CSN began a series of 20 important questions leading up to the regular season this week. Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir both think Jammal Brown is done playing this year in Washington. Tyler Polumbus wasn’t horrible against the Bears., but the bar and expectations are set really low for him right now. The two disagree on Chris Cooley with El-Bashir believing Cooley’s popularity with the fans will save him. Tandler thinks he needs to re-negotiate his salary to stay. We agree with El-Bashir. If they were going to drop the axe on Cooley they would have done so by now.
On Tuesday Tandler asked if Brandon Banks was a lock to make the roster. His excellent kick-off return (punctuated by a pre-season appropriate muted celebration that CFA approved of given the circumstances) has left Banks’ stock soaring. Tandler writes that in one breath Shanahan seems to confirm his spot is safe while in the next reiterating that he will need to contribute on wide receiver to make the team. However, Rich Campbell wrote that Banks knows he still needs to prove himself at wide receiver to make the team. He’s a dynamic player, but so are Aldrick Robinson and Dez Brescoe, and those two could make legitimate contributions as 4th and 5th receivers in the passing game.
Today Mike Jones spoke with Chris Cooley about managing expectations during the dog days of August. Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen have gotten the majority of the targets in the preseason, and Cooley and Davis would like to see more balls throw their way. But, the two veterans understand that Paul and Paulsen need to be evaluated and there are only so many balls to go around.
The chief concern coming off of the Bears game –besides the play of the offensive line- was the health of a number of key contributors, London Fletcher who didn’t play, and Brian Orakpo and Brandon Meriweather who were injured during the game. In Orakpo’s case, the injury tore scar tissue from the torn pectoral muscle he had surgery on in January. Meriweather has been coy about his knee injury but is generally expected to be available for Week 1. So far it has appeared the Redskins have seemed to have had horrible injury luck, but the only significant contributor they are expecting to miss for Week 1 is Jammal Brown.
Even if Meriweather can come back healthy, it’s not a lock that he can plug the hole at strong safety. CSN asked that question today; Tandler and El-Bashir both felt that he has been playing noticeably well in training camp and can be an asset for the club. Meriweather has always been a ferocious tackler with considerable talents. The concern for Meriweather will be his abilities in deep pass coverage where he has always been inconsistent.