Tonight is the final night of the preseason. For many teams, it’s a night to rest the sure starters and get a look at the competition for depth and other teams will still test to see who will be their starters at positions of question. Tonight, the Redskins will evaluate their depth.
Quarterback Richard Bartel will probably be trying to impress coaches elsewhere in the league in hopes of finding a roster spot (and across the field is a coach who isn’t happy with any of his QB’s right now). John Beck was signed to an extension last week, effectively giving him the nod of approval that he’ll remain on the active roster behind Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman.
Running back Willie Parker uses tonight to try and earn his roster spot as a potential third down running back. Larry Johnson still isn’t a safe bet to make the team, and neither are the younger Williams and Torain who have both impressed this preseason. It will be interesting to see how 4 running backs attempt to prove themselves tonight, considering Johnson may not get a chance to play.
Along the offensive line, everyone who isn’t listed as a starter already is competing for a job. There’s not incredible depth along the line, so it may only be one or two linemen not making the team come Saturday. It will definitely be an intriguing battle.
Third-string/blocking Tight End is up for grabs between Lee Vickers and Logan Paulsen. Vickers is bigger, and generally regarded as a better blocker, but Paulsen has been sufficient in training camp and OTA’s. Neither is figured to see much time outside of goal-line and run-heavy packages.
Wide receiver is still the most futile position on the team. Outside of Santana Moss, nobody is guaranteed a position. Anthony Armstrong has done plenty to earn his way onto the team, but still has to impress tonight. Brandon Banks is a fan-favorite, but unless he makes up for a costly PR fumble, and can contribute in the passing game, we don’t figure Banks will make the cut. Terrence Austin came in with less time to commit to the team, and surely gets an opportunity to prove himself to coaches tonight. Austin has great speed and route running. He could find himself in a favorable position especially after the injury to Malcolm Kelly. Joey Galloway, Bobby Wade, Shay Hodge, and Roydell Williams are expected to see some time to prove to coaches whether or not they do deserve a roster spot. Perhaps the most interesting story is Devin Thomas, who everyone believe(s/d) was in prime position to have a great season. Coaches placed Thomas at third string for the first two preseason games, and he didn’t play a snap at receiver last week. Thomas can contribute on special teams; he needs to prove he can contribute in the passing game. Unless Shanahan is using this as a smokescreen, Thomas is on the thinnest ice tonight.
Haynesworth is going to draw the start somewhere on the line tonight, perhaps seeing time at all three positions. He’ll be trying to prove to coaches that he’s ready to go against the Cowboys and buy into the team. Jarmon is another who will probably see significant time. Coaches love Jarmon’s ability, but he’s not quite where they want him to be yet after flip-flopping with where he would play on the defense this offseason. If Jarmon doesn’t make the final cut, expect him to be quickly locked to the practice squad, or even used in a trade before cuts happen. Nose Tackles will also be evaluated strongly tonight… Kemoeatu and Haynesworth can’t play all the snaps there, so it’s likely we’ll see someone else in that group fighting for a chance.
At Linebacker, the starters are believed to be in place. H.B. Blades, Lorenzo Alexander and Chris Wilson are expected to lock down roster spots. Perry Riley, Robert Henson and Curtis Gatewood need to prove their space on the roster. Perry Riley has been impressive and figures to have already earned his spot barring a huge mistake tonight.
At corner, Barnes, Tryon, Westbrook, and Robinson try to earn their way onto the roster. Tryon has fallen out of favor, so he needs to have a big night tonight. It helps that he can contribute on special teams in the return game and coverage units. Should be a fierce competition.
At safety, the injury of Moore gives Tyrone Carter and Russell Anderson a better shot at making the team. Horton will play a lot tonight, but he figures to be on the roster come the regular season. Carter and Anderson are the longer shots.
That closes out who competes where as only 1 kicker and punter are retained. Hopefully all of these guys fight to prove themselves tonight, and make it extremely tough on coaches to cut them. Or may they raise their stock for trades or potentially landing a job elsewhere on a roster.