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Decision Day: Roster Cuts Due Sunday

The preseason has come to an end for the Redskins, but there's still some unfinished business for Joe Gibbs and the coaches before the team can begin preparations for the Sept. 12 season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Redskins must release 23 players on Sunday afternoon, reducing the roster to 53. On Monday, each NFL team can establish eight-player practice squads.

The Redskins held a walk-through practice on Saturday, meaning that some players on the bubble had one more opportunity--albeit abbreviated--to impress coaches following Friday's 27-0 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Gibbs has said that he will evaluate players based on a "thumbnail sketch" of each individual from mini-camps through preseason.

After Saturday's practice, coaches huddled in meetings into the evening to finalize the pending roster cuts. The team expects to announce the list on Sunday.

"Every preseason game we've played was obviously a big decision-maker for us," Gibbs said. "Every time you see someone perform out there, it gives you another page in that person's book for us.

"I hate that part of it, but we have to go in there and make the best decisions we can. [Friday's game] was our last chance for someone to really stand up and play. That's why we played a lot of guys [Friday night]."

As is the case with every NFL team, the Redskins will face some tough decisions in waiving players.

The offense has a logjam of running backs, with Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright, John Simon and Sultan McCullough each competing for a backup job to Clinton Portis.

Defensive coaches have a logjam of young, reserve cornerbacks on the roster, including third-year player Rashad Bauman, second-year player Ade Jimoh and undrafted rookies Rufus Brown and Garnell Wilds.

"[Releasing players] is one of the hardest things a coach does," Gibbs said. "You work real hard with these guys through the offseason and five ball games. I'm always amazed that they take it as well as they do."

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