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Cuts Are Looming, As Is Preseason Finale

Everyone knew that the Redskins' starters would play at least a full half in Friday's game against the Patriots. But looking ahead to the final preseason game at Jacksonville, even Coach Jim Zorn says he isn't certain how much playing team the first-team offense and defense will see - if any.

"I haven't decided that yet," Zorn said Saturday afternoon. "Part of that will be how we work through these next couple of days. But we're not going to see the starters like we did this week. It'll be very cut down."

If the third preseason game provided a final true test for the first-stringers, this final exhibition game is more about the bottom of the depth chart. It's a game of survival for fringe players.

By Tuesday, Zorn and his staff must trim the roster down to 75, which means five players won't even make it to Jacksonville. By Saturday, 22 more players will be given pink slips, as team rosters across the league shrink to 53.

"There's still a lot of question marks that we have to find out some answers by some of the things that are still clouded," Zorn said. "The competition is stiff. Everybody's competing hard for a spot on this team. We're going to challenge a lot of those guys in that next game."

It doesn't sound like injuries will be the reason for many players to miss Thursday's preseason finale. Zorn went through a list of bumps and bruises suffered against New England but didn't seem too worried. Running backs Clinton Portis and Marcus Mason both suffered minor bruises and receiver Antwaan Randle El suffered a minor ankle sprain. "I think he's going to be fine," Zorn said of Randle El.

Safety Kareem Moore had a slight hamstring pull. Zorn called it minor but said he wasn't certain whether Moore would be able to play versus the Jaguars.

The most significant injury of the past week - cornerback Carlos Rogers and his sore calf - is slowly healing. Zorn said he hopes Rogers will return to practice this week, and he could be ready Thursday.

"For Carlos, it's not desire," he said. "It's all about a little pocket of blood on his calf muscle."

Though Zorn isn't certain which players will see the field and how much playing team his first units will see, he's still looking for marked improvement before the regular season begins.

" I think there's a lot of things we need to see. ...I'd like to have a minimum-penalty game. That's along the season," he said. "But to have 15 in one game is just showing a lack of discipline in some areas. Some of them, I understand what happened, I can see what happened. Part of it is just aggressive play, which we like. But you got to know how to start and finish without creating penalties."

By Rick Maese  |  August 29, 2009; 2:04 PM ET
 
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Next: Marko Mitchell's Play Keeps Him in the Mix

Comments

At last -- a movie about the nutballs that we are...

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Posted by: Samson151 | August 29, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Hope this isn't the same kind of calf injury that Taylor had last season.

Posted by: chasla | August 29, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

First to call Marshall a TO type cancer, check yesterday's post.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

If Fred Davis turns around, the football Colt Brennan threw to him in the endzone hits him in the hands.

Instead, one or two plays later, Brennan makes one ill advised throw for an interception that's returned for a TD.

Impressed with Colt for hanging in there, and coming back to finish the game strong. That was a beautifully thrown deep ball to Mitchell.

Colt has got to be wringing his hands, and pulling out his hair wondering if he makes the final cut.

If Chase plays well next game, we cut Todd Collins, and keep the two youngsters...

Posted by: Chia_Pet | August 29, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I hope that the coaching staff see that we can use Marcus Mason several ways this season. He played goal line, short yardage, Two minute warning, and he was in on punt coverage. With time and experience, he can play as well as Rock over time on Special Teams......

Posted by: thebanker21 | August 29, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Running back is foggy picture.

Aldridge needs a longer look.

Betts may be gone, and maybe should be...

Posted by: Chia_Pet | August 29, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Betts may be gone, and maybe should be...

Posted by: Chia_Pet | August 29, 2009 2:20 PM |

I agree, Mason over Betts.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Durant Brooks was winning the punter competition in Green Bay, but he may not there much longer. Dude's injured with a hip flexor and the Packers brought it four tryout punters. At least, the coach says he has a hip flexor, but he denies it. That can't be a good sign if you're arguing with your coach in the media about whether you're injured.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | August 29, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Once again, I'm left trying to grasp the logic of keeping Marcus Mason over Ladell Betts. And once again, I suspect it isn't logic at all.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 29, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

If Chase plays well next game, we cut Todd Collins, and keep the two youngsters...

Posted by: Chia_Pet | August 29, 2009 2:17 PM

Zorn's already announced that Collins is the backup. He has no use for two youngsters -- he will keep the better of the two.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | August 29, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Once again, I'm left trying to grasp the logic of keeping Marcus Mason over Ladell Betts. And once again, I suspect it isn't logic at all.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 29, 2009 2:25 PM

You cut Betts and he's on another team's roster. You cut Mason and you can resign him anytime during the season.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | August 29, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

What did Blache say to Trevor Matich last night that everyone's excited about?

Posted by: talent_evaluator | August 29, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse


That right there (Colt vs. Daniel) stands to be a tough decision.

Posted by: Chia_Pet | August 29, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Once again, I'm left trying to grasp the logic of keeping Marcus Mason over Ladell Betts. And once again, I suspect it isn't logic at all.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 29, 2009 2:25 PM |

I was against it last year but after watching Betts be completely inneffective last yaer and again so far this year I've changed my mind. Mason hit holes with the first team last night that Betts misses consistently. Betts is 30 and his salary will double before next season which means he is most likely gone after this season anyway. Mason has better vision and is a change of pace whereas Betts is just a worse version of Portis. Mason is younger and cheaper. How's that for logic?

