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Thursday Night A Last Chance For Some

Posted Aug 26, 2013

When the final horn blows on the fourth preseason game, it will be the last football that some Redskins will play. This breeds the need for some players to tally a signature moment.

When the Washington Redskins run through the tunnel tomorrow night, 75 men will be charged with going out and battling together to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Yet no matter what the final scoreboard shows, 18 players will no longer be Washington Redskins on Saturday night.

Final roster cuts loom large, and for some this is a last opportunity to put their best foot forward.

Some of the roster cuts are predictable, as a player is unable to learn the system or overcome injury and perform on the field.

Some of the cuts are surprising, like linebacker Bryan Kehl was last preseason.

Despite tallying a team-high 17 tackles, two sacks, three passes defensed and an interception, Kehl found himself as the 54th man, on the outside looking in.

"I did well in practice," he said in reflection, a year later. "I absolutely tore it up and for me to get cut it was surprising, but that’s just the way the league works.

"Sometimes you just have to roll with it."

For Kehl, rolling with it sent him to Kansas City for three games before returning to Washington for a stretch run to the playoffs.

Back with the team this preseason, Kehl has a better appreciation for what it takes to catch the coach's eye on a highly competitive roster.

He goes into the fourth preseason game with a goal to put his stamp on the outcome.

"[Captain London Fletcher] said something that he heard from a coach earlier on in his career and said, 'Put your autograph on it,'" Kehl said after the third preseason game. "What he means by that is however many plays you play, one or 50, make sure that it’s something proud that you’d put your autograph on."

"That’s just a good mindset to have whether it’s one play or 50 make sure it’s something that I’m glad to have Bryan Kehl next to that."

Kehl has had a number of highlight-worthy plays again this preseason, but has also done the dirty work to stand out on special teams.

He once again leads the team in tackles, notching 17 through three games and adding 1.5 sacks.

So far, his signature is something to be proud of.

"I felt good," he said with a grin. "It was fun to be out there [and] it’s always fun to play live action and I’ve always prided myself on someone that hustles and get the ball and it pays off in the stat line."

For Kehl and others not tabbed in the starting lineup, hopefully that stat line will be compelling enough to remain on the roster after 6 p.m. Saturday night.

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Kehl Leads Reserve Defense:

Currently listed as the primary backup to inside linebacker Perry Riley, Kehl isgrowing in the defense and had the unique opportunity to relay calls to his teammates in the third preseason game.

"In college I never really called the plays and never in the NFL, so it’s kind of a new thing," he said. "With them going up-tempo in the second half, I told the guys, 'Hey, you know with a three-and-out, we can go sit on the bench so we won’t have to worry about this up-tempo stuff.'

"We did it, we three-and-out'd them every time in the second half so it was pretty nice."

And if Kehl has any questions while leading the defense, he already has an open line of communication with defensive captain London Fletcher.

As a fellow linebacker, he also has a huge appreciation for Fletcher's work.

“I just watch and learn. He’s probably the best leader I’ve ever seen and just a great leader of men," Kehl said. "He could've done anything. God gave him football and he’s obviously done it at a high level for a long time, but that guy could of done anything and guys would follow him.

"I would follow him to battle, he’s just a leader of men."

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