By now you’ve probably heard that the Washington Redskins have signed 30 year-old Levi Jones to play left tackle, and have also signed free agent running back Quinton Ganther. I saw the announcement on redskins.com. Whether or not Levi’s signing is an indicator of Chris Samuels’ injury status for the rest of the season remains to be seen, but I’m guessing it is. More on Jones later. First, let’s discuss Ganther and the resigning of Renaldo Wynn.
Bringing Renaldo Wynn back indicates that Hunter Smith is considered ready to go for next Monday night. Wynn was cut to make room for Glenn Pakulak, Smith’s emergency fill-in. That’s a total no-brainer. Depth on the defensive line is always a good thing.
Quinton Ganther’s signing is interesting. He reportedly has the versatility to play both halfback and fullback, and is considered to be a solid special teams player, as well. Think of him as offering a lot of bang for the buck. Here’s what the Tennessee Titans’ site says about him: Running back Quinton Ganther is a downhill runner who packs substantial power in his 5-foot-9 frame. He is versatile enough to contribute as a featured tailback or a fullback. In his first two years with the Titans, he spent the majority of his time on the team’s practice squad (on active roster Sept. 16-30, 2006 and Oct. 20-Nov. 5, 2007). Then, in 2008, he spent his first full season on the club’s 53-man roster, contributing nine carries for 61 yards and six receptions for 43 yards in 13 games. In pre-draft workouts, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds and bench pressed 430 pounds. He was selected with the Titans’ third pick of the seventh round (compensatory selection, 246th overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft.
To make room for Ganther and Jones, the Redskins released both Anthony Alridge and Marcus Mason. Alridge, despite his incredible speed, was little more than an insurance policy. When you have a hole at left tackle, you need a lot more than insurance. Mason, who only carried the ball a few times this season, always did what the Redskins asked of him. He led all running backs during last year’s preseason, and showed enough this year for the Skins to assign him to the active roster. He’s a tough runner in-between the tackles. I suspect Ganther’s versatility made Mason expendable. I hope Mason catches on with another team, because he can definitely play in the NFL.
Levi Jones was cut by Cincinnati in May. Here’s what BengalStripes.com had to say about him back in March: Personally I can’t imagine the Bengals get much in return for the seven-year veteran, who has missed a lot of time due to injury since the 2005 season. From 2002-2005, Jones played in 63 of Cincinnati’s 64 regular season games, including 60 of which he started. Since 2005, Jones played in 31 of the team’s 48 regular season games and started only 28. Earlier in that same blog piece it was stated that Jones had become a fan favorite due to his willingness to play through pain. I imagine the fact he demanded to be traded before the 2008 draft didn’t exactly endear him to Marvin Lewis. Ultimately though, injuries took their toll on him. How healthy is Levi Jones now? I figure the more relevant question is what kind of shape is he in? I wouldn’t bet any of my money on him playing against the Eagles. Nonetheless, he’s a good pick-up who could ultimately be a great pick-up. Remember, he already got his guaranteed money from the Bengals – all $40 million of it. The Redskins don’t have to make him rich.
It looks as if the Redskins haven’t thrown in the towel. That’s a good thing. Go Skins!