Although no official announcement has been made yet, all indications are that Redskins tight end Fred Davis and left tackle Trent Williams will be suspended for the remaining four games of the season. There is plenty of cyber bandwidth, airtime, and dead trees being devoted to this story and what it says about Davis and Williams.
There will be plenty of time to chastise the two players but the immediate task at hand for the Redskins is replacing those two players on the roster and in the starting lineup.
On the current depth chart, Logan Paulsen (pictured) is the backup to Davis. In fact, he is the only true tight end on the roster with Davis gone and Chris Cooley on injured reserve. Paulsen is known primarily as a blocker, an extra tackle on the roster. In his two-year NFL career, Paulsen has nine catches for 105 yards. That’s three fewer catches and six fewer yards than Davis had Sunday against the Jets alone.
Mike Sellers also can play some tight end but he’s primarily a fullback and special teams guy and it seems unlikely that he will get more than a few extra snaps in Davis’ place.
The Redskins have had issues with production from their wide receivers this year and Davis was picking up a lot of the slack. Paulsen will be able to catch some passes but it is asking a lot for him to be as productive as Davis, who was on pace to gain well over 1000 yards receiving.
There appear to be two prime possibilities for replacing Davis on the roster. One is Dominique Byrd, a veteran who was with the team for a couple of weeks earlier this year. The other is Rob Myers, who has been on the Redskins’ practice squad since Nov. 16. They could dip into a free agent pool that has such names as Alge Crumpler, Chris Baker, and Brandon Manumaleuna. Byrd and Myers would know the offense better but only marginally so give their short time with the team.
There is no offensive tackle on the practice squad so if the Redskins want to add one to replace Williams they will have to go outside. Perhaps Ryan Harris, who played for Mike Shanahan in Denver, is healthy enough to bring on for a few games. Harris was with the Eagles in training camp and tried out for other teams but he has trouble passing physicals.
The Redskins could decide to add a player at another position and go with what they have on the offensive line. Without Williams, there are still four tackles on the roster in Jammal Brown, Sean Locklear, Tyler Polumbus, and Willie Smith.
The best guess is that Locklear will slide in to Williams’ left tackle spot. But there always is the possibility of a curve ball being tossed out there, such as Brown moving to left tackle and Smith or Polumbus being given the job on the right side.
We should find out about the roster moves in the next 24-48 hours. Lineup changes may not be revealed until game time next Sunday against the Patriots.