Some questions facing the Redskins as they trim the roster to 53 players (some likely will be cut Friday afternoon):
How many running backs should they keep -- and whom?
This is, by far, the most intriguing situation facing the Redskins. If they want the best all-around backup, right now that is, then Evan Royster will make the roster. He has improved on special teams, too. But then they have to keep five backs because otherwise they’re casting aside what they wanted: game-changing speed. Lache Seastrunk has that; his ability to turn the corner is unmatched by the other backs. Chris Thompson has shiftiness, but the one play he made Thursday was really set up by a route that cleared out his area. He didn’t have to do much but turn and run. And then Silas Redd; not a fast guy, but tough and could be developed into another Royster type. A long shot could be trading Royster, but not sure that’ll be possible.
What will they do with Stephen Bowen?
If he’s going to be ready within, say, a few weeks then you could get by with five defensive linemen for the time being. The Redskins have versatility, which helps, as the ends all can play either side and Chris Baker and even Kedric Golston can fill in at nose in a pinch. But I still don’t have a great feel for when Bowen will be ready.
Will Leonard Hankerson remain on the PUP list?
Have a hunch this is the case, but not 100 percent sure by any means. In talking to Hankerson over the last few weeks, he’s still not feeling like his old self. If he was then it would be a matter of getting into football shape. But it’s a little more than that. The Redskins have enough depth to offset any prolonged absence, though he would be ahead of a Santana Moss or Aldrick Robinson if healthy. It’s pointless now to wonder who would be cut if and when Hankerson returns after six games if he is on PUP; these situations usually work themselves out.
Should they keep three quarterbacks?
I’ve assumed that they would, but nothing is 100 percent guaranteed. Besides, Jay Gruden went with two quarterbacks in each of his three seasons in Cincinnati. If the Redskins had another quarterback to stash on the practice squad I could see two. But it makes sense to keep three. The coaches want Robert Griffin III to protect himself better; if it’s a concern then you keep a third just in case. Also, if Griffin plays well and Kirk Cousins is dealt in the offseason then you have a backup in place who knows the system.
What do they do at safety?
Brandon Meriweather's suspension begins Sept. 1, after the final cuts. So that means someone likely will be cut Saturday who will be re-signed to the roster two days later. The more I saw Akeem Davis, the more I loved him on special teams. Tough not to considering his speed and the plays he makes, or sets up (see him take on the wedge on the opening kickoff Thursday, allowing Royster to make a tackle). If Phillip Thomas is healthy, then the Redskins should have enough at safety for the first two games (with an occasional assist from corner E.J. Biggers). The Redskins have not received much on special teams from their safeties the past couple years; Davis fills a hole in that area. But he still needs to show he’s close to helping from scrimmage; not sure about that yet -- and it could make a difference.
Which kickers should make the final roster?
My guess is that PK Kai Forbath and P Robert Malone will make the final 53. But Tress Way had a good night Thursday, and Zach Hocker probably had a slight edge entering this game. So, in other words, who knows. But I don’t know that the results will be a whole lot different than 2013.