Last week we looked at some of the players that were on the bubble for the Washington Redskins. By Tuesday, the Redskins have to pare their roster down to 65 players (plus NFLE exempt players), so decision time is here. This week, we'll take a look at some of the players that we missed last week and re-visit some of the players who may have taken noticeable steps forward or backwards.
Darnerien McCants: Oh where, oh where does Darnerien fit in? If you were to judge that question by his playing time and the amount of looks that he's getting in the offense, one would simply come to the conclusion that he doesn't fit in. But how can he not? It would seem that the Redskins would be prudent to keep at least one big-bodied receiver, either McCants or Kevin Dyson. Neither has done, or had opportunity to do, much in the pre-season. Perhaps the last pre-season game will tell the fans and the coaches more. Expect both to make the 65-man roster, but also expect one or both to be left off of the 53-man squad.
Kevin Dyson: Dyson has looked good and then at times he has been unnoticeable. He was mentioned by the coaching staff a few times during training camp but has done very little with his playing time so far in the pre-season games. With David Patten, Santana Moss, James Thrash and Antonio Brown being virtual locks for roster spots, it would seem that Joe Gibbs and company have to decide between Dyson, McCants and injured Taylor Jacobs to come up with their 5th receiver. Perhaps they will even keep 2 of those 3, but it won't be all of them. There is also the possibility that with neither Dyson or McCants doing 'enough', the Redskins will keep searching the waiver wire for a big-bodied receiver that WILL come in and stake their claim to the last spot on the receiving corps.
Nic Clemons: Clemons has spent the better part of two years just trying to play his way on to the roster. He has played well this pre-season and continued to do so on Friday against Pittsburgh. Not only did he register two tackles but he also created a fair bit of pressure on the quarterback with good backfield penetration. With Gregg Williams liking to use a rotation amongst the defensive linemen, Clemons sits on the cusp of making the Redskins yet again in 2005.
Khari Campbell: Campbell is the middle linebacker that nobody ever seems to talk about. All he does is hit like a Mack truck and make great special teams plays. Campbell got a lot of playing time against the Steelers, playing MLB for most of the second half. He not only made some good plays, but he seemed to have a firm grasp of commanding the defense. ST may still be his best shot at making this team, but he put in a good showing on defense as well.
Pierson Prioleau: Prioleau likely had his name pencilled in to the roster already but on Friday, the Redskins likely wrote it down in pen. Arguably the best defensive performer against Pittsburgh, it would seem he's a lock. Especially considering Bowen got nicked up and Ryan Clark is nursing a knee injury.
Josh Warner: Were you asking yourself who number 74 was on Friday? That would have been right tackle Josh Warner. Was the coaching staff making a statement with his almost full second half appearance? Or were they just giving him a last look to see if he was worthy of a spot on the practice squad? It also bears mentioning that the player who HAS been taking the RT #2 role, mark Wilson, never stepped on to the field against Pittsburgh.
Jon Alston: Alston may not have much of a chance of cracking the roster, but wow did he have a much-improved performance this week. His protection was considerably better and he got a lot less help from tight ends to do so. He gets the most improved player on the bubble this week.
Jim Molinaro: Nothing to see here... just the Redskins new backup left tackle. Another solid outing from Molinaro and it would seem a foregone conclusion that not only does this behemoth get a roster spot, but that the Redskins start looking at ways to get him some playing time so that he can continue his already considerable progress.
Billy Baber: Baber had a tough outing against the Bengals but bounced back nicely and put in a workman-like performance against the Steelers. He caught the ball better and continued to block well. Robert Royal being injured led to both Baber and Robert Johnson getting more playing time, and there was not much between their performances at all. They both played well.
Rock Cartwright: Does he really need to be mentioned? Probably not any more. Rock seemed to have played his way back into the good books and will get a roster slot the old-fashioned way - by earning it. He has played so well that despite the numbers, the Redskins will likely be forced to keep Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Nehemiah Broughton AND Cartwright in their backfield plans.
It won't be long to find out which players are on the bubble or not. Cut downs are just 48 hours away, so that bubble is about to burst. It's always a bittersweet day when the results of who did and didn't make the grade are announced. Hearts will be broken and dreams will be realized.