Washington went through roster cuts on Friday and got down to 52 players – one fewer than the league’s roster limit. The Redskins purposely left that spot open so they could use it to acquire a player through waivers on Saturday.
They used the spot on Butler, a 6-foot, 191-pound former Clemson product, who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He appeared in four games for the Steelers, recording one tackle. He opened the 2011 season with the Arizona Cardinals, but was placed on Injured Reserve with a dislocated ankle on Sept. 20.
Butler played in three preseason games for the Cardinals this year, recording three tackles and an interception.
“We feel like he’s a football player,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “We liked his speed in Pittsburgh. He’d had an injury but we feel like he’s over that.”
That move completes the 53-man roster, and the Redskins are currently filling out their eight-man practice squad. Already they have added defensive end Doug Worthington (who spent all of last year there) and sixth-round pick Tom Compton and receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux, who had been in camp with the Vikings.
Highlights from Shanahan’s post-cutdown-day presser:
- On the suspension of Tanard Jackson, Shanahan said: “I was disappointed because I really like the guy and how he works. … Good football player, great guy.” Shanahan said the team found out for sure that Jackson was suspended on Friday. He said Jackson’s absence for last Monday’s practice was related to Jackson’s appeal of the suspension.
- Shanahan said he feels good about the safety depth that the Redskins have with starters Brandon Meriweather and Madieu Williams, and Reed Doughty, DeJon Gomes and Jordan Bernstine as the backups.
- Shanahan said cutting Tim Hightower was “a tough decision,” but he hinted that the team might be interested in bringing Hightower back later this season if he is healthier.
- Shanahan said he knows who his starting running back will be, but wouldn’t say who. Don’t be surprised to see platoon duty, with a guy like Evan Royster starting, and then another back, maybe Alfred Morris, getting a steady workload throughout the game as well.
- Shanahan said Brandon Banks proved to him that he could play wide receiver, but that Banks “made the team as a playmaker.” Shanahan said, “we’ve got to find ways to get the ball in his hands.” He said that he can envision Banks lining up at tailback from time to time as well.
- Dezmon Briscoe’s size gave him the edge over Anthony Armstrong for the final wide receiver spot. Shanahan said Armstrong’s body type and skillset isn’t very different from Pierre Garcon and Aldrick Robinson. Because of that, Shanahan said Armstrong wouldn’t have dressed on game days if both were Garcon and Robinson were healthy. Briscoe is unique, however, and Shanahan said “I think you guys will like Briscoe in the future.”
- The Redskins have six of their seven draft picks on the roster, and the seventh on the practice squad. Shanahan said, “We feel pretty lucky. … It’s rather unusual.”
- Shanahan said he’s happy with the development of rookie guard/center Josh LeRibeus. The team cut last year’s backup center Erik Cook, but the coach said between LeRibeus, Kory Lichtensteiger and Chris Chester, who all have center experience, the team will be well prepared if something happens to Will Montgomery.
- Side note: Anthony Armstrong has been claimed by the Miami Dolphins, a day after the trade discussions between the Redskins and Dolphins fell apart. Tackle Willie Smith was claimed by the Oakland Raiders.