Ron Rivera says Washington unsure at six spots with roster cuts looming

Ron Rivera says WFT unsure at six spots with cuts looming originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Going into Saturday night’s game Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera considered his roster fairly set with just a few spots still up in the air. 

After the Baltimore Ravens drubbed Washington 37-3, Rivera’s got even more questions. 

“There was probably four spots that really were completely open and after watching one more time, two more spots became an even bigger battle,” Rivera said Sunday. 

“It may change but I’ll say right now at a minimum six spots were impacted.”

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the dreadful preseason performance created more questions than answers for Rivera, but injuries didn’t help either. 

Cornerback Torry McTyer landed in the NFL’s concussion protocol. He had been one of Washington’s best training camp stories, emerging as a major candidate for a roster spot. Now injured, Rivera likely needs to consider even more options at corner. 

Special teams dictate much of the bottom of an NFL roster, but Washington’s defense struggled so much against Baltimore that the team got no chances at punt returns. Without any returns, it’s hard to further evaluate possible punt returners, creating even more headaches for Rivera. 

At defensive end Washington has two stars in Chase Young and Montez Sweat. After that? Nothing but questions. Casey Toohill and James Smith-Williams are dealing with injuries and a collection of other players at the spot (William Bradley-King, Shaka Toney, Daniel Wise) have not forced Rivera’s hand. 

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Safety is a big question, too. So is offensive line depth. 

Even the skill positions have questions. Is Antonio Gandy-Golden firm as the sixth wide receiver? He probably is. Could the football team keep seven WRs, and maybe that means seventh-round rookie Dax Milne makes the 53? It could. It could not. 

Did Peyton Barber do enough to make the team a second-straight season? Undrafted rookie running back Jaret Patterson had been the talk of training camp, but a poor showing in the pass game against Baltimore didn’t help. Barber was bad, too, running four times for 12 yards. Neither player’s performance demanded Rivera carry four running backs, so does that change earlier plans?

Rivera’s allowance that six spots are up for grabs is significant. 

That’s more than 10% of the roster, and more realistically, it’s nearly 30% of available spots up for grabs.

Think about this way: Washington has 21 players that will count more than $2 million against the salary cap this season. None of those players are getting cut. 

And that doesn’t include another 10 players that are roster locks under the $2 million price tag: J.D. McKissic, Taylor Heinicke, Adam Humphries, Sam Cosmi, Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, Kam Curl, Benjamin St. Juste, Cole Holcomb or Dyami Brown. 

That’s 31 players locked in. So the reality is six of 22 roster spots are up for grabs. That’s 27%!

Next time somebody callously suggests the preseason doesn’t matter, remind them that nearly 30% of Washington’s roster is now up for grabs after a disastrous performance against the Ravens. It matters. 

Roster cuts are due by Tuesday at 4 p.m. Stay tuned. 

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