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Redskins 53-Man Roster Finalized Today

Posted Aug 31, 2012

After an offseason of roster building and a competitive training camp, head coach Mike Shanahan must part ways with 22 players by the end of business, today.

Today's practice at Redskins Park marks the last time that some members of the 75-man roster will suit up for the Redskins, and the final time some of those will play in the NFL.

This is an emotional day for everyone in the organization, but a necessary part of the process for a team looking to improve.

Since the end of the 2011 season, the Redskins have made 108 roster moves, including the selection and signing of nine draft picks and the addition of dozens of free agents.

All of this was done in the name of increasing roster competition, a goal that head coach Mike Shanahan felt close to achieving after the final preseason game.

"We talked about having more depth, so if someone does go down you can still play at a certain level. I thought people saw that [Wednesday]," he said.  "We are a deep football team and that is part of the tough decisions."

Between now and the close of business today, the Redskins must cut an additional 22 players from the 15 released earlier this week.

The decisions will not be easy, as the front office will have to project how a young roster will develop in the next six months.

"You’ve got to come up with a certain number and you’ve got to find your best 53, plus your practice squad," Shanahan explained. "That’s a problem you want to have: when guys play well when you have some depth on your football team."

"If you have a hard time making those decisions then that means we are getting better."

Last year, the Redskins carried seven receivers into the season, buying time to evaluate young talent.  With the addition of Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan this offseason, the need to evaluate and develop could decrease.

"Anything is possible," Shanahan said.  "We could keep 10 or 11 receivers, but we would be short on other positions.

"We try to keep our top 53. When you are deeper, it is a little bit tougher."

Another difficult decision will need to be made at kick/punt returner, where Brandon Banks arguably met the challenge to contribute on offense. 

Aside from his 91-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Chcago Bears, Banks added two 40-plus yard plays against the Buccaneers on offense.

The only question that remains: will it be enough?

"A lot of people aren't having specialists because there are so many more touchbacks than there were in the past," Shanahan said. "Not to say you don’t want a great returner. When they do get their opportunity, it can change the game."

Shanahan also reminded the media that performance during the week in practice can factor into the ultimate decision to keep or cut a player.

"It’s an ongoing process," he said.  "We’ve had a lot of reps to evaluate all our guys and now we’ve got to make some tough decisions."

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