Cutting the middle men: The Redskins cut both Joey Mbu and A.J. Francis, the main two fighting to replace injured Phil Taylor at nose tackle. The Redskins could sign a nose tackle who was just released or they could opt to alternate Ziggy Hood and Stacy McGee at the position. It’s not ideal; Hood played there last season but is best at end. The Redskins use their 3-4 base defense around 20-25 percent of the time. While finding a nose tackle is important, the Redskins were worse vs. the run out of nickel than in their base defense.
The Redskins likely feel they can carry some good receiver depth on the practice squad. Most expected Washington to keep six at this position, but a sixth receiver would probably have been inactive most gamedays anyway and would struggle finding snaps, particularly as the Redskins involve their tight ends and running backs heavily in the passing game. Sixth-round pick Davis, Harris, Pascal and Hazel are all good practice squad candidates, depending on who clears waivers.
For example, the Redskins have 27 defensive players on the roster including five inside linebackers. This means that there will be few opportunities for defensive players in general and for ILBs in particular. That is bad news for fans of Nico Marley. They just don’t need a sixth ILB in practice and if one on the roster suffers a short-term injury they have enough bodies at the position to get by.
There could be changes to the roster before they begin practice in earnest on Wednesday. But the Redskins have a history of not tweaking their roster after setting the 53. They claimed Duke Ihenacho from the Broncos in 2014. I might be missing something but that is the only post-cutdown claim who comes to mind since Jay Gruden has been the coach. Anything is possible but the Redskins tend to like the 53 that they have had during the offseason and in training camp and would rather stick with them than add someone from another team into the mix. That may or may not be a good way of doing business but that’s the way they lean.
Until waivers clear and rosters settle, it appears the Redskins will go with Swearinger and Everett with McClure and rookie Montae Nicholson as the backups at safety. At 26 years old, Swearinger is the veteran of the group. The team released Will Blackmon last week, the lone member of the safety group with more than a decade's NFL experience. DeAngelo Hall is still in the building, of course, but will start the season on the PUP list and must sit out at least six weeks.