Last Chance: Redskins vs. Jaguars

For many players, there's one final opportunity to impress the coaches and win a roster spot. With the starters not expected to play much, the backups--those fighting for jobs--will get what they wanted in tonight's 8 p.m. ET game at Jacksonville: a chance.

On the spot: Quarterback Danny Wuerffel. He'll play about two quarters, but will that be enough time for him to unseat Rob Johnson as the No. 2 quarterback? Doubt it. Johnson has looked so much sharper than Wuerffel in camp. This shouldn't be a close race. With any other coach, it wouldn't be and I'm not so sure it is with Steve Spurrier.

Final cuts: The Redskins must cut down to 53 players by 4 p.m. Sunday. They'd like to make their cuts before then, but fear putting some players on the waiver wire much earlier than other teams, giving teams two days to think about signing them rather than one. If they're trying to re-sign a player to the practice squad, that would be a little risky.

On the bubble: Too many to mention. But some of the players fighting for one of the final spots include linebackers Lemar Marshall and Clifton Smith. The latter had lots of success at Syracuse and is considered a smart player. He also boosted his chances with an interception against Baltimore. But he refuses to play the numbers game in his head.

''You'll go mad trying to do that,'' he said. ''If I wonder what a coach thinks about me, then I'll drive myself crazy and not go out and perform. I'll keep going out and do what I have to do. Whatever the coaches think of me, then they think it. You just go out and play a game we've been playing since we were kids.''

Marshall made the Redskins last year and was fine on special teams. He also played from scrimmage on occasion, particularly later in the year. Linebacker Chris Clemons returned this week from appendicitis and the Redskins like his athleticism. But I don't think he's shown enough to warrant anything other than a practice squad spot.

Corner Ade Jimoh has probably made the final roster, but he's not about to take anything for granted. He's fast, has jumped as high as 46.5 inches and is 6-feet-2. But it still makes you wonder why he was the 73rd rated corner by some scouting services. Then again, he went to Utah State on an academic scholarship and had to earn a full ride in football. Which he did by starting as a sophomore.

Receiver Pat Woodcock should get lots of action, but he's probably the odd man out at receiver. He's a couple inches shorter than his listing of 5-feet-8. But he has lots of speed.

At running back, Sultan McCullough is one to watch. As I've said this week, however, I don't think he's game ready. McCullough has shown he can run the ball. But, in this offense, a running back must also prove he can handle a blitz and catch passes out of the backfield. Haven't seen him do that yet. Everything depends on if the Redskins trade Kenny Watson or Ladell Betts. Washington can keep an extra back here because it'll only keep two tight ends. Chad Morton also helps by doing all the return duties.

The offensive line will provide interesting cuts. Pita Elisara has shown versatility, lining up at guard, center and tackle in the past week. That can be good and bad: they clearly see something in him to try and see how much he can do. But it also prevents you from getting comfortable in one spot. Brad Badell has played well. I wonder about Wilbert Brown, who plays center and guard. With Lennie Friedman playing well as a backup center, is Brown needed? Derrick Dockery can play guard as can Badell.

Along the defensive line, you have to wonder about veteran Del Cowsette. He'll flash on a play here and there then do nothing. He was bothered by a bad wrist last year, a killer injury for a lineman. He's squatty and quick, which should be a good combo for the nose. But others in the organization have noticed his inconsistencies as well. Also, how many tackles will they keep considering none of them likely will rush on third downs? You can't keep five tackles, not with a desire to keep six wideouts and an extra running back. It probably comes down to Cowsette and Martin Chase.

In the secondary, special teams coach Mike Stock knows he might lose one of his better players in safety Ricot Joseph. He's good on teams, but weak in the secondary, which could prompt his ouster. A good game tonight would help Joseph, but it might not be enough. It's a close call.

Still a battle: At safety between Ifeanyi Ohalete and David Terrell. If Ohalete has another solid game, he'll start at strong and Matt Bowen will start at free. Terrell is a good special teams player and would devote more time to that. He can help this team in a nickel/dime role, too.

Curious to see: New defensive tackle Lional Dalton. I don't expect much, considering he hadn't practiced in two weeks. But we can at least get a glimpse of what he can do and how much losing 30 pounds helped him.

Draftee on the edge: Quarterback Gibran Hamdan. Don't think he's shown enough to win a roster spot and I can't imagine anyone would pick him up if he's cut. He's so raw that a year on the practice squad would be a big help. Next summer is the one in which he'll be judged more closely.

Tonight's goal: Stay healthy. Then they can return to practice Saturday and start preparing for what really counts.


Breaking Burgundy Top Stories