Redskins' Practice Squad Named
The Washington Redskins announced their practice squad on Saturday and there were a few surprises both in who made it and who didn't. Also of note is the Redskins only allocating seven of the eight players that they are permitted to sign to the squad. Here are the seven players:
Jonathan Alston, OL - Alston really came along through the preseason. He went from needing help from a tight end on most plays, to backing up Jon Jansen at the end of the preseason. Mark Wilson had some injuries through training camp and loses out to Alston for the practice squad slot. The South Carolina grad's ability to play both tackle and guard may have contributed to Alston getting the nod.
Jonathan Combs, RB - Combs was perhaps the biggest surprise practice squad signee as he didn't do much of note during the preseason. The undrafted rookie did block a punt on special teams and had a couple of good catches out of the backfield. With four running backs on the roster in Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright and Nehemiah Broughton, it would seem that there were other positions that might have made use of the practice squad slot.
Robert Johnson, TE - Johnson is a 'narrow miss' on the regular roster. He not only played well through the preseason but did so having come in late and having to learn the offense on the fly. Robert Royal's injury history makes it a good idea to have a tight end on the practice squad, and Johnson will also push Brian Kozlowski to perform.
Aki Jones, DL - From camping out on the steps of Redskin Park to the practice squad, what an exciting journey for the youngster from Fordham. When a guy is so concerned about missing practice that he shows up the day before, you know you have a hungry football player. A willingness to learn and a non-stop attitude are the attributes that landed Jones on the practice squad.
Robert McCune, LB - Many fans were surprised by McCune being cut, so him being named to the practice squad comes as no surprise. He's a victim of numbers with the Redskins logjam of good, young linebackers but his maturity will keep him hungry and make him a great replacement if a linebacker gets injured throughout the season. He may even play his way on to the roster if he can continue to improve both at linebacker and on special teams. Also of note is that Khari Campbell just played too well in the preseason to not be included in the roster, a fact that also led to McCune's practice squad only slot.
Rich Parson, WR - THN has been saying for a while that Parsons would land on the practice squad because of his special teams' abilities. He also saw decent playing time at wide receiver and will provide a back-up plan for if any of the Redskins' diminutive receiving corps gets injured.
Christian Morton, CB - Who? The Falcons released Morton on August 26th and after working out for the Redskins on Saturday, obviously showed enough to take a spot that would have likely gone to Garnell Wilds. Morton was drafted by the Patriots in 2004 but finished the season with Atlanta and even played in the NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Don't be surprised if Morton is just getting an extended audition and is eventually replaced by someone else if he doesn't work out.
This group of seven basically constitutes a backup for every unit -- offensive line, wide receiver, tight end and running back on the offense; defensive line, linebacker and defensive back on the defense.
Kevin Dyson - Dyson is surprising in that the Redskins left their receiving corps with no big bodies at all. The cutting of Dyson AND Darnerien McCants may very well indicate that the Redskins will be scouring waiver wires looking for a better fit in that role.
Ron Warner - Warner not only made the regular roster last year but he saw some considerable playing time at DE. The continued improvement of Nic Clemons and the emergence of Aki Jones spelled the end for Warner.
Garnell Wilds - Wilds not only saw starting time last year when the Redskins ran into injury trouble, but drew Randy Moss and did well. Ade Jimoh lands the fourth cornerback spot over Wilds, but Garnell is another numbers victim. The solid play of both Pierson Prioleau and Omar Stoutmire combined with the injury to Matt Bowen led to the Redskins keeping five safeties and four cornerbacks instead of four safeties and five cornerbacks.
This article was released on 2005-09-04.
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