The Washington Redskins are set to open training camp on July 24, and the roster appears to be the deepest it’s been in recent memory. There were considerable upgrades during the off-season via free agency and the draft, especially at the wide receiver, safety, offensive line, defensive line and linebacker positions.
As a result, a couple of players whom were expected to be solid contributors when they were drafted by former Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan – safety Bacarri Rambo and wide receiver Leonard Hankerson – may be looking for work elsewhere when the regular season opens September 7 at Houston. The additions of wide outs DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts, along with safeties Ryan Clark and Tanard Jackson, provide what coaches and GMs like to label as “good competition;” however, given the head coaching change with Jay Gruden replacing Shanahan, and Bruce Allen being promoted to fill the role of General Manager (though Director of Player Personnel Scott Campbell actually oversees this for the team), Washington may feel Rambo and Hankerson are no longer a fit for what the Redskins want to do moving forward.
Hankerson, a third-round pick in the 2011 draft (no. 79 overall) has shown flashes or brilliance at times, but he has been plagued by injuries and inconsistent play. And entering training camp, he’s been slowly healing from a knee injury, with no indications that he’ll be able to compete for a spot on the roster. And with Pierre Garcon, Jackson, Santana Moss, Roberts, and Aldrick Robinson firmly-entrenched as part of the offense, the current coaches may not have patience with Hankerson to return to full health; this situation sounds somewhat similar to what the Redskins had to deal with regarding former WR Malcolm Kelly, who was equally inconsistent and hampered by injuries before he was released in 2011. He has yet to play a snap in the NFL since. Hankerson’s size and hands should enable him to be a valued asset, but he needs to get on the field sometime during camp.
Rambo, a sixth-round pick in the 2013 draft (no. 191 overall) has not been a solid contributor since joining the team. He’s appeared lost at times when on the field, blowing coverages and taking poor angles, leading to missed tackles. The buzz around Redskins’ park is that Rambo’s chances of not making the final 53 are all but a done deal. In order for Rambo to make the team, he’s going to have to play considerably better, or make the team as a special teams player, but that option is more limited because of the value of each roster spot in the salary-cap era.
Making the team appears to be an ominous task for Hankerson and Rambo. But this is life in today’s NFL; if you haven’t played up to your potential, and the team as a whole is coming off a sub-par season, at some point you’re going to face the “moment of truth” in your career. Such is the case for these two. How it will turn out will be determined in the coming weeks.
Like this? CLICK HERE to see what Jay Gruden still has to prove.