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Bubble watch version 3.0: Predicting the Redskins’ 53-man roster

Aug 10, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

Will Compton camp 2

RICHMOND—The Redskins open the preseason in Cleveland in just a few days and in less than four weeks they will cut to their final 53 players. In other words, it’s getting late early for the players on the bubble trying to secure a roster spot.

Here are my projections of who will end up on the roster when the dust settles on September 5 plus a look at who is just hanging on and four who are just on the wrong side of the bubble. I’ve added some comments as needed.

Offense

Quarterback (3): Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy

Offensive line (9): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, , Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Tom Compton, Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio, Willie Smith

With the switch of Brandon Scherff to guard and Spencer Long getting pushed to a reserve role there is one more tackle spot and one fewer guard spot. I think Josh LeRibeus gets pushed to the wrong side of the bubble and Smith steps in and takes the other reserve tackle spot.

Wide receiver (6): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder, Evan Spencer.

Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen

The Redskins’ unofficial depth chart lists Paul as the starter with Reed second. I think

Running back (4): Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson

Thompson’s position seems to be firming up. He has been running well in practice and last week Gruden said that he was becoming a solid third-down back.

Defense

Defensive line (7): Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Stephan Paea, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Kedric Golston, Frank Kearse

Outside linebacker (4): Ryan Kerrigan, Junior Galette, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith

Inside linebacker (5): Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Martrell Spaight, Adam Hayward

Cornerback (4): Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Justin Rogers

Safety (5): Dashon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett, Trenton Robinson

The reserve corners and safeties will be in limbo pending the Week 2 return of Bashaud Breeland (not on the 53 due to suspension), who will be eligible and presumably healthy and ready to play. Since they’ll only have four active cornerbacks for the game anyway, there’s no point in carrying a fifth on the 53. Jarrett, who can work a slot corner in a pinch, can serve as the emergency corner. When Breeland returns it appears that either Robinson or Rogers will be gone.

Specialists (3): LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way, PK Kai Forbath

The numbers: 25 offense, 25 defense, 3 specialists; 16 new to the Redskins organization in 2015 including eight draft picks

Last 4 on

CB Justin Rogers—Breeland’s one-game suspension opens the door for Rogers to get another NFL game check and perhaps get a chance to establish himself as a legitimate slot corner. But unless he improves his play he will be the 53rd player on the roster in Week 1 and gone in Week 2.

OT Tom Compton—He started the majority of the games last year but he now is being pushed to the bench by Moses, who couldn’t get ahead of Compton on the depth chart last year. On more step down and he could be on the street.

DL Frank Kearse—He was one of the few feel-good stories last year, going from a long shot to make the roster to a good rotation player who posted three sacks. But he could be odd man out if they decide to go with only six defensive linemen.

S Trenton Robinson—If Rogers performs well for the rest of camp and preseason games, Robinson could be the odd man out when Breeland returns. He is solid on special teams so that helps.

Four more close to the bubble: OL Willie Smith, PK Kai Forbath, DL Kedric Golston, ILB Adam Hayward

Last 4 cuts

OL Josh LeRibeus—He has been working as the backup center. The problem is, they generally don’t keep two centers. Sure he can play guard but the team is unlikely to let go of Spencer Long or Arie Kouandjio. That leaves LeRibeus on the outside looking in.

RB Silas Redd—If Thompson doesn’t shake his injury bug, Redd is likely to be in. Even of Thompson does stay healthy, Redd could win the job anyway. Right now Thompson has the edge because of his speed but Redd will not give up easily. Redd hasn’t done anything to stand out in camp but there is time for him to make an impression.

OT Takoby Cofield—The team paid him the maximum signing bonus for an undrafted free agent so they thought highly of him coming out of Duke. He has had a good camp and if he has a good preseason Cofield could make a case for a spot on the 53. For now, he appears to be practice squad material.

OLB Trevardo Williams—Things have not gone well for Williams since camp started. First the team brought in Junior Galette, who takes away a roster spot at his position. Then he suffered a hamstring strain that Gruden said will sideline him for two weeks. An injury could create an opening for him but he needs to be able to take advantage of it.