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

You cut Betts and he's on another team's roster. You cut Mason and you can resign him anytime during the season.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | August 29, 2009 2:29 PM

I doubt that very much. There are a lot of RB's out there. Heck, Edge just now signed.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I saw the whole game...MY THOUGHTS

I dare to say that I think this team is headed in the right direction in terms of personnel. If you look at the game last night, we seem to have some good young players, especially along D-line, RB, Safety, and WR. I finally got the feeling that we have a line of talent in SOME positions.

I know everyone talks about the lack of depth at O-line, and this is TRUE, but you can't rebuild a team in one offseason.

After seeing the youth we have at RB and WR, I am optimistic AND starting to see what Vinny is trying to do

Posted by: rickyroge | August 29, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Trevor Matich asked Blatche about the lack of a pass rush last night, and Blatch proceeded to rip Matich a new one...

It was a fair question, but I think it was one that BLatch was tired of answering. I think Matich could have asked the same question in a different way. I think what irked Blatch was that it sounded overly critical.

Posted by: rickyroge | August 29, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Betts is not that good. One season does not make a player (although it seems to have for Betts with the Skins.) The Patriots have Moroney, Sammy Morris, Benjarvus Green Ellis, Kevin Faulk, and Fred Taylor. I doubt they keep all those guys and anyone of them would get picked up before a 30 year old Betts.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately the way Zorn talks about Betts I have a feeling he stays this year. I haven't heard a great argument yet to keep him. Yes he has experience, yes he had 1 good season, he is a decent pass blocker. All these things make him average at best. Something that Mason could do given the opportunity-way more upside.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately the way Zorn talks about Betts I have a feeling he stays this year. I haven't heard a great argument yet to keep him. Yes he has experience, yes he had 1 good season, he is a decent pass blocker. All these things make him average at best. Something that Mason could do given the opportunity-way more upside.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I was against it last year but after watching Betts be completely inneffective last yaer and again so far this year I've changed my mind. Mason hit holes with the first team last night that Betts misses consistently. Betts is 30 and his salary will double before next season which means he is most likely gone after this season anyway. Mason has better vision and is a change of pace whereas Betts is just a worse version of Portis. Mason is younger and cheaper. How's that for logic?

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Scampbell... I like that you really pay attention to the whole picture and not just one phase of the situation. I am not saying cut Betts right now but Rock can be replaced right now for sure but your logic makes a great deal of sense because money is always a key factor in all decisions that will be made from now until 9-5-09. People look at the whole picture here.... Marcus was put in with the first goal line series and short yardage so the staff can really make a proper evaluation of Marcus. This was their question going with their reason to put him in that position, " Would we as a unit have a drop off in performance if he ( Marcus ) was in real game situations with our starters?" From what I saw he stepped up and moved the chains, scored a TD, and made key blocks to protect the QB. Remember when Betts was hurt last year, they went and got Shawn Alexander off his couch to come play and did not trust that Rock ( 3rd back ) could make the runs and plays. Look at the whole situations here... The Big picture

Posted by: thebanker21 | August 29, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Nice banker... the only problem that I have with that is that our special teams do not seem to be very good right now and Rock is our best special teamer right now. After losing Campbell and Thrash I don't think those teams can afford to lose him until someone else steps up. I think either Betts or the Rock should go, I just think the Rock has more value on special teams than Betts does on the offense. Now if our teams were a little more solid I would say keep Betts over the Rock.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

beeples peoples...

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 29, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

You could cut Betts and Randel El right now and it wouldn't make any difference in the standings unless it made the record better. Marko Mitchell has to be on the field often. I would be totally comfortable with him over El and mason over Betts. Don't forget. Betts is a fumbler.

Posted by: larrypalma | August 29, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Mason has a huge upside, but god forbid Portis goes out for a couple of games...do you feel more comfortable with Betts or Mason in there?

I'm a fan of Mason and he looked great last night. But if he's not ready to block for the qb I'm not sure I want him in there over a seasoned vet.

Sure, everyone misses a block here or there. But on the regular Betts did a decent job.

I see the logic of a 30 year old in this RB market not getting picked up. But Mason on the practice squad would be a happy medium where Betts has a chance to prove himself. If not for us, then for his upcoming dance with free agency.

I always feel that a seasoned vet in a contract year has just as much to prove as a hungry rookie. Except the vet has the experience.

Tough call on all counts.

Posted by: 20yrskinfan | August 29, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The fact is Z has already stated Betts will get 3rd down responsibilities this season. Although I agree w/ Mason's value, we're missing the point. Rock is who Mason can take, not Betts.

Jurgie Rules

Posted by: gufinufi | August 29, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Let's see Daniel vs Brennan... um, flip a coin? Let both of them go? Who cares?

Posted by: rfjh1 | August 29, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Good point gufinufi, Rock is the one who can be let go. Especially if Devin-Eleven is returning kicks like he did last night. Got past the 25 yard line every time, if I remember correctly. Letting go of Rock would suck. I like the guy. But Mason has a huge upside.

Posted by: 20yrskinfan | August 29, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Matich didn't ask about a lack of pass rush, he asked the defensive coordinator whose job it is to evaluate, "how would you evaluate your pass rush?" Why a coach would then have a fit has yet to be answered.

Posted by: ChickHernandez1 | August 30, 2009 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Betts should be cut he offers no value, he doesn't play special teams, nor does he provide any sort of pass protection having him in the game as a 3rd down back is insane he has no speed or acceleration..

Its MArcus Masons time..Aldridge should be kept on the practice squad

Posted by: TheBeatDontStop | August 31, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Betts should be cut he offers no value, he doesn't play special teams, nor does he provide any sort of pass protection having him in the game as a 3rd down back is insane he has no speed or acceleration..

Its MArcus Masons time..Aldridge should be kept on the practice squad

Posted by: TheBeatDontStop | August 31, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

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