The Redskins’ preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday matters — especially to players on the fringe. After all, this is their last chance to make the case they belong on the franchise’s 53-man roster.
“These guys deserve a chance to play and show what they can do,” coach Jay Gruden said Tuesday.
With that in mind, here are five position battles to keep an eye on:
Cam Sims vs. Brian Quick: After being overshadowed at Alabama, Sims, an undrafted free agent, has come into his first NFL offseason and wowed with his big play ability. But the 6-foot-5 wideout is still relatively raw and Quick — a six-year veteran — has been a reliable contributor on special teams. Both players have been banged up as of late with a thigh injury, though each have had their moments in camp.
Samaje Perine vs. Kapri Bibbs vs. Rob Kelley: This is a three-way royal rumble for two spots. One of them will be the odd man out. Kelley has had an underwhelming preseason and has seemingly lost the starting job to Adrian Peterson, who won’t play. Perine also needs to make an impression after missing last week against the Broncos.
“Everybody understands the competition at every position … Samaje has been unavailable as of late, so now it’s important for him to get back in there and make a run and Rob, the same thing,” Gruden said. “The competition is still there without a doubt. They know what’s up. They’re pros.”
Martrell Spaight vs. Zach Vigil vs. Pete Robertson: Outside of running back, the linebacker group is the hardest to predict when projecting the Redskins’ final 53-man roster. Do they keep nine or 10? Of that number, how is that divided between inside and outside linebackers? Spaight, Vigil and Robertson appear to be on the edge. “They’ve all shown they deserve to be linebackers in the National Football League,” Gruden said.
Troy Apke vs. Kenny Ladler: Apke’s job is most likely safe — and it would be a huge upset if Ladler made the roster instead of him. That being said, Ladler has had a better preseason than Apke, the Redskins’ fourth-rounder out of Penn State. Would a strong performance against Baltimore make the Redskins reconsider?
Kevin Hogan vs. Colt McCoy’s injured thumb: The battle to end all battles. Here’s pretty much the only way Hogan makes the 53-man roster: McCoy’s thumb injury puts the veteran in serious jeopardy to miss Week 1. If that’s the case, the Redskins would need a backup for starting quarterback Alex Smith.
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