Friday, August 31, 2012
NFC East cut day RB shuffle
By Dan Graziano
We're going to have a post on the final cuts for each team once they're all... you know... finalized. But as some of the news begins to trickle in, there are a couple of newsworthy developments in the NFC East. Some of them involve the running back situations with the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins.
Giants running back D.J. Ware sent out a tweet indicating that he'd been told he was being cut by the team. In recent days, Giants beat writers have been suggesting that Ware could be in trouble, since Andre Brown showed an ability to run with power and also catch the ball out of the backfield while Da'Rel Scott was a special teams standout. This struck me as a surprising idea, since Ware entered camp as the Giants' best pass-protection back outside of starter Ahmad Bradshaw. But the beat guys were watching every day (and talking to the coaches), and as usual they knew what they were talking about. Brown passed Ware on the depth chart, and with Bradshaw and rookie first-round pick David Wilson sure things to make the roster, they could only keep four running backs. The question now is which of the backups is Bradshaw's No. 2, as there's very little in the way of experience among the group.
The Redskins, meanwhile, are apparently cutting veteran running back Tim Hightower because his surgically repaired knee just isn't coming around quickly enough. Hightower was the coaching staff's favorite back on the roster when healthy, and the favorite to be the starter if he could get the knee right. But he couldn't, and the Redskins like their other backs enough that they believe they can afford to cut him. Evan Royster, Roy Helu or rookie Alfred Morris all appear capable of starting Week 1 against the Saints, and it's likely each will get a chance as the starter at some point this season.
Additionally, reports indicate that the Redskins are working on trading wide receiver Anthony Armstrong to the Dolphins for running back Steve Slaton. Seems like a reasonable move, assuming Armstrong was the odd man out among the Redskins' wide receivers. They had too many wide receivers and needed help at running back, and Slaton comes with more NFL experience than any back still left on the roster. He also worked with Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan when both were with the Texans. Slaton rushed for 1,281 yards and caught 50 passes for 377 yards as a rookie with the Texans in 2008 but has not been the same player since. Still, he's a good fit for the Redskins' offense and only 26 years old, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that he could make a contribution.
As I said, more to come.