Redskins Park Update - Monday

The first round of cuts included a known name. But it wasn't surprising that Tre Johnson was cut. The guard who started 64 games in Washington over parts of seven seasons had not been healthy since early in training camp. But it wasn't just the Achilles' injury that caused him to be cut.

It was a number of things: Johnson can only be effective at right guard anymore. That's not enough for a backup these days. Line coach Kim Helton wants his backups to play at least two positions. So Johnson was in trouble even before the injury. Besides, Derrick Dockery has progressed enough to be the No. 3 guard.

. . . The other cuts: tackle Rod Jones, fullback Thad Buttone, defensive lineman Nic Clemons, receiver Scott Cloman, receiver Sean Dillard, linebacker Shamar Finney, receiver Richmond Flowers and punter David Leaverton. The Redskins must cut five more players by 4 p.m. Tuesday. They only need to trim the roster to 73 because they have eight NFL Europe exemptions.

. . . I was slightly surprised that Cloman didn't last another round of cuts. But, truth is, he didn't have the speed to make the roster. And he didn't do much to stand out in games. Pat Woodcock did, which is why he's still around. But Woodcock remains a longshot. He's listed at 5-foot-9, but he appears a few inches shorter.

. . . Rod Jones wasn't a surprise, either, though the coaches seemed to think he had done well before he got hurt. They just couldn't count on him staying healthy. End of story.

. . . Receiver Cliff Russell isn't in jeopardy of losing his job. But he followed up a bad game with a weak practice today, dropping one pass and, as he did Saturday night, he failed to look for the ball in time on a deep route down the middle. This one, though, was uncatchable.

. . . Defensive tackle Jermaine Haley sat out practice with a sprained ankle. He's not sure if he'll be able to practice Tuesday. Del Cowsette replaced him in the starting lineup.

. . . One thing Patrick Ramsey seems to have improved on: play-action fakes. He had a nice one today, completely fooling the defense and opening up a small lane to find receiver Laveranues Coles deep down the middle. If Ramsey can fool the linebackers for a second that will open up Coles' intermediate crossing routes. And that means fireworks.

. . . Pita Elisara took snaps at center today. He also has played guard and tackle this summer. End Mike Cecere lined up as a rush tackle during practice.

. . . Linebacker Chris Clemons returned from his appendicitis. The Redskins like Clemons' athleticism. We'll soon see if that's enough to earn him a roster spot. He could be placed on the practice squad.

. . . Coach Steve Spurrier said the Redskins want to find a way to somehow keep running back Sultan McCullough.

''I've got a feeling that if we have to release him, he'll get picked up somewhere,'' Spurrier said. ''The way he's flashed his speed and running ability, we're trying to find a way to keep him on the team.''

. . . Punter Bryan Barker gets defensive when asked about last season, and his one horrible punt from his own end zone against Carolina. He seems to think it's just the media that brings it up. But fans and, more importantly, the coaches, have harped on the same problems.

There's a reason the Redskins brought in two punters this summer. But Barker has clearly won his job back, looking very good in games (except for one kick) and in practice. Barker, entering his 14th year, calls this his best training camp.

''Bryan wasn't happy with the way he performed last year,'' special teams coach Mike Stock said. ''It was his lack of consistency. That wasn't his style. It wasn't part of his characteristics. He wanted to get back to that point and I think he did.''

For more from Barker, listen to the sound bite from him during a post-practice interview.

. . . Linebacker Clifton Smith was in the coach's good graces before his interception against Baltimore. Still don't know if he'll make the team, but he's made things interesting.

. . . Linebacker LaVar Arrington did not practice because of a mild sprain, but he should be fine for Tuesday.

. . . Backup center/guard Wilbert Brown is questionable for Thursday.

. . . Quarterback Danny Wuerffel might play as much as a half against Jacksonville on Thursday.

. . . Spurrier wants to see more of running back Ladell Betts. As of now, there's no reason to think Trung Canidate won't be the starter on opening day.

. . . Spurrier has noticed that the first two opposing quarterbacks on Washington's schedule have been hurt. ''The Giants need to hold Kerry Collins out.'' Thing is, coach Jim Fassel said they might hold him out of their last preseason game.

''You want to beat the other guy with their best players,'' Spurrier said. ''You want the other team to play well. You want the other team to push you to play your best. When you win like that it's rewarding and satisfying. You never wish a guy to get hurt. Never.''

The Redskins will find out Tuesday if they will aquire Denver Broncos DT Lional Dalton. Dalton would be in the mix for a starting job in Washington.


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