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Need to Know: Redskins roster battles looming a week before camp

Jul 17, 2014, 4:55 AM EDT

Redskins-camp-O-line

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 17, seven days before the Redskins start training camp.

Three and out

Here are a few roster thoughts a week from the start of Redskins training camp.

—Before OTAs, I had Santana Moss on the wrong side of the roster bubble, figuring that a team with a new coach would want to go younger at the position. But then I asked Jay Gruden about Moss after one of the OTAs and the coach was effusive in his praise. “He’s working out hard,” said Gruden. “He’s the first one out there today again, I like having guys like that, veteran guys who are great examples for rookies and also can help you win in big games.” That changed my mind on his roster status. Still, he’s going to have to battle, especially if Leonard Hankerson is healthy enough to play. Words uttered in early June don’t carry much weight when cuts come around in late August. I still think Moss is one the bubble; he’s on the good side of it but still no sure thing.

—Chris Thompson or Lache Seastrunk as the third running back? I’ve been favoring Seastrunk simply on the basis that he’s the current group’s draft pick and Thompson was taken by the old regime. But Thompson has some punt returning experience and although he had a 5.1-yard average, last year’s return unit didn’t exactly provide him or anyone else they tried at punt returner any gaping holes to run through. I wonder if they might try to stash Seastrunk on the practice squad for a year to get him to speed as a pass catcher and go with Thompson as the punt returner and receiver out of the backfield. The big concern with Thompson is his injury history. But if that pops up they could simply bring Seastrunk up from the practice squad.

—It seems likely that rookie offensive linemen Morgan Moses and Spencer Long will be starters—in 2015. But if one or both should break through and beat out the veteran incumbents to win a starting job you have to wonder what would happen to Tyler Polumbus and/or Chris Chester. Would they be kept as reserves? Or would the organization opt to jettison them and their substantial salaries ($3 million for Chester, $2.5 million for Polumbus) and go with younger and cheaper backups? I think that the chances of either one not being a starter are slim but if Long or Moses breaks through I have to think the veteran being displaced will get bumped all the way to the waiver wire.

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Timeline

—It’s been 200 days since the Redskins played a game; in 52 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 21; Final cuts 44; Home opener Jaguars @ Redskins 60

 Tandler previews training camp

In case you missed it

  1. bertyboz - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    Rich a veteran like Polombus or Chester getting released wouldn’t go to the waiver wire

    • Rich Tandler - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:04 AM

      Yes, I plead guilty to being technically incorrect. A veteran with over 4 vested seasons released this time of year would immediately become a free agent and not be subject to a waiver claim thus he would not be on the “waiver wire”. He would be on the transaction report as terminated. But that sound so, well, final.

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  2. kenlinkins - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Rich: IMO the missing part of the “Camp Battles” is knowing just what Coach Gruden in looking for in building his first team as a head coach. What are a keys to make his system work? With no track record to go on the fans are all guessing as to the skills the Redskins new coach values the most. Will he go on a youth movement early and allow some talented but raw players gain playing time early or growth them in practice? Will it be a “Win Now” team with many Vets, or a talented young team trying to learn on the field? Does the Redskins new coaching staff have the skill to build a solid team year over year? Which way will he go on final cuts on Vets vs. Young talent with good upside? There are just so many questions with a first year, first time head coach. Rich: Have you seen any nerves / concerns coming from the players and have you seen the benefit of players spending more time working out trying to impress the new coaching staff?

  3. thirdistheworrd - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    Rich- do you have any concerns about stashing high-upside draft picks on the practice squad (ie. Seastrunk)? When the practice squad was essentially the cast of the Bad News Bears, it didn’t seem to matter, but now we have enough talent competing for the 53 that there’s discussion of sticking Seastrunk, Grant, or even Breeland on the practice squad.
    As I’ve heard it, Seastrunk was kind of a steal in the 6th round, so what’s to say he wouldn’t be snapped up immediately?
    And I know we have the second spot on the waiver wire, but the Texans (1) could definitely use an RB and a look at our playbook– as could the Jags, Giants, Rams, Colts, Titans, and Cowboys. Point is, isn’t “stashing” Seastrunk on the Practice squad a great way to lose him?

    • Rich Tandler - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      There’s always a chance that someone will claim a player that you had intended to put on the practice squad. That’s life in the NFL. But recall last year that everyone screaming that there was no way that Chase Minnifield would get through to the PS and he did.

