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Rookies, Roster Hopefuls Can Only Wait Now

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For dozens of Redskins players, Thursday night's preseason game was their final chance to earn a spot on the final 53-man roster.

The Redskins wrapped up their preseason with a 29-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedExField.

With many of the starting roles determined, the game featured backup players and rookies hoping to open eyes and impress coaches.

The game was particularly important for players like linebacker Markus White. The seventh-round draft pick from Florida State University found himself in unfamiliar territory this preseason.

White played defensive end in college and transitioned to linebacker when he was drafted by the Redskins.

White had an opportunity to start the game and he made the most of that opportunity. He finished the night with five tackles, one sack, two quarterback hits and a key fumble recovery.

Late in the first quarter, fellow linebacker Rob Jackson sacked Tampa Bay quarterback Rudy Carpenter and stripped the ball. White was there to scoop up the fumble and he ran it back 37 yards to the Buccaneers 2-yard line.

That set up the Redskins first score of the game, a touchdown by running back Evan Royster.

Now that preseason has ended, White reflected back on his time playing linebacker.

"Its all mental," he said. "For the most part you have different steps, you have to turn your body to do different things. Muscle memory is one thing. At the end of the day I've been doing this for a month now and I have to get it down."

With his first NFL preseason behind him, White knows that all he can do now is wait to find out if he's earned a roster spot.

Final cuts are due Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.

"I did my best and that's all I can leave it with," White said.

Wide receiver Niles Paul is another player facing stiff competition at a crowded position. The fifth-round draft pick out of Nebraska pulled in three catches for 21 yards and he was happy about his performance.

"I felt good," Paul said. "I felt like I did everything I could. I made plays and I made blocks but I would have loved to have a couple of opportunities back."

Like White, Paul believes he has done everything he can do this preseason. He too must wait for cut-down day.

"I think I adjusted fast [to the NFL level," he said. "I blocked well, I made sure I did the little things right, and I worked hard on special teams. We have a lot depth at receiver. Whatever happens, happens...but hopefully I'm a Redskin."

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