Tell me again why we need so many preseason games?
Supposedly, the reason for playing 16 quarters—20 in the case of the Washington Redskins—of full-dress football that doesn't count is to help the coaches decide who will and who won't be on the final 15-man roster.
But with two games to go, the Redskins roster is as good as set.
Here are three sets of roster predictions. One is mine (as of today, 8/20), the other belongs to my friend Robert Large of WarpathInsiders.com (posted on 8/11), the other to Jason LaCanfora (posted on 8/19). I'm only going to discuss differences between them, which is the point here:
Quarterback (3): Campbell, Collins, Brennan
Running back (4): Portis, Betts, Cartwright, Mason—I added Mason from my original list. While I don't necessarily think it's a good idea as it will short another position, it looks like it's going to happen. There is something to be said for keeping the 53 best football players.
Wide receiver (5 per Large, 6 per Tandler and LaCanfora): Moss, Randle El, Thrash, Kelly, Thomas and McMullen (Tandler and Large)
Tight end (3): Cooley, Davis, Yoder
Fullback (1): Sellers
Offensive line (9): Samuels, Kendall, Rabach, Thomas, Jansen, Fabini, Heyer, Reinhardt, and Geisinger (LaCanfora) or Crummey (Tandler and Large)—I think that the fact that Crummey played center against the Jets while Geisinger was sidelined with an injury was a giveaway here. Todd Wade could hang on, but he needs to get out on the field.
So, out of the entire offense, there are two spots that are in serious dispute. Now, on to the defense:
Defensive line (8 per Tandler and LaCanfora, 9 per Large): Taylor, Carter, Griffin, Evans, James, Golston, Montgomery, Alexander, and Wilson (Large)—I think it will be very difficult to keep nine here, as much as I'd like to see Wilson or Jackson on the squad.
Linebackers (7 per Large and Tandler, 6 per LaCanfora): Fletcher, Washington McIntosh, Blades, K. Campbell, Sinclair, and Fincher (Tandler), or a to-be-added veteran (Large).
Corners (5): Springs, Rogers, Smoot, Tryon, Torrence
Safeties (4 per Large and Tandler, 5 per LaCanfora): Landry, Doughty, Horton, and Moore (Tandler and LaCanfora), Fox (LaCanfora and Large)
Specialists (3): Albright, Brooks, Suisham—While we're unanimous in the opinion that Brooks will beat out Frost, the feeling here is that it's far from a sure thing.
So, that's another three disputed spots on defense and you can add the one on special teams. So that the last six spots on the roster up for grabs, players 48 through 59. You can activate only 45 plus your third quarterback on game day.
I would suspect that the coaches have it narrowed down even more, having access to game film and practice tapes.
Even at six, however, is it worth it to play two more exhibition games, further exposing the front-line players to wear and tear and injury?
Are the coaches really going to find out any more about the bubble players than they already know after months of OTA's, minicamp and training camp?
Is it necessary to bilk another 1.5 million fans out of tens of millions dollars more than they've already shelled out for these glorified practices?
I think not in all three cases. Bring on 18 real games and cut these exhibitions back to an absolute minimum.