The winner between the ex-Heisman Trophy contenders battling for the Washington Redskins third-string quarterback job? Try "none of the above.''
The Redskins placed Colt Brennan on injured reserve with hip and hamstring injuries, and his competition for the job, Chase Daniel, was one of the final cuts Saturday as the team reduced its roster to 53 for the regular season.
Kicker Shaun Suisham was one of the survivors, getting a chance to stick for another season after fending off a challenge from Dave Rayner. It was a competition with few highlights: The Redskins tried only four field goals in preseason, and Rayner's only attempt was an easy 25-yarder.
Mike Williams also persevered in his return to the NFL after three years away. The former Buffalo Bills first-round draft pick lost more than 100 pounds and made the roster as a backup tackle despite battling an abdominal strain and a sprained ankle during preseason. When he did play, he was far from impressive, and his inclusion on the team speaks volumes about the team's tenuous depth along the offensive line.
Brennan aggravated a nagging hamstring problem in Thursday night's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and an MRI revealed a partially torn hamstring along with a torn labrum in his hip. Brennan missed much of the offseason work in 2008 after surgery on his other hip.
“He was going to miss some substantial time,'' executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato said. "The hip seems to cause him hamstring problems.''
The moves leave the Redskins with two quarterbacks -- starter Jason Campbell and veteran Todd Collins -- although Daniel said he expects to get a spot on the practice squad if he clears waivers. Teams can establish an eight-man practice squad Sunday.
"I think a lot of teams are doing that this year,'' Cerrato said of the two-quarterback plan. "We'll put one on the practice squad, so we'll have three, and (receiver) Antwaan Randle El can go in and finish a game as well any third quarterback.''
It was a surprise ending to the contest between two players who finished third and fourth in the Heisman balloting two years ago. Daniel, a undrafted rookie from Missouri generously listed at 6 feet, was considered a long shot to overtake Brennan at the start of training camp, but Brennan threw three interceptions in preseason while Daniel had three touchdowns and no interceptions in more limited action.
Brennan, a sixth-round draft pick from Hawaii last year, developed a rabid fan base after strong performances in the 2008 preseason. He was the No. 3 quarterback throughout the regular season and did not play.
The roster includes two players whose stock unexpectedly rose during camp and preseason. Seventh-round draft pick Marko Mitchell from Nevada was thought to be a practice squad prospect, but he impressively won the job as the No. 5 receiver. Edwin Williams is an undrafted rookie from Maryland who showed promise as a utility backup along the offensive line.
The Redskins kept six cornerbacks, giving some extra depth in case Carlos Rogers' calf injury continues to be a problem. Four of the team's six draft picks made the roster.
Suisham had his worst season last year, missing an NFL-high 10 field goals as he adjusted to different holders. He went 2 for 3 this preseason, while Rayner was 1 for 1. Cerrato said Suisham pulled ahead during a "kick-off'' during practice last week, when both players attempts a series of field goals with the rest of the team watching.
"Suisham did very good that day,'' Cerrato said. "He's won games for us in the past, so we feel comfortable with him going in.''
The complete list of cuts:
- tight end Robbie Agnone
- running backs Dominique Dorsey and Anthony Alridge
- offensive linemen Jeremy Bridges, Rueben Riley and Scott Burley
- defensive linemen Rob Jackson, Alex Buzbee, Antonio Dixon and J.D. Skolnitsky
- cornerback Doug Dutch
- receivers D.J. Hackett, Trent Shelton and Keith Eloi
- linebackers Robert Thomas, Darrel Young and Cody Glenn
- safety Lendy Holmes
- fullback Eddie Williams