RICHMOND—Like the rest of the NFL, the Redskins will have to cut their roster to 53 players just over four weeks from today. On August 30, they will send the dreaded Turk to visit a couple of dozen players and tell them to go see the coach and bring their playbooks (or iPads, as the case may be).
The Redskins have already started the process for cutdown day but nothing is set in stone. The team has “a revolving depth chart”, according to Jay Gruden, and it is adjust on a daily basis.
“We have meetings every morning as a staff and we go over guys in each position and see how they’re doing, how they are coming along and whether or not we need to get them more reps or take some reps off some guys,” said Gruden. “It’s early stages of our evaluating process, but we do have a good feel for the guys, but only time will tell.”
While what happens during practice matters, Gruden and company will place a much greater emphasis on happens during the preseason games. “The more you tackle in these preseason games, some guys are going to emerge that you didn’t think are going to emerge and some guys are going to kind of fall back that you wouldn’t expect to fall back,” he said. “But you have to let the games be the main evaluator, not just coming out here in shorts at walkthroughs and practice.”
While we in the media report what’s going on here at training camp and during OTAs and minicamp and analyze what we think it means, the truth is that you can’t judge the full capabilities of a football player when he is facing friendly fire.
The lesson here is that preseason games are important even though the results don’t matter and don’t mean much of anything (look no further than last year’s 4-0 preseason record for some strong evidence of that). The important part is in the fourth quarter when the TV sideline reporter is interviewing the starting quarterback who has his pads off. That’s when the “scrubs” are doing what they need to do to stay on the roster, all under the eye in the sky that is filming every move. The coaches will dissect it, reshuffle that revolving depth chart, and take that into the next practice. In 30 days, the process ends and the final 53 will be selected.