Redskins Roundup: The roster begins to take shape

Updated: August 27, 2013
Grossman pitch

The Redskins announced the first round of cuts yesterday, but there is more to come today as the team must get its roster size down to 75 by 4 PM today. Stay tuned to DC Pro Sports Report as we announce and analyze each of the cuts as they happen. One of those cuts was CB/PR Richard Crawford, who blew out a knee against the Bills and will need 9 months of rehab. However, assuming Crawford clears waivers, expect him to return to the Redskins.

“He’s a great kid, an unbelievable worker,” Shanahan said. “He’s done everything you ask to give himself the opportunity to be successful. It is a blow not only to him but to us.”

QB Kirk Cousins practiced yesterday and says he will be ready to play, if needed, on September 9 for the season opener.

In today’s must-read, Jason LaCanfora writes that Robert Griffin III will be ready for the season opener and the Redskins will continue to run the read-option offense. Not only that, but that it should be better than ever.

If anything, the Redskins are actually better primed and prepared to utilize the read option this season than they were a year ago. Back then, everyone, except for Griffin who thrived in pistol concepts at Baylor, was figuring it out as they went along. So figuring a team that won its division last season in this fashion to abandon or marginalize it this season is folly. Griffin must get out of bounds and not overextend plays and better protect himself, but the Redskins’ offensive identity isn’t changing.

The best way to protect Griffin is to hand the ball off. Lest we forget Washington was fifth in the NFL in rushing a year ago. Alfred Morris no longer is a rookie running back and should have another monster season. And the entire offensive line — whose strength is much greater as a collective, lacking individual brilliance besides left tackle Trent Williams – returns as well. Running the ball behind Coach Mike Shanahan’s proven zone-blocking scheme, and sprinkling in the read-option out on the perimeter, makes a lot of sense. So the read-option isn’t going anywhere.

“Last year the zone read was a work in progress,” Cousins said, “and somewhat of an experiment, and we were learning on the fly and Robert was sort of teaching everyone how it works most effectively. And now you have a more normal installation of the plays, where we’ve done it before and we have clips of it to show guys, and it’s much more comfortable. That alone should make a big difference.

“It’s a very effective play, and even with a guy like myself who, I’m not going to run it 70 yards for a touchdown, it’s a great changeup. It keeps defenses honest and forces them to think more than just be able to react. It slows them down. There are a lot of benefits even if you don’t have a 4.3 guy behind center, where it can help you win football games. I think you’re going to see it, no matter who is in at quarterback. And how much, I guess, will depend.”

SS Brandon Meriweather will play Thursday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his first action of the preseason.

“We’ve been trying to give him enough time to heal up and give him enough time to show us what he can do,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “He looked good in practice.”

CB Josh Wilson, who got his first preseason action against the Bills, will play again against the Bucs. Ditto for RB Evan Royster, who missed the Buffalo game due to an injured ankle.

WR Santana Moss says he’s willing to return punts, since the Skins now need a punt returner with Richard Crawford injured. However, Moss is 34 and expected to be the team’s slot receiver so he’s not ideal and he didn’t seem too enthusiastic about taking the job. I think the Skins will hand the job to rookie RB Chris Thompson is he manages to not not fumble against Tampa. CB DeAngelo Hall is anohter possibility. Tarik El-Bashir takes a look. So does Joseph White.

RB Alfred Morris had huge success as a rookie and he hasn’t changed his routine or his attitude in his second year in the league. Same old Alfred Morris. That’s good news.

Jason Reid writes that OLB Ryan Kerrigan is making a big impact in his third season with the Redskins and that is no fluke.