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Recap: Offensive Position Battle Winners

Posted Sep 3, 2012

With the roster finally set at 53, it's time to recap the position battled that raged through OTA's, training camp and the preseason.

Throughout the offseason, the Redskins.com staff reviewed the position battles to look for in training camp.  Now that the 53-man roster has been finalized, here is a recap of the winners from this summer's Redskins position battles.


Wide receiver winners: Brandon Banks, Dezmon Briscoe, Aldrick Robinson.

With Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss, Joshua Morgan and Leonard Hankerson all but locks to make the roster, the competition came down to the newcomer (Briscoe) and the specialists (Banks, Robinson, Terrence Austin, Anthony Armstrong) to battle it out for the final positions.

Banks separated himself in the return game first, returning a punt 91 yards for the score in Chicago.  He followed that up with several electric plays on offense, proving his value as a playmaker at receiver or running back.

Robinson has been viewed as an option in the return game, but made his mark on offense this preseason.  Robinson showed what he could do against the Bears, piling up more than 100 yards receiving in the final 20 minutes of the game.

Briscoe was a late addition at receiver, but provided steady production throughout the preseason, and gives Robert Griffin III an extra red zone target.

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Running back winners: Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster, Alfred Morris.

This competition was the last to get started, as no back effectively separated himself until Morris rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries against the Colts.  Morris is the only back without injury concerns heading into the season, and could carry the load early on.

Royster finished the 2011 season as a starter, and did nothing to lose his job this summer.  He did not have a big game in the preseason, but has shown the ability to carry the load in the past.

Helu Jr. is the homerun threat in the group, capable of breaking loose in the ground game or aerial attack.  Head coach Mike Shanahan credited his development in pass protection, leaving his health as the only concern for playing time.

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Tight end winners: Fred Davis, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen.

The Redskins are moving on from an icon in Chris Cooley, and have the young pieces necessary for a smooth transition.

In Davis, the Redskins likely have the best tight end in the division, and a bona fide outlet to take the pressure off Griffin III.  Davis is not a gargantuan red zone target, but his speed and power make him an elite threat.

Over his first two seasons, Paulsen has developed into a more well-rounded player, contributing more than ever in the passing game.  His skillset is best utilized in the running game, but his height makes him an intriguing target downfield.

Paul was one of the most physical receivers in the NFL last year, and earned playing time in goal line situations.  After adding significant muscle this offseason, Paul should provide the Redskins with another receiving threat from the end and slot positions.

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Backup quarterback winner: Rex Grossman.

After naming Griffin III that starter in rookie mini-camp, Shanahan held an open competition at backup quarterback.  Both players excelled this preseason, making the decision easy to keep both players.

In Cousins, the Redskins have a talented young quarterback that can learn the playbook in a low-stress environment. 

In Grossman, they have an experienced veteran that understands the offense better than any player in the league.  He will get the first opportunity to back up Griffin III, but his real value comes in his ability to teach Cousins and Griffin III for the future.

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Fullback winners: Darrel Young.

There wasn't a serious competition at fullback, but the Redskins may have a second option at fullback when Boyce returns from injury in 2013.

Young returns this week to face the Saints, and will be charged with staying healthy for the entire 2012 campaign.  The Redskins are accustomed to steady production from the fullback on offense and special teams, and Young is getting healthy at the perfect time.

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Offensive tackle winners: Tyler Polumbus, Jordan Black, Maurice Hurt.

None of these players were on the roster until Oct. 19, 2011, when Hurt was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster.  Polumbus arrived in the middle of November, while Black returned from quasi-retirement in August.

Polumbus will start opposite of Trent Williams on the line, filling in for Jammal Brown, who will not be eligible to return from the Physically Unable to Perform list until after Week 6. 

Black and Hurt provide insurance in reserve, and both players bring quality depth in their ability to play the interior line positions as well.

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Interior line winners: Adam Gettis, Kory Lichtensteiger, Josh LeRibeus.

The biggest offseason addition on the offensive line comes in Lichtensteiger's return from ACL and MCL tears that ended his 2011 season prematurely.  As long as his health continues to improve, so will the left side of the line.

The Redskins also appear to have found two keepers in Gettis and LeRibeus, who noticeably developed as the preseason progressed. Their production in the preseason gave the coaches confidence to slide Hurt to tackle and move on from Erik Cook at backup center.

Gettis was the Redskins' fifth-round pick out of Iowa and earned all four starts this preseason in place of Chris Chester, while LeRibeus started the final game in place of Kory Lichtensteiger.

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