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Need to Know: Other positions could squeeze Redskins’ numbers at linebacker

Aug 25, 2016, 5:19 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, August 26, nine days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 players.


Today’s schedule: Practice 11:00 at Joint Base Andrews; open to invited guests, not open to the public

—The Redskins last played a game that counted 228 days ago. It will be 18 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 24; Browns @ Redskins 38; Redskins @ Ravens 45

Other positions could squeeze numbers at linebacker

The Redskins’s 53-man roster appears to be pretty well set at one linebacker position, at least in terms of numbers. But the other area has a number of scenarios with both names and numbers.

The area that doesn’t have much mystery is outside. Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, and Trent Murphy are locks. Houston Bates has the inside track for the fourth and what likely will be the final OLB spot but Lynden Trail and Willie Jefferson will give him a run for his money.

On the inside, very little is that clear cut. Will Compton and Mason Foster are the starters. Martrell Spaight will stay as Compton’s backup and a possible future starter.

Beyond that there are question marks. Perry Riley has lost his starting job and he carries a cap hit slightly over $5 million. Terence Garvin is good on special teams but he probably is not a player you want doing too many snaps at linebacker.

Second round draft pick Su’a Cravens will be on the roster, of course. He has been operating mostly as an inside linebacker although defensive coordinator Joe Barry wanted him listed on the roster as an “H”, for hybrid. Cravens’ job designation really only matters to fans but it’s still one spot among the 53 that has to be accounted for. Since he has been playing inside linebacker it makes sense to count him as one.

So that makes a total of six names at inside linebacker. They could keep six but that would constrain them in the secondary, where they have half a dozen corners and five safeties worthy of roster spots.

If they go to five then either Riley or Garvin will have to go. Riley has the experience you like in a backup but the financial factors ($4 million in cap savings if he is let go) make that a tough call. Garvin is much less experienced but, at a cap hit of $750,000, he is also much more cost effective.

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  1. redskins12thman - Aug 25, 2016 at 6:04 AM

    Garvin, Paulsen, Riley & Toler are four vets I’d like on the 53 player roster, but really field Riley and Garvin should be on the team if Garvin is doing really well on special teams which I believe he is.

    I want Redskins to be two deep at every position and so I see MLB as Compton / Spaight and Foster / Riley.

  2. colorofmyskinz - Aug 25, 2016 at 6:31 AM

    $4 M is very inticing to hedge on Garvin vs Riley. Riley is really no more than a backup on any other good defensive team in the NFL. He is not starter quality for any of the top 20 defenses, never has been. Part of the reason our run defense has sucked for years. Look at middle linebackers on the last 2 teams we played, ATL and Jets. He would not even qualify as 3rd string in those linebacker sets. Either he needs to take a huge contract renegotiation or we need to dump him.

    Ok let’s talk about the big news, Stork. Finally we land a mean large strong center!!! I get it he has had locker room problems and injury issues. But what may have contributed to those locker room problems? Could it be his leader Tom Brady treats people like azzzzes? If Scot and Gruden can tame Gallette I think they can tame Stork. How will Stork react when he is working for a true humble leader like Kirk, who gives credit where credit is due? We might have a chance at fixing the locker room issues with real leaders that appreciate his work.

    Now his performance. He will blow Kory out of the starting role as soon as he learns the playbook. There is literally no comparison – none. There is no battle there at all. It will be a swap as soon as the playbook is learned. We need NASTY people at certain positions. Center is one of them. Centers have to b as nasty as it gets. The other position is OLB. Gallette brought that nastiness. Now we don’t have it. NT and DLine needs it too. We don’t have feared people on our DLine. So nice work Scot again! If we can tame this beast to be a team player so he can take his anger out on other teams, we will have a running attack. This will be the single greatest change on our line if we can get him to jive with the team and stay on the field.

    Finally we have a real center.

    • colorofmyskinz - Aug 25, 2016 at 6:41 AM

      And by the way. This is absolute confirmation we as speculating blogging fans see the holes in our roster just like Scot does. They would have never attempted this trade had they not realized that center is the single greatest glaring hole in the offense. The next biggest hole is backup running back that can play starter if Jones is out due to injury. We will see that trade or acquisition come as other teams get close to the cut to 53, or right after. We know we will bring a RB in prior to week 1.

