Redskins set final roster, make changes at receiver

The Washington Redskins continued the sweeping change at the wide receiver position Friday night in keeping seven on their final roster.

Brandon Banks, Aldrick Robinson and Dezmon Briscoe survived, while roster incumbents Anthony Armstrong and Terrence Austin were waived.

The Redskins reduced their roster to 52 players, instead of the league-mandated 53, by Friday’s 9 p.m. deadline. The highest-profile moves out of 23 made by the team included putting free safety Tanard Jackson on the reserve/suspended list and releasing veteran running back Tim Hightower.

The Redskins presumably will fill the vacant roster spot in the near future.

Robinson and Briscoe led the Redskins in preseason receiving yards. In choosing them over Armstrong and Austin, the Redskins went with a pair of receivers who did not play in a game for the team last season.

Robinson, a sixth-round pick in 2011, demonstrated this summer an ability to effectively run a variety of routes, not just vertical ones designed to exploit his exceptional speed. His 49-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown in the second preseason game against Chicago impressed coach Mike Shanahan.

Robinson spent all but one week of his rookie season on the practice squad. Briscoe, meanwhile, was signed after training camp began this summer.

Tampa Bay released him in July because of off-the-field issues and poor conditioning, not talent. He proved in the preseason that his route running, hands and ability to adjust to an underthrown pass are traits that can help the Redskins.

Briscoe dangled, uncertain of his fate until he tweeted at 8:58 p.m.: “HTTR!” (Hail to the Redskins.)

Armstrong and Austin played for Washington during each of Shanahan’s first two seasons. The Redskins explored with the Miami Dolphins a trade that could have included Armstrong and Dolphins running back Steve Slaton, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed. It was not consummated, though, and Slaton made Miami’s final roster.

Banks’ elite speed helped him make the team for a third straight season. His 156 all-purpose yards on only seven touches in the preseason finale were a tremendous boost to his roster chances, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

Shanahan said during the summer that Banks needed to make the team as a receiver, but with sixth others on the team, it’s unclear how much he’ll actually need to play that position.

Jackson’s suspension is a major blow to a secondary that already presented significant questions. He is out indefinitely for violating NFL’s league’s substance abuse policy, a league spokesman said Friday afternoon.

This is Jackson’s third drug-related suspension. He missed the first four games of the 2009 season for his first violation. His second suspension, which lasted about 13 months, cost him the last 14 games of 2010 and the first five of 2011.

When Tampa Bay released Jackson in April, Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik told reporters he was not aware that Jackson had failed any new drug test or was facing additional disciplinary action from the league.

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