The Washington Redskins will have a quick turnaround from playing late Sunday afternoon to their final exhibition game Thursday at Tampa Bay.
While the starters won’t see the field, Jay Gruden and his staff will use the final four quarters of the preseason to make evaluations on who should be awarded the final roster spots.
With the cut to 53 men looming, here are four Redskins who need a good showing Thursday night to finalize their case to be on the Week 1 roster against Philadelphia.
Jeremy Sprinkle, TE
That doesn’t look to be the case, but for Sprinkle, a good showing Thursday could mean the difference between the 53-man roster or a place on the practice squad.
With Jordan Reed’s injury history, the Redskins would like to keep four tight ends and for Sprinkle to be included in that group with his 6-foot-5, 252-pound size and catching ability that included a school-record 11 touchdowns at Arkansas.
However, the rookie has only one catch for 5 yards and shown some questionable blocking at times, while Niles Paul provides versatility as a tight end, fullback and on special teams.
Versatility and reliability could provide Paul that third spot.
Should it come down to Sprinkle and Derek Carrier, Sprinkle’s youth, size and the potential he showed worthy of a fifth-round pick should win him a spot. A standout performance Thursday with more snaps will solidify his case.
Brian Quick, WR
Heading into training camp it looked like the Redskins might keep just five wide receivers, but six is a solid possibility considering Josh Doctson’s health hasn’t allowed him to remain consistently on the field.
Quick has been much better in camp than when he was in minicamp and offseason activities.
The Redskins are evaluating Quick, Maurice Harris and rookie sixth-round pick Robert Davis, who has shown quite well in training camp and could contribute on multiple special team units.
While Quick did catch two balls for 19 yards Sunday against Cincinnati, a drop that got the most attention was a pass into his chest that he couldn’t haul in for a touchdown from Colt McCoy.
Quinton Dunbar, CB
In April, it was a reasonable thought that third-round draft pick Fabian Moreau would start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list after tearing his pectoral muscle during his draft workouts. However, Moreau got healthy in time for the preseason. After missing the start of camp, Moreau has worked with the first and second team and made plays on special teams.
Also hurting Dunbar’s case for inclusion is seventh-round pick Joshua Holsey, who is making a strong case for the fifth corner spot and backup nickel back.
Last week Gruden spoke about the rookie out of Auburn noting, ”Holsey’s doing an excellent job though, you know? For a rookie, a seventh-round pick, he’s surpassed expectations by far. He’s done a good job both outside and inside.”
Holsey responded Sunday with a pass break up to end one second-half drive and sacked AJ McCarron on a corner blitz to end another series.
Holsey has flashed more talent than you’d think from a last-round pick, showing he can play in the slot and contribute on numerous special teams.
The Redskins could try to stash Holsey on the practice squad, but there’s the risk he could get snatched up by another team.
Nate Sudfeld, QB
There’s a numbers game here and the Redskins may need space with so many needs and depth issues at wide receiver, defensive line, corner and safety. Would it be such a crazy idea to store Sudfeld on the practice squad?
McCoy’s performance Sunday (8 of 11, 76 yards, one touchdown) solidified that he is the backup, while Sudfeld saw the field for just a victory-formation snap.
Sudfeld hasn’t made drastic strides this preseason to challenge for the backup job or shown any reason why a team would try to sign him if he were released.
Would the Redskins rather use a roster spot on a third-string quarterback who won’t be active for game days, or use the spot for depth on an area of need in their current state?
— Wes McElroy hosts “McElroy in the Morning” on Fox Sports 910 in Richmond, Va., covering the Washington Redskins, ACC football and Atlantic 10 basketball. He’s the studio host for VCU Basketball and in the fall hosts “The College Football Tailgate Show” across Virginia. Read his weekly column “What I Learned in Sports this Week” in the Richmond Times Dispatch every Sunday. You can find him on Twitter @WesFoxSports910.
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