Morris returns to old stomping grounds with Skins
By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
Tomorrow is the day. By 6 p.m. the Redskins along with all of the other teams in the NFL will need to trim their roster down to 53 players. Who will be in and who will see the bubble burst?
Tarik and Tandler made their first roster projections at the start of OTAs (offense, defense) and took another crack at it at the start of training camp (offense, defense). After three weeks of position battles in Richmond, four preseason games, and a handful of injuries, they take their final shot at getting into the mind of Mike Shanahan and pick the final 53.
Tandler (2): Barry Cofield, Chris Neild
El-Bashir (2): Cofield, Neild
Tandler (4): Stephen Bowen, Chris Baker, Phillip Merling,
El-Bashir (4): Bowen, Baker, Golston, Merling
Tandler: This seems to be cut and dried. Merling makes it due to the suspension of Jarvis Jenkins. The move of Baker from nose tackle to end solves the logjam there and fixes problems created by Jenkins and the loss of Adam Carriker, probably for the season.
El-Bashir: Not much to argue here. Only question, it seems, is can sixth year veteran Merling hold off Dominique Hamilton, who spent last season on the practice squad. I believe experience gives Merling an edge. Depending on how Cofield performs in the opening weeks with a broken right hand, Neild could see an increase in playing time.
Tandler (4): London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Bryan Kehl, Nick Barnett
El-Bashir (4): Fletcher, Riley, Kehl, Barnett
Tandler (4): Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Darryl Tapp, Brandon Jenkins
El-Bashir (4): Orakpo, Kerrigan, Tapp, Jenkins
Tandler: The only question surrounding Tapp is what the team will do with him once Rob Jackson returns from his four-game suspension. He has looked solid in the preseason. Barnett hasn’t done much in the preseason but they didn’t sign him just to cut him.
El-Bashir: Don’t think there’s going to be any drama at linebacker, either. As Rich said, the big question is what the Redskins will do when Jackson returns. Tapp was signed as a stopgap; he’s proving to be much more. In three preseason games, Kehl has punched his ticket with 16 combined tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
Tandler (5): DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, E.J. Biggers, David Amerson, Chase Minnifield
El-Bashir: (5): Hall, Wilson, Biggers, Amerson, Minnifield
Tandler (5): Brandon Meriweather, Reed Doughty, Bacarri Rambo, DeJon Gomes, Jordan Pugh
El-Bashir (5): Meriweather, Doughty, Rambo, Gomes, Pugh
Tandler: Biggers has job security because he is the only reserve who has seen a snap of NFL action. I'm not sure if Minnifield was ever in danger of being released but he became safe when Richard Crawford's season ended with a knee injury. Meriweather’s shaky status due to his knee moves both Gomes and Pugh off of the bubble and onto the 53.
El-Bashir: Minnifield’s NFL dream was delayed a year by another knee injury, but he’ll make the cut this time. Jerome Murphy could catch on if the ‘Skins keep six corners, but that might be a risky move given the question marks at safety. Pugh’s comfort level in the system and versatility will allow him to hold of newcomer Jose Gumbs.
Tandler (3): PK Kai Forbath, LS Nick Sundberg, P Sav Rocca
El-Bashir (3): Forbath, Sundberg, Rocca.
Tandler: This has been copied and pasted from the previous projections. There was never any competition for any of them (apologies to John Potter but he was never going to beat out Forbath).
El-Bashir: John Potter never really had a shot at making the roster. But if Potter’s presence spurred Forbath to getter better on his kickoffs (which has indeed happened) the move was well worth it.