The Final 53: Training Camp Edition

Posted by: CNYSkinfan on Monday, July 21st, 2008

The Final 53:  Training Camp Edition

Well it is the start of camp so it is that time where we start to look at who will be on the redskins final roster.  Usually when you get to training camp all of your picks are signed and you have the team you will go into the regular season with.  Well leave it to Vinny Cerrato to say “not so fast” with a trade for Jason Taylor late in the weekend.  So with that trade in place, here is a look at the final 53 as it stands today.

I think a main theme at camp will be Gibbs Guys vs. Young guys.  At almost every position there are former “super smart” players that “fought their guts out” but maybe aren’t all that talented.  There are young guys behind them pushing to make the squad.  In the past Gibbs tended to lean towards the vets, but who knows what Zorn is going to do.  Some of these guys will make the squadm, but I can guarantee you not all of them.  Injuries, adaptability, and even contract issues will come into play when the final decisions are made.

Quarterback

Projected Roster Spots:  3

Projected Starter:  Jason Campbell

Projected Bench:  Todd Collins, Derek Devine

On the Bubble:  Colt Brennan

Jason Campbell comes into camp as the undeniable starter, despite Collins heroics at the end of last season.  Though Collins will be there and ready to take over for Campbell if he regresses or is injured, the real battle will be for 3rd string QB.   This will be an interesting battle to watch in training camp as it is one where Jim Zorn and Vinny Cerrato’s vision for the team may be at odds.  Devine was brought in by Zorn as he was 3rd QB in Seattle and knows the West Coast offense.  Cerrato drafted Brennan late as a prospect.  It will be interesting to see how much time each gets in the 2nd and 3rd pre season games.

Running Back

Projected Roster Spots:  4

Projected Starter:  Clinton Portis

Projected Bench:  Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright, Marcus Mason

On the Bubble:  Eric Shelton

Once again another battle where the top 2 spots are set but the 3rd spot is where the competition. Clinton Portis is the #1 back and Ladell Betts will spell him on occasion.  At third RB it is Rock Cartwright vs. Marcus Mason.  Here we have one of the Gibbs Guys vs Young Guys theme I talked about earlier.  Rock Cartwright resigned with the Redskins in the off season after finding no real suitors around the NFL.  But young and quick Marcus Mason had a year on the PS and now a whole Training Camp to impress some coaches.  For now Rock’s kick return capabilities combined with Mason’s practice squad eligibility keeps him ahead but it will be interesting to see who actually returns kicks in the pre-season.  However both will probably make the squad.  Eric Shelton is really interesting as he is a bruising short yardage back and can do some damage.  He may be Rock’s true competition.

Tight End/Fullback

Projected Roster Spots:  4

Projected Starter:  Chris Cooley & Mike Sellers

Projected Bench:  Fred Davis & Todd Yoder

On the Bubble:  Tyler Ecker, Jason Goode

Outside Looking In:  Nehemiah Broughton

It will be interesting to see how many TE/FB players Zorn keeps.  I am guessing 4 with a 5th on the Practice squad.  I think at the start of the season Chris Cooley and Mike Sellers will be the starters with Cooley being the traditional TE and Sellers being the swing FB/2nd TE/H-back position the west coast offense employs.  However Fred Davis, in another Gibbs Guy vs. Young Guy matchup, is sniffing on Sellers heels and could overtake him in training camp.  Yoder will look to spell Cooley and be around in case of injury.  Tyler Ecker and Jason Goode are most likely looking for PS eligibility.  NEMO’s long rid eon the opine will probably end without a massive injury to Sellers or Davis.

Wide Receiver

Projected Roster Spots:  5

Projected Starter:  Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle-El

Projected Bench:  Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, James Thrash

On the Bubble:  Anthony Mix,

Outside Looking In:  Horace Gant, Maurice Mann, Billy McMullen, Burl Toller

A lot of flux in this position.  About the only sure thing I see is Santana Moss will be starting at one end.  Right now you have to give the edge to Randle El over the rookies lining up on Game 1 as a starter, but it is only a matter of time before he moves to his natural position as a slot receiver.  Malcolm Kelly seems to have the edge here but Thomas could take it as well.  Thomas looks more like an eventual replacement to Randle El and could steal kickoff return.  And for the 5th spot we have another Gibbs vs. Young situation with James Thrash holding off Anthony Mix and Burl Toller.  Right now edge goes to the vet until we see games, but Mix could easily take this from him, and with no practice squad eligibility the Redskins have a real decision here.

