With one preseason game to go and only four days remaining before NFL teams must submit their opening day roster to the league, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are taking one last crack at predicting the final 53.
This morning, we predicted the offense. Now, we’re taking a swing at prognosticating the defense and special teams.
Tandler (6): Jason Hatcher, Chris Baker, Barry Cofield, Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston, Clifton Geathers
Chris Neild loses out here because both Baker and Geathers can play end and nose tackle while Neild is strictly a nose. Stephen Bowen goes on the PUP list.
El-Bashir (6): Jason Hatcher, Barry Cofield, Chris Baker, Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston and Chris Neild.
This is a tough one. I suspect Stephen Bowen, who recently accepted a pay cut, will start the season on the PUP list along with WR Leonard Hankerson. Neither has participated in a single practice this preseason as they rehab from knee injuries. The first five defensive linemen aren’t in question, at least in my mind. That last spot will come down to Neild, Clifton Geathers or Frank Kearse.
Tandler (4): Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Everette Brown
The fourth spot could just as easily go to Gabe Miller but I think Brown gets the edge due to special teams play.
El-Bashir (4): Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Gabe Miller.
The first three are easy. That last one is not. With Rob Jackson out of the picture, the final spot will come down to Miller or Everette Brown, who is the more experienced of the two. The player coaches believe can help the most on special teams will get the spot, I suspect.
Tandler (5): Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Adam Hayward, Darryl Sharpton, Will Compton
Maybe Akeem Jordan can play his way on to the team on Thursday but we haven’t seen him do much up to this point. I think Sharpton is safe even though he has been out for a few weeks with an ankle injury.
El-Bashir (4): Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Adam Hayward, Akeem Jordan.
Will Compton is very much in this discussion. Can he squeeze past a more experienced player like Jordan, who leads the team in tackles with 14? It could come down to special teams performance. Compton also has practice squad eligibility, which is important. Darryl Sharpton has missed a significant portion of training camp and the preseason while recovering from a high ankle sprain. I originally had him as the fifth inside backer—and there’s still a chance he’ll make it. But coaches don’t have much to go on.
Tandler (5): DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Tracy Porter, E. J. Biggers, Bashaud Breeland
The team might like to hold on to Richard Crawford and Chase Minnifield but the numbers just don’t allow it.
El-Bashir (5): DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Tracy Porter, E.J. Biggers, Bashaud Breeland.
Don’t see any surprises here. Richard Crawford could help his case with a strong effort in Tampa but will likely fall victim to the numbers game.
Tandler (4): Ryan Clark, Brandon Meriweather, Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo
This is pending the health of Thomas’ foot; he is going to see a specialist to have it examined. It looked like Rambo was on the bubble for a while but he has improved to the point where Jay Gruden said he was the top option to start if Meriweather’s suspension is upheld. If Meriweather does end up out for the start of the season, the Redskins will bring back Akeem Davis.
El-Bashir (5): Ryan Clark, Brandon Meriweather, Bacarri Rambo, Phillip Thomas, Trenton Robinson.
This one just got really complicated. Meriweather’s job could be in jeopardy after the veteran earn his second suspension in two seasons for an illegal hit. He’s simply become unreliable, particularly when you also factor in his injury history. Rambo’s stock is up; he makes it. Thomas’ surgically repaired foot is hurting again, so his status is suddenly up in the air. The uncertainly surrounding Meriweather and Thomas figures to open up a spot for Robinson, who is also a strong special teamer.
Tandler (3): LS Nick Sundberg, P Robert Malone, K Zach Hocker
We’re submitting one more revision on Friday and Kai Forbath could supplant Hocker.
El-Bashir (3): K Zach Hocker, LS Nick Sundberg, P Robert Malone.
The only player I’m sure about here is Sundberg. The Redskins thought enough of Hocker to draft him. So that figures to be the tiebreaker with Kai Forbath—unless Forbath leapfrogs Hocker with an outstanding performance in Tampa. Malone, meantime, beat out Blake Clingan. But instead of declaring him the winner of the punting battle, the Redskins went out and signed Tress Way, a lefty. Appears they’re not totally sold on Malone.