- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 31, 2003

The Washington Redskins made their final cuts yesterday, and the result was an unconventional 53-man roster that features two quarterbacks, two tight ends, four tailbacks and a nine-man defensive line with an average of more than six years of NFL experience.

In addition to yesterday’s most notable cuts — quarterbacks Danny Wuerffel and Gibran Hamdan and running back Kenny Watson — the Redskins released former Maryland defensive tackle Del Cowsette, highly regarded defensive end Bernard Jackson and safety Ricot Joseph, a key special teams contributor last season.

Washington’s coaching and personnel staffs decided to go with a veteran defensive line that includes four tackles acquired during the offseason: starters Jermaine Haley and Bernard Holsey and backups Lional Dalton and Martin Chase.

That left Cowsette, a former Terrapins star who played in all 16 games with the Redskins the last two seasons, packing his bags.

“I knew they only could keep four tackles,” Cowsette said. “I thought I played well enough to be one of the four, but I guess they had other acquisitions, so they wanted to see what those guys looked like.”

With ends Bruce Smith, Regan Upshaw, Renaldo Wynn, Peppi Zellner and Ladairis Jackson, the Redskins will have one of the league’s oldest unit of defensive linemen.

Another of Washington’s roster anomalies is the fact the team will carry only two tight ends after cutting undrafted rookie Kevin Ware. Zeron Flemister and Robert Royal will be the only two on the roster, and yesterday coach Steve Spurrier said Flemister has regained his starting spot three weeks after losing it to Royal.

The Redskins’ season-opening roster includes a couple of surprises. Unknown Brandon Winey won the final spot on the offensive line, beating out third-year guard Brad Bedell. Undrafted rookie Ade Jimoh won the No.4 cornerback job after eight-year veteran Alex Molden was cut last week.

Third-year linebacker Orantes Grant and second-year safety Todd Franz benefited from the low number of quarterbacks and tight ends, likely grabbing the last two roster spots based on their ability to play special teams.

Johnson steps up at WR

After a strong push at the end of the preseason, Patrick Johnson has moved ahead of wide receivers Taylor Jacobs and Cliff Russell on the Redskins’ depth chart.

Johnson, a veteran free agent acquisition, had four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown Thursday night at Jacksonville and wound up leading the squad with eight preseason receptions.

“He’s come on strongly,” Spurrier said. “He definitely made the team in the last couple games.”

Washington kept six receivers on its 53-man roster: starters Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner, followed by Johnson, Jacobs, Russell and Darnerian McCants.

Spurrier plans to dress four or five receivers for each game, meaning at least one player from the group will have to be inactive.

Extra points

Safety Ifeanyi Ohalete, who supplanted David Terrell during the preseason, continues to play with the first-team defense and is in line to start Thursday night’s season opener against the Jets. Jermaine Haley and Bernard Holsey are set to start at defensive tackle, though they will be rotated in and out with Lional Dalton and Martin Chase, two veterans who were acquired via trade within the last two weeks. …

Center Larry Moore, out the last four weeks with a sprained knee, practiced yesterday and is expected to start Thursday. “He had a little brace, but he was moving around very well,” Spurrier said. “He should be close to full speed.” …

Spurrier has not decided who will start at fullback, but either way Bryan Johnson and Rock Cartwright both will see significant playing time. “They may alternate starting as the season goes,” he said. “They’re very close.” …

The Redskins placed Chris Clemons on injured reserve with a sprained shoulder, which the rookie linebacker sustained during the game at Jacksonville.

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