Roster Battles to Watch This Summer

My first fan post! Thought I'd share some of my thoughts on the roster heading into training camp.

Backup QB: Kirk is definitely the 3rd string guy for this year at least. I don’t expect him to necessarily even be given a substantial portion of the playbook to run. For that reason, he’ll probably be one of the pre-season MVPs. Simple offense against simple defenses=monster numbers. I want to see RG3 (like everyone else of course). Particularly I want to see how much of his athletic abilities they utilize this summer, and how much they hold back. Fine line between not giving away too much before the season starts, and making sure you get some practice of the play in before it counts.

Running Back: People fell in love with Helu last year, and understandably so, but he’s not suited to be the man for a 16 game season. I think Hightower, will start the season but don’t be surprised if Royster is the starter by season’s end. Helu will get enough touches to make plays and keep defenses honest. Hopefully Morris flashes enough for a practice squad spot, but not enough that someone takes him

Wide Receiver: Morgan vs. Hankerson is one of the more underrated camp battles heading into this season. Think it could be like Hightower/Royster where Morgan starts the season but Hankerson finishes it. Their injury statuses will of course factor in. The real story in this position battle though is the battle for the final two spots. You had to figure Redskins had plans for Robinson in 2012 when they didn’t let another team claim him off the practice squad at the end of 2012. And people who would know have reinforced that belief over the offseason. Barring a poor preseason (read: fumbling like he did last summer), he probably gets that 5th/6th spot. Brandon Banks is likely the odd man out if Robinson makes it. Especially after Mike Shanahan told him he better play some WR too if he wants to make it. Granted, he hasn’t been given many opportunities but I’ve never seen anything in his play to lead me to believe Banks can be truly effective WR against NFL defenses. So really it comes down to Terrence Austin or Anthony Armstrong. Love AA, and I know the staff loves how hard he works and the time he puts in after practice to get better. But effort shouldn’t necessarily be a substitute for talent. And Austin has more talent. And upside. People forget that AA isn’t a young buck. He’s pushing 30 (maybe 29) and as far as route running he really hasn’t shown much versatility other than running deep and saving McNabb on his underthrows. Plus Austin adds a special teams threat, which is where a #5/6 WR will see most of his action. Many people believe that Keenan McArdell impeded the progress of the young WRs, with Austin being the most obvious example. This summer, TA will have to prove that’s true.

Tight End: Fans may not like it, but it’s probably time to cut the cord with Cooley. Especially if Paul can show he’s got the TE position down. The concern is Davis, but no one works harder than him and the staff loves him. His “laziness” is really lazy reporting from those who still hold onto the “he slept through his alarm” news from 3 years ago. Davis and Paul are the future. Cooley gave us 7 strong years and he was a welcome, comical distraction off the field while the team underperformed on the field. He’s solid, but solid won’t cut it anymore. Better to let a guy go a year too soon than hold on to him a year too long.

Offensive Line: LeRibeus vs Lichtensteiger is the battle to watch. I think LeRibeus “wins” it because Foerster and the Redskins staff would rather have the veteran as the backup. I think it would be easier for the rookie to focus on simply being the starting LG and knowing every Sunday he’s going out there to play that position than having to be ready to play any position along the interior at any point. This is a case where I see being the starter easier on a rookie than being a backup.

Defensive Line: All eyes on Jarvis Jenkins this summer. He was arguably our best DL last summer before getting hurt. Blessing in disguise that he got injured early. I think Carriker, one of the team’s more underappreciated players, remains the starter over Jenkins. At least for now. Either way, whoever isn’t starting of the two will help the depth along the defensive line, which I think is a big concern. Scott’s a journeyman at best who can’t even get invited to Phillip Daniel’s fishing trips. Love Golston’s heart. He’s the anti-Anthony Montgomery (seriously though if Montgomery had Golston’s heart he could have dominated. Instead he’s out of the league. But I digress). The wildcard is Balmer, who the Redskins seem to believe they can turn around like several others before have failed to do. I guess the thinking is it worked with Carriker, why not Balmer? Think Balmer has a much longer road to climb back from though.

Linebackers: Bold prediction. The stud of the group this year will be….Perry Riley. I think it will finally all come together for him this year and he’ll be talked about around the league as on the better young ILBs. The talent was there from the start, but he lacked discipline. (As Brandon Banks could tell you). This is as strong a group as we’ve had for any unit in a long time. Big question though-can Orakpo take that next step to elite. If he can, the whole defense improves.

Cornerbacks: Really felt a move they should have made this off-season was to add a DB. Would have to loved to have seen a Grimes or Carr here to line up alongside Josh Wilson then move D Hall to the slot or even safety. DeAngelo is the “star” of the secondary but man to man he struggles. He needs to be in position to basically do what he does best, be a “ball hawk” Safety almost seems like the perfect spot for him. Though who really wants DeAngelo to be your last line of defense? I think Kevin Barnes has been one of the more disappointing draft picks in recent years considering where we got him (and that we could have had Jammal Charles for essentially Barnes). He’s slow to the ball and not very instinctive. For someone who reportedly got a 34 on the Wonderlic, he sure doesn’t play smart. Even his interception against the Jaguars that everyone raved about, was just a floater right into his hands. Nothing special really. I think Brandyn Thompson emerges as the surprise nickel, and Cedric Griffin doesn’t make the final roster. Would not be surprised to see Byron Westbrook return though

Safeties: First of all, good riddance LaRon Landry. And I think that’s all I’ll say about the safeties.

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