first preseason game and Moore has started the last two games in place of the ailing LaRon Landry. Meanwhile, Fox missed one game due to a personal matter and he put on an awful display of tackling late in the Jets game.

It appears now that four safeties are locks to make the team—Horton, Moore, Landry, and Reed Doughty. Should the Redskins decide to keep five safeties, Justin Hamilton could sneak into the picture. The team may decide to save a roster spot here as cornerback Shawn Springs can fill in at safety if necessary.

The Redskins must release two more players to meet the NFL limit of 75 by Tuesday.

  1. Sports Scatter - Aug 25, 2008 at 7:32 AM

    No surprises here. But you’ve inspired me that it is time for another review of the progress of the roster.

    This is looking like a great draft. If McIntosh, Washington, and Landry can enter the season close to full speed the Redskins should have most depth they’ve had since the year before Marty, but younger, like in the year before Dan.

    If not picked up already, I would expect Fox to be the likely pick up if Landry is inactive in game 1, barring a top veteran free safety hitting the waiver wire. The only other unspectacular veteran option that would make sense would be another Fresno State alum, Omar Stoutmire, if he’s available and in shape, because he knows the defense enough to step right in and is a much more accomplished player on defense than Fox. They certainly couldn’t afford a Schweigert type situation during the season and the two rookies are playmakers, but I wouldn’t want to see them with starting responsibility before midseason.

    I think this season is all on whether the coaches can get the job done with the talent and leadership this team has. The only concern I have so far is whether Zorn is implementing an offense his players can execute this season. Even Hasselback was outplayed by veteran west coast newcomer Dilfer for several years before catching on to the West coast system (though hasselback was in the system his whole pro career up to that point). Could Collins take Campbells job temporarily if Campbell has a few more Rob Johnson like performances?

    Is it possible the Wide Receivers were the Redskins worst picks? In the short term it looks like it. Even before the injuries they looked completely lost to me. The 5 or 6 guys competing for the elusive 6th receiver slot had a lot better idea about what they were doing. It shouldn’t be surprising though, as wide receivers are probably the most unpredictable of all draft picks and take the longest to develop outside of quarterbacks. Hopefully the coaches can figure out how to get some use out of their explosive athletic skills with a limited playbook of simple screens, go routes, and posts, because it doesn’t look like a QB should trust them with slants and more complex routes in the near term. To me the only blackspot on Joe Gibbs first term stint was his inability to make use of rookie skills, such as not getting explosive rookies like desmond howard into more simple plays (since obviously howard just didn’t get it for the complex stuff…and in a scary way thomas seems like a bigger, faster version of howard). But of course Gibbs always knew how to get everythig possible out of seasoned veterans.

    Anyways, I think the Fox cutting has some trickle down benefit because the redskins have 6 good CBs, 6 WRs who should make the roster, 4 HBs who have earned roster spots, 3 TEs who are roster locks, and more DLs than I can count who I would trust to start an NFL game.

    And, I think in my response to your post-draft blog I mentioned I think some special teamers are going to lose their jobs. James, Khary, and Rock took the draft signal and showed up ready to play their secondary positions, as well as Special teams. Fox didn’t step it up on defense and that is why he’s gone.

    Frost has stepped it up at his ‘position’, having his best game as a Redskin in the possibly the worst Redskin game since the Bears trounced them a couple decades before I was born. Of course, when a punter has a great game it probably means the team stunk. I still don’t know that he outplayed the rookie, who I still fully expect to make the roster. I said frost should have asked for his free agency when they drafted, but maybe I was wrong, as frost has probably earned a job on another team. I would be shocked if Brooks is cut as he has done nothing to get cut and my gut feeling is that his downside is about even with frost’s upside.

    To me, Chris Wilson is the next on the bubble after Fox, unless Taylor isn’t making progress by the end of the week.

    With Mix’s injuries throughout the preseason, and the QBs’ inability to get Mann the ball, it probably means that instead of the Redskins choosing which 6th WR, McMullen will be battling with a special teamer for a spot, with the Skins carrying 5 WRs if they aren’t impressed with McMullen. We’ve all seen that he has some explosiveness, but he’s also exasperated a line of NFL coaches now by mixing in tantilizing big play ability with an inability to stick to the playbook and his routes. McMullen’s big advantage is that the Redskins are justfifiably scared of the prospect of having the two rookies in on 4WR sets. His disadvantage is that west coast systems don’t use 4wr sets when the coaches can help it, sending out or splitting tight ends and sometimes even RBs instead, which they are very comfortable doing with Chris, Rock, and Ladell, and lately Fred and Clinton as well. So they may not feel any need for a 4WR set until Kelly or Thomas is ready for that duty (my bet is on Kelly being ready first mentally, but he’s way behind now after basically missing the preseason).

