- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 14, 2014

After nearly three weeks of nonstop practices, walkthroughs and meetings, the Redskins earned a measure of reprieve on Thursday when they reported for work not in Richmond, but at their full-time facility in Ashburn.

That didn’t mean training camp or the preseason is over. With three more games beckoning and the first cut to 75 players looming on Aug. 26, the next week and a half will be crucially important for players and coaches alike to evaluate themselves, position-by-position, before an initial 53-man roster must be set on Aug. 30.

Exactly where do they stand? Here’s an educated guess at what the roster might look like as the Redskins enter their Week 1 game at Houston.

On The Team: Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins
Bubble Watch: Colt McCoy

If the Redskins choose to keep McCoy, it will be solely predicated on their worries about Griffin’s ability to stay healthy long-term. McCoy isn’t a prototypical No. 3 quarterback, and they could find a suitable veteran replacement during the season in case of injury. Keeping McCoy also will affect numbers at other positions.

On The Team: Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, fullback Darrel Young
Bubble Watch: Evan Royster, Chris Thompson, Lache Seastrunk, Silas Redd

SEE ALSO: Bashaud Breeland will ‘deal with the consequences’ after marijuana citation

Coach Jay Gruden has said he will keep three running backs and a fullback, which means aside from Morris and Helu, every other running back is competing for one job. The speedy, shifty Thompson seems to be the favorite, but he has to prove he can stay healthy. Seastrunk and Redd could end up on the practice squad.

On The Team: Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Santana Moss, Ryan Grant, Aldrick Robinson, Leonard Hankerson (PUP)
Bubble Watch: Nick Williams
Likely Out: Rashad Lawrence, Rashad Ross, Lee Doss, Cody Hoffman

Conventional thinking would dictate that the Redskins will keep six wide receivers, but Gruden alluded last week to the potential of a seventh. If so, that bodes well for Robinson or Williams, one of whom would likely be replaced when Hankerson returns from ACL surgery. Grant, a rookie, runs crisp routes; Williams needs to prove his worth on special teams.

On The Team: Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul
Likely Out: Ted Bolser, Mike Caussin, Matt Veldman

Perhaps the most clear-cut position on the roster, the only way Bolser works his way into active roster contention is if there are concerns about Reed’s long-term health. Otherwise, the seventh-round pick is ticketed for the practice squad.

On The Team: Tackles Trent Williams, Tyler Polumbus and Morgan Moses; guards Shawn Lauvao, Chris Chester and Spencer Long; center Kory Lichtensteiger
Bubble Watch: Tackle Tom Compton; guards Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis; center Mike McGlynn
Likely Out: Tackle Maurice Hurt; guards Kevin Kowalski and Tevita Stevens

SEE ALSO: NFL seeks best policy for marijuana use

In addition to the five starters, the two third-round picks are locks for the roster — but they won’t necessarily be ready to step into the game in a pinch. Versatility, then, is important for those hoping for the final two or three spots. Which interior linemen can also fill in at center? Compton is the most sound swing tackle of the group.

On The Team: Nose tackles Barry Cofield and Chris Neild; defensive ends Jason Hatcher, Chris Baker, Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston and Stephen Bowen (PUP)
Bubble Watch: Defensive ends Clifton Geathers and Frank Kearse
Likely Out: Defensive ends Jake McDonough and Jeremy Towns; nose tackle Robert Thomas

The true test for Hatcher will be later in the preseason as he returns to team drills and, as projected next week, preseason competition. If he’s not ready, Geathers or Kearse could be given the extra nod. Bowen’s potential return from microfracture surgery on his knee later in the season will muddy the numbers.

On The Team: Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Rob Jackson
Bubble Watch: Adrian Robinson, Everette Brown, Gabe Miller

Jackson, entering his seventh season in Washington, has been running with the second team, but Robinson has earned praise for his instinctive play, Brown has looked sharp despite note being picked up until early in camp and Miller is continuing a transition from tight end.

On The Team: Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Adam Hayward
Bubble Watch: Will Compton, Darryl Sharpton, Akeem Jordan
Likely Out: Jeremy Kimbrough

Hayward will make the team because of his prowess on special teams. Sharpton, who started eight games last season in Houston, is in danger because of a high right ankle sprain. Compton, on the practice squad all last year, needs to prove he can tackle. Jordan is in trouble because he struggles in coverage.

On The Team: DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, E.J. Biggers, Bashaud Breeland
Bubble Watch: Tracy Porter, Richard Crawford, Chase Minnifield
Likely Out: Bryan Shepherd

Biggers has been running as the first-team nickelback over Porter, who likely won’t be cleared to play in a preseason game until Aug. 22 at Baltimore following offseason shoulder surgery. Breeland shouldn’t face any blowback from his Aug. 11 citation for marijuana possession. Crawford and Minnifield need to prove their worth on special teams.

On The Team: Brandon Meriweather, Ryan Clark, Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo
Bubble Watch: Trenton Robinson, Akeem Davis
Likely Out: Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith, Ross Madison

Despite his issues with staying healthy, coaches still have big hopes for Thomas this season. Robinson, filling in as the second-team strong safety with Thomas sidelined, is a physical player. Davis may stick as a gunner on special teams.

On The Team: Kai Forbath, Robert Malone, Nick Sundberg
Bubble Watch: Zach Hocker, Blake Clingan

The battle between Forbath and Hocker won’t be settled until after the fourth preseason game, but Forbath, for now, has the edge based on experience. The same holds true for Malone, who has played in 31 games over four seasons while Clingan has played in zero.

• Zac Boyer can be reached at zboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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