- The Washington Times - Monday, September 1, 2014

As the Washington Redskins began their first full week of regular-season preparation, the locker room at Redskins Park was a little bit different and a lot less crowded.

In the previous 72 hours, first-year coach Jay Gruden and his staff had whittled a 75-man roster to 53 players and an eight-man practice squad. They had added one player, safety Duke Ihenacho, on a waiver claim. And although players can always be released or signed during the season, the moves offered a brief sense of finality before Sunday’s season-opener in Houston.

“There were some battles that were very close that we could’ve gone in a couple different directions, but decisions have to be made,” Gruden said. “I feel like Bruce [Allen], myself, the coaches, we did a good job of talking through every scenario, numbers-wise. … I think we did a good job. But only time will tell.”

After a fierce competition at running back, the Redskins decided to keep only three players — Alfred Morris, Roy Helu and undrafted rookie Silas Redd — on their active roster. Chris Thompson, who missed much of the preseason with an ankle injury, was signed to the team’s practice squad.

In the process, Washington cut three-year veteran Evan Royster and sixth-round draft pick Lache Seastrunk. Releasing Seastrunk, and also choosing not to sign him to the practice squad, drew ire from some fans after his 80-yard touchdown catch in the team’s preseason finale.

“It’s not over for Lache,” Gruden said. “I’m sure somebody will get a look at him, and it could be us later on. But we’ll see. … We feel good about the three guys we kept.”

The Redskins decided to keep Thompson on the practice squad with hopes that he will be able to stay healthy. Gruden said Thompson could be activated “sooner than later” if he answers the questions surrounding his durability.

The team added two more players to its practice squad Monday — safety Akeem Davis, who was waived Sunday to make room for Ihenacho, and linebacker Chaz Sutton, an undrafted free agent out of South Carolina who was waived last week by the Buccaneers.

Gruden was pleased with the addition of Ihenacho, a strong safety who was released by the Denver Broncos. Ihenacho started 17 games for the Broncos last season, including the Super Bowls. He finished with 67 tackles, three forced fumbles and nine passes defended.

“I think he brings some experience to the table,” Gruden said. “We didn’t know who was going to come available. We saw that he was there, we put a claim in to him because of the experience level and special teams experience. We thought he could be an immediate help for us, and luckily we got him.”

Depending on his comfort level with the defensive playbook, Ihenacho said he could start at strong safety on Sunday in place of Brandon Meriweather, who is suspended for the first two weeks of the regular season. But Gruden said the Redskins did not claim Ihenacho specifically to help replace their suspended starter. The 25-year-old is expected to primarily contribute on special teams.

While Ihenacho joined the team at practice, several other defensive players worked on an auxiliary field because of injuries. Cornerback Tracy Porter re-injured his hamstring on Saturday, Gruden said, and the team is taking a cautious approach with him.

Linebacker Akeem Jordan, who sprained his knee against Tampa Bay, also practiced on the side field. Gruden was unsure whether Jordan would be able to play Sunday.

“We don’t know yet. We’ll have to see how he’s doing [Wednesday],” Gruden said. “It’s kind of a day-to-day thing with it, and we’ll go from there.”

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