      The other major hole is DLine. We need a big nasty NT/DT on the line. That may wait until the draft.

      All hail Scot… King of DC!

      • jay - Aug 25, 2016 at 12:36 PM

        We could’ve had L. Williams from Jets instead of and right guard…

      • Trey Gregory - Aug 25, 2016 at 1:55 PM

        Uh, center was never the single biggest glaring hole. You’re just making stuff up now. Why wouldn’t they make this trade even if they were realitivly happy at center? A chance to upgrade for a 7th round pick? I would do that at every single position if the opportunity came along.

        There was a lot of frantic offseason hype about our center situation that was frankly BS and hyperbole. A bunch of people not knowing what they’re talking about. It’s not a great situation but it’s not that bad either. Don’t go connecting dots that don’t exist.

    • redskins12thman - Aug 25, 2016 at 6:47 AM

      If Foster gets hurt, who plays next to Compton this season?

      Even if Stork retires, it was a great “try” by the Redskins. I hope Stork does not retire and never has another concussion. All O-line players have benefited from being coached by Bill Callahan and Stork may find this experience works well for him. It’s not just about talent but about ability to stay healthy.

      I think the Redskins hoped that more O-linemen would improve beyond the top 7 on the team and I don’t think that has materialized so Stork is worth a flyer.

      • colorofmyskinz - Aug 25, 2016 at 6:56 AM

        Daniels would have easily knocked Riley off the roster. We might be able to pick up a cut to 53 there that could be better than Riley as well. Think about this, we have almost $10 M tied up between Riley and Kory, where either of them would struggle to make a top 10 team of 53. These 2 player have been holding us back. We need to move on.

        • redskins12thman - Aug 25, 2016 at 7:18 AM

          If we pick up that equivalent replacement after roster cuts, I would be fine moving on from Riley; but until we are sure, I wouldn’t waive Riley. Riley is competing for the starting spot and is playing okay.

      • colorofmyskinz - Aug 25, 2016 at 7:23 AM

        Even if we don’t pick up a 53 man cut from another team to replace Riley I would put the Sua on the field before Riley any day.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 25, 2016 at 5:52 PM

          I’m very excited about Cravens too but I’m not sure he’s there yet. He seems to get too excited about making plays and ends up out of position. He bites too fast when he sees run. Which leads to good plays when it’s actually a run, but he gets caught out of position on play action. I also noticed him have some hiccups in coverage. I could t quite figure out why but every now and then he would run to a covered player, leave his zone open with a man in it, and give up a play. He saw something that made him think the ball was going to where he ran, but he was wrong. Zone is not something you learn over night and it will take him a little while. But he also needs to just trust the system, be patient, and wait for the plays to develop. He’s trusting his instincts, which is great. But they were honed in college. NFL offenses are a bit trickier to diagnose.

          This kid has tremendous potential and looks like an outstanding 2nd round pick. But he has so, so much to learn (through no fault of his own) especially because they’re essentially having him play two positions. Riley is what he is. A mediocre ILB who knows the system and shouldn’t make rookie mistakes. I’ll roll with him on first down for sure, and probably for the majority of snaps at first while I ease Cravens into it. But, lucky for us, Foster and Compton are here so Gruden doesn’t have to make that call.

          Cravens should be the starter eventually though. By next season at least. I want that guy on the field.

  3. bangkokben - Aug 25, 2016 at 10:02 AM

    Seems like a terrible waste to lose a player like Garvin, Toler, Hood, or Everette for a player like Bates.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 25, 2016 at 1:56 PM

      Good point.

  4. sidepull - Aug 25, 2016 at 11:45 AM

    Agree. Bates is not debateable. I want somebody else to take Bates seat on us. I like Garvins speed. He wasnt clocked all that fast but he has good closing speed it seems. Gets to the ball daggone quick.

    • redskins12thman - Aug 25, 2016 at 3:09 PM

      RB and 4th OLB are the last 53 player roster spots up; will be watching those players closely against the Bills. A lot of players competing for 10 practice squad spots.

