Bubble Watch for Redskins Training Camp
Training camp begins July 25, and the Washington Redskins have plenty of guys on the roster bubble this summer.
Entering his fourth year as head coach, Mike Shanahan has drafted and signed guys that beef up camp competition and make it a tough road ahead for more than a handful of guys.
Not a bad problem to have if you're looking to run a successful football team.
Here's a look at 10 guys who may find their way onto -- or perhaps off of -- the roster bubble.
According to Rich Campbell of the Washington Times, Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker will begin training camp on the active/PUP list as he continues to rehab from a tear in his right quadriceps suffered at the beginning of last season.
Carriker was expected to be full go in camp this summer, but a setback suffered somewhere around early January has put the 29-year-old defensive end's future in question, at least for the 2013 season.
“I’m not sure what we want to disclose at this point,” Carriker said. “It was a setback, clearly, and obviously led to another surgery. Obviously it set me back. I wasn’t able to do any of the offseason activities and be on the field. It was just a setback and we’ll leave it at that for right now. Maybe we’ll elaborate at a later date.”
After signing Carriker to a three-year deal in March of 2012, it's tough to think the Redskins would release him.
A serious quadriceps injury, however, is no small deal.
There's no doubting the benefit Carriker brings to the defense when he's healthy. It was just a year ago that he registered one of his best seasons as a pro, posting 5.5 sacks.
But Carriker is owed $4.7 million next season with a $2 million option bonus, and then $4.7 million in 2015 before becoming a free agent in 2016 (via Rotoworld). If the Redskins are that worrisome about Carriker's tendon and his durability moving forward, harsh moves may be a possibility.
Until any sort of desperation sets in, though, don't count Carriker out.
“I feel like I’m just pacing back and forth inside of a cage at the zoo like a caged tiger,” he said. “Just pacing, waiting for that door to open. At some point it’s going to, and I can’t wait to be ready to just pounce out of it and play some football.”
Despite the one-year contract he signed in April, Rex Grossman may not be around come September.
Although starting quarterback Robert Griffin III is returning from a torn ACL suffered at the end of last season, his rehab has been nothing short of incredible. The Redskins have no reason to doubt that the second-year signal-caller will deliver on his "all in for Week 1" assurance.
Griffin's recovery, combined with the coaches' confidence in backup Kirk Cousins, could leave the 32-year-old Grossman on the outside looking in.
As Rich Tandler of CSN Washington mentions, Shanahan didn't carry three quarterbacks on his roster for most of the time he was in Denver. And if possible, he'd rather not use the final roster spot on a player who's unlikely to play.
Shanahan can get creative with how he uses the 53rd roster spot. If so, Grossman likely wouldn't be a part of the plan.
Coaches seem to be big fans of veteran linebacker Bryan Kehl, but that won't mean he's handed a roster spot on a silver platter. Competition will be tough at the linebacker position.
That said, the 29-year-old Kehl has a good shot at finding his spot, as his talent and efficiency on special teams makes him a valuable player and reliable backup.
With the departure of Lorenzo Alexander this offseason, the Redskins may feel comfortable with Kehl taking the reigns as their special teams ace.
Originally signed by the Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Lance Lewis was forced to spend his first season on IR following an injury.
The Redskins brought him back this season and the former East Carolina wideout has a shot at being a part of the team's uncertain stable of receivers.
After Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan, the position has positive competition amongst Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson, Dezmon Briscoe, Donte Stallworth, Devery Henderson and Lewis.
Given his size (6'2"), soft hands and work ethic, Lewis is an attractive prospect.
Chase Minnifield battled injuries all last year, but he's now cleared and ready to play football.
And at a competitive position like cornerback, Minnifield has a good shot at sticking.
“You can tell he’s not 100 percent yet, but once he gets there, you can tell he’s another [player] who’s been around football his whole life,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. “He’s got football instincts and you can see that right now, even when he’s not moving at 100 percent.”
With DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson returning as starters, recently-signed E.J. Biggers and rookie David Amerson should provide depth, which would then leave Richard Crawford and Chase Minnifield possibly fighting for the last spot.
The Redskins could've used some help at right tackle last season, which would makes sense as to why they added a veteran like Tony Pashos.
Pashos was out of football last year as he recovered from a gross foot injury. But he's since been cleared to play and the Redskins took a shot on the 32-year-old tackle with a one-year deal and a camp opportunity.
The right tackle position seems to be one that's up in the air, fielding fair competition between at least four guys.
Perhaps it's best to label the entire position "on the bubble."
If you're interested in reading about what kind of tough veteran Pashos really is, check out this article by Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer. It's hard not to root for this guy.
Even with a heavy dose of Penn State alumnus running through Redskins Nation, running back Evan Royster may need much more than fan support to stick on Washington's final roster.
Not only did Royster only receive 23 carries last season in his second year as a pro, but the Redskins also added Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison in the draft, and they're expecting to see Roy Helu Jr. return to action.
It's tough to count anyone out at this point in the year, but Royster is going to have one hell of a tough road making this team.
Mike Shanahan didn't want to see Donte Stallworth leave following his 2011 stint with the Redskins, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post, but the veteran receiver chose otherwise and signed a deal with the New England Patriots.
An injury in his first game last year forced Stallworth to miss the entire rest of the season and now he's back for another shot in Washington.
The Redskins signed Stallworth to a one-year deal in early June.
Like many of the other receivers in camp, Stallworth, despite turning 33 this November, has a chance to make the final roster. After Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan, the position appears to field some decent competition across the board, and Stallworth's experienced route running can serve as a benefit.
Battling alongside Tony Pashos, Tyler Polumbus and second-year man Tom Compton, Jeremy Trueblood was signed by the Redskins in hopes they can pull something out of the 30-year-old former Tampa Bay tackle.
Trueblood started 84 games in his seven years with the Bucs, but the team benched him multiple times last season due to ineffectiveness.
In terms of building competition, the Redskins did a decent job at the right tackle position by bringing in a couple veterans, and for a team-friendly price.
Regardless of coach, coordinator or scheme, Reed Doughty sticks.
Since being drafted in the sixth round by Washington in 2006, Doughty has been a member of the Redskins.
If you're a bettor, Doughty on the roster bubble seems a bit unwise. But the Redskins added two safeties in this past draft, Doughty turns 31 this season and he's in the last year of his contract.
The Redskins obviously enjoy having Doughty on the team. He's a veteran leader, he's a solid tackler and he's an asset on special teams.
His ability to cover, however, has never been a strong suit.
By way of guys like Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo, the Redskins went after safeties who could cover and make plays in the deep half.
Perhaps changing ways put Doughty's job in danger?
Yeah, probably not.