      We’ll see how it plays out. If Seastrunk tears it up in the preseason they probably won’t be able to get him through waivers. If he’s quiet and shows that he has a lot to learn maybe they’ll figure it’s worth the gamble.

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  4. cowboyhater - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    This skins should be ready to move on concerning Moss…..I love the “veteran leadership” he brings, but lets not forget Garcon, and Jackson have been in the league long enough to be a mentor to a young receiver. Moss has been inconsistent since coming to the skins. Yes, yes I know stat geeks he had some great years with the skins, but again if you really watch the games you would know he always had the propensity to drop passes at the wrong time of a game. It’s time for a youth movement, and if we have young WR’s that can grow under Garcon, Jackson, and Roberts lets keep them on the roster. This will be a very interesting camp because there will be tough decisions at every position on this team. As a fan, let’s hope they get it right.

    • kenlinkins - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      I agree and will add a few more names to the list of players who IMO could be cut in order to help develop some young talent, Clark, Bowen, Chester, Meriweather, Kory L, Polumbus, and Golston. IMO ALL could be beat out by some of the young talent on the roster. While most of the guys I listed have 7 or more years in the NFL, they did not set the world on fire in 2013, and I hope the young guns step up in preseason games to beat out many on my list as I feel the bar has been set very low by the guys on my list.

  5. skinsdawg - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    None of this discussion will matter much if the O-Line isn’t substantially improved. We had the worst O-Line in football last year, and we’ve had one of the worst in the League for much of the past 7 or 8 years. Terrible play. So if RG is on his back, or running for his life as soon as the ball is snapped, on 75% of the pass-plays, as was the case last season, then none of the rest matters. However, I do like the moves the Team has made.

    I think the D will not be good- but I do believe it will be improved. Improved to maybe just sub-par or even maybe average- if the backfield can stabilize. I think it will- with Clark’s addition, and with guys coming in without injuries this year. I just think Haz is bad. He can’t figure out what he wants to be- a 3-4 / a 4-3 / a blend / a gambling blitzing team, bla bla bla. No identity. All Shanahan’s fault. Didn’t let him execute his D. Horse-hockey… most of it. I do think Shan figured into the problem A fair amount most likely. But damn…… how long does it take to figure out Hazlett sux? So I do think the D will be “better,” for whatever that’s worth.

    Back to the Offense- it could be absolutely prolific. We have unbelievable talent all over the field. But the Line is probably going to be bad. Again. We replaced (1) guy off of a terrible line. One guy. Lavaou, who by all accounts, is not very good. McGlynn was a big signing, and he’s a pedestrian back-up, at best. He might have to start though. We replaced a Center that was “too small” with a guy that is even smaller. They say h’e “more talented.” Man I hope so. Why can we NEVER address the O-Line? This, from an organization that was synonymous with O-Line……. for a lot of years! Man. I just don’t get it.

  6. skinsdawg - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    I like Ryan Grant and Cody Hoffman to stick. Grant active, with Hoffman on PSquad (if he doesn’t get raided). Aldrick Robinson flat-oyt sucks. The guy is a complete waste of a roster spot. He has one singular attribute- he is fast as greasedlightening. But that’s it. He is not a football player. Terrible hands. He rarely gets open. He’ll catch 2 or 3 60 yarders a season, which is nice. He’s “dangerous.” But that’s all he’ll accomplish. Nothing else. Let’s move on. I like the Big 3 at W/R. Then Moss (proven winner if guys go down with injury), Grant, and Hank if healthy. If Hank’s not healthy, then he’s PUP, and Hoffman makes the 53. That’s how I see it for now (need to know a lot more though, through pre-season).

    Chester is horrible. But he’s probably going to be the starting RG again. Man. Not good. Long and Moses should be good players- but it’s going to take some time. I wish like heck that LeRebious / Compton / Gettis …… maybe 2 of those 3 could emerge, and we could count on them. Maybe one as the starting RG. Or Long. I’m actually Ok with Polumbus as the RT, with Moses coming along. I have ZERO confidence in the middle – LG / C / RG. Again.

    • ET - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      I completely agree regarding Aldrick Robinson—time to chalk him up as a failed experiment. I like Gruden’s focus on good hands. If you don’t have the hands, you ain’t a receiver.

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