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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Analyzing the Redskins' cutdown day moves

September 01, 2018 - 10:18 pm
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By Craig Hoffman

The Redskins roster is at 53 after Saturday's 4 p.m. deadline, and it has a few surprises.

Tomorrow morning, the 53 and only the 53 will practice at Redskins Park. It’s a stark reminder of how fragile jobs are in this league. The same fields that have held 90 players all spring and summer will suddenly have just more than half that many. The number jumps by ten after the practice squad forms before Monday's practice.

That 53 includes five running backs, which Jay Gruden admitted Saturday night is only temporary.

"Yeah, we're gonna put him on IR and get him rehabbed a little bit," Gruden said of Byron Marshall. "He's got a sprained ACL, MCL, you just never know with that type of injury. Is it four weeks, is it six weeks? So we want to make sure, at that position, you got to have your knees stable to play. So we gotta make sure we get him a hundred percent, and hopefully we get him back in mid-season."

Gruden, who was speaking at his annual charity event for Mobile Hope of Loudoun County, said Kapri Bibbs did everything he was asked, but it came down to a numbers game. The reality is that Adrian Peterson is 33 years old and they're not sure they can count on him to be healthy the whole season, and he's going to have to manage his carries. This has led them to keeping Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine, for now.

They would also love to bring Kapri Bibbs back on the practice squad if he clears waivers. If Bibbs sticks around, they wouldn't hesitate to bring him up in case of an injury to any of their backs, but there's at least some chance he goes elsewhere. He played really well in the preseason, and he played well last season. Washington knows getting a back that good and that versatile back is no lock.

At wide receiver, the Redskins went with upside over reliability in choosing Cam Sims over Brian Quick.

"Brian had an unfortunate injury earlier in camp and wasn't quite able to do what he could do," said Gruden of Quick, who came out firing in Richmond before a thigh bruise sidelined him. "I think anytime you got a guy that showed up like Cam showed up, I think you have to keep him."

A front office source last week looked at me like I was crazy for suggesting Sims could get through waivers and be kept on the practice squad. He's nearly 6'5" and runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. Ike Hilliard told me this week he plays faster than that. That wasn't getting through waivers.

At linebacker, Greg Manusky and crew chose both short- and long-term coverage to back up Mason Foster and Zach Brown. The long term play was keeping rookie Shaun Dion Hamilton, who should be considered a future replacement for Foster.

"(Hamilton) has played well, and he's coming off a couple injuries and I think he's gotta be a guy you gotta have in your building," Gruden said. "And he may not totally contribute right away, but I think he's a guy that could contribute to the Redskins for a long time."

The final spot came down to Zach Vigil and Martrell Spaight. Spaight had another stellar preseason in a lot of ways, but there's enough tape on Spaight in the regular season to know what he is. That's an inconsistent Mo linebacker, the position that doesn't call signals, and a solid special teams player. Meanwhile, Vigil plays Mike and Mo, and can call signals. Gruden indicated that versatility kept him around.

The biggest surprise to stay was offensive linemen Casey Dunn, who impressed at both guard and center. The Redskins need an additional offensive linemen, but many thought it would come from outside. Dunn could be the first one out, though (outside of Marshall's spot), if the Redskins make moves over the next few days, and they will make moves. One of the areas they could definitely look at is an edge rusher after cutting Pete Robertson, the biggest surprise cut on the day.

"There's gonna be some guys that could be moved in the next couple days, but you never know," Gruden told the small group of media who had endured his players' singing in the name of charity. "I like the guys that we have, though, and unfortunately we had to cut some guys that I really liked also. But we're always looking to make our team better, and if we see somebody on the streets that could make us better, we'll do that. So we'll have to wait and see."

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