As the Redskins head to Arizona, what players could be contending for a spot on this team?
Let’s start off with the wide receiver position. With the Skins keeping three QB’s I see the Skins going with only five wide receivers. Santana Moss and Joey Galloway will lead the way and be solidified as one and two. Moss has had a pretty productive pre-season posting 6 catches for 121 yards and just over 20 yards per catch. Moss has developed a pretty good rapport with quarterbacks he has played with thus far.
Joey Galloway has not shown as much, he caught his first three balls this past Friday at the Jets. His last two years of production has not be encouraging, only appearing in 12 games and catching nine balls. The coaching staff seems pretty comfortable with him though, and has proven he can run routes properly. Initially I thought his placement as the opposite starter to Moss was meant to be a teaching tool for Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, instead it looks like he will be lining up against Dallas to start the game in just over a week.
Anthony Armstrong has been the big story this pre-season. He has seven catches for 101 yards and one touchdown. He has also shown he can be trusted enough to be a down field target, readjusting to a short Donovan McNabb pass for 45 yards. Armstrong has shown he can be dependable and his special teams play has more than spoken for itself with two tackles on punt and kick coverage. He can fly to the ball and make plays. He has easily solidified himself as the third receiver and on this team.
This leaves Devin Thomas, Brandon Banks, Bobby Wade, Roydell Williams, and Terrence Austin for one more spot. Devin Thomas was to content for the second receiver spot, but at the moment I see him dropping to the fourth spot. This is all based on his production so far. Granted, he has not played much outside of the first game,but it has been the coaches that elected to keep him off the field. Many feel that he has already locked up the kick return spot, so that may be his overall saving grace. He has not, however, helped his cause on the offensive side of the ball.
Bobby Wade has not been called on enough, and I feel he will get cut. This leaves Roydell Williams, Terrence Austin and Brandon Banks. In a perfect world you keep Austin and Banks, but this may not be the case. Mike Shanahan has gone on record and said that a big mistake coaches make is keeping draft picks solely because they were drafted. That does not bode well for Austin and Banks, though Banks was undrafted. I think Williams makes the team over the two youngsters because of his experience and because he will be a special teams guy. Williams did cause a fumble versus Buffalo. Banks showed he has burning speed and could be a real threat. He proved that with his 77-yard touchdown versus Buffalo. However, his fumble off a return last Friday showed his inability to absorb big hits. The fumble was actually caused by a strip, so that is definately concerning. Austin has been fair on punt and kick returns, and has five catches for 54 yards, but there simply is not enough room for both on them on the active squad.
Unlike the Jim Zorn regime where he would consistantly only dress four receivers, I think Shanahan will utilize all five and he would like to depend on each of his guys. I hope at least Banks and Austin are stashed on the practice squad. There is no telling how the health of many of the recievers will fair over the course of the season, Austin and Banks may have their numbers called at some point.