Turns out it was neither. The Redskins cut their sixth-round pick Saturday and then Sunday opted not to sign him to their practice squad. A source said Sunday night that the Redskins had planned to do so, but changed their minds at the "last minute."
The Redskins did add running back Chris Thompson, whom they liked more than Seastrunk, to the practice squad. Both fill a similar role, but Thompson was further ahead in the pass game. Undrafted rookie Silas Redd was the only back not on the roster in 2013 to make it this summer. Seastrunk's speed was impressive, but his work in the pass game had a long way to go, from protection -- where he really struggled -- to route running.
However, even coach Jay Gruden had said on occasion that there were ways Seastrunk could help while developing in that area. Still, throughout the summer coaches marveled at his ability to turn the corner, which was evident on an 80-yard catch-and-run for a score in the preseason finale. But the Redskins clearly felt Thompson was better worth developing. His big question is durability. He, too, has quickness and speed.
These moves can be fluid. Corner Richard Crawford had been told Sunday morning that he was not in the Redskins' practice squad plans. Two hours later they signed him to the practice squad.
- The cuts. Most of them were rather predictable, but a handful of decisions stood out, starting at running back where they opted for four instead of five. They also opted not to sign Lache Seastrunk to the practice squad -- a source said late last night that the Redskins had planned to do so, but changed their minds at the last minute. Also, if it was a close call with either Stephen Bowen and Leonard Hankerson when it came to putting them on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. I never thought Hankerson would be on the roster, but wasn't sure on Bowen. Neither one looked like they'd be ready within, say, the first couple weeks of the season.
- The kicking situation. Is Jay Gruden really comfortable with a punter he's seen for around two weeks and who has zero career punts in Tress Way? One veteran punter, Brian Moorman, was cut by Buffalo. But as of Sunday night the Redskins had not contacted him. That doesn't mean they won't or that they haven't spoken to others about a possible tryout (Tuesday is typically the day for that during the season).
- Safety. The Redskins signed Duke Ihenacho, who can play strong safety and performed well on special teams with Denver. But it'll take him time to learn the defense. So how much he plays early is uncertain, but he could develop into a decent option if Brandon Meriweather is suspended again. If the Redskins don't plan for that possibility they're in trouble. Even if they keep sticking up for Meriweather and feel he's been wronged, they have to know how hard it will be for him to play 14 games without an incident. He's played 41 games since the NFL started calling illegal hits in 2010 and been punished six times for that infraction. Odds are it'll happen again this season. What sort of option is Ihenacho? Will they go with Bacarri Rambo in the first two games? We'll get a little insight Monday.
Washington signed tight end Ted Bolser, corner Richard Crawford, corner Chase Minnifield, offensive lineman Tevita Stevens, safety Phillip Thomas, nose tackle Robert Thomas, running back Chris Thompson and receiver Nick Williams. They waived Akeem Davis from the 53-man roster after claiming safety Duke Ihenacho off waivers. They will sign Davis to the practice squad once he clears waivers, according to a source.
All of the eight signed players were cut by Washington in the last week. The player missing from the list: rookie running back Lache Seastrunk. The Redskins could add one more player to the practice squad for a total of 10.
Of the eight signed, four were former draft picks: Bolser (seventh round, 2014), Crawford (seventh round, 2012), Thomas (fourth round, 2013) and Thompson (fifth round, 2013). The latter two had their chances hurt because of injury issues: Thomas has a sore foot, the same one that needed Lisfranc surgery last year; and Thompson has had durability questions.
Ihenacho started 17 games for Denver last season, including three in the postseason. He recorded 73 tackles, six passes defensed and forced three fumbles. He's considered a strong safety -- a physical player who is better in the box and struggles when having to cover in space. That likely would be the role he plays for Washington, which is seeking a temporary replacement for suspended safety Brandon Meriweather. He'll miss the first two games of the season.
Ihenacho played 17 games in two seasons for Denver, but became expendable when the Broncos signed free agent T.J. Ward. Also, Quinton Carter returned after missing last season with an injury. Ihenacho is considered a strong special-teams player as well.
Davis was part of the Redskins' initial 53-man roster, completing a journey that began as an undrafted free agent in 2013 with Seattle. But he did not play in the NFL last season. He made an impact with his energetic special-teams play this summer, but is still learning from scrimmage.
