With three preseason games already in the rearview and the final one coming up in just a couple of days we know that Redskins fans have plenty of questions about the upcoming season. Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler answer them in this week’s Q&A presented by Wendy’s.
This week is, without a doubt, the most stressful week of the year in all 32 locker rooms around the NFL. There’s definitely less joking around in the facility and on the practice field. Livelihoods and childhood dreams are a stake. With the exception of the stars, players are walking on eggshells. The first round of cuts, from 90 to 75, which are almost complete, are not really much of a surprise. For the most part, the players trimmed early are dead last on the depth chart. The next round of cuts, from 75 to 53, are the tough ones. That’s when guys get really stressed out. Because a player can have a good camp and get cut anyway because the coaches wanted someone at another position. And here’s another kicker: a player can make the 53 and then get cut a little while later because the team decides to replace him with someone who got cut elsewhere. No one likes cut week. Not the GM. Not the coach. Not even the established players who have to say goodbye to good friends. Indeed, the business end of this game stinks.
Actually, releasing Rob Jackson created very little cap space. He was on a veteran minimum cap benefit deal with the team so he was only counting $620,000 against the cap. Since someone will move into that slot in the cap calculations the savings will be only $100,000-$200,000 or so, pocket change when you’re talking about a $133 million salary cap. Allen has already crated enough cap space for the Redskins to get through the season through renegotiating Stephen Bowen’s contract. You can check out the details in my post on it here; the move increased the Redskins’ available cap space to $4.17 million, enough to get through the season.
Absolutely. That’s what the preseason is about, particularly for new coaches installing a new playbook. Coach Jay Gruden has said on a number of occasions that he’s guilty of having too big of a playbook, and that he planned to use training camp and the preseason to whittle it down, gauge what works and what Robert Griffin III feels comfortable running. That process will hit overdrive during the next two weeks.
That’s a great question but we really don’t know enough to give you a solid answer. The suspension can still be appealed it could end up being a one-game suspension or the penalty could be lifted altogether. And we have no idea about the severity of the issue with Thomas’ foot. He could be back soon, he could be out for a while. But if we assume the worst case with both players, I think they will start Ryan Clark at free safety and Bacarri Rambo at strong. That’s not an ideal lineup but at this point it looks like the best one they could put together. They will keep Adrian Robinson and Akeem Davis as depth (they get to fill Meriweather’s roster spot while he’s suspended). I wouldn’t rule out them going after a veteran free agent but I think they will go with the guys who have been with them.
At the moment, yes, I do believe Chris Chester will start at right guard and Tyler Polumbus will start at right tackle in Houston. I also believe that the coaching staff sees Spencer Long and Morgan Moses as the eventual long-term solutions at those positions. How soon Long and Moses get into lineup is, well, up to Long and Moses. That process, of course, could be expedited if the starters struggle the first few games.
Actually, I thought about this possibility yesterday when I was writing this post about Jay Gruden’s comments indicating that the rushing game will be the strength of the offense. I see a lot of handoffs to Morris, giving Robert Griffin III a chance to work though his adjustment to being more of a pocket passer. But while I think he can exceed his rookie total of 1,613 rushing yards, Alf 2K may be a bridge too far and here’s why. When Adrian Peterson ran of for over 2,000 yards in 2012 he broke eight runs of 48 yards or more, including two runs of 82 yards and one of 74. When Chris Johnson had his CJ 2K year in 2009 he had six runs of 48 yards or more topped by runs of 91, 89, and 85 yards. As good as Morris is at what he does, he just doesn’t have the speed needed to break such runs and you need a few of them to get to that 2K mark. His career long run is 48 yards. So unless he finds another gear that he hasn’t shown yet it looks like 2,000 is out of Morris’ reach.
Let’s start with Thomas. We probably won’t get more information on the second year safety’s sore foot until after Tuesday’s practice. But there’s certainly reason for concern. It’s the same foot that caused him to miss last season. And Gruden hinted yesterday that it had been bothering him for a little while. Couple that with Brandon Meriweather’s two-game suspension, and the Redskins’ depth at safety could take a pretty big blow depending on Thomas' prognosis. As far as trading Cousins, my view on this hasn’t changed. I like him as a backup to Griffin. More important, I like him as an insurance policy just in case Griffin suffers another serious injury. But …if the Rams (or any other team) offer up second round pick (or something better), the Redskins would be foolish not to consider it. A third rounder wouldn’t be enough in my estimation.