48 hours can be an eternity for NFL players.
The final whistle in Wednesday’s preseason game commenced a two-day period in which the Washington Redskins will trim their roster from 75 to 53 players, meaning 22 men who have put their blood, sweat, effort and energy into training camp and four games will have their pro football dreams ended, even if temporarily.
A number of players thought to be on the proverbial bubble shared their thoughts following the preseason finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After two seasons showcasing his return abilities, Brandon Banks was told he would have to make the roster as a wide receiver in 2012.
The coaches afforded the 5-foot-7 speedster from Kansas State plenty of opportunities to prove he could perform in the NFL as a wide receiver. His performance, however, was met with mixed reviews.
He dropped a catchable pass near the end zone in the first quarter. Although Kirk Cousins’ pass was slightly behind him, he product managed to get two hands on the ball but could not secure it.
“I’m fighting for a job, if it’s not here than elsewhere,” Banks said. “Like I said to them, I’d like to be here, but if not I feel like I’ve put enough on film to be somewhere else.”
Like all others in the locker room, the fan favorite said he gave his all to make the team no matter what situation he was faced with.
“Hopefully the coaches can see that,” he said. “If not, it is what it is. It’s the business I live.”
Anthony Armstrong, who after electrifying Redskins fans with a breakout debut in 2010 has somewhat fallen out of favor, didn’t let the gravity of Wednesday’s game get to him. He is fighting for one of the remaining roster spots in a deep wide receiving corps.
“I personally didn’t take it as pressure, maybe the other guys did,” Armstrong said. “I just know that it was my one time to shine. I didn’t want to make it my last time at FedEx Field. I like this place, it’s pretty enjoyable.”
Armstrong finished the night with two catches for 61 yards, including a 46-yarder from Kirk Cousins. The West Texas A&M product is hoping it was enough.
“I did the best I could with the opportunities that were presented to me,” he said summing up his preseason.
Fellow wide receiver Aldrick Robinson is in a similar situation. He had two kickoffs returns totaling 67 yards, but will he be on the Week 1 roster?
He doesn’t even want to find out.
“I’m going to put my phone on silent so if I do get [called], I [won’t] hear it,” Robinson said.
Add Dezmon Briscoe to that crowded receivers list. He finished the preseason with six catches for 117 yards.
“My offensive performance was pretty good this preseason,” Briscoe said. “But I didn’t play any special teams. Just got to wait and see.”
Defensive lineman Doug Worthington also finds himself fighting for a spot in an already crowed area of the roster.
For a second straight year, the 25-year-old Ohio State graduate shined during the preseason. He impressed with his strength, routinely overpowering opposing lineman.
“I had a great preseason, but so did everybody on the d-line,” Worthington said. “It’s a tough battle for the coaches. I’m glad I just threw my name in the hat.”
An injury to Chris Neild and the sudden departure of Kentwan Balmer afforded him increased opportunities, which he has tried to capitalize on.
“The coach has been finding more faith in me, so it’s been working out pretty well in my favor,” he said.
Entering his third season in the league, Worthington also understands this is a business. He’s gone through the cut process time before and is looking at the future with realistic optimism.
“Luckily I do have some (practice) squad eligibility, so hopefully I will have a job with the Washington Redskins,” he said, adding he really enjoys the locker room and his teammates.
Worthington spent the majority of last season on the practice squad before he was elevated to the main roster late in the year.