Breaking Down The Redskins’ Initial Roster
The team kept 26 players on offense, 24 players on defense and three on special teams as it gets underneath the 53-man roster limit by the league-mandated Saturday evening deadline.
BY ZAC BOYER
The Redskins appeared to finalize their initial 53-man roster on Saturday by keeping all four quarterbacks they had in training camp as part of a group that consisted of 26 players on offense, 24 players on defense and three on special teams.
Rex Grossman and Pat White will each serve as backups for Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, and a person familiar with the team’s thinking said the decision to keep White was as insurance for Griffin and Cousins, each of whom enter the season recovering from injury. His stay, then, could be brief once the two have proven they’re healthy.
White, a second-round pick by the Dolphins in 2009, had been out of the league for the past three years before he signed a one-year contract with the Redskins in April. A dual-threat quarterback who, like Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, is a lefty, White can lead the scout team offense heading into the season opener on Sept. 9.
An announcement from the team is not expected until late Saturday, well after the 6 p.m. deadline for rosters to be set has passed. Still, a variety of media reports have isolated the players who made the team.
The Redskins kept four running backs – Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Evan Royster and rookie Chris Thompson, who will serve as a punt returner. They also kept only five receivers – Pierre Garçon, Joshua Morgan, Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson; their potential sixth receiver, Dezmon Briscoe, will have a second opinion on a right shoulder injury sustained in the final preseason game on Thursday, according to a person familiar with his situation. It’s unclear as of now whether the team will place Briscoe on injured reserve or waive him with an injury settlement.
Behind the five starters on the offensive line, the Redskins will only keep the three players they drafted a year ago: Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis and Tom Compton. LeRibeus and Gettis can play all three interior line positions, while Compton, who worked exclusively as a left tackle during training camp and the preseason, will get a vote of confidence as a swing tackle. Only LeRibeus, however, has appeared in a game. Maurice Hurt, meanwhile, was transferred to the reserve physically-unable-to-perform list. All four tight ends, as the coaching staff has maintained, made the roster – Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul and rookie Jordan Reed.
On defense, the Redskins kept six defensive linemen, with nose tackle Chris Neild and defensive end Phillip Merling making the cut alongside Chris Baker and Kedric Golston and starters Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen. They also kept eight linebackers, two at each spot, with rookie Brandon Jenkins, Darryl Tapp, Bryan Kehl and Nick Barnett as the backups. Defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and outside linebacker Rob Jackson do not count against the 53-man limit for the first four weeks of the season because of suspensions tied to a violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The most surprises on defense came in the secondary, where Chase Minnifield, seemingly headed for the initial 53-man roster, was instead waived. Minnifield, a cornerback coming off his second tear of the ACL in his right knee, was in competition with E.J. Biggers for the role as the fourth cornerback. DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, rookie David Amerson and Jerome Murphy, valued for his special teams contributions, also made the team.
And at safety, the Redskins cut DeJon Gomes, a fifth-round pick in 2011 who had made eight starts in his two seasons. They kept Jose Gumbs, who signed with the team on the first day of training camp after going undrafted last year, as well as Brandon Meriweather, rookie Bacarri Rambo, Reed Doughty and Jordan Pugh.
The three specialists – kicker Kai Forbath, punter Sav Rocca, and long snapper Nick Sundberg – round out the 53-man roster.
Teams may begin signing players to their practice squad at noon on Sunday. Running back Jawan Jamison, receiver Nick Williams, tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi, left tackle Xavier Nixon, right guard Tevita Stevens and inside linebacker Will Compton all said the team expressed interest in having them on the practice squad.