Redskins mailbag: Cowboys similarities?

RICHMOND, Va. -- Only time for one mailbag this week, so I tried to touch on a variety of topics: Some questions on under-the-radar players; comparing the Redskin ' and Cowboys' defenses; Chase Minnifield and the safety position. Enjoy.

John Keim: Dallas' D is bad on a different level. The Redskins allowed 61 fewer yards per game than the Cowboys - and they tried to upgrade their defense. Dallas lost its best pass rushers and then rookie DeMarcus Lawrence got hurt earlier in camp and is lost for a few months. The Redskins can rightly dream of finishing in the middle of the pack if the pass rush improves and if they tackle better. The former is a distinct possibility. The latter needs to be.

Keim: They look at the waiver wire every day and will do so during final cuts. But just remember, in that situation you're picking up other team's discarded talent. It's really hard at safety to get a good feel until the games begin and you can see them tackle. We never saw them tackle last summer, so nobody had any idea what Bacarri Rambo, for example, really could do. What stands out though is the communication defensively has improved because of safety Ryan Clark.

Keim: The best in the NFC East? The New York Giants might disagree and the Eagles feel they've upgraded their defensive backfield in the offseason. Not sure why it matters how they're classified. But they have a ton to prove, especially at safety. I like where David Amerson is headed and DeAngelo Hall is coming off a good year. But the safeties must show that they can tackle and Clark has to prove he hasn't lost as much range as some have whispered. I have no idea if this is Minnifield's last year. My guess is he'll end up on the practice squad, unless another team signs him. He's looked all right, but he's probably No. 6 in the corner race at this point.

Keim: It won't be an upset if he makes the 53. As of now I'd put him on the 53. But the preseason games could change all of that; if he struggles or fails to make tackles, then Compton will be back on the outs. But, for now, he's solidly with the No. 2 defense.

Keim: Because if someone gets hurt, then they'd have a need. The Redskins' concern has to be over their roster and not just what's best for another player. They released Brandon Jenkins because he had zero chance of making the final 53. It wasn't just to give him a chance to latch on elsewhere; it stemmed 98 percent from how he performed. Strike that; it stemmed 100 percent from how he performed. If something happens at running back, then Royster would be needed. Why rush it?

Keim: Maybe a little more, but the question I'd have is why? They've invested a lot at receiver with DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts and also have Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed and they want to get the backs involved. Not sure how many more people they can get involved. Get the ball to the playmakers. If Paul gets the ball more, who gets it less? He has looked better this camp, but I also remember him having a good summer in 2013, too. In fact, I think he dropped one pass last summer. I'd still use him as an occasional target, but that's about it.

Keim: It's sometimes hard to tell, but the guy who has jumped out in that regard would be receiver Ryan Grant. Like Morris, he's a later-round pick. I love watching him run routes. He's very fluid in and out of breaks and does well selling fakes with his body lean and the crispness of his cuts. The question I have is can he get off jams, and I'm not sold on his ability in that area. He's not fast. But overall I like him because he runs routes like a pro, something you can rarely say about a rookie.