      • Trey Gregory - Aug 25, 2016 at 5:41 PM

        Does anyone have a good feel on Trail vs. Jefferson? Based off the preseason games, I can’t decide. I’m inclined to say I want Jefferson to be the 4th OLB but it’s a very close race in my eyes. I haven’t noticed anything that really separates them on the field.

        Multiple servicable, and maybe even a couple good, RBs will be released soon for us to try and pick up. But nobody is going to release a OLB with talent or who could potentially become a starter one day. It’s too premium of a position. The Galette injury will haunt us all season again. An injury to Smith or Kerrigan could be catastrophic. So we better not mess around at this 4th OLB spot. It’s important.

        I wouldn’t normally say this, but I think they need to throw special teams out the door and focus on who is the best all around OLB. Because we’re one or two injuries away from this guy playing. We at least need a guy who can set the edge vs. the run and is decent in coverage. Hoping for a few sacks is probably asking too much. I think ST is very important, but it’s simply not as important as the edge guys on the D-line.

        • bangkokben - Aug 25, 2016 at 7:12 PM

          To your last paragraph, that seems to be their M.O. every year and then after a few games, they bring in the special teamer or veteran. Houston Bates and Frank Kearse were alternating getting cut the first month of the season depending on team needs and their flexible CB situation with injury and suspensions, Everette made the final 53 but was released as well — maybe before the first game — and didn’t get back to the 53 for about a month.

  5. blazerguy234 - Aug 25, 2016 at 1:07 PM

    If decisions on players to keep are at all hard to make..then surprise, it is about the money. Who would have thought there would be so much competition between quality D backs going back to the end of last year. Loosing Jr. hurt the potential pass rush. Murphy can`t get to the passer. So if Ryan or Smith gets banged up.. we will need all the quality D backs we can keep..even if it means fewer guys at other positions. If one of the bubble “backers” shows a really good pass rush..Murphy`s job could be shaky. He was drafted so high because he led the NCAA in sacks. Norman had a superior front 7 in front of him to rush the passer. Without pressure, it is hard to cover good receivers. Put a healthy D Jax against any corner 1 on 1 with no help…guess who wins.

    • Trey Gregory - Aug 25, 2016 at 5:59 PM

      I think Riley is a tough decesion ONLY because of the money. Not that him and Garvin are so close that money will be the factor. If their pay was similar, it’s Riley all day.

      And I’m sorry man but you’re wrong about Murphy. His job is in absolutely no danger. We already have a thin OLB corps and he’s truly the 3rd best. No matter how you feel about him, he’s better than the guys behind him. He also wasn’t only drafted because he led the NCAA in sacks (although that helped). His combine numbers were very strong except bench press. Everything indicated that he should be a very explosive player. And he’s really not a bad player at all. Over drafted? Probably. But not bad. He hasn’t been utilized properly. They’ve had him dropping into coverage 80% of the time. That’s not where he belongs. But he’s very strong against the run and still gets pressure on the QB in the 20% he does pass rush. He’s a DE man. It’s that simple. Point him toward the QB, in close quarters, and let him go. Galette’s injury set his development back. But we will still use him as a sub package DE. He may not break out this year while he’s learning the new position. But I think he can be a good player for us.

      • chimps000 - Aug 25, 2016 at 7:31 PM

        not to be a jerk, but Murphy was certainly overdrafted- his ceiling is clearly not high, guy was picked second round and is an ok backup.

        he seems like a good teammate and he works hard, no criticism of him personally, and I hope he has a good season.

        • Trey Gregory - Aug 26, 2016 at 4:12 PM

          Ok. And I’m seriously not saying this sarcastically or in a jerk way: but you say that based off what?

          Neither of us know if he will be a good DE or not but I think he can be and you say he’s just a backup. So why don’t you think he has a high ceiling? Based on what? Specifically.

  6. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 25, 2016 at 2:54 PM

    CSN: Redskins 53-man roster projection with first cuts looming

    Rich Tandler

    Aug 25, 2016, 1:30 PM EDT

    Rich, that post shows up at the top, but it says “not found” when I click the link.

    • Rich Tandler - Aug 25, 2016 at 4:27 PM

      @thunder, Thanks for the heads up. I’m having some very odd issues with links and other issues like this one today. Trying to figure out if it’s me or if I need to call tech support. Archives

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