Redskins mailbag: Defensive end depth, Pat White, Roy Helu and more …

August 12, 2013

Pat White is battling for a job as the Redskins’ third quarterback, generating a surprising amount of interest, in Mike Jones’s opinion. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

RICHMOND – The Redskins today return to the practice fields for the first time since their preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans. They would’ve done so Saturday, but a thunderstorm just before the start of practice kept that from happening.

Mike Shanahan actually called it a blessing in disguise, because of a number of bumps and bruises his players were nursing.In case you missed it, rookies Phillip Thomas and Jordan Reed remain day-to-day with foot injuries, and Shanahan expects Donte Stallworth to miss some time with the strained left hamstring that he aggravated in Thursday’s game.

Other news: Robert Griffin III is expected to take part in some 11-on-11 snaps on Tuesday.

And now, it’s time for our weekly mailbag on all things Redskins. You ask, I answer – or at least attempt to. Thanks, as always, for taking part. Here we go.

With Jarvis Jenkins out the first four games and Adam Carriker out until 2014, who will start at that defensive end position and what will the Redskins do to get depth at that spot?

 – Tim Foisie

Kedric Golston appears set to fill in as the starter at left end while Jenkins serves his suspension. An eight-year veteran, Golston has served as a backup, seeing action at both right and left end. Twice in his career, he’s started 13 games in a season. Redskins coaches believe that he is capable of getting the job done. His teammates say they don’t expect a drop-off. As far as depth goes, Chris Baker has moved over from nose tackle to left end, where he was expected to backup Jenkins. He will rotate in and out with Golston. The team also has former Dolphins second-rounder Phillip Merling competing for a spot on the roster. He has played primarily at right end behind Stephen Bowen.

Does Pat White have practice squad eligibility left? If so, do you think he’s a candidate?

 – Rich Perillo

Because he played in 13 games as a rookie for Miami, which is enough to count as an accrued season in the NFL, White does not have eligibility. White had a good showing in Thursday’s preseason opener, but Rex Grossman still seems to have a significant edge over him in that competition for the third quarterback spot.

So I know it was only one game, but after seeing Forbath’s kickoffs do you think they bring in a kickoff specialist? One of them literally made it to the 20 and Tennessee started at their own 35 or so …

  – John Vandendriessche

Actually, Forbath did better on kickoffs in Thursday’s game. On the one kick I believe you’re referring to, Fred Davis’s celebration penalty following his touchdown moved Washington back to the 20-yard line (instead of the 35). That kickoff traveled 62 yards to the Tennessee 18. Forbath’s coverage unit didn’t do great there, however, allowing a return to the 42. On Forbath’s other attempt, he kicked the ball eight yards into the end zone for a 73-yard kick off (10 yards further than his average from last season). I expect to see improvement out of him in that area this season. The team did bring in John Potter to compete with Forbath. Potter had two attempts on Thursday as well. In the third quarter, he recorded a 65-yard kickoff to the goal line, and in the fourth quarter, a 67-yard kick, two yards into the end zone. The two will continue to compete, but it’s hard to see the Redskins carrying two kickers on the roster. Given Forbath’s accuracy on field goals, he has the edge.

What will happen with Tanard Jackson when he comes off suspension? Do you think the Redskins will welcome him back? I assume it depends on how our rookies perform.

 – David White

Jackson first must file for reinstatement, and he isn’t eligible until Aug. 31. That’s two days after the final cut-down day, but the Redskins, who haven’t been allowed to contact Jackson, probably could receive a roster exemption so they could evaluate him during a brief window of time and make a decision on his future. But given that he has been away from the game for a year, it’s hard to say what kind of a contribution he could make.

Last week Commissioner Goodell made comments on the Riley Cooper case (which in my opinion was spineless). “Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday that he will let the Philadelphia Eagles punish the fourth-year wide receiver, whose racially insensitive comments emerged Wednesday, without additional penalties from the league because of the league’s collective bargaining agreement prevents it.” If this is true that the league can’t double-penalize a player for the same issue if the team acts first, why can’t the Redskins penalize any of their players they feel may have used a “banned substances” and penalize them for one game? Last question, whatever came of Seattle’s Sherman scenario with his banned substance problems. I haven’t seen a follow-up on that anywhere and he has not missed a game?

 – Michael DeLucia

You’re correct that the league and team cannot double-penalize a player for an infraction, but substance abuse violations are an area that is completely out of the teams’ hands. That’s league territory. On your other question, Richard Sherman won his appeal and avoided suspension.

Am I the only person who thinks Roy Helu’s performance in the first preseason game was pedestrian? He wasn’t doing much until the second-teamers came in from what I recall, but everyone is singing his praises. I’ve long felt that while Roy is great in the open field, he struggles with vision and patience on runs. Secondly, we all know the preseason is a liar, but the difference between Rex Grossman and Pat White on Thursday was massive. I know Rex is a valued mentor and all that, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that he can’t play (and not just from Thursday). What are the chances that, presuming their play for the rest of preseason bears out what we saw Thursday, that White wins the job and Rex is released … maybe with an offer to come back as a coaching assistant?  Would Rex be interested in such a role if offered, do you think?

 – Brian Mulholland

Roy Helu
Roy Helu averaged 4.4 yards per carry and had an 18-yard run nullified on Thursday. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Helu had a solid showing, averaging 4.4 yards a carry. But I wouldn’t say he had an amazing performance. His best run – an 18-yard gain, where he displayed good vision and cutting ability – got called back because of a penalty away from the play. But I think that Helu and his coaches will agree with you that he has his limitations and areas to improve upon. He rarely makes something out of nothing. Yards after contact is an area where Alfred Morris does much better than Helu. And Helu said on Thursday that he’s trying to run with more patience and vision, but that it’s something he’s still learning to do a better job of. I think he’s best suited as a change-of-pace back. He has an ability to rip off a big gain if he gets an opening, and he’s a good receiver out of the backfield, but he’s not a workhorse. As far as quarterbacks go, remember, Pat White had his good drive against a bunch of guys that likely will not be in the NFL next month. I’m not saying Rex is a phenomenal quarterback. But he has White beat as far as experience and knowledge goes. Maybe he’s a little reckless – sometimes a lot reckless – but he’s been there and done that. White may have earned himself some additional playing time, maybe against some second-stringers. So we’ll see how he does then. I have to admit, I don’t get fans’ fascination with White. He’s competing for a third-string job, so he most likely will never get on the field. He is undersize and limited physically. Yes, he can run, but that’s not enough for me. Remember, there have been plenty of flash-in-the-pan preseason guys that fans fall in love with, only to see them never mount to anything in the league. Do Colt Brennan, Marko Mitchell, Marcus Mason and Jimmy Ferris ring a bell?

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @D3Keith @Insider | @PostSports

What’s ahead:

● Today’s practices are at 10 a.m. and 3:20 p.m., the final day of two-a-days. If you’re headed to Richmond, check our our guide to training camp for tips on getting autographs, where to park and things to do after the session is over.

More NFL and Redskins:

Hamilton: The NFL’s preseason is too long, and it’s time to fix it

D.C. Sports Bog: Orakpo’s ‘Bane’ mask might be banned | More Bog

The Amersons: Each is his brother’s keeper | Photos

Griffin’s practice activity to increase in coming days

Reid: Cousins thriving in understudy role

The Early Lead: Wrongly convicted man makes NFL debut | More NFL | News

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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Mark Maske · August 12, 2013

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