Washington Redskins Preview vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Washington Redskins travel to Tampa Bay, Thursday night at 7:30pm, for their last preseason match up against the Buccaneers. The Redskins are coming off a 23-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, while the Buccaneers defeated the Buffalo Bills 27-14.
For each team the contest will not be a measure of how well their starters play, as both Head Coaches, Redskins Jay Gruden and Buccaneers Lovie Smith, have announced that the starters will not participate. Instead, the game is the last chance for each coaching staff to evaluate the second and third string players to determine who makes the final roster. The NFL mandates that all teams have their rosters trimmed down from 75 players, to 53 players by 4pm on Saturday, August 30.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. “I don’t like to predetermine my roster spots at all. I like to let these guys compete. They deserve that right, they’ve earned that right. Tampa will be a huge game for a lot of the guys that are competing for the 53.”
The Redskins are still undecided on several special teams positions, including the kicker and punter positions. Last May, the Redskins drafted kicker Zach Hocker in the seventh round to challenge last year’s kicker Kai Forbath. Throughout the preseason the two have battled. At the moment it appears Hocker has exceeded Forbath on kickoffs but Forbath holds the edge in field goal accuracy. Gruden on the kicking battle said, “I don’t think we can go wrong going with either kicker. Unfortunately, we have to probably choose one.”
Gruden on kicking battle: "I don't think we can go wrong going with either kicker. Unfortunately, we have to probably choose one."
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) August 26, 2014
At punter, Robert Malone beat out recently released Blake Clingan for the position, only to see the Redskins sign free agent Tress Way. Neither Malone or Way stood out last week in Baltimore. Thursday night’s performance will probably decide both players’ fate.
On offense, there are still many questions at the running back and receivers positions.
At running back Evan Royster and Lache Seastrunk are battling to join Alfred Morris and Roy Helu on the 53 man roster. Royster, a practice squad player in 2011, has been on the Redskins active roster the past two season. Seastrunk was selected by the Redskins with the 186th overall pick in this year’s draft out of Baylor University. Both players have shown great ability to run within the Redskins’ zone scheme and catch the ball out of the backfield.
The Redskins have to decide whether they will keep five or six receivers on the active roster. Veteran Santana Moss and rookie Ryan Grant are vying for the last spot if the Redskins decide to keep only five receivers. Moss has shown great hands and the ability to take a short pass play and make it into larger gains this preseason. Grant quickly placed himself on the coaching staff’s radar with several big plays earlier in the preseason.
On defense the Redskins seem pretty set with their first and second string. Several players are attempting to make the squad via the special teams. Those players include: Defensive Backs Bashaud Breeland and Chase Minnifield, Linebackers Adam Hayward, Will Compton, and Brandon Jenkins.
The Redskins open the regular season on Sunday, September 7, in Houston against the Texans.