Washington Redskins make final cuts; Chad Rinehart, Willie Parker among those let go

By Paul Tenorio and Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, September 4, 2010; 10:25 PM

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan finalized his first 53-man roster Saturday, further distancing the team from the previous regime by cutting ties with two more members of the disappointing 2008 draft class.

Offensive lineman Chad Rinehart, a third-round pick in 2008, was released and cornerback Justin Tryon, a fourth-round pick, was traded to the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday.

Linebacker Rob Jackson, a seventh-round pick in 2008, also was released, though a league source said he is a candidate to be signed to the team's practice squad.

Those three players join the casualties of a draft class that included punter Durant Brooks (sixth round) and Colt Brennan (sixth round), both of whom were released, Brooks in 2008 and Brennan this August.

Wide receiver Malcolm Kelly, a second-round selection in '08, was placed on injured reserve last week with a hamstring injury, and Devin Thomas, another second-round selection, made the roster but is buried on the depth chart at wide receiver.

The moves are part of an overhaul that emphasized Shanahan's belief that draft choices get no special treatment when it comes to roster cuts, and that the best players will be kept regardless of experience or pedigree.

The Redskins also cut or traded four of their six selections from the 2010 draft - Shanahan's first with the team.

"The worst thing people can do is keep a draft pick just to keep a draft pick," Shanahan said earlier this week. "What you do is you keep the people who give you the best chance to win."

Among the day's highest profile moves was the release of veteran running back Willie Parker, which was not a surprise.

The former Pittsburgh Steelers star was signed this offseason along with former Kansas City Chiefs star Larry Johnson to provide depth and competition for incumbent Clinton Portis. During the summer, however, it was clear that Portis and Johnson had separated themselves as the top two running backs on the depth chart.

First-round pick Brian Orakpo and third-rounder Kevin Barnes remain from the Redskins' six-man 2009 draft class. Sixth-rounder Robert Henson injured his knee in the Redskins final preseason game and was cut Saturday.

Not one member of the 2008 draft class is expected to start on Sept. 12 when the Redskins open the season in prime time against the Dallas Cowboys, though safety Kareem Moore had won a job before a knee injury sidelined him.

Rinehart had failed to impress coaches since he was selected by Washington in the third round out of Northern Iowa. He did not play at all as a rookie and was inactive for 13 games. Last season, injuries forced Rinehart into the lineup, where he struggled in pass protection before he was placed on injured reserve with a fractured fibula.

Tryon, meanwhile, saw mostly special teams action as a rookie in 2008 before eventually overtaking Fred Smoot as the nickel corner last season. Tryon played well against slot receivers in his new role, but fell behind second-year corner Barnes and veteran Phillip Buchanon this offseason.

Parker eventually was overtaken by young backs Ryan Torain and Keiland . The Redskins also released Torain, though a league source said they planned to sign him to the practice squad if he clears waivers.

Williams, an undrafted free agent out of LSU, impressed the coaching staff enough to leapfrog the two more experienced backs in front of him for a spot on the roster.

Two players considered on the bubble - cornerback Byron Westbrook and defensive lineman Jeremy Jarmon - did make the final roster.

Westbrook played in the team's preseason finale. The special teams standout is the fifth cornerback on the roster.

Jarmon, a third-round selection out of Kentucky in the supplemental draft last season, initially appeared as though he might have lost out in a numbers crunch on the defensive line.

The second-year player was initially asked to lose weight and move to outside linebacker in the team's new 3-4 scheme. But Jarmon did not immediately fare well in the new assignment, so he was moved back to end and instructed to add more weight.

It appears he showed enough promise to warrant a spot on the team.

Undrafted free agent Brandon Banks also made the team despite an up-and-down preseason.

The diminutive returner, generously listed at 5 feet 7 and 150 pounds, returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown in the preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills but also fumbled three times during the preseason, losing one.

In the finale against the Arizona Cardinals, Banks showed some of his big-play potential, returning the opening kickoff 40 yards. Later, however, he fumbled a punt as he backpedaled, though he recovered the ball.

Other cuts included offensive linemen Selvish Capers, Will Robinson, Clint Oldenburg and Erik Cook, wide receivers Shay Hodge, Bobby Wade and Terrence Austin, safeties Tyrone Carter and Anderson Russell, cornerback Ramzee Robinson, linebacker Curtis Gatewood, defensive linemen Howard Green and Darrion Scott, fullback Carey Davis, tight end and Lee Vickers and quarterback Richard Bartel.

Several players will be offered spots on the practice squad, according to league sources, including Capers, Cook, Jackson, Torain, Russell and Austin.

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