Morris, Gettis, Crawford among the noteworthy
ASHBURN -- At times it's difficult to believe, but it's true: The Redskins have other rookies on their roster. It's just that one of them with Roman numerals after his name carries a little more weight. Face of the franchise and all.
But the Redskins have other rookies who are faring well. Here are the top five (not named Robert Griffin III) so far:
Running back Alfred Morris » The sixth-round choice didn't win a roster spot with a solid first-game performance vs. Buffalo (15 carries, 54 yards). But he did earn playing time vs. better players, which will be a better indicator of his ability. Morris looked good in training camp, showing excellent body lean -- against Buffalo, he always fell forward on contact. If he wins a roster spot, it means one of the other backs got hurt or the Redskins are willing to keep four -- and perhaps only three tight ends.
|» Running back Roy Helu likely won't play Saturday at Chicago because of Achilles tendinitis in his left foot, paving the way for more playing time for rookie back Alfred Morris. Evan Royster will start, but coach Mike Shanahan said Morris likely will get the bulk of the carries. "We know what Royster can do," Shanahan said. "You want to evaluate some of these guys and see what they can do in live situations." Shanahan said he still holds out hope that Tim Hightower can return for the third preseason game vs. Indianapolis but said it's more likely he will be back for the preseason finale.|
|» Shanahan isn't certain on the status for left tackle Trent Williams, left guard Maurice Hurt and right guard Chris Chester. All three practiced for most of the full-team work. But whether they will play vs. Chicago is uncertain. Williams and Chester both said they would play Saturday, but their opinion matters less than the coach's. "They'll have to improve by tomorrow," Shanahan said. "They got good reps, but they're by no means 100 percent."|
|» Linebacker Markus White exited practice early because of a problem with his back/ribs. Shanahan said "he should be OK."|
|» Shanahan said general manager Bruce Allen toured Richmond recently, looking at "three or four" potential sites for next summer's training camp. The Redskins struck a deal with the state of Virginia to train in Richmond starting next summer, but they will keep their facility in Ashburn.|
Guard Adam Gettis » He receives one of the highest spots because he played against starters in the preseason opener and was OK with a few bumps. Gettis plays with good technique and a strong lower body. At 6-foot-2, 292 pounds, he's small for a lineman, and he will get bent back on occasion. It's an issue worth watching; when that happened against Buffalo, he still wasn't moved back. Gettis moves well -- in practice this week he knocked Jarvis Jenkins to the ground on a stretch zone play to the right. Gettis isn't ready to challenge for a starting job, but the fifth-rounder has shown he's worth grooming.
CB Richard Crawford »
He is another sixth-round pick who has been impressive and could win a roster spot with the last cornerback spot up for grabs. Crawford has shown good instincts in coverage and intercepted several passes. He picked one off vs. Buffalo, relying on technique and positioning. Crawford can cover in the slot, where he's patient off the ball. It will be interesting to see how he fares vs. better players.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins » He was a fourth-round pick because of his penchant for mistakes, not his raw talent. Cousins has an excellent arm and good enough mobility to operate the Redskins' offense. He won't run like Griffin, but Cousins executes the bootlegs well, and his arm is strong enough to make any throw. During his work vs. Buffalo, Cousins showed poise in the pocket. He has a chance to become a good backup.
G/C Josh LeRibeus » He did not have a good preseason opener, but part of that could stem from splitting time between guard and center in the first couple weeks of camp. That's part of why he's lower on the list. However, the fact that they worked him at both spots is a testament to his versatility. No other rookie lineman has taken snaps at another spot. Now LeRibeus is back at left guard and is slowly improving with his awareness and reactions. He needed to learn how to be aggressive off the line without lunging at defenders.