    The offensive line is where the real battles are on offense, but no matter how much better the rookies look than Jansen and Wade at this point, I don’t see how the coaches could dump two of arguably the top 15 veteran right tackles in the NFL when fully healthy. The Redskins may try to load up the practice squad with three of the young linemen. Obviously Chad will be on the roster, and to me Andrew Crummey is the other rookie who is ready to play but they may just not have enough spots with the top 9 guys already locked in…though arguably some of them have been outplayed by youngsters (see left guard, right tackle, and backup right guard). Andrew’s advantage may be that he has shown himself to be the most accomplished center, but if Jansen doesn’t show improvement and the Rabach were to be injured the Redskins may prefer Jansen’s veteran intstinct as an oversized center experiment with proven regular season right tackles Heyer, Wade, or Fabini on the outside to having a rookie with limited center experience making the line calls.

    While Mr. Bubble title may officially go to a DT, teammate Broughton looks to me like the true bubble player. He’s playing his best ball since being drafted and repeatedly injured since what seems centuries ago but there just isn’t a roster spot for a second FB that I can see. To me, this is another special teams position like Fox, where cutting a guy who probably won’t see the offensive field without an injury (look for Cooley and Davis to spell Sellers), creates a roster spot for someone they just don’t want to lose. His best chance is McMullen being cut and an injury to a backup offensive lineman. But in fairness, again, he has stepped up his game and played well enough to make the Shelton decision earlier in camp an easy one. But he can’t ride the practice squad and injury list anymore so a 40 yard run, a pancake TD block, or a couple spectacular special teams plays in the last preseason game are a must.

    Speaking of the defensive line, everone in the media talks about how they’ve failed to address that situation in the offseason each of the last couple years, and we seem to have more depth each year. Granted, a pass rushing DT has been missing since the first Gibbs tenure and the pass rushing DEs are usually in their late career stages when we get them… It wasn’t too long ago that we were talking about Chris Wilson as our pass rusher to take pressure off of Carter. Now we have lost a solid veteran DE, we have a rookie making sacks who is still unlikely to make the roster this year, and for a few weeks our late-career superstar may be out; Yet we still look like we have to cut some ‘core’ guys. Evans and the rookie stepping up could mean Wilson is battling bubble boy for the last spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if the only draft pick we cut is the rookie DE, with hopes of putting him on the practice squad. The Taylor injury helps the chances of Wilson staying on as a pass rush specialist, and if he goes back to form he would stick a
    ll year (I can envision passing downs with taylor and james lined up at DT, carter and wilson at the ends). Erasmus James is only a couple years removed from being thought of as one of the next great ones at DE, so even if he only shows flashes he’ll be one of the top backup DEs in the league. To me Alexander is safe and may be instrumental in how many OL rookies are on the practice squad instead of on the roster. Montgomery will be the backup. Griffin is going to need a lot of sideline time as usual, with Montgomery likely to split those duties with alexander and bubble boy. Golston looks to me as the clear cut starter, though Blache says otherwise. To me he just plays better on game day, especially on passing downs, granted, Montgomery is a load. Askew is a wildcard antithesis of Boschetti, too bad we can’t combine Boschetti’s heart and character with Askew’s athleticism.
    Backup linebacker is a weak spot, being made up almost completely of special teams specialists. The concerning thing is that of the 4 legitimate linebackers (fletcher, blades, washington, mcintonsh) none has been fully healthy in the preseason. Khary has long been a weakness while on the field, so much so that rookie free agent blades had to be moved to the outside when mcintosh was hurt, but Khary is one of the few healthy mostly healthy bodies that knows what he is doing. Fletcher is an iron man and will be out there, but Washington and McIntosh we can’t be so sure about. Blades is much better in the middle than covering their slots. Sinclair has done a good job calling plays and making reads in the middle, but really only makes the team if they are scared about the outside health, and his health may be the worst of the position right now. I am not sure, but he might be practice squad eligible. If gatewood makes the team it is a really bad oman, but he has to be a favorite for one of the last practice squad spots. Fincher is the surprise find so far, but you’d really rather have a guy like that as your 6th linebacker than your 5th linebacker. Look for the Redskins to watch the waiver wire for a primary backup at OLB. When Taylor and James get real healthy I would not be shocked to see Tayler playing some extra Derrick Thomas style linebacker with James at DE, just out of necessity, the way Arrington and Washington played DE out of necessity.

    My early practice squad target guesses(very likely to change based on waiver wire, other teams signing them, injuries, and roster positional composition) are Clark, Westbrook, Richardson, Devine, Crummey (may make roster just because of fear that another team would take him), Sinclair (if healthy), Goode, and Jackson (may make roster just because of fear that another team would take him). Gant and Mann are probably battling for a practice squad job, with Toler also having an outside shot. Kerry Brown was a lock for the squad, but got hurt. Keep an eye on Tavaras Washington for a spot if any of the above are unavailable or held on the roster. Archives

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