Sizing up the Redskins' final roster
Judging from some of the email we've received the past two days, Insider readers are hungry for comment from Redskins officials about their roster decisions.
Well, so are we.
After initially informing the media there would be availability Saturday, the Redskins sent out an advisory at 11:13 p.m. Friday that it was canceled. General Manager Bruce Allen is not expected to discuss the opening 53-man roster with local reporters.
Coach Mike Shanahan is in charge of player-personnel and heads the entire football operation, so it's expected that he will address the media after practice Monday afternoon. Of course, the roster was set Saturday, the practice squad Sunday and Shanahan is now focused on preparing to face the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night in the season opener.
It wouldn't be shocking if Shanahan declined to revisit the roster maneuvering of the past few days. Hopefully, Shanahan will comment on the roster. If he declines, however, some things seem apparent:
The 2008 draft class was really bad. Guard Chad "The Rhino" Rinehart (a third-round pick) was released and nickel cornerback Justin Tryon (a fourth-rounder) was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a draft pick. Beginning their third season in the NFL, few guys from that class have done much.
The 2010 class, Shanahan's first in control of the football operation, isn't off to a great start, either. The Redskins cut or traded four of their six selections in the most recent draft.
"The worst thing people can do is keep a draft pick just to keep a draft pick," Shanahan said recently. "What you do is you keep the people who give you the best chance to win."
The Redskins determined Willie Parker wasn't among the group. Someone had to get squeezed in the veteran running back competition, and Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson were way ahead of Parker from the outset.
Fullback Darrel Young was my "sleeper" pick to make the 2009 roster out of training camp as a rookie linebacker. He was on the Redskins' practice squad early last season and the team re-signed him in January. After being converted to fullback, Young impressed an earned a spot as Mike Sellers's backup. Sellers, selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2008 season, sat out for the last two preseason games because of a knee injury. Sellers, 35, is beginning his 11th season, so there could be a long-term opportunity for Young, 23.
Defensive end Jeremy Jarmon did everything the coaching staff asked while trying to regain form after knee surgery. First, they asked him to drop weight and become an outside linebacker in the new 3-4 scheme. He had never played linebacker. Then they asked him to add weight and move to defensive end, basically a three-technique defensive lineman in a 4-3. He had rarely lined up at three-technique. Jarmon also began to show some encouraging signs at end. After all of that, the Redskins couldn't have cut Jarmon. Well, they could have. But it's good that they didn't.
There was a report that cornerback Byron Westbrook actually was cut before the preseason finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Westbrook, however, made the team on the strength of his consistently outstanding play on special teams.
Diminutive wide receiver/punt returner Brandon Banks put the ball on the ground on punt returns more than special teams coordinator Danny Smith would prefer, but the rookie's speed (Banks claims to cover 40 yards in about 4.2 seconds) was too enticing for Shanahan to pass on when he's in search of playmakers.
Likewise, rookie running back Keiland Williams's strong overall preseason was too much to ignore. He beat out young back Ryan Torain, who was signed to the practice squad, in earning the No. 3 job behind Portis and Johnson.
The release of veteran safety Tyrone Carter leads one to believe third-year free safety Kareem Moore (knee surgery) will return in closer to four weeks than six. That's our take. We can't wait to hear Shanahan's views.
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