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Breaking Down the 53-Man Roster: Defense

To play on Gregg Williams's defense, you should have a measure of versatility. Look up and down the Redskins' defensive roster, and you'll see players who can line up at multiple positions:

-- Defensive End

#### -- Defensive Tackle

Defensive tackle was the most competitive spot in preseason, and the youngsters did enough to secure roster spots.

Cornelius Griffin and Joe Salave'a return as starters in 2006. When they are both in the lineup, they provide a strong push up the middle and allow defensive ends to get more pressure on the quarterback.

Ryan Boschetti won a backup job. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that rookies Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston both made the final 53. It was widely assumed that they were competing against each other for a roster spot. Montgomery was a fifth-round pick, while Golston was a sixth-rounder.

It turned out that fourth-year player Cedric Killings was on the hot seat. Killings was released to make room for Montgomery and Golston. Coaches appear to have taken the game-day inactive lists into account. It would be harder to deactivate a veteran like Killings each week than it would be to deactivate a pair of developing rookies.

Still, either Montgomery or Golston will likely see action on game day at some point this season.

Another rookie defensive tackle, Vaka Manupuna out of Colorado, earned a spot on the practice squad.

-- Linebacker

#### -- Cornerback

The cornerback position was closely watched this preseason--and it was further scrutinized when starter Shawn Springs underwent a medical procedure on his abdomen, sidelining him for preseason.

It is uncertain whether Springs will be ready for the season opener on Sept. 11.

That could put pressure on Carlos Rogers, the 2005 first-round draft pick, to step up and be a key contributor. Rogers had an up-and-down preseason, but he is still only entering his first year as a starter.

Kenny Wright is expected to start if Springs isn't ready right away. Once Springs is healthy, Wright moves into the nickel cornerback role.

Newcomer Mike Rumph, acquired from San Francisco in the Taylor Jacobs trade, was a solid performer for the Redskins in preseason. Ade Jimoh is a special teams standout who has worked hard to earn the trust of defensive coaches.

Christian Morton and John Eubanks were among the final cuts at the cornerback position. Morton has NFL experience, but he slipped down the depth chart in preseason. Eubanks was an undrafted rookie who earned a spot on the practice squad.

-- Safety

#### -- Punter

Derrick Frost had an up-and-down preseason, but he solidified the Redskins' punting job last week. He punted well in practice, then averaged 47.2 yards per punt in six attempts during the preseason finale against Baltimore.

Frost knows that he will have to improve on consistency if he wants to hold onto the job. Last year, the Redskins changed punters mid-season, and it's not out of the question that it could happen again.

Frost will also serve as the kickoff specialist.

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