Four more just on the wrong side of the bubble: WR Rashad Ross, NT Jerrell Powe, TE Je’Ron Hamm, RB Trey Williams

  1. kenlinkins - Aug 10, 2015 at 11:05 AM

    Rich, I see about 9 new starters (not counting Special Teams). Most of the change is for O-Line, D-Line / pass rush and DB’s (3 of the 4 big problems areas from 2014). IYO how many of the Practice Squad guys will be new to the Redskins and has the talent level gained to the point where the Redskins must be concerned about other teams picking off guys? (we saw T Mitchel become a Colt last week, who else might be worth protecting?)

  2. bangkokben - Aug 10, 2015 at 11:45 AM

    Willie Smith in for Josh LeRibeus makes sense since there is now a plethora of guards and guys working at guard. Perhaps Cofield makes it over Smith due to the signing bonus as Compton can play RG, RT, LG, and LT in a pinch and Scherff could move over to RT if there is an injury to Moses or Williams. Cofield would be inactive on game days. Long apparently has taken a snap or two at center and might fill that emergency center role. As for Rogers, I suspect he’d still be on the team in week 2 and that the team would have an IR situation somewhere or let go of Willie Smith (provided he makes the team) or some other position of surplus and keep Rogers until the top four corners are unhindered by injury.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 10, 2015 at 11:54 AM

      In any case as long as they keep Will, the Skins won’t be…Straight Outta Comptons.
      ~

    • captblood3000 - Aug 10, 2015 at 3:02 PM

      Thanks, Ben. I thought Arie had also taken snaps at center. He and Long would make 2 big centers.

  3. ET - Aug 10, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    Why is Frank Kearse more likely on the bubble than Kedric Golston? I’m not sure I agree with that. Golston is a long-term survivor, but the very definition of Just A Guy. Kearse has been a pleasant surprise whenever he gets a few snaps.

    • babyteal1 - Aug 10, 2015 at 4:53 PM

      Agreed!!!

    • bangkokben - Aug 10, 2015 at 8:46 PM

      Kearse is the kind of player that suffers the most from change. Kearse was a bright spot on an otherwise blight in the d-line. The GM and coach made massive changes. McC with the free agent signees and Gruden with firing his friend Haz and hiring Barry who runs a different scheme. Kearse then is back on the bottom learning a new scheme. Remember Stephon Heyer and what a ‘gem’ we found at the local scrap heap? Change of coaching and Heyer like many guys who are the last on the roster are the first to leave with the winds of change. Hopefully, Kearse fits in this system and makes it.

    • rtcwon - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:19 AM

      Cutting Golston means replacing his role on place kick units. With Chester gone, there already will be one rookie on the unit. I wouldn’t want to depend on two rookies blocking and not going early on field goals and the new long extra points. Worse if Compton lands on wrong side of bubble with Golston, now thats’ three newbies (Moses isn’t a rookie but might as well be) which I just don’t see happening. Not to mention Golston is also the wedge guy on kick return.

  4. coolestfrood - Aug 10, 2015 at 12:37 PM

    The roster seems to have more quality depth this year. Guys that might have seen playing time for us in past years might not make the 53 this year, even as backups. Hopefully that will result in fewer games this year where we are down by 8 to 16 points with 5 minutes left in the game.

  5. skip36 - Aug 10, 2015 at 1:06 PM

    Rich, ever since we lost Sean Taylor our beloved strong safety who was 6’2″ 230lbs. we haven’t had aplayer like him, we drafted Phillip Thomas who stood at 6’0″ 223lbs. but stay healthy so we finally cut him, please give your opinion of Dyshawn Davis who stands at 6’2′ 227lbs. and is listed as a linebacker on the team, he’s not mention anywhere in any conversations, I believe that he’s to light for LB is it possible to switch him over to play strong safety since he did play that in college, could he also be a candidate for the practice squad, would really like to know what you think HTTR

    • bangkokben - Aug 10, 2015 at 8:49 PM

      Taylor was a free safety. Big and fast but free.

  6. skip36 - Aug 10, 2015 at 1:08 PM

    Rich, ever since we lost Sean Taylor our beloved strong safety who was 6’2″ 230lbs. we haven’t had aplayer like him, we drafted Phillip Thomas who stood at 6’0″ 223lbs. but couldn’t stay healthy so we finally cut him, please give your opinion of Dyshawn Davis who stands at 6’2′ 227lbs. and is listed as a linebacker on the team, he’s not mention anywhere in any conversations, I believe that he’s to light for LB is it possible to switch him over to play strong safety since he did play that in college, could he also be a candidate for the practice squad, would really like to know what you think HTTR

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