After an impressive 3-1 start to the 2011 season, the Washington Redskins are enjoying their bye week before returning to action in Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles. The 'Skins players might be enjoying their time off, but head coach Mike Shanahan is hard at work looking for small ways in which he can improve his team. On Thursday, that meant bringing in Laurence Maroney and Kentwan Balmer for tryouts.
Maroney, who was released by the Denver Broncos this year, is most known for his largely disappointing tenure with the New England Patriots. Balmer, a former first round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers, was released by both the Seattle Seahawks and the Carolina Panthers. I suppose it's never a good sign to be cut by those two NFC squads, but there are many reasons why players bounce around outside of them flat out not being able to play. Balmer has experience playing multiple positions along the line in a 3-4 defense, so the move to sign him would make sense for Washington.
Some Redskins fans might wonder why the need to bring in Maroney, even for a tryout, in the immediate wake of Ryan Torain's 135 yard performance last week. Tim Hightower, of course, is also on the roster, but in his first 67 carries of the season, the former Arizona Cardinals RB has averaged just 3.5 yards per carry. As a team, the Redskins don't appear to be struggling with their rushing attack. They are averaging nearly 127 yards game, the eighth highest mark in the league through four games. Who knows the exact reasoning behind Shanahan's decision, or if there's even much of a possibility that the 'Skins decide to sign the veteran back.
To round out the day of auditions, the Skins took a look at former Panthers' defensive end Everette Brown, former Denver Broncos second-round tight end Richard Quinn and offensive linemen Nevin McCaskill and Jonathan Compas.
Stay tuned here and at Hogs Haven for more news and information about the tryouts as it becomes available.