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Redskins notes, quotes and observations (Tue, 8/31)

The Redskins ended wide receiver Malcolm Kelly’s season today by placing him on injured reserve with a strained left hamstring. Coach Mike Shanahan said that the injury is expected to take more than six weeks to heal, and that prompted the move. The Redskins opted not to expose Kelly to waivers, so they’ll protect his rights going forward. Kelly will earn his entire base salary of $470,000.

That Shanahan chose to protect the rights to Kelly seemingly indicates that the club sees some potential in the third-year wideout, but Shanahan dispelled that.

“That’s not necessarily so because when somebody gets well you can release him then, so you still have that ability,” Shanahan said. “But a lot has to do with how he works relative to getting healthy. I like the guy as a person. I think he’s got a lot of qualities that you look for in a football player. The main thing is can he get out there on a football field eventually and play. If I see the right type of work ethic and him doing the little things the right way, he’s got a much better opportunity to be with us next year. I’ll evaluate that as time goes on.”

In our attempt to get an even clearer picture of what Shanahan thinks of Kelly, he was asked today what he thought of Kelly coming out of the University of Oklahoma in 2008. Shanahan said that Denver wasn’t “looking for a wide receiver at that time, so I didn’t really study him a lot.”

The Broncos, however, drafted Virginia Tech wideout Eddie Royal in the second round—nine spots ahead of when Washington drafted Kelly. That was pointed out to Shanahan. His response: “Yeah.”

So you decide how he really feels. My take: what’s the opposite of endorsement?

As I mentioned yesterday, the situation is ripe for second-guessing. Shanahan said he is now “disappointed” that the club didn’t put Kelly on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of training camp. That would have made him eligible for the Reserve/PUP list and a roster exemption this week.

Kelly avoided reporters today, so we don’t have his take on the matter. Only he knows how healthy he really was when he practiced the first time on the first day of training camp back on July 29.

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What does the Kelly transaction mean for the rest of the receivers battling for roster spots? It’s hard to say because we don’t know Kelly’s exact odds of making the team if he hadn’t re-injured himself yesterday.

It doesn’t hurt their chances, though. Devin Thomas, who I think will make the team, is a beneficiary. He better show well during his extended playing time in Arizona on Thursday, but now the Redskins could keep him and one player each from the Terrence Austin/Brandon Banks and Bobby Wade/Roydell Williams pairings if they want to go with six receivers. Considering the Redskins’ lack of quality receiver depth, keeping six receivers makes sense. Of course, they could always sign someone who’s released from another team.

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The Redskins reduced their roster to 75 players by this afternoon’s 4 p.m. deadline. In addition to placing Kelly on IR, they released C/G Edwin Williams, S Lendy Holmes, LS James Dearth, and newly-acquired LB Hall Davis.

Davis is a strange case considering the Redskins traded an undisclosed conditional draft pick for him just yesterday. He flew from St. Louis to Virginia yesterday, dove into the playbook and was under the impression he would play some on Thursday.

Instead, he’s gone. The Redskins, though, won’t have to give up that draft pick now.

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With Dearth released, Nick Sundberg has won the long snapper battle for now.

Sundberg improved after the Redskins signed Dearth on Aug. 15. It’s a credit to Sundberg—who has never appeared in a regular season NFL game—because it’s tough for youngsters to break into the league over a 10-year veteran such as Dearth.

“Nick has responded well,” special teams coach Danny Smith said today before Dearth was released. “He has become a better snapper with competition. Competition makes all of us better if we’ve got that toughness about us. He’s been more accurate in practice, and he’s snapped pretty good in a couple of games.”

I doubt Sundberg is unpacking his bags just yet, but he has positioned himself well.

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Edwin Williams’ release was not a shock. Coaches were way down on him after he struggled against Buffalo in the preseason opener. Williams, like many of the other guard/center combo guys Washington has on the roster, was a solid center but presented questions as a guard. He played well in spots, but he didn’t always finish his blocks, and strength was a concern.

As for Holmes, his chances seemed non-existent when the club signed Tyrone Carter after Kareem Moore hurt his knee.

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DE Jeremy Jarmon is one of the more interesting cases as Saturday’s final cut approaches. The Redskins asked him to move from defensive line to linebacker in the offseason only to have him move back to defensive end. That involved putting on about 20 pounds (he’s now up to 295). Throw in the fact that he’s only nine months removed from a torn ACL, and it’s fair to wonder how well the Redskins could have expected him to perform this summer.

In other words, do the Redskins judge him on what he’s shown (not much to this point, although he had a sack against the Jets) or what they project him to be once his knee heals more and he adjusts to the position change and increased weight?

“It’s been real tough,” Jarmon said.

Jarmon’s knee injury is still a factor. That was clear today by how badly he was limping during drills that reporters were permitted to watch. He still rehabs his knee every day.

The Redskins invested a third-round pick in Jarmon; however, Mike Shanahan wasn’t the one who did, so that counts little. He seems to be caught in a numbers game at this point. He’s a third-string defensive end, which doesn’t bode well. The Redskins are evaluating his pass-rushing ability, especially in the nickel package. That will continue on Thursday against Arizona, when he’s expected to play a lot.

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Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said he expects QB Donovan McNabb (ankle) to return to practice when the team does on Saturday after the Arizona game.

RB Clinton Portis (right ankle) fully participated in practice today after missing the last two days. “I was surprised he came back as quick as he did,” Mike Shanahan said. “He looked pretty good.”

FB Mike Sellers (knee) and LB Perry Riley (ankle) didn’t practice.

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Expect to see Will Robinson playing left tackle in the second half Thursday while rookie tackle Selvish Capers experiments at guard for the first time. That could be a tough task for Robinson, who is fighting to be the second backup tackle behind Stephon Heyer.

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