- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 28, 2018

ASHBURN — Coach Jay Gruden doesn’t want the Redskins’ 53-man roster to be predetermined. Washington will go into Thursday’s final preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens with Gruden letting his players “battle it out to the bitter end.” 

The Redskins and the rest of the NFL have to get from 90 men to 53 by 4 p.m. Saturday. 

“Injuries will play a part of it, numbers at certain positions will play a part of it,” Gruden said. “Like, we don’t know how many tight ends we’re going to keep, how many backs we’re going to keep, how many offensive linemen we’re going to keep. … That’s the biggest thing: the numbers at each position is the most difficult. That’s something we’re going discuss and talk about.” 

Luckily, The Washington Times is here to help. Just as we did for training camp, here’s one-last guess for the final roster:

Quarterback

In: Alex Smith, Colt McCoy

Cut: Kevin Hogan, Connor Jessop

⦁ No changes here from the initial 53-man projection, except the Redskins cut one more quarterback in Connor Jessop, who was added this week with McCoy nursing a hand injury.

Running back

In: Adrian Peterson,  Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine

Cut: Kapri Bibbs, Byron Marshall, De’Veon Smith

Injured reserve: Derrius Guice

⦁ Deciding the last tough two spots after Peterson and Thompson are the hardest to answer at this moment. Kelley’s skill set might be redundant with Peterson starting, but Gruden listed him behind Peterson when mentioning the running back depth. Bibbs is a tough cut here because the Redskins would like a backup for Thompson, the team’s third-down back. But if Thompson suffers a long-term injury, the Redskins could always try to find someone on the free agent market or promote someone from their practice squad. 

Wide receiver

In: Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson, Maurice Harris, Trey Quinn, Brian Quick

Cut: Cam Sims, Shay Fields, Darvin Kidsy, Simmie Cobbs Jr., Dan Williams III

Injured reserve: Robert Davis

⦁ Redskins executive Doug Williams was right when he said Sims, an undrafted free agent out of Alabama, threw a “hand grenade” into the wideout competition. The first five spots are set, but Sims and Quick appear to be battling it out for the sixth spot. Sims has a nice upside, but he’s still raw. The edge goes to Quick, a veteran who can contribute on special teams.

Tight end

In: Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

Cut: Garrett Hudson, Matt Flanagan, J.P. Holtz

Injured reserve: Manasseh Garner

⦁ Peterson’s impact might have an interesting effect on the tight end group. The 33-year-old running back runs best with a fullback blocking in front of him — and Holtz has held that role since the Redskins waived Elijah Wellman. In theory, the Redskins could keep four tight ends, specifically for Holtz to play fullback. But for now, let’s stick with our instincts. 

Offensive linemen

In: Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tony Bergstrom, Tyler Catalina

Cut: T.J. Clemmings, Casey Dunn, Kyle Kalis, John Kling, Demetrius Rhaney, Timon Parris, Isaiah Williams, Kendall Calhoun

⦁ This group is healthy and ready to go. That’s good news for Gruden, who said he rested his starters for most the preseason because he didn’t want to risk injury to his starting offensive line.

Kicking team

In: Dustin Hopkins, kicker; Tress Way, punter; Nick Sundberg, long snapper

⦁ These have been set from the moment last season ended.

Defensive line

In: Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood, Tim Settle

Cut: Phil Taylor, JoJo Wicker, Dante Sawyer, Ondre Pipkins

Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP): Stacy McGee

⦁ No surprises here. McGee (core muscle surgery) will likely begin the year on the PUP list as he has not practiced since the spring. But this group looks much improved and they have had a strong preseason.

Outside linebacker

In: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee, Pete Robertson

Cut: Vontae Diggs, Jerod Fernandez, Alex McCalister, Dadi Nicolas, Cassanova McKinzy

⦁ Pete Robertson is another guy on the fringe. Do the Redskins go with five pass rushers or four? Robertson had his moments in camp and has developed well since beginning last year on the practice squad.

Inside linebacker

In: Mason Foster, Zach Brown, Martrell Spaight, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Josh Harvey-Clemons

Cut: Zach Vigil

⦁ Zach Vigil or Martrell Spaight — that’s the choice the Redskins are likely debating when it comes to this position group. Vigil has looked impressive, but Spaight has played extremely well in the preseason. Brown and Foster are the starters.

Safety

In: D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke 
Cut: Quin Blanding, Fish Smithson, Kenny Ladler

Apke, the Redskins 2018 fourth-rounder, has underwhelmed this preseason, particularly Friday against the Denver Broncos. But he still has upside and the Redskins could afford to use that spot to develop him. 

Cornerback
In: Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Danny Johnson, Greg Stroman, Adonis Alexander

Cut: Ranthony Texada, Prince Charles Iworah

Injured reserve: Josh Holsey

⦁ Since cutting Orlando Scandrick in training camp, the Redskins went all in on their young cornerbacks. Moreau, last year’s third-rounder out of UCLA, will start in nickel and Johnson, Stroman and Alexander — all rookies — will provide depth. Holsey (toe) will begin the year on IR or PUP. 

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