Who they have: Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy
Who they lost: Rex Grossman
Where they’re worse: Hard to say that they’re worse. It’s not as if swapping Rex Grossman for McCoy makes them worse – Grossman had no experience in this system and his strength was in knowing Kyle Shanahan’s system and serving as a mentor. Either one as a third quarterback is fine. You could make a case that early on there will be growing pains because it’s a new system for Griffin and they’re trying to develop his pocket-passing skills. Oh, and making sure he protects himself, too. Growing pains there as well. Just get used to it; when you run a 4.3 in the 40, the decisions you think you can make are much different than pretty much anyone else’s. Takes time, and a few more jarring hits, to learn.
Overall: It’s an improved group simply because of Griffin’s offseason. But will that be enough to have a big season? Throughout the summer, Griffin had good days and bad. On his bad days he’d miss open targets, hold the ball a little too long and make questionable decisions. On his good days, there would be big plays, receivers hit in stride and the on-field charisma we saw in 2012. We rarely saw him pick apart a defense the way Tom Brady would (getting to see him work this summer was eye-opening). Griffin is not at that level yet. The trick now for Gruden is developing Griffin’s game while trying to win. That doesn’t always mesh, which is why I still think we’ll see his legs incorporated once the games begin – how could you not? The point is to win; doing so gives the Redskins that chance. This summer, we did not see the Redskins use his legs much (we did see it two years ago in camp). Nor did we always get to see the big plays Griffin can make by extending plays.
- I was surprised both Akeem Davis and Trenton Robinson made it, but with Brandon Meriweather suspended for the first two games they wanted to keep four at this spot.Meriweather
- They valued special teams, which is why both players, especially Davis, made the roster. He plays with the speed and energy you want on special teams. Focus on him during a return and you will understand what I mean. The kid plays hungry; so does Robinson. The more guys you have like that, the better. If they can play, that is.
- There is a different level of energy on special teams with not only Davis and Robinson, but rookie corner Bashaud Breeland. They did not have that from last season's young players. Nor did they receive good special teams play from their safeties in 2013 (and from a number of other spots, too).
- That said, I worry about the depth at safety. And losing Darryl Sharpton makes their inside linebacker depth questionable as well. Among their backups: Will Compton (whom I like, but has never played in a game), Akeem Jordan (who would have been cut if Sharpton had been healthy) and Adam Hayward (a special teamer).Sharpton
- They kept nine offensive linemen, which is what I figured they would do. Of their four backups, none have ever started a game and two are rookies. In a year or so, guard Spencer Long and tackle Morgan Moses might be quality players. Now, they are just rookies learning the game and playing accordingly.
- I thought they would go with five running backs, figuring either Chris Thompson or Lache Seastrunk would make the roster -- speed backs. They liked Thompson more this summer and my guess is they can sign him to the practice squad. Or, at the least, they will find a way to keep one of them.
- Feel horrible for Chris Neild, who was placed on injured reserve and will miss a second season because of injury. He is not a difference-maker, but he’s a guy the coaches love because of his attitude and work ethic. A good guy to have at the end of the roster. Thought he looked just OK this summer and, from the outside perspective, I wasn’t sold on him being on the roster. But sometimes it takes being on the inside to have a true sense of a player’s worth. I think that’s the case with Neild.
- Also thought they would go with six defensive linemen with Stephen Bowen on the PUP list. But they lost some versatility with Bowen -- playing end and also inside in the nickel.
- I figure they will work out punters this week.
- Wrote this Saturday, but I like that they went with who played best, not who was a draft pick. Among their final cuts Friday and Saturday were 10 former draft picks, including three from this past spring. Of course, the flip side is that you did not develop your picks (though some of them will end up on the practice squad, so time remains). But I’m still surprised that both Thompson and Seastrunk were cut. A week ago? Would not have been. But what I learned long ago is that the coaches know a heck of a lot more about these players than what they show on the field. All of it makes a difference. Seastrunk had real issues in protection, but that speed warrants a strong look somewhere.
- Silas Redd deserved a spot. He does not have great speed -- a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash -- but he knows how to run and played his way onto the roster.
- The receiver position looks exactly like I thought it would, probably from the start of camp. Same with quarterbacks. Same with tight ends. Same with cornerbacks.
