The Redskins have cut young defensive backs Phillip Thomas and Chase Minnifield, a person with knowledge of the situation said Saturday morning. Washington also has cut linebacker Everette Brown while placing fellow linebacker Darryl Sharpton on injured reserve.
Coaches had high hopes for Thomas, a strong safety selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft out of Fresno State. But he missed all of last season because of a lisfranc (mid-foot) injury that required surgery to repair. Thomas made strides this offseason, and coaches saw him as a potential long-term solution at strong safety, but planned on grooming him behind Brandon Meriweather this season. However, Thomas struggled to stay on the field this preseason, missing time with hamstring and foot injuries.
These cuts follow the eight made on Friday evening, and the cuts of running backs Evan Royster, Lache Seastrunk and Chris Thompson, and kicker Zach Hocker, which all took place Saturday morning.
Washington brass would like to re-sign Thomas to the 10-man practice squad, if he goes unclaimed on waivers, a person familiar with the team’s thinking said.
That leaves the Redskins with Ryan Clark, Bacarri Rambo, Trenton Robinson and Akeem Davis at safety. Meriweather will serve a two-game suspension to start the season and doesn’t count against the 53-man roster.
Minnifield signed with the team as an undrafted rookie out of Virginia in 2012. He missed all of 2012 while recovering from knee surgery, but spent last season on Washington’s practice squad.
Minnifield found himself at a crowded position behind starters DeAngelo Hall and David Amerson, and veteran backups E.J. Biggers and Tracy Porter, and rookie Bashaud Breeland.
Brown signed with Washington with training camp in progress, but he overtook long-time backup Rob Jackson with better special teams play. However, he remained in competition with second-year pro Gabe Miller, who this offseason converted from tight end to outside linebacker. Miller also did well on special teams and on defense. On Thursday, he recorded a sack-fumble that set up a touchdown for Washington.
Washington’s coaches hoped to include Sharpton on its special teams units this season. Signed as a free agent this past spring, he impressed with a physical style of play and zeal for special teams. But a high-ankle sprain suffered in Week 1 of the preseason sidelined him for the final three exhibition games.
Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley Jr. are the starters at inside linebacker, and Will Compton and Adam Hayward are their backups. Veteran Akeem Jordan also had competed for a roster spot but suffered what is believed to be an MCL sprain on Thursday. His status remains unclear as of now.
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