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Keiland Williams and Anthony Bryant Are Surprise Redskins Roster Cuts. Evan Royster, Davonte Shannon Also Released.

Keiland WilliamsRB Keiland Williams, DT Anthony Bryant, RB Evan Royster, LB Horatio Blades and safeties Chris Hortan, Davonte Shannon and Anderson Russell were squeezed off the Washington Redskins final roster as the team works to meet the league-mandated 53-man squad. The Redskins have not announced the final cuts that were due to be completed by 6:00 PM Eastern Time today.  Most of this news was self-reported by the players and picked up by the media.

Look for Redskins 2011 NFL Draft pick Royster to make the practice squad, provided he clears waivers. He shared running back duties with Ryan Torain, just back from injury, in Thursday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Torain gained 73 yards on 17 carries to Royster’s 44 yards on 11 carries. Royster gained a touchdown, but he also lost a fumble that was returned to the Washington one-yard yard line. In a close competition, Royster’s boo-boo stood in the way of replacing the incumbent Torain.    

Williams showed great versatility out of the backfield last season. He shifted to fullback seemingly as a replacement for Mike Sellers who shifted to tight-end. The Redskins elected to keep veteran Sellers, 36, who thus survived Washington’s youth movement. Sellers will play tight end, H-back and fullback while contributing to special teams. There is the thought that Sellers presence on the roster signals team uncertainty about TE Chris Cooley’s return.

I have loved Keiland Williams’ play ever since the Eagles beat-down last November when Williams had a hand in three of Washington’s four touchdowns that night. The Redskins may bring him back early in the season as they did last year with Torain and Brandon Banks after cutting them from the Roster.

LaRon Landry has not practiced with the team. He remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list suffering an assortment of leg injuries. Tuesday is “uh-oh” day for ‘Skins fans if that trend continues with Landry.

Landry’s unavailability was thought to open the door for a young safety, but Washington released all the likely candidates. Three-year veteran Chris Horton is nicked with injuries and he never matched the performance of his rookie year.

Anderson Russell played like a man-possessed against the Bucs last Thursday, perhaps possessed of the news of his pending release and anxious to get good video of himself to connect with another team.

Davonte Shannon was the Redskins’ leading tackler in Thursday’s game. He made some nice plays. Unfortunately, he had one huge gaffe when he missed a tackle on Bucs wide receiver Ed Gant who then had free range to convert a short reception into a 96-yard scoring romp.

I have been following Shannon ever since corresponding with some of his fans here on Hog Heaven. I like him, but the elimination of a normal off-season deprived Shannon of any chance for a team to take a long look at him. His odds were long from the “git,” But I hoped he might make the practice squad as much for the human interest of his story as anything. That could still happen…somewhere. Shannon played with the University of Buffalo Bulls for four seasons. How was it that the Buffalo Bills did not take a look?

CSNWashington’s Rich Tandler reported today that Shannon is not a candidate for the Redskins’ practice squad according to his sources. That busted tackle is too haunting, I guess. Russell may return to the practice squad for his second season with the team.

So, would you go with 360-pound, five-year veteran Anthony Bryant who filled the gap at nose tackle late last season, or late-round Draft pick Chris Neild who is 50 pounds lighter but considered a natural at the position? The Redskins opted for Neild and released Bryant. Both Neild and starting NT Barry Cofield are considered light for the position. I take that to mean the Shanahan plan calls for more quickness than traditionally seen at the nose.

It’s a factor in assessing how the Redskins will do this season. My working thesis is that Washington will improve a game or two because of an improved front seven. That was while factoring Bryant’s heft in the formula. Rethinking everything now.

The good news in this is that the ‘Skins do not appear to be making another “win now” decision that has failed for most of the past decade. If they were, Bryant would stay for another season and the front office would hold its breath for Neild to clear waivers. In any number of ways, Washington looks like they are improving incrementally while building for a big future.

53-Man Roster Cutdowns for Every NFL Team up on Pro Football Talk.