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Old 08-31-2004, 04:02 PM   #1
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WP email: Hardest Decisions on Cuts Postponed

The Redskins did little to address their most competitive positions in the first wave of roster cuts, leaving the hardest decisions until next week. There were no surprises in the group, save for veteran linebacker Kevin Mitchell, perhaps, although he stood a slim chance of being among the final 53 players either way.

Washington will officially be down to 76 players by this afternoon and will have to remove 23 more players from the roster by Sept. 5 (the team can then sign eight players to the practice squad). The toughest battles at wide receiver, running back and tight end/H-Back will continue into Friday's preseason final against the Atlanta Falcons at FedEx Field. Coach Joe Gibbs is expected to continue playing his starters and top reserves in that game rather than sit them out, as many clubs do in their final exhibition contest. That will provide a final forum for borderline players to win a spot on the team.

The Redskins are still carrying six running backs and will likely have to cut two players from among Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright, Sultan McCullough and John Simon, with Clinton Portis solidified as the starter and Chad Morton entrenched as a situational back and kick returner. With Betts returning from injury and showing well in a limited role against the St. Louis Rams on Friday night, he would appear to be a strong candidate to backup Portis. Cartwright has performed well in the past for the Redskins, leaving Simon who did not play Friday and McCullough with perhaps long odds to crack the roster.

Nine receivers remain on the roster, with the top four appearing set. Laveranues Coles, Rod Gardner, James Thrash and Darnerien McCants stand to get the most playing time. Taylor Jacobs, who has great speed, has been set back by injuries and fumbled away a 44-yard reception Friday night, although he would appear to be a frontrunner for one of the final spots. Free agents Gari Scott, Dameane Douglas, Sean Dillard and Jafar Williams round out the list. Scott has been the standout among that group and his ability to return kicks should work in his favor as well.

The team has seven tight ends and H-backs on the roster and is expected to cut two of those players. Brian Kozlowski and Mike Sellers have split time as the starting H-back, while Walter Rasby and Robert Royal are experienced NFL tight ends. Chris Cooley was selected in the third round of the 2004 draft, has had a strong preseason and could merit significant playing time. Fred Baxter has been out for most of camp with a sprained knee and Leonard Stephens, a free agent signing, rounds out the bunch.

Should the team sign players from the outside a strong possibility as the Redskins explore veteran free agents like running back Stacey Mack and defensive lineman Hugh Douglas they would have to make more cuts, which would complicate the scenarios at several key positions.

By Jason La Canfora
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Old 08-31-2004, 04:05 PM   #2
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I guess this guy didn't see the memo that said Douglas went back to Philly
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Old 08-31-2004, 04:13 PM   #3
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Why? Why?

Why is it so hard to print the name of Ade Jimoh?
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Old 08-31-2004, 04:49 PM   #4
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So they're going to keep five TEs and H-backs?

My guess is that Cooley and Koslowski at 1st and 2nd string H-back respectively, with Rasby and Royal being the TEs.

The final spot is a toss-up between Fred Baxter and Mike Sellers in my mind, but Baxter is still recovering from the sprained knee. Advantage: Sellers. Leonard Stephens has to be the odd man out thanks to his virtually non-existant playing time in preseason.

As far as receiver goes, barring injury, you will see three wideouts get the vast majority of playing time, and just a small fraction to a fourth receiver who could wind up with less than 10 catches this year -- seeing action mainly on special teams. Just ask former 4th and 5th WRs under Gibbs like Walter Stanley, Joe Howard, and Stephen Hobbs. If those guys ever saw the ball on offense in a regular season game, they should have played their Lottery numbers that day, because that was a truly rare event. My early prediction is that Jacobs will assume that role and yet again see more of the bench than the field this year. Again, barring injury.
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Old 08-31-2004, 05:18 PM   #5
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My predictions

RB
Portis
Betts
Cartwright
Morton

WR
Coles
Gardner
McCants
Thrash
Jacobs
Scott

TE/HB
Cooley
Kozlowski
Sellers
Rasby
Royal
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Old 08-31-2004, 05:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyk72
My predictions

WR
Coles
Gardner
McCants
Thrash
Jacobs
Scott
Can they keep that many wideouts Matty? Scott has to make the practice squad if he's eligible for it.

And I still don't know if Thrash has sealed up the #3 spot or if McCants has.
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Old 08-31-2004, 05:40 PM   #7
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my predictions

HB:
Portis
Betts
Rock
Morton

WR:
Coles
Gardner
McCants
Thrash
Jacobs

TE:
Cooley
Rasby
Koz
Sellers
Baxter
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Old 08-31-2004, 07:50 PM   #8
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TE/H-Back

I'm curious about who makes that fifth TE/H-Back spot on the roster. I've heard that Royal can't block very well (not to mention he's injury prone). Baxter has been hurt too, but he seems like a better option if Rasby goes down with an injury. I'm confident that Rasby, Cooley, Kozlowski, and Sellers all make the roster.
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Old 08-31-2004, 08:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemnseven
Can they keep that many wideouts Matty? Scott has to make the practice squad if he's eligible for it.

And I still don't know if Thrash has sealed up the #3 spot or if McCants has.
I'm not sure if they'll keep 6 WR's or not. 3 WR sets are very common in Gibbs' system so it seems like keeping 5 might be stretching things a bit thin.
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Old 08-31-2004, 08:32 PM   #10
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we do have morton, so he would be the 6th reciever pretty much, and cooley goes out there a lot also
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Old 08-31-2004, 08:41 PM   #11
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HB Predictions:
Portis
McCullough
Simon
Morton

Traded: Ladell Betts

Or, if Betts is not traded, then Simon is released.
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Old 08-31-2004, 11:27 PM   #12
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there's a very good chance they'll keep betts/rock, because rock's done a lot with first strings last year, so even if betts dies, there's some recourse... i'd like to see simon make the team, but it might not be possible, though mccullough will have an even harder time.
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