Offensive Line

Projected Roster Spots:  9

Projected Starter:  Chris Samuels, Pete Kendall, Casey Rabach, Randy Thomas, Jon Jansen

Projected Bench:  Todd Wade, Chad Rinehart, Jason Fabini, Stephon Heyer

Outside Looking In:  Kerry Brown, Devin Clark, Justin Geisinger, Andrew Crumney, Taveres Washington

At first glance this looks like one of the more stable positions on the team.  The starters are entrenched and the bench are veterans with 1 highly drafted rookie.  The problem is that we have only one natural Center, Casey Rabach (who is actually a converted guard),  I would look for a late camp signing here unless Rinehart can make an adjustment inside.  If that happens Todd Wade could be in trouble as he is expensive and can only play one position, right tackle. 

Defensive Line

Projected Roster Spots:  9

Projected Starter:  Jason Taylor, Anthony Montgomery, Cornelius Griffen, Andre Carter

Projected Bench:  Kedric Golston, Lorenzo Alexander, Demetric Evans, Rob Jackson, Chris Wilson

On the Bubble:  Matthias Askew

Outside Looking In:  Ryan Boschetti, Kevin Huntley,

Injured reserve/PUP:  Erasmus James, Phillip Daniels, Alex Buzbee

Already this unit is looking thin with 3 players looking to not start the season with the rest of the team, but the addition of Jason Taylor pairing with the improved Andre Carter, young Montgomery, and healthy Griffin should finally give the Redskins a decent starting defensive Line.  Golston and Evans look to be solid backups and sure bets to make the team.  Matthias Askew will make a push for a spot and it looks as if Wilson and Alexander are the most in danger.  Askew will be directly competing with Alexander but the powers that be may find they have no need for Wilson since they have 2 DEs in Taylor and Carter who are already pass rushing specialists.  Rob Jackson will most likely start with the team and then move to PS once Erasmus James is healthy enough to play.

Line Backers 

Projected Roster Spots:  6

Projected Starter:  Rocky McIntosh, London Fletcher-Baker, Marcus Washington

Projected Bench:  Khary Campbell, HB Blades, Matt Sinclair

Outside Looking In:  Danny Verdun-Wheeler, Curtis Gatewood, Rian Wallace

The Redskins made no moves to shore up the weak side in the case of Rocky not recovering from injury, and by all accounts this gamble paid off.  Fletcher and Washington should combine with Rocky as a decent starting unit.  HB Blades, Sinclair, And & Campbell provide decent short term backups and have great special teams purpose.  Everyone else is hoping for A PS spot.

Cornerbacks

Projected Roster Spots:  5

Projected Starter:  Shawn Springs, Fred Smoot

Projected Bench:  Carlos Rogers, Justin Tryon, Leigh Torrence

On the Bubble:  Byron Westbrook,

Outside Looking In:  Cedrick Holt, Matteral Richardson

Shawn Springs and Fred Smoot will once again start on the corners.  One can only hope Blatche will eliminate the 15 yard cushions on 2rd and 5, but we will see.  Carlos Rogers is in Training Camp and I don’t think he will start PUP, but he most definitely will be inactive.  Tryon will also show value by returning kicks and punts.  So this may come down to a battle of Torrence and Westbrook for the 5th spot.  Neither are great and Westbrook has PS eligibility so for now Torrence gets the nod.  The rest are looking for injuries or PS.

Safety

Projected Roster Spots:  5

Projected Starter:  Laron Landry, Stuart Schweigert

Projected Bench:  Reed Doughty, Kareem Moore, Chris Horton

On the Bubble:  Vernon Fox

Landry is the only certainty in this group.  He will be starting and hopefully not lining up in the next zip code.  Schweigert has the edge over Doughty for the other starting spot an Doughty was exposed at times in pass coverage and is more of a special teamer then NFL safety.  This is another case of Gibbs guys vs. young guys and we have a two-fer with draft picks Moore and Horton challenging Gibbs guys Doughty and Fox.  My odds are on the draft picks with Doughty and Fox fighting for the last spot on the roster.

Special Teams

Projected Roster Spots:  3

Projected Starter:  Sean Suisham (k), Durant Brooks (p), Ethan Albright (ls)

On the Bubble:  Derrick Frost

Welcome back Big red, one fo9 the best Long snappers in the game.  Totally underrated because you only notice him when he does something wrong, and he never does something wrong.  Sean Suisham came on last year to secure the kicking spot.  However in the punting position we have the last of our Gibbs Guys vs. Young Guys competitions.  The punting battle will be waged all camp long but there is a reason the Redskins selected Durant Brooks in the 5th Round.  The boy can kick and he has to be the favorite over the erratic and often inaccurate Frost.

Projected Practice Squad:

Byron Westbrook (CB), Danny Verdun-Wheeler (LB), Curtis Gatewood (LB), Taveres Washington (OL), Kerry Brown (OL), Burl Toller (WR), Horace Gant (WR), Colt Brennan (QB)

That’s it. I will update this after the Hall of Fame game in the beginning of August.

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