Many Players Remain for Just a Few Spots

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 31, 2006

In years past, the Washington Redskins would have made almost all their roster cuts prior to the exhibition finale. But tonight, they will have 76 players at their disposal when they face the Baltimore Ravens at FedEx Field. The change, a result of the new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players, allows clubs to evaluate their depth players longer, while also making it easier to rest their veterans for much of the final preseason game, which is the norm.

This game is used primarily to gauge the final few spots on the 53-man roster. It's unlikely Washington's starters will get more than a quarter of work, but there will be no shortage of players clamoring for a look in the game, knowing that anything they do well will help their chances of finding a job elsewhere if they don't make the Redskins.

"Taking the extra guys into this last game will be helpful," said Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense.

The Redskins must cut down to 53 players by Saturday afternoon, but probably will have the roster set tomorrow, following a review of the preseason game. In years past, however, those released at the final cuts have found a way of coming back when injuries and other unforeseen issues strike.

"Some of the guys who won't make the final cut will be on our callback list," Williams said.

A Teaching Opportunity

With Saturday's game between the Redskins and Patriots already well out of hand, New England Coach Bill Belichick mulled over a fourth-and-goal situation, and ultimately opted to run the ball for what turned out to be another touchdown in the 41-0 blowout. Williams was hoping that decision would be made, not looking at it as someone running up the score, but rather, a valuable teaching tool for his defensive players.

Williams said he was smiling, looking over across the sideline at Belichick, a friend of his, and trying to convey a go-for-it message.

"One of the positives we talked about in our film session was we got nine snaps of goal-line defense," Williams said. "We might go eight weeks of the regular season and not have any snaps, because you're just never into that situation. So we got a chance to work on that situation. Out of those nine snaps, I think seven of them were really good snaps. So we've got to build off of that; two of them we have to correct. They get it in by an inch. We've got to teach off of that."

Injury Update

Many regulars will miss this game, including defensive linemen Renaldo Wynn (ankle), Cornelius Griffin (knee), Demetric Evans (infected wisdom tooth) and Phillip Daniels (back), along with running back Clinton Portis (partially dislocated shoulder) and cornerback Shawn Springs (abdominal surgery). Second-year linebacker Robert McCune (hamstring) is also out. . . .

Veteran punter Toby Gowin, who was brought in for a tryout Tuesday but wasn't signed after losing out to Eddie Johnson, was not called back to Redskins Park yesterday. Gowin's agent, Paul Sheehy, said he has had no communication with Washington since Gowin left the facility. Punter Travis Dorsch, who had a strong camp for the New York Giants before being cut, cleared waivers yesterday, according to his agent, Steven Dorsch. Dorsch had not heard from the Redskins as of last night, but had been contacted by at least one team, Indianapolis. "Washington would be the first place we'd like to try out, but we'll have to see if they have any interest," Dorsch said. As it stands, incumbent Derrick Frost would handle the punting and kickoff duties exclusively tonight.

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