1. Swinging and missing: The release of wide receiver Stephen Hill underscored a shortcoming of the Rex Ryan regime -- the inability to develop offensive draft picks. In the first five drafts under Ryan, the Jets picked 19 players on offense, none of whom have developed into anything close to a Pro Bowl player. In fact, three of the four highest-drafted players are gone -- quarterback Mark Sanchez (first round, 2009), lineman Vladimir Ducasse (second, 2010) and Hill (second, 2012). The last hope from those drafts is quarterback Geno Smith (second, 2013). Running back Bilal Powell (fourth, 2011) and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (fifth, 2011) are nice role players, but they're not game changers.
There are a few reasons for the drought, namely: Instability (three offensive coordinators), a defensive-minded culture created by Ryan and, of course, questionable drafting. Hill was a big, big miss. He was actually the No. 14 player on their draft board, well ahead of fellow receiver Alshon Jeffery, who was picked by the Chicago Bears two spots after Hill (43rd overall). To be fair, many of the scouting services rated Hill over Jeffery. The Jets' mistake was trading two draft picks to move up and rushing him into the lineup with no fallback option. Hill never was the same after his killer drop as a rookie in New England.
3. Cornering the market on mistakes: General manager John Idzik deserves to be criticized for his handling of the cornerback situation, especially now that Dimitri (Don't Call Me AWOL) Patterson is a goner, but this whole Darrelle Revis angle is tired. That bridge was burned by both sides, and the Jets weren't interested in repairing it. I didn't criticize Idzik at the time, so I certainly won't second-guess him now. My problem is that his non-Revis plan wasn't any good. In free agency, he identified Patterson as a starting-caliber player even though he had only 20 career starts and had played with six teams in 10 years, wearing out his welcome in most places. (From what I understand, he was considered a diva around the Jets even before he went AWOL.) Instead of doubling down in the draft, Idzik didn't draft a corner until the third round -- the injury-prone Dexter McDougle, who is out for the season. How's it all working out?
4. Money for nothing: Unless they somehow recoup part of the signing bonus, the Jets wasted $1 million on Patterson, the same amount they wasted on Mike Goodson. Here's another way to look at it: For doing nothing, Patterson gets almost as much money as Muhammad Wilkerson gets this year for being the best player on the team -- $1.2 million. That's twisted.
5. 'Snacks' time is over: As of Saturday night, the Jets' 53-man roster had no undrafted rookies. They're one of only four teams with no UDFAs, according to Brian McIntyre, a contract and analytics expert. It's not all that surprising, considering the Jets didn't spend much in this area. Teams were allocated to spend up to $80,362 in signing bonuses, but the Jets doled out only $4,000, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Defensive end Anthony Grady ($2,500) and fullback Chad Young ($1,500) were the only UDFAs to receive a signing bonus; the other five UDFAs got nothing. Hey, a Damon (Snacks) Harrison doesn't come around every year.
6. Ex-Champ: The Jets need a cornerback and one of the best corners in recent memory is available, future Hall of Famer Champ Bailey, who was cut by the New Orleans Saints. It brings back memories of a mega trade that never happened. In 2004, former GM Terry Bradway spent a good amount of time at the scouting combine trying to deal for Bailey, whom the Washington Redskins eventually traded to the Denver Broncos. Bailey, 36, has slipped the past two years and probably wouldn't cure the Jets' problem.
7. No road trips for Rex: Remember last year, when Ryan created a firestorm by taking a trip on cutdown day to visit his son at Clemson? The coach took a lot of unwarranted criticism for that decision, and I think he was taken aback by the fallout. On Friday, he was asked if he was planning to travel to see Clemson at Georgia on Saturday.
"It’s safe to say if my son was playing in the game, I probably would have been there again," Ryan said.
Seth Ryan, a wide receiver, is out with a broken collarbone.
8. Middle-aged Jets: Philly.com did a study of all 32 rosters, as of Saturday night, ranking them based on age. Turns out the Jets are the 13th-youngest team in the league. The average age is 25.85 years, slightly older than last year (25.6, seventh youngest). That's exactly what you'd expect for a team in Year 2 of a rebuilding project.
9. Milliner on the shelf?: The early rumblings are that cornerback Dee Milliner (high-ankle sprain) won't be ready for the season opener.
10. Start the countdown: It's seven days to the season opener. Hey, Oakland, do you know who your quarterback is?
Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall and free safety Ryan Clark took to Twitter on Saturday in an apparent defense of teammate Brandon Meriweather, whose appeal of a two-game suspension for illegal hits was denied by the NFL earlier in the day.
Meriweather will miss the first two games of the regular season after the league ruled that his hit on Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith in the third preseason game was illegal. It's the sixth time Meriweather has been penalized by the NFL for a hit.
Hall, who has come to Meriweather's defense in the past, called the appeal process "a joke."
Preseason sucks. They want to act like that. I'll be damn if I play another preseason game. For what? Get suspended for a meaningless game
- DeAngelo Hall (@DeAngeloHall23) August 30, 2014
How do you convince a person that says you wrong from the get go. The appeal process Is a joke. Guilty until I feel like you're innocent...
Ditching their picks: Many teams try to justify a draft class and end up keeping almost all of their selections. The Redskins did not, cutting three of their eight picks from April. That’s good in that they’re willing to not force a guy on the roster, but it’s not good if they end up not sticking around on the practice squad. Then it becomes a wasted pick. They likely will try to retain Seastrunk and tight end Ted Bolser on the practice squad. Would they keep a kicker, seventh-round pick Zach Hocker, on the practice squad? Give the Redskins credit for finding and developing undrafted free agents, including Redd, linebacker Will Compton and safety Akeem Davis. The latter two were undrafted in 2013 but have not played in a game and both earned a spot with their summer play -- Compton from scrimmage and Davis on special teams. They lacked good special-teams players at safety last year, but Davis will help.
What’s next: The Redskins could make another move or two before the season opener, especially at punter considering Tress Way has zero career punts. It would be surprising if they didn’t at least work out veteran punters. Also, the Redskins are thin at safety with Brandon Meriweather suspended for the first two games. They kept four, including two inexperienced backups in Akeem Davis and Trenton Robinson. Both, however, will help special teams – but the Redskins will have a tough decision to make when Meriweather returns after the second game. The Redskins won't have to make a decision on end Stephen Bowen or wide receiver Leonard Hankerson until after the sixth week as both were played on the physically unable to perform list.
Redskins moves: The Redskins cut RB Evan Royster, RB Lache Seastrunk, RB Chris Thompson, WR Lee Doss, LB Everette Brown, CB Chase Minnifield, S Phillip Thomas, PK Zach Hocker, WR Nick Williams, OL Maurice Hurt, WR Lee Doss, OL Tevita Stevens, S Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith, NT Robert Thomas, CB Richard Crawford, TE Ted Bolser, OL Kevin Kowalski and P Robert Malone. They placed NT Chris Neild and LB Darryl Sharpton on injured reserve. WR Leonard Hankerson and DL Stephen Bowen were placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.
Meriweather was suspended two games last season, but had it reduced to one on appeal. Meriweather had been playing well this summer, working at his more natural spot of strong safety. The Redskins have not yet said who will replace him in the first two games, but Bacarri Rambo is the most experienced backup and replaced Meriweather in the lineup when he missed some time with an injury.
Meriweather will be placed on the reserve/suspended list. The Redskins have four safeties as of now: Rambo, Ryan Clark, Trenton Robinson and Akeem Davis. Corner E.J. Biggers can play there in certain packages.
That means undrafted rookie free agent Silas Redd made the roster after an impressive summer. It also means the Redskins did not end up with a speedback as they had desired. But they could sign Seastrunk and/or Thompson to the practice squad. Seastrunk, a sixth-round pick this spring, showed impressive speed in the preseason finale -- and throughout the summer. But he also showed he had a ways to go in pass protection.
Royster's lack of speed hurt him, though he did show he can still be a move-the-chains type runner as well as help on special teams. Thompson entered camp with a strong shot at winning a roster spot but another injury, this time a sprained ankle, doomed a player with durability questions.
The Redskins, according to reports from ESPN.com, the Washington Post and NBC Channel 4, also cut receiver Nick Williams, kicker Zach Hocker, linebacker Everette Brown, corner Chase Minnifield and safety Phillip Thomas. The latter was a mild surprise but his inability to stay healthy the past two seasons was a problem. He's still sidelined with an injury to the same foot that had a Lisfranc sprain --and required surgery -- a year ago. But Thomas is eligible for the practice squad, as is Minnifield. Hocker's release means veteran Kai Forbath retains the job.
Receiver Nick Williams also was cut Saturday morning. An NFL source said the Redskins were trying to trade offensive lineman Maurice Hurt. If unsuccessful, he would be cut. The Redskins also have to decide what to do with receiver Leonard Hankerson and defensive end Stephen Bowen, both of whom could open the season on the physically unable to perform list. Also, linebacker Darryl Sharpton (ankle) will end up on injured reserve per the Washington Post. It's likely Chris Neild (knee) will be placed on IR as well.
Washington released seventh-round draft choice Ted Bolser, a tight end, as well as Richard Crawford, a cornerback who spent the past two years with the Redskins. Neither cut was a big surprise; the Redskins figured to keep only three tight ends and Crawford was the seventh cornerback on a team that will be hard pressed to keep more than five.
Both, however, could end up on Washington’s practice squad. So, too, could offensive lineman Tevita Stevens, also among the cuts. The other cuts as of 5 p.m. Friday: safety Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith and offensive lineman Kevin Kowalski. All the moves, based on reports from ESPN.com, The Washington Post and ESPN980, were expected. The Redskins have to get down to 53 players by 4 p.m. Saturday.
Bolser improved from the spring, but was not yet in a position to help the Redskins from scrimmage and was running a clear fourth on the depth chart. He improved his blocking and his hands got better as well, though he dropped a pass in Thursday’s preseason win over Tampa Bay.
As for Crawford, he missed last season with a torn ACL and LCL in his knee. Before the injury, he likely would have been Washington’s punt returner in 2013.
But he looked rusty upon his return this summer, though he had a good showing at times on defense Thursday with one pass breakup. He broke well on another pass, but the ball was thrown over his head for a completion. However, on punt returns, what he showed before his injury was the ability to make the first defender miss. That was not the case Thursday.
Still, both Bolser and Crawford said they have been told by the team they could return to the practice squad.
The Redskins also cut punter Robert Malone, nose tackle Robert Thomas and receiver Lee Doss. Malone was a mild surprise, though he was inconsistent -- which has plagued him throughout his career. That leaves Tress Way as the only punter on the roster, though that does not yet mean he will be the one punting in the season opener. Way had an excellent night Thursday, averaging 51.5 yards on two punts, but he has never punted in an NFL game and was inconsistent with Chicago this summer before being cut.
How many running backs should they keep -- and whom?
What will they do with Stephen Bowen?
If he’s going to be ready within, say, a few weeks then you could get by with five defensive linemen for the time being. The Redskins have versatility, which helps, as the ends all can play either side and Chris Baker and even Kedric Golston can fill in at nose in a pinch. But I still don’t have a great feel for when Bowen will be ready.
Will Leonard Hankerson remain on the PUP list?
Have a hunch this is the case, but not 100 percent sure by any means. In talking to Hankerson over the last few weeks, he’s still not feeling like his old self. If he was then it would be a matter of getting into football shape. But it’s a little more than that. The Redskins have enough depth to offset any prolonged absence, though he would be ahead of a Santana Moss or Aldrick Robinson if healthy. It’s pointless now to wonder who would be cut if and when Hankerson returns after six games if he is on PUP; these situations usually work themselves out.
Should they keep three quarterbacks?
I’ve assumed that they would, but nothing is 100 percent guaranteed. Besides, Jay Gruden went with two quarterbacks in each of his three seasons in Cincinnati. If the Redskins had another quarterback to stash on the practice squad I could see two. But it makes sense to keep three. The coaches want Robert Griffin III to protect himself better; if it’s a concern then you keep a third just in case. Also, if Griffin plays well and Kirk Cousins is dealt in the offseason then you have a backup in place who knows the system.
What do they do at safety?
Brandon Meriweather's suspension begins Sept. 1, after the final cuts. So that means someone likely will be cut Saturday who will be re-signed to the roster two days later. The more I saw Akeem Davis, the more I loved him on special teams. Tough not to considering his speed and the plays he makes, or sets up (see him take on the wedge on the opening kickoff Thursday, allowing Royster to make a tackle). If Phillip Thomas is healthy, then the Redskins should have enough at safety for the first two games (with an occasional assist from corner E.J. Biggers). The Redskins have not received much on special teams from their safeties the past couple years; Davis fills a hole in that area. But he still needs to show he’s close to helping from scrimmage; not sure about that yet -- and it could make a difference.
Which kickers should make the final roster?
My guess is that PK Kai Forbath and P Robert Malone will make the final 53. But Tress Way had a good night Thursday, and Zach Hocker probably had a slight edge entering this game. So, in other words, who knows. But I don’t know that the results will be a whole